The last Indiana Jones post got me in a pulp kind of a mood. I’ve always liked pulp-style characters – and Indy is most certainly a pulp character, regardless of his “date of birth” – from originals like the Shadow to Doc Savage, to modern interpretations like the Rocketeer. I’m very intrigued by DC’s First Wave books, even if the results have been somewhat uneven.
The Phantom, created by Lee Falk, made his debut as a comic strip, rather than in a true pulp. But he’s a pulp character in every other way. The Phantom was pretty high on my list of characters I wanted to write at least once. Happily, I’ve been able to get to a number of them: the Phantom, Hellboy, Tarzan, Red Sonja.
I was able to scratch my Phantom itch via Moonstone, which held the license before its recent move to Dynamite, by talking them into a Phantom Annual (the first ever, apparently). It was a generational story told in chapters, each chapter starring a Phantom of a different era. I pulled in a number of my writer friends, including Chuck Dixon, Tony Bedard and Mike Bullock, to pen chapters. On the art side, I collaborated with my sculptor/artist/animator buddy Ruben Procopio on the first chapter, recounting that era’s Phantom facing down the pirates of the Singh Brotherhood.
Ruben contributed a very Toth-inspired black-and-white variant cover (pictured above), while inker Terry Austin talked his pal Bret Blevins into penciling the main cover (pictured at the top of the post). I had a notion that we should have a simple back cover image, and Lee Moder stepped up to contribute this great shot (pictured below) of the Phantom and Devil, which was then inked by Terry Austin. But for whatever reason, Moonstone decided it wasn’t a suitable image, and it went unused. It’s appearing here for the first time ever, as far as I know. Shame it never got used. But who knows … maybe we’ll find a place for it sometime.