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The King Watch/Flash Gordon/Phantom/Mandrake MEGATHREAD!

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  • Originally posted by Blinky McQuade View Post
    to the cool rings that could leave a serious disfiguring mark on villains' chins (as a kid I believed that such a mark could be permanent--maybe the ring has sharp edges to leave the scar?)
    I believe the marks left by the Skull Ring and the "crossed sabres" Mark of Protection ring (it looks like four letter "P"s connected as a cross or +) ARE mentioned as being permanent. I don't recall where this was actually explained, but the rings have some kind of indelible chemical (made from a rare jungle plant) that cause the ring being pressed against the skin (the Phantom obviously doesn't sock people on the jaw, to place the mark of protection on them) to give the recipient a kind of "instant tattoo" that will remain there for life.
    Last edited by pulphero; 10-14-2014, 07:42 PM.

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    • Originally posted by Blinky McQuade View Post
      The only criticism I have of Falk was the dialogue was too simple (he did that for international translations). It was Prince Valiant that had me heading to the dictionary every Sunday.
      The only thing that I never liked about Prince Valiant was the way it was written. Which is to say, like a Big Little Book, in which a caption block at the top or (most often) the bottom of the panel told the story of what was going on in that picture, along with the dialogue. There was less of a feeling of "true comics format" about Foster's Valiant in more ways than one. The individual panels were always beautifully illustrated, but that's what it was, an illustration of the story contained in the block of text below it. There was less of a feeling of smooth panel-to-panel progression, not only in scanning the page without reading the text, but because the blocks of text caused your eyes to move from image to text, then on to the next image, then the text again. In regular comics stories, the captions are kept very brief, dialogue is placed within the image itself, with no need to explain who's saying what, because the word balloons tell you that information using their "tails" to point to the speaker.

      It just felt less like reading comics and more like reading a heavily illustrated book. There wasn't that feeling of an organic whole or spontaneity, where word and image flowed together in perfect unison to tell the story. Even if you cover up the text, it's harder to "read" the images by themselves in a Prince Valiant strip, as they aren't laid out on the page in such a way that they naturally draw your eye from panel to panel, and your imagination fills in the gap in time between the panels. They are more like the individual illustrations of a scene that you see in a pulp magazine story, and have less connection between what's going on in one panel, and what's going on in the next panel. Apparently, this sort of more 'static' form of storytelling was something that Foster felt strongly made Prince Valiant stand out as being more "literate" or having "class" compared to other comic strips, but I have to say, with all due respect to Foster's artistic skills, that I strongly disagreed with that POV as a much less effective form of graphic storytelling.
      Last edited by pulphero; 10-14-2014, 09:37 PM.

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      • G'day,

        It looks like things are going to change for Kit and Heloise, they will be allowed to grow up. Frankly If I was the publisher I would be working to the 21st Phantom's death and replacement. Which would be a once in a lifetime publishing event.

        What interested me in the Hermes book is that Peter David is the writer. He had a go years ago and admits stuffed up by having the Phantom shoot to wound someone. I think he wants to do amends.

        ta

        Ralph


        Originally posted by pulphero View Post
        I was always curious as to why Lee Falk, having established the backstory and lineage of the Phantom early on, did not allow the 21st Phantom (which is what he was from his inception in the 1930s) to age, marry, and have children early on (instead of waiting until the 1970s to marry Diana Palmer). THE PHANTOM *could* have been the "Gasoline Alley" of adventure strips, a family saga stretching over many decades, with the characters ageing in real time. It still puzzles me. Had it been thus, the 22nd Phantom probably would have taken over the role by sometime in the early 1950s, and we'd be on the 24th or maybe even 25th Phantom by now. Yet even since marrying Diana, and having the twins Kit and Heloise, they have all barely aged. I just wonder why Falk couldn't have let them (at least at some point, it must have occurred to him that unlike other comic strips, HIS comic strip could *always* continue, despite its main character growing into a senior citizen - or more likely, dying dramatically - for there would always be an heir to the legend of the Phantom to carry on). It seems particularly odd in light of the fact that the strip often revisited the stories of Phantoms of the past, yet in the context of the strip's history, there would NEVER be another Phantom after the 21st, since this one would LITERALLY never die. If the 21st Phantom was the same age as one of his readers in 1936, that reader would be around 100 years old today; and that means that the 20 Phantoms before him get moved up in time by their birth dates 100 years forward, so that the very first Phantom began his career nearly 100 years later than he did when he was first shown in the strip.

