Monday, December 29, 2014


 The Ghost Who Walks! King Features The Phantom!

King Comics published eleven issues of Lee Falk's The Phantom. This series continued from the Gold Key series and continued into the Charlton series. It was written by Dick (Jet Dream) Wood, Bill Harris & Pat Fortunato with artwork by Bill Lignante. Dynamic covers provided by Bill Lignante & Sy Barry. Issue #20 introduced the Girl Phantom (Julie Walker.)

The Phantom, Kit Walker, is the 21st in a line of crimefighters that originated in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed during a pirate attack. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father's murderer to fight evil, Christopher started the legacy of the Phantom that would be passed from father to son, leaving people to give the mysterious figure nicknames such as "The Ghost Who Walks", "Guardian of the Eastern Dark" & "The Man Who Cannot Die", believing him to be immortal.

Unlike many fictional costumed heroes, The Phantom does not have any superpowers but relies mainly on his strength, intelligence, and fearsome reputation of being an immortal ghost to defeat his foes. The 21st Phantom is married to Diana Palmer, whom he met while studying in the United States; they have two children, Kit and Heloise. Like all previous Phantoms, he lives in the ancient Skull Cave, and has a trained wolf, Devil, and a horse named Hero.

The Phantom #18  Brand New! Revealed! The fabulous treasure of the Skull Cave!
"The Treasure of the Skull Cave"
A group of swindlers, con-men, and revolutionaries team up to loot the treasure of the Phantom's Skull Cave, killing him and the Bandar with poison gas. One crook gains entry to the cave by deceit, only to be appalled when the Phantom shows off priceless historical treasures -- worthless antiques to him. When the Phantom and the Bandar round up the gang, the enraged other crooks readily recognize the value of these artifacts, and of the Phantom's "minor" treasure rooms, heaped with gold and jewels.
"Flash Gordon and the Space Pirates Part 1"
While testing a fantastic fuel cell Flash Gordon is forced down and menaced by space pirates. The pirate leader's niece helps him escape, but reveals that her uncle has a powerful organization with which he planes to take over the universe.
Drawn by legendary Wally (Dynamo) Wood.

The Phantom #19  Now! Two stories complete in this issue! Plus - Adventures in space with Flash Gordon!
"The Astronauts and the Pirates"
"Flash Gordon and the Space Pirates Part 2"
"The Masked Emissary" 

The Phantom #20  Now! The incredible story of the Girl Phantom!
"The Adventures of the Girl Phantom"
In a story frame, The Phantom tells Diana of how one of his ancestors became ill. Fearing that the Phantom's absence would threaten jungle peace, his twin sister Julie took his place very successfully, but at last crooks discovered that she was "only" a girl. They tracked her to the Deep Woods and made away with some of the Phantom treasure. She recovers the treasure, but the crooks lose their lives in a waterfall through rejecting her instructions. Her brother never realizes her ruse.

"David McCallum"
Ad for Man from U.N.C.L.E. Fan Club.
"Flash Gordon and the Space Pirates Part 3"
Forced down by a meteor strike on their space ship, Flash and Patch encounter hypnotic globes and a huge predator, which they fend off with a ray gun before blasting off again.

Fabulous artwork by Gil (Green Lantern) Kane.

"The Invisible Demon"
Several jungle folk, finally including the Phantom, are terrifyingly whisked into the sky by an unseen captor. Dr. Krazz is working with the Mytors, an underground race who want human samples for study in preparation for conquering the earth. The Phantom frees Mabawa and K'Wago, sending Krazz in their stead, and escapes, dynamiting Krazz's lair so as to end the Mytor threat.

The Phantom #21  A savage tiger trained since birth responds to one command -- Kill The Phantom!
"The Treasure of Bengali Bay"
"The Terror Tiger"
"Midnight with Mandrake"
Mandrake and Lothar chase a young purse snatcher into a subway tunnel.
May be a reprint from Flash Gordon #1.

 The Phantom #22 
"The Secret of Magic Mountain"
Told in two parts.
"This is The Phantom"
Text story of the Phantom.
"Arsenic and Old Rags"
Mandrake and Lothar catch an arsonist.
Personal favorite cover of mine, the ring nails it!

The Phantom #23
Told in two parts.
"Man on the Bridge"
The Phantom #24  Bam!

"The Riddle of the Witch" 
Told in two parts.
First cover drawn especially for this series by Sy Barry.

The Phantom #25
"The Cold Fire Worshippers"
Told in two parts. 
"Fort Sumter - Where Burst the Flames of War"
Artwork by a young Jeff Jones!

The Phantom #26  Boom Boom! Boom! Phantom Calls... Watch for Trouble... Two Men... Boom!
"The Lost City of Yiango"
"The Pearl Raiders"
"Saturn Sadie's past catches up with her..."
Brick Bradford back-up feature by Paul (Aquaman) Norris.  

The Phantom #27
"The Story of Hero"
Told in two parts.  
The Phantom #28

"Diana's Deadly Tour"
"Freedom Fighters"
Artwork by Ric (Richard Dragon) Estrada. 
"Action on Pura"
Paul Norris back-up feature starring Brick Bradford. 
"The Big Fight"
Last cover Sy Barry drew especially for this series.

The Phantom #29
Unfortunately, this issue was only published overseas.
The unused cover for The Phantom (King, 1966 series) #29 was used as the cover of the Mexican comic El Fantasma #63 published 7 March 1972. This cover was reprinted in the Hermes Press The Phantom: Complete Series: The King Years.

Hermes Press came out with The Phantom: Complete Series: The King Years reprinting these issues. Highly recommended hardcover edition! The cover for this edition from The Phantom #21.

The Flash Gordon back-up features were included in the Dark Horse Flash Gordon Archives Vol. 2.

A series of 15 Avon paperback The Phantom books came out as well. These were written by creator Lee Falk or prolific writer Ron (The Avenger novels) Goulart with terrific George (Gold Key Comics cover artist) Wilson painted covers. They were all based on Lee Falk's original stories.   

I must admit I did enjoy The Phantom movie that even came out on blu-ray disc. It captured the flavor of the comic books quite well. I would recommended it. A novel adaptation of The Phantom movie, starring Billy (Sniper) Zane, was published. It was written by Rob (Indiana Jones novels) MacGregor suiting the tone of the movie well. The novel allowed more fleshed out characters and a slower pacing than the film. The book also included many scenes which ended up on the cutting-room floor in the film version, one, a more detailed presentation of the Phantom's origin.

In addition to The Phantom comics, there was a nice looking scale model, Hot Wheels '65 Volkswagon fastback and a really cool Skull ring. 
Steve Ditko inked by Bill Reinhold art!
Jim Steranko The Phantom painting!
Ditko on The Phantom bonus pin-up!
Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!
Jack Kitby does The Phantom!
Rob Liefeld art!
Upcoming FCBD The Phantom with Don Newton cover!

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