Phantom Enjoys Daring Last-Minute Escape From Certain Doom


Tony DePaul, writer for The Phantom, was kind enough to stop in and give news about his strip.

The news is that he and King Features Syndicate have reached an agreement about the rights to the stories he’d produced for the comic since 1999. And they have an agreement to have him keep writing as long as both sides are happy with the way things are working. The breakthrough apparently grew over June, after he’d announced the intention to leave. King Features’ general manager for syndication, who hadn’t been directly involved in negotiations, asked for an informal meeting to see what could be done, and after — well, suppose it can’t have been more than a month of talks, yes, something could be done. And just in time, too; DePaul says Jeff Weigel, the Sunday artist, had just run out of story to draw. Mike Manley, the weekdays artist, had about six weeks of story yet.

I’m glad, certainly. The Phantom‘s been reliably interesting and who would want that messed up? Also the hint about how long the current Sunday storyline has to run confirms my resolve to change some of my “What’s Going On In” schedule. I’d been thinking to separate the weekday and the Sunday summaries for better pacing. Moving the next Sundays recap to closer to the end of the current storyline suits me. I was also thinking to move around some of the other strip recaps. I’d set the order without any plan, and I’d like to break up what seem like blocks of too-similar comics.

DePaul teases the idea that the current daily storyline will end in the death of the current Phantom, especially in saying how the story “would have been a superb sign-off to my Phantom career” and describes just how screwed up things would be if the 21st Phantom were to die just now. Me, I’m not making guesses. While the narrative would fully justify the current Phantom’s death this year, escaping certain death is just what superheroes are all about.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose an astounding fourteen points after looking up the lyrics and finding that the karaoke machine had it right. There is a bit in “I Just Called To Say I Love You” that goes “no Libra sun”, and hey, there’s this whole stanza that just goes through the months, one at a time, and counts Libra for September which is fair enough, although is there really anything distinctive about September’s sun? Granted that April is the cruelest month, what is September? The snarkiest month? When it’s up against November? No, that doesn’t make sense.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

3 thoughts on “Phantom Enjoys Daring Last-Minute Escape From Certain Doom”

    1. I wouldn’t agree the current Phantom is a bore. But he does make intrigues, mostly with himself, that seem needlessly complicated and prone to collapse without his continuing intervention. It’s a realistic personality type, but it’s always dangerous in the real world. And it’s rough for the story because it gives so little reason for him to explain what he expects to have go on; as a story develops the reader hasn’t got much sense of whether things are going to plan or whether they’re off-track, and if they are, how far off-track. When he gets killed, trusting that the foreshadowing is paid off and isn’t just one of those things where life gets in the way of plans, a lot of weirdly complicated stuff should come crashing down in very messy ways. And that’s a serious character flaw; projects should be set up so that even their organizers can be removed without the thing crashing. That’s not always possible, but it shouldn’t be always impossible.

      Junior, now, his fantastic