        I can see him replacing the Colt 1911As with more modern pistols in essentially the same style, and maybe getting a costume upgrade to include something with a Kevlar/Nomex layer, and maybe a hard ceramic shell inside the cowl to protect from head injuries (none of which would make the suit look any different on the outside). I don't see him as going the high-tech Batman route though, although of course he'd have a cell phone and GPS. I'd sort of wince at the idea of some kind of "Phantom Humvee" or "Phantom-copter" (like that ugly thing in the cartoon). The way I see it, he owns various vehicles (or can get hold of of them on short notice), just nothing customized, military-grade, or ostentatious. I see the Phantom as more of a low-tech kind of guy relying on his own skills and brains, but he isn't a technophobe either, so naturally he'd have uses for computers in the Skull Cave and things like that. Just not to the "nearly sci-fi" level of military cutting-edge stuff like Batman seems to get, especially in the movies. He's not going to be carrying all sorts of specialized gear in a vest or belt either. 1 simple multi-tool hidden in a boot is a good idea that could come in handy in certain sticky situations. I think upgrading the pistols to a more modern model would be the sole concession to any "weapons upgrade". No tasers or other various kinds of non-lethal weaponry either. He's mastered the use of weapons both ancient and modern, but has a strong preference to avoid relying on those things.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by ralphuniverse View Post
          It looks like things are going to change for Kit and Heloise, they will be allowed to grow up.
          I wonder. I couldn't find a picture of what Kit & Heloise look like recently, from the referred to adventure that was supposed to take place this year (they only looked about 12 or 13 in the 2006 strip adventure where the Phantom took them rock-climbing). I almost think it might be too late to let the "reality of time" creep into the strip. It's almost like when you look at Franklin Richards in Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR comics. There are comic book readers born after Franklin first appeared who are now in their 40s. Yet the in the FF comic book Franklin still looks about 5 years old. Kit and Heloise were born in the strip (IIRC) around 1979 (which would have meant the 21st Phantom was in his late 60s when they were born, assuming he was the same one who was having adventures in 1936), which would make the twins 35 in the real world. I wonder if young Kit will ever take over, despite them letting the twins age slightly, and go on "adventures" and young Kit being trained for his eventual (or more likely, eventually never) role as the 22nd Phantom. Well, I guess the twins are still aging faster than Franklin Richards, but at the rate shown between 1979 and 2006 (about 1 year for every 2.25 years of real-world time), it will be the year 2040 before the current son of the Phantom becomes the 22nd Phantom -- (but there's already a Phantom 2040). Interestingly, if that 1/2.25 ratio of aging held true for the 21st Phantom himself, he'd have aged 34 years since his first appearance in 1936, so he'd be close to 60 years old today. That would mean he married Diana when he was in his early-mid 40s, and he'd be approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 around the real-world year 2026. Just in the time for young Kit to turn 20 or 21, so he might become one of the youngest Phantoms.

          But there's hope for the 21st Phantom still. Since DE will soon be getting the trademark from ERB Inc. to publish authorized TARZAN comics, it would seem that a team-up of the 21st Phantom and Tarzan is a no-brainer -- in which it could be revealed that Lord Greystoke shared the secret of the Kavaru pills given to him by a witch doctor which granted Lord Greystoke virtual immortality. John Clayton and Kit Walker are the two best things ever to happen to the continent of Africa, so it makes sense. Either that, or DE will have to hire Ron Fortier to rewrite the history of the 20th Century Phantom as a generational saga, the way he reworked elements of the Green Hornet's history to encompass a 1940s, 1960s, and 1990s Green Hornet.

          All of this brings to mind (I'm hoping you might know the answer to this one, Ralph, as I couldn't find the info out there on the interwebs) -- whatever happened to Rex, the Phantom's adopted son, who turned out to be the prince of a small country named Baronkhan? I know he eventually left the Phantom to live in his native county, but he'd be several years older (probably around 25, to judge by the way Kit and Heloise are aging). When was the last time he was seen in the strip, or has he never returned since leaving for Baronkhan?

          Here's one of the most recent strips where Phantom is apparently lost in the jungle and is burning up with fever. He doesn't know how long he's been there. Now there is a situation where it really would have helped to have a watch and a cell phone with GPS (an emergency medical kit is probably too bulky for him to carry around, unless he had one in one of Hero's saddlebags, but Hero's not present in this particular scene... and I'm not sure that would have helped with some kind of virus). He's probably going to have to depend on Devil to get him out of this one (being hyper-intelligent for a wolf, he can go for help just like Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin). Bet he wished he had that multi-tool in his boot right now, since his guns aren't going to help him in this situation. Actually, when I think about how bulky those deluxe-model Swiss Army Knives are these days, maybe it would be more practical if he had an inner lining stitched inside his broad leather gunbelt (or inside the tops of his leather boots) that would have little individual pockets for an assortment of flat miniature tools. Things that would help in this situation would be a compass, magnifying glass or flint to start fires with, a small flexible band saw, and a tiny flashlight. Also a little bit of paper and a tiny pen to write a note to attach to Devil's collar. Maybe even some antibiotics. Oh well, getting into and out of these situations is part of the job, I guess, but you'd think he might be just a LITTLE bit better prepared for emergencies like this.
          Last edited by pulphero; 10-16-2014, 06:11 AM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
            I wonder. I couldn't find a picture of what Kit & Heloise look like recently, from the referred to adventure that was supposed to take place this year (they only looked about 12 or 13 in the 2006 strip adventure where the Phantom took them rock-climbing). I almost think it might be too late to let the "reality of time" creep into the strip. It's almost like when you look at Franklin Richards in Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR comics. There are comic book readers born after Franklin first appeared who are now in their 40s. Yet the in the FF comic book Franklin still looks about 5 years old. Kit and Heloise were born in the strip (IIRC) around 1979 (which would have meant the 21st Phantom was in his late 60s when they were born, assuming he was the same one who was having adventures in 1936), which would make the twins 35 in the real world. I wonder if young Kit will ever take over, despite them letting the twins age slightly, and go on "adventures" and young Kit being trained for his eventual (or more likely, eventually never) role as the 22nd Phantom. Well, I guess the twins are still aging faster than Franklin Richards, but at the rate shown between 1979 and 2006 (about 1 year for every 2.25 years of real-world time), it will be the year 2040 before the current son of the Phantom becomes the 22nd Phantom -- (but there's already a Phantom 2040). Interestingly, if that 1/2.25 ratio of aging held true for the 21st Phantom himself, he'd have aged 34 years since his first appearance in 1936, so he'd be close to 60 years old today. That would mean he married Diana when he was in his early-mid 40s, and he'd be approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 around the real-world year 2026. Just in the time for young Kit to turn 20 or 21, so he might become one of the youngest Phantoms.

