Tag Archives: The Phantom

The Saturday Comics: The Phantom Gets Good!

29 Dec

December 29, 2017

Let’s end the year by checking back in on one of the classics. It is the Phantom, a comic character from the Golden Age created by Lee Falk. He’s “The Ghost Who Walks,” but basically just a guy in a suit who fights crime. He’s the latest in a family line of crime-fighters to use that name. When we last checked in back in 2011, there was literally nothing going on. For an entire week nothing happened. And I mean that exactly as it sounds. Let’s go back and see, then we’ll check in with the strip today and see what’s up.

UPDATED from April 16, 2011DAY ONE:

OK, I get it. I came in at the end of an adventure. It looks like a happy ending. It is actually a good thing I came in now so I can enjoy the start of a whole new story tomorrow. Looking forward to it.


Well, that’s nice. Sort of the same thing as yesterday though. And it seems a bit of a waste, story-wise, to do it in one big splash but I guess it gets the emotion across. OK, let’s see where this goes tomorrow.


What the? What’s the point of this? Is the next arc about haircuts? If this were a play I could almost hear the stage manager hissing “vamp!” while the star desperately searches for her line. This is ridiculous, the big splash yesterday should have ended the arc. I’m getting a bit tired of this, hopefully things will move ahead tomorrow.


Um, Ok. More wasting time. Maybe they haven’t hammered out the next script yet and just tossed this in? I can’t figure out a purpose to this strip, unless it is to reinforce their dedication to fighting evil? This isn’t much of a superhero strip, it is more like a bad show on the religious station with Kirk Cameron. I’m not hopeful for tomorrow.


Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere.

DAY SIX:Huh? Where’s The Phantom? And isn’t that the guy who was supposed to be in jail? Who are these people? I sat through almost a week for this? That strip could have been told in three panels. And re-read the second panel. “Colonel Weeks met the unknown commander.” “Worubu doubts it.” There is a verb tense problem there, and I’m usually not that picky outside of a grammar blog but that is really annoying to read. I really hope The Phantom picks up but I’m losing hope.


UGH! Back to that? It’s like the Sunday strip exists in a different timeline, and maybe it might. Many strips do a separate storyline on Sundays because some papers only run the Sunday strips. So I can follow the annoying story on Sunday, or follow the slow and boring story during the week, or maybe wait and see if indeed that Sunday strip is part of the same story as the weekly though it doesn’t seem to be.


To Hell with The Phantom. Popeye never fails. I got more out of that strip than an entire week of The Phantom. And why not? It looks like they are running a classic Sagendorf strip.

That Phantom run may have been the worst week of a comic strip that I have ever read, and that’s coming from someone who read comics written and drawn by Rob Liefeld so you know I’ve read some bad comics. The artist of this strip, Paul Ryan, was the artist on one of my favorite runs of the Fantastic Four so this hurts all the more.


Here are the current strips from Monday December 25 to Thursday, December 28: 

Whoa, what happened? First, you might notice a change in the art. Comic book veteran Mike Manley (another favorite artist, and cool name- “Manley”-) has taken over from Paul Ryan, who died in 2016. The strip looks great. I have to give credit to the colorist too. The explosion on day two really pops. But most notably,  the writing is top notch. It zips along! There’s action! I want to know what happens next. And look at the bad guy. Despite not knowing what the plot of the story is, I feel I know all I need to know about him at this point. As a new reader I’m already drawn into the action and fairly knowledgeable about the characters. Did they change the writer, you may be wondering? Nope, it is still Tony DePaul. So maybe the 2011 run was an aberration? Or maybe he simply improved. Either way, this week’s strip is a winner. I deliberately left out the Friday strip. And that’s today (as of the date of this posts publication) so go over to comicskingdom.com and see where this story is headed. I know I will!  



The Saturday Comics: Gold Key Comics

3 Nov

November 3, 2012

When I was growing up it was all Marvel or DC, mostly DC. The first comic I remember owning was All-Star Comics (vol 2) # 69 and I still own it. DC and Marvel dominated the spinner racks at the local candy and grocery stores. Space was at a premium; after all there were only 4 sides, and DC and Marvel put out a lot of titles. The idea of a whole store devoted to comics was decades in the future and the direct market was not a gleam in anyone’s eye. But even so, I was aware of other comic companies. First and foremost there was Whitman. I am not aware of any details, but Whitman comics were often simply rebranded DC comic books, with the Whitman W inside the DC bullet. It might simply have been a way to get some rack space. Their other titles were, it seemed to me, cartoon titles, like Bugs Bunny. Beyond that, every once in a while, there would be some other company on the racks. Probably a mistake. Don’t know how it got there.

Those comics were from Gold Key.

Though I later found out that Whitman, Gold Key, and Dell were all somehow related publishing/distribution companies, it was Gold Key that stood out. More than anything DC or Marvel was putting out, their covers were eye-catching. They were usually gloriously (or gruesomely, depending on the title) painted action scenes. If the title was a licensed TV or movie property (like Dark Shadows or Lost in Space) they would often feature photo covers.

The stories inside were not the most imaginative. The artistic layouts were, to be generous, bland, usually six panels per page, two across, three down. The actual artwork was workmanlike and serviceable, nothing that stands out. But unlike the big companies they fought for rack space, there was an energy and imagination to them that to this day makes the two dozen or so Gold titles in my collection my favorites. I have comics based on TV properties like The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and Dark Shadows. I have a few comics narrated by none-other than Boris Karloff. Check out the Gold Key covers below and see if you agree, that you may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you love the cover nonetheless.

I own this one. I only wish I had it in the giant treasury size.

You might notice from the covers coming up that Gold Key seemed to have a thing for dinosaurs. And rightly so. What title doesn’t work better with dinosaurs? Even Boris Karloff got on the bandwagon.

Seriously, which of those comics would you not buy?

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