            But there's hope for the 21st Phantom still. Since DE will soon be getting the trademark from ERB Inc. to publish authorized TARZAN comics, it would seem that a team-up of the 21st Phantom and Tarzan is a no-brainer -- in which it could be revealed that Lord Greystoke shared the secret of the Kavaru pills given to him by a witch doctor which granted Lord Greystoke virtual immortality. John Clayton and Kit Walker are the two best things ever to happen to the continent of Africa, so it makes sense. Either that, or DE will have to hire Ron Fortier to rewrite the history of the 20th Century Phantom as a generational saga, the way he reworked elements of the Green Hornet's history to encompass a 1940s, 1960s, and 1990s Green Hornet.

            All of this brings to mind (I'm hoping you might know the answer to this one, Ralph, as I couldn't find the info out there on the interwebs) -- whatever happened to Rex, the Phantom's adopted son, who turned out to be the prince of a small country named Baronkhan? I know he eventually left the Phantom to live in his native county, but he'd be several years older (probably around 25, to judge by the way Kit and Heloise are aging). When was the last time he was seen in the strip, or has he never returned since leaving for Baronkhan?

            Here's one of the most recent strips where Phantom is apparently lost in the jungle and is burning up with fever. He doesn't know how long he's been there. Now there is a situation where it really would have helped to have a watch and a cell phone with GPS (an emergency medical kit is probably too bulky for him to carry around, unless he had one in one of Hero's saddlebags, but Hero's not present in this particular scene... and I'm not sure that would have helped with some kind of virus). He's probably going to have to depend on Devil to get him out of this one (being hyper-intelligent for a wolf, he can go for help just like Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin). Bet he wished he had that multi-tool in his boot right now, since his guns aren't going to help him in this situation. Actually, when I think about how bulky those deluxe-model Swiss Army Knives are these days, maybe it would be more practical if he had an inner lining stitched inside his broad leather gunbelt (or inside the tops of his leather boots) that would have little individual pockets for an assortment of flat miniature tools. Things that would help in this situation would be a compass, magnifying glass or flint to start fires with, a small flexible band saw, and a tiny flashlight. Also a little bit of paper and a tiny pen to write a note to attach to Devil's collar. Maybe even some antibiotics. Oh well, getting into and out of these situations is part of the job, I guess, but you'd think he might be just a LITTLE bit better prepared for emergencies like this.
            I would welcome the strip's opportunity to finally replace the Phantom with either Kit, Heloise, or both (Falk kept referring to the Girl Phantom story as a way to appease the women fans). Perhaps DE can have Lothar find Kit and Heloise this year in the comics as well?

            The Phantom 2040? I loved that show and concept! No, the world will not look like that in 2040. As with most Sci-fi concepts that try to establish near future dates, those date catch up quickly and need to be ignored. I think in Judge Dredd's history, we should be having a nuclear war by 2070 and that the communists are still in control of Russia (they call themselves something different now but are still totalitarian thugs). Orwell's 1984 did not resemble what he wrote back in 1949 (it just took a couple decades later than 1984). I remember when Buck Rogers tried to explain the history of earth while he was sleeping, sci fi writers often have to ignore or recon what they wrote before. Buck Rogers used to be set in the 21st century but they now set it in the more believable 25th century. I still want that flying car and jet pack that was predicted/promised by sci-fi writers and futurists of the 1950s. I would just call him the future Phantom or Cyberpunk Phantom, or the 24th Phantom (which he is described as in the credits).

            I hope DE does gain Tarzan rights and DOES do a Tarzan/Phantom xcrossover event!

            We all have been discussing making the Phantom more technologically modern (not futuristic). He should carry some sort of cell phone/GPS. He should have by now set up a network of safe houses, weapons caches, and aides throughout the African continent. He needs a helicopter? He knows someone who is maintaining one for his use somewhere nearby. He needs more ammo? He has various ammo boxes that can be GPS located. He needs medical assistance? A network of assistants who are dedicated to the Ghost Who Walks for generations that will do anything to help. Maybe DE can show how the network works (maybe he has a network of computer servers password protected exclusively for the Phantom to use).
            Last edited by Blinky McQuade; 10-16-2014, 07:52 AM.

            Comment


            • The only point on which I essentially disagree (except where the tech becomes a little too military or pushing the boundaries of science-fictional), is the weapons stuff. I see Phantom as only carrying guns for self-defense and as a display designed to frighten crooks a little bit. Lee Falk said the Phantom never actually shot anyone, except the old shoot-the-guns out-of-their-hands trick. He's very much in the same school of "don't like 'em" as Batman, Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, as opposed to the Shadow or someone like that. Almost every policeman carries a gun, but very few (contrary to what you see on television and in movies) actually ever shoot anyone.

              I am not saying the Phantom is a caveman, a Luddite, or a technophobe, I just think he's drawn a pretty firm line in the sand when it comes to how he feels about weapons. He relies on brains, skill, and guts, (plus a little spooky legend) not guns. Cell phones, GPS, computers, he should have and use, just like any normal person -- just not in a public way ("What's a ghost need with a cell phone, anyway?"). There probably exists a secret network of "friends of the Phantom" too, although he's balancing this against his mysterious and spooky rep... he needs to keep everything on the lowdown, both to protect others and not let them put themselves at risk for his sake, and also because the legend needs to be preserved... he can't be seen as a guy who needs to call in outside help.

              Moonstone showed him having a costume using Kevlar, which I think is fine. He needs to avoid being shot or stabbed, because (not just for the obvious reason) it's bad for the legend of a walking ghost.
              Last edited by pulphero; 10-16-2014, 12:28 PM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                The only point on which I essentially disagree (except where the tech becomes a little too military or pushing the boundaries of science-fictional), is the weapons stuff. I see Phantom as only carrying guns for self-defense and as a display designed to frighten crooks a little bit. Lee Falk said the Phantom never actual shot anyone, except the old shoot-the-guns out-of-their-hands trick. He's very much in the same school of "don't like 'em" as Batman, Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, as opposed to the Shadow or someone like that. Almost every policeman carries a gun, but very few (contrary to what you see on television and in movies) actually ever shoot anyone.

                I am not saying the Phantom is a caveman, a Luddite, or a technophobe, I just think he's drawn a pretty firm line in the sand when it comes to how he feels about weapons. He relies on brains, skill, and guts, (plus a little spooky legend) not guns. Cell phones, GPS, computers, he should have and use, just like any normal person -- just not in a public way ("What's a ghost need with a cell phone, anyway?"). There probably exists a secret network of "friends of the Phantom" too, although he's balancing this against his mysterious and spooky rep... he needs to keep everything on the lowdown, both to protect others and not let them put themselves at risk for his sake, and also because the legend needs to be preserved... he can't be seen as a guy who needs to call in outside help.

                Moonstone showed him having a costume using Kevlar, which I think is fine. He needs to avoid being shot or stabbed, because (not just for the obvious reason) it's bad for the legend of a walking ghost.
                Actually, we do not disagree. I also think the Phantom is in the same category as Batman, Lone Ranger, and the Green Hornet that killing is rare if one could avoid it. I think that it would be permissible to establish that the Phantom is such a good shot that he would only cause flesh wounds (there was a member of Thriller's seven seconds from DC comics that would comically chant that it was "flesh wounds, only flesh wounds" that he was such a good shot that he could not kill--only on rare occasions would he be forced to kill). Peter David felt when someone shot a gun out of a hand that wounding is possible. On the tv show Person of Interest, Mr. Reece shoots out the knee caps (a very permanent disabling injury but no death). I DO NOT WANT THE PHANTOM TO BE THE NEXT PUNISHER, SHADOW, OR SPIDER. I like those characters too but the Phantom is to be better than to kill (many traditionalist fans would definitely balk).

                The "friends of the Phantom" network could have been established over generations with families thinking with amazement that the same man is fighting for centuries--maintaining that Man Who Can Not Die supernatural motif. The Falk-created Jungle Patrol with the mysterious leader (the Phantom himself) was used in the strip. Maybe it still exists to some extent in today's world? Another favorite character from DC comics for me has been the Warlord. The Warlord was an Air Force pilot that finds himself in a world at earth's core fighting a variety of fantasy creatures, dinosaurs, and the like with swords and his .45 Magnum pistol. Whenever he runs out of bullets, he goes back to his plane to get more ammo (there must be a large supply of ammo in those Air Force planes--unlikely). I had hoped that in one story it would have been established that a friendly village of elves/dwarfs would supply him with more bullets as their village is near a mountain of gunpowder ingredients. There was a story of Travis Morgan visiting such a village to get a magic sword (the one with a jewel embedded that demanded blood after each usage). This village provided this help as the Warlord did a great service for them in the past (I wonder if they could have repaired his plane?). If anyone has read the Warlord, he uses his gun as much as his sword. One reader in the letters page suggested that the gun should have some magic curse upon it allowing it to reload every 24 hours (problem, the magic world has no nights). Anyway, the small practical explanations of traditional comic book/comic strip logistics would help ground some sense of "reality" in a Phantom comic.

                Like you, I do not want the Phantom to go that much beyond the traditional. Kevlar costume, protective plates under costume/hood, and such would not change the classic costume. Perhaps a little less jungle in the portrayal of Africa as much of Africa is not a dense jungle of the Congo. More tall grass like in the movie The Ghost and the Darkness. Unless DE is also going to put out a Cyber Punk Phantom (Phantom 2040) comic, the technology should be realistic to today's standards and practical.
                Last edited by Blinky McQuade; 10-16-2014, 12:20 PM.

                Comment


                • The other thing to consider here is that Batman loses a little bit of "THE Batman" (which is to say, his mysterioso and 'urban legend'), every time he's seen by criminals to be using high tech gadgetry to assist him in his mission. The Phantom's "Ghost Who Walks" legend is key to his shtick. He can't ever come across as too human or too public, too vulnerable or too reliant on equipment of any kind. Think about this -- Batman can change with the times if he wants to -- he's not beholden to anyone that came before or might come after him. The Phantom, though IS beholden to an entire dynasty of ancestors, and the many generations that may follow. It's not just himself he has to worry about, EVERYTHING he does affects all the Phantoms to come after him. If he messes up the legend, he's doing irreparable harm to every Phantom that came before, and every one that will try to follow. And if the LEGEND ends, it may well put an end to the entire dynasty.

                  What it comes down to is that the Phantom cannot do his job without having the INTIMIDATION factor of an immortal man or ghost who always existed and will always exist -- always the same, always with the same mission, down through the ages. Sure, most criminals will disbelieve it as bunk and hokum, but he has to maintain that small amount of doubt - what if it's true ? To the extent that having the guns helps him stay alive and contributes to the intimidation of criminals, that's all he needs them for. If he starts getting too fancy, the legend evaporates and whatever advantages he's gained from modernity aren't worth the cost, both to him and all of his descendants. Whatever technological updates each Phantom brings to the table, need to be kept UNDER the table, and not noticeable to anyone that meets the Phantom. He probably wants to (if he hasn't already) study ninja techniques (the philosophy, not the weapons), and maybe get some pointers from Mandrake in misdirection used in stage magic -- any little thing he can do that might cause someone to wonder... How did he DO that ? Going back to the ninja thing for a second, maybe he could have an all-black variation of his costume for certain situations, or a camo pattern, depending on the environment. That sort of thing would be a lot easier for me to accept than a "high tech stealth suit", because it would only apply to very specific situations, and be dependent on his own skill to be effective. It's not like having a super power that you can turn on or off at the touch of a button.

                  Here's a couple of examples of ways that the Phantom could use high tech gizmos, but no one would be aware that he's using them:
                  1) He could use cell phone circuitry built into his belt, and wired to a throat microphone hidden under his costume. A bluetooth earpiece under the cowl allows him to hear, and voice commands allow him to dial. He could use this to communicate with Guran back in the Skull Cave, Diana wherever she's at, the Jungle Patrol, and his fellow King heroes.
                  2) Phantom could use another device built into his belt to generate a low-level EMP frequency that would mess with any digital equipment in his vicinity (of course, he can turn it off when he wants to use his own cellphone). The idea would be to mess with digital cameras (which practically everybody uses these days) so that he wouldn't be able to be photographed, thus preserving his "ghost" legend. Camera phones are so ubiquitous these days, and the Phantom doesn't need to find himself posted in a YouTube video somewhere. That would be a way for the Phantom to fight technology WITH technology, something his ancestors never had to worry about. Phantom can't control what people say about him or write about him, but he wants to avoid having his picture taken, appearing in newspapers, magazines, on television or the internet. The less hard evidence there is of his existence, the better. By the same token, let people talk, as long as it's just talk -- word of mouth helps the legend, facts and verification hurt it.

                  Small ideas like that are things that the Phantom could come up with himself. Dr. Zarkov would need less than half an hour to whip up something like that in his lab, or possibly the Phantom helped out some science whiz guy in the past who owes him and on whom the Phantom can rely for discretion.
                  Last edited by pulphero; 10-16-2014, 03:19 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                    The other thing to consider here is that Batman loses a little bit of "THE Batman" (which is to say, his mysterioso and 'urban legend'), every time he's seen by criminals to be using high tech gadgetry to assist him in his mission. The Phantom's "Ghost Who Walks" legend is key to his shtick. He can't ever come across as too human or too public, too vulnerable or too reliant on equipment of any kind. Think about this -- Batman can change with the times if he wants to -- he's not beholden to anyone that came before or might come after him. The Phantom, though IS beholden to an entire dynasty of ancestors, and the many generations that may follow. It's not just himself he has to worry about, EVERYTHING he does affects all the Phantoms to come after him. If he messes up the legend, he's doing irreparable harm to every Phantom that came before, and every one that will try to follow. And if the LEGEND ends, it may well put an end to the entire dynasty.

                    What it comes down to is that the Phantom cannot do his job without having the INTIMIDATION factor of an immortal man or ghost who always existed and will always exist -- always the same, always with the same mission, down through the ages. Sure, most criminals will disbelieve it as bunk and hokum, but he has to maintain that small amount of doubt - what if it's true ? To the extent that having the guns helps him stay alive and contributes to the intimidation of criminals, that's all he needs them for. If he starts getting too fancy, the legend evaporates and whatever advantages he's gained from modernity aren't worth the cost, both to him and all of his descendants. Whatever technological updates each Phantom brings to the table, need to be kept UNDER the table, and not noticeable to anyone that meets the Phantom. He probably wants to (if he hasn't already) study ninja techniques (the philosophy, not the weapons), and maybe get some pointers from Mandrake in misdirection used in stage magic -- any little thing he can do that might cause someone to wonder... How did he DO that ? Going back to the ninja thing for a second, maybe he could have an all-black variation of his costume for certain situations, or a camo pattern, depending on the environment. That sort of thing would be a lot easier for me to accept than a "high tech stealth suit", because it would only apply to very specific situations, and be dependent on his own skill to be effective. It's not like having a super power that you can turn on or off at the touch of a button.

                    Here's a couple of examples of ways that the Phantom could use high tech gizmos, but no one would be aware that he's using them:
                    1) He could use cell phone circuitry built into his belt, and wired to a throat microphone hidden under his costume. A bluetooth earpiece under the cowl allows him to hear, and voice commands allow him to dial. He could use this to communicate with Guran back in the Skull Cave, Diana wherever she's at, the Jungle Patrol, and his fellow King heroes.
                    2) Phantom could use another device built into his belt to generate a low-level EMP frequency that would mess with any digital equipment in his vicinity (of course, he can turn it off when he wants to use his own cellphone). The idea would be to mess with digital cameras (which practically everybody uses these days) so that he wouldn't be able to be photographed, thus preserving his "ghost" legend. Camera phones are so ubiquitous these days, and the Phantom doesn't need to find himself posted in a YouTube video somewhere. That would be a way for the Phantom to fight technology WITH technology, something his ancestors never had to worry about. Phantom can't control what people say about him or write about him, but he wants to avoid having his picture taken, appearing in newspapers, magazines, on television or the internet. The less hard evidence there is of his existence, the better. By the same token, let people talk, as long as it's just talk -- word of mouth helps the legend, facts and verification hurt it.

                    Small ideas like that are things that the Phantom could come up with himself. Dr. Zarkov would need less than half an hour to whip up something like that in his lab, or possibly the Phantom helped out some science whiz guy in the past who owes him and on whom the Phantom can rely for discretion.
                    I do like your ideas about the low EMP frequency device in his belt creating a Phantom effect on digital phones!!! You are right, in this day of instant media, if the Phantom wants to perpetuate the supernatural feeling of his mysterious intimidation myth, he needs the help of technology to keep him as mysterious as possible. I would want the "Old Jungle Legend" to be replaced with "Old Internet Urban Legend" like the Slenderman creation on the internet. "Do not commit piracy or the Phantom will get you!!!" The blue tooth device or something similar would not have the Phantom seen holding a phone (ghosts do not use technology). In the show Person of Interest, Reece and other characters seem to have such a fancy blue tooth device that they do not even seem to have devices in their ears (a convenient plot device by the show's producers to avoid characters looking at their phones all the time).

                    As for cammo colored outfit idea, the idea reminds me of those silly Batman toys that never seem to appear in comics or anywhere (Batman Snow Outfit, Batman Jungle Outfit, etc.). I do not like the idea of a chameleon outfit or any high tech outfit either. If it were up to me the Phantom's coloring of his uniform would be the original grey that Falk started with (his "Grey Ghost" of the Jungle). It is my understanding that the newspapers started coloring the uniform purple (red in Australia, blue in Europe). A ninja black uniform would be best. I would rather compromise with fans and have the uniform have a light purple-ish grey. BUT, the more ninja-like the Phantom the better, if he needs a blending in costume for a mission, more the better.

                    The ninja like skills would also help in his mysteriousness and legend as well (Mandrake could help with the slight of hand magician tricks. Could there not be a story of a past Phantom that does a great favor for a ninja clan in Japan who has since over the generations trained the Walker family prior to each son taking up the legend of the Phantom?). I would imagine that each Phantom has developed a training program for his sons to eventually take over the role (sword training, physical education, gun practice, tracking skills, etc.). Perhaps the missing son (and daughter--I am hoping DE's comic continuity will coordinate with the strip and bring Kit and Heloise to replacing the Phantom in the strip) of the Phantom that Lothar is looking for is hiding out in a ninja camp somewhere?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Blinky McQuade View Post
                      As for cammo colored outfit idea, the idea reminds me of those silly Batman toys that never seem to appear in comics or anywhere (Batman Snow Outfit, Batman Jungle Outfit, etc.). I do not like the idea of a chameleon outfit or any high tech outfit either. If it were up to me the Phantom's coloring of his uniform would be the original grey that Falk started with (his "Grey Ghost" of the Jungle). It is my understanding that the newspapers started coloring the uniform purple (red in Australia, blue in Europe). A ninja black uniform would be best. I would rather compromise with fans and have the uniform have a light purple-ish grey. BUT, the more ninja-like the Phantom the better, if he needs a blending in costume for a mission, more the better.
                      I had some additional thoughts about the Phantom costume variations after posting that. It's interesting that you bring up the Batman toys "that never seem to appear in comics anywhere". We all know it's a cheap way of making more Batman toys using the exact same molds over and over and over again, and just using different colored plastics, different paint schemes, and producing a few easily-sculpted snap-on accessories to create many different "special purpose" Batman suits. But did you know that the original inspiration for the idea came from an actual Batman comic book story? As it turns out, ALL of those Batman costumes were inspired by ONE single story, in DETECTIVE COMICS #165 - "The Strange Costumes of Batman!"

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                      Now, that story got me to thinking about the Phantom, and how his costume, while never changing in the details, is colored differently by different publishers all over the world. Lee Falk actually put a few things into words in the early comic strip, where people would refer to the Phantom having a grey costume. As he tells it, some colorist on the Sunday page just took it upon himself to choose the color purple... which sounds a little arbitrary to me... as if it were so unimportant that such a decision would be left totally to the colorist's discretion. No, I think that grey was the original aim and intent, and the fact that it's mentioned in some of the early stories seems to bear this out. What's forgotten are the severe limitations of the early 4-color printing technology, where the color separators would do their best to try to approximate the coloring they wanted within the limited palette of colors available with mixes of 25%, 50%, and 75% density dot-screen patterns of the three basic non-black inks - cyan, magenta, and yellow. That meant you had 12 basic screens that you could combine with each other to get the color approximation you were looking for. If you look at the actual comic books printed in the 1960s and earlier (and here, BATMAN or DETECTIVE COMICS are your best bet) you can see that they tried to approximate the grey in Batman's costume with a kind of muddy light purple, and depending on the light you were looking at the comic in, it either worked well enough, or it looked more like purple than grey. My guess would be that the original colorist tried to approximate grey with light purple, and some later colorist just used denser percentage screens of cyan and magenta, turning the color into a deeper true purple. They wouldn't just use say, a 25% black screen, because those percentages less than 100% didn't tend to print well in black ink -- the ink had tendency to clump up in blobs when it was actually printed, which is why they usually tried to fake it with light purple.

                      Publishers in other countries usually just got the black & white line artwork proofs with no color seperations, guides or notes, so they'd just pick whatever colors they thought looked best to them. So in some countries, Phantom's costume is light blue, solid blue, midnight blue, or blue-purple (indigo). The Scandinavian countries seemed to prefer their "Fantomen" (Norway) or "Fantomet" (Sweden and Denmark) more on the blue side. In Italy they seemed to prefer red -- solid red. Sometimes on some Phantom covers (because most countries still reprinted the stories inside in black and white) you might even see a more purple-red (memorably used for years to color the Hulk's pants in most stories). South American countries like Argentina or Brazil seemed to prefer a green-suited Phantom, while in Mexico it might be brown. One of the strangest I've seen is from some of the older reprints from New Zealand, where he's one of the strangest shades of light green... it's hard to even describe it, maybe some peculiarity of the type of ink they used. King Features didn't seem to mind, and they just let them do whatever each particular publisher wanted; as long as they were buying the strip the syndicate was happy. Most English-speaking countries were happy to stick with the basic purple scheme, although there's still considerable variation in shade from lighter to darker, a little more blueish, a little more reddish. Maybe it's just because it was easier to communicate with other English-speaking publishers, so it was easier for KFS to tell them "It should be purple". There seems to be even more variations of the color of the stripes in the Phantom's shorts, not always in the same combination with the basic color of the rest of the costume.

                      Anyway, inspired by both this weird international "United Colors of the Phantom" rainbow army, and the foregoing Batman story from DETECTIVE 165, I came up with the idea that there should be a room in the Skull Cave where the Phantom keeps all these costumes, or mannequins dressed in the different costume color variations. One day, the twins ask about why Phantom has never shown them this room, and he does open it to show them the many colored costumes. He then takes them to the Chronicles room to pull down various volumes and tell them the story of when one Phantom ancestor had to go to Italy, and why he had a red costume in that adventure (OK, I haven't got as far as figuring out any logical reasons for this yet), but then he continues on, with one story after another, explaining why various Phantom ancestors wore different colored costumes when they had adventures in different countries, and maybe even explaining how those other countries know the Phantom by other names, etc. He ends by telling the kids that he still keeps the costumes because he might have to visit some of those countries, in which the legend of the Phantom that the people there remember is one in which he has a different colored costume, so in order to preserve the illusion that it's the same Phantom as long ago, when he visits there he wears that particular color associated by that country's people with the Phantom legend.

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                      • Chances are it became purple for the same reason the Hulk became green. The early printing processes had trouble with grey. Of course that's jsut a guess.
                        Always remember, Murphy was an optimist
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                        • Originally posted by Ghornet2 View Post
                          Chances are it became purple for the same reason the Hulk became green. The early printing processes had trouble with grey. Of course that's jsut a guess.
                          That's what I'm saying. You'd have to have the actual comics from the 1960s or earlier to see what I'm talking about. Light grey looks purple-ish in good light when you look closely. This problem seems to have been rectified sometime around the very late 60s/1970 or so, because you don't see it after that. Whatever the issue was rarely affected covers, only the interior pages. I remember distinctly noticing this as a kid looking at Batman comic stories in the 1960s... if you looked really closely, his shirt and tights were a very pale shade of purple. It's not hard to imagine another color separator looking at that and thinking "that doesn't 'read' very well", then just taking the liberty of increasing the dot screen percentages for the component inks (cyan and magenta) to darken it a little. By increasing the screen percentages by one level, what was intended to be "read" as grey becomes recognizably purple. Even today there's a tremendous variation in how dark the purple is in the Phantom's costume, from a relatively pale purple (similar to what you see in the Elongated Man's costume) to a much darker, richer "royal purple".

                          It's natural to ask yourself "Well, why try to fool the eye with a very pale purple passing as grey -- why not just use a 25% black ink screen and be done with it?" But it seems like there were some problems with doing it that way. When the dots are smaller, with less space between them, there's more of a tendency for black ink to print as speckled or spotty (or at least there was, I'm not entirely clear on why). I'm sure I've read something about this in interviews with people who were involved in the production departments of comics companies in the old days, but I really can't cite any particular interview.

                          I remember they had similar problems regarding printing, coloring and ink when comics briefly switched to a new printing method called the "Flexographic" press in the 1980s. Some of the resulting printed comics looked terrible (and I remember seeing some of those speckling, spotty, or blobby colors). The deal with the Flexographic press was that the plates were some kind of hard rubber or plastic, as opposed to the traditional etched metal plates, and the ink was water-based (also something new to comic books). That caused all sorts of problems, and eventually the experiment was abandoned.
                          Last edited by pulphero; 10-18-2014, 05:52 AM.

                          Comment


                          • G'day,

                            Rex is now King of Baronkhan and married to Queen Alicia of an adjoining kingdom. He makes the occasional guest appearance.

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                            Ralph


                            Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                            I wonder. I couldn't find a picture of what Kit & Heloise look like recently, from the referred to adventure that was supposed to take place this year (they only looked about 12 or 13 in the 2006 strip adventure where the Phantom took them rock-climbing). I almost think it might be too late to let the "reality of time" creep into the strip. It's almost like when you look at Franklin Richards in Marvel's FANTASTIC FOUR comics. There are comic book readers born after Franklin first appeared who are now in their 40s. Yet the in the FF comic book Franklin still looks about 5 years old. Kit and Heloise were born in the strip (IIRC) around 1979 (which would have meant the 21st Phantom was in his late 60s when they were born, assuming he was the same one who was having adventures in 1936), which would make the twins 35 in the real world. I wonder if young Kit will ever take over, despite them letting the twins age slightly, and go on "adventures" and young Kit being trained for his eventual (or more likely, eventually never) role as the 22nd Phantom. Well, I guess the twins are still aging faster than Franklin Richards, but at the rate shown between 1979 and 2006 (about 1 year for every 2.25 years of real-world time), it will be the year 2040 before the current son of the Phantom becomes the 22nd Phantom -- (but there's already a Phantom 2040). Interestingly, if that 1/2.25 ratio of aging held true for the 21st Phantom himself, he'd have aged 34 years since his first appearance in 1936, so he'd be close to 60 years old today. That would mean he married Diana when he was in his early-mid 40s, and he'd be approaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 around the real-world year 2026. Just in the time for young Kit to turn 20 or 21, so he might become one of the youngest Phantoms.

                            But there's hope for the 21st Phantom still. Since DE will soon be getting the trademark from ERB Inc. to publish authorized TARZAN comics, it would seem that a team-up of the 21st Phantom and Tarzan is a no-brainer -- in which it could be revealed that Lord Greystoke shared the secret of the Kavaru pills given to him by a witch doctor which granted Lord Greystoke virtual immortality. John Clayton and Kit Walker are the two best things ever to happen to the continent of Africa, so it makes sense. Either that, or DE will have to hire Ron Fortier to rewrite the history of the 20th Century Phantom as a generational saga, the way he reworked elements of the Green Hornet's history to encompass a 1940s, 1960s, and 1990s Green Hornet.

                            All of this brings to mind (I'm hoping you might know the answer to this one, Ralph, as I couldn't find the info out there on the interwebs) -- whatever happened to Rex, the Phantom's adopted son, who turned out to be the prince of a small country named Baronkhan? I know he eventually left the Phantom to live in his native county, but he'd be several years older (probably around 25, to judge by the way Kit and Heloise are aging). When was the last time he was seen in the strip, or has he never returned since leaving for Baronkhan?

                            Here's one of the most recent strips where Phantom is apparently lost in the jungle and is burning up with fever. He doesn't know how long he's been there. Now there is a situation where it really would have helped to have a watch and a cell phone with GPS (an emergency medical kit is probably too bulky for him to carry around, unless he had one in one of Hero's saddlebags, but Hero's not present in this particular scene... and I'm not sure that would have helped with some kind of virus). He's probably going to have to depend on Devil to get him out of this one (being hyper-intelligent for a wolf, he can go for help just like Lassie or Rin-Tin-Tin). Bet he wished he had that multi-tool in his boot right now, since his guns aren't going to help him in this situation. Actually, when I think about how bulky those deluxe-model Swiss Army Knives are these days, maybe it would be more practical if he had an inner lining stitched inside his broad leather gunbelt (or inside the tops of his leather boots) that would have little individual pockets for an assortment of flat miniature tools. Things that would help in this situation would be a compass, magnifying glass or flint to start fires with, a small flexible band saw, and a tiny flashlight. Also a little bit of paper and a tiny pen to write a note to attach to Devil's collar. Maybe even some antibiotics. Oh well, getting into and out of these situations is part of the job, I guess, but you'd think he might be just a LITTLE bit better prepared for emergencies like this.

                            Comment


                            • G'day,

                              I like the internet legend idea but really, he should have minimal, if any, specialised tech. I can't think of any of the Phantoms using anything but the technology of their generation. The Phantom is really a big strong man with a sharp mind. But if you start giving him high tech gadgets he will end up Batman.

                              I would give him minimalist now-tech upgrades. Some light weight body armour, weapons upgrade ( I'm ok with swapping one of the pistols with a tazer) and a few accessories. But it would be the sort of thing a policeman or hunter would carry.

                              1) A torch - illumination is the main function of course but a modern LED torch is small and light. The beam is adjustable so it can be used to temporary blind someone in the dark. But what about if it could project a skull image too? That could be handy. Als a modern tactical torch can make a reasonable backup weapon.

                              2) Rugged mobile phone. That really a computer, camera, light source etc all rolled in to one . An electronic multitool.

                              3) A Leatherman type multi-tool. He can fix things, build things, cut things etc etc.

                              4) Altoids survival Kit. There's plenty of examples on youtube, but they include firestarter, wire, fishhooks razer etc

                              They can all be easily hidden in his costume, the Altoids box probably be stored in his boot.

                              What this does is allow writer to give him more interesting stories.

                              ta

                              Ralph



                              Originally posted by Blinky McQuade View Post
                              I do like your ideas about the low EMP frequency device in his belt creating a Phantom effect on digital phones!!! You are right, in this day of instant media, if the Phantom wants to perpetuate the supernatural feeling of his mysterious intimidation myth, he needs the help of technology to keep him as mysterious as possible. I would want the "Old Jungle Legend" to be replaced with "Old Internet Urban Legend" like the Slenderman creation on the internet. "Do not commit piracy or the Phantom will get you!!!" The blue tooth device or something similar would not have the Phantom seen holding a phone (ghosts do not use technology). In the show Person of Interest, Reece and other characters seem to have such a fancy blue tooth device that they do not even seem to have devices in their ears (a convenient plot device by the show's producers to avoid characters looking at their phones all the time).

                              As for cammo colored outfit idea, the idea reminds me of those silly Batman toys that never seem to appear in comics or anywhere (Batman Snow Outfit, Batman Jungle Outfit, etc.). I do not like the idea of a chameleon outfit or any high tech outfit either. If it were up to me the Phantom's coloring of his uniform would be the original grey that Falk started with (his "Grey Ghost" of the Jungle). It is my understanding that the newspapers started coloring the uniform purple (red in Australia, blue in Europe). A ninja black uniform would be best. I would rather compromise with fans and have the uniform have a light purple-ish grey. BUT, the more ninja-like the Phantom the better, if he needs a blending in costume for a mission, more the better.

                              The ninja like skills would also help in his mysteriousness and legend as well (Mandrake could help with the slight of hand magician tricks. Could there not be a story of a past Phantom that does a great favor for a ninja clan in Japan who has since over the generations trained the Walker family prior to each son taking up the legend of the Phantom?). I would imagine that each Phantom has developed a training program for his sons to eventually take over the role (sword training, physical education, gun practice, tracking skills, etc.). Perhaps the missing son (and daughter--I am hoping DE's comic continuity will coordinate with the strip and bring Kit and Heloise to replacing the Phantom in the strip) of the Phantom that Lothar is looking for is hiding out in a ninja camp somewhere?
                              Last edited by ralphuniverse; 10-19-2014, 06:50 AM.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by pulphero View Post
                                I had some additional thoughts about the Phantom costume variations after posting that. It's interesting that you bring up the Batman toys "that never seem to appear in comics anywhere". We all know it's a cheap way of making more Batman toys using the exact same molds over and over and over again, and just using different colored plastics, different paint schemes, and producing a few easily-sculpted snap-on accessories to create many different "special purpose" Batman suits. But did you know that the original inspiration for the idea came from an actual Batman comic book story?
                                And now it comes full circle, as Bat-Mite tries to get Brave and the Bold cancelled by foisting toy-company-mandated merchandise onto Batman:

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H94FHVGeEE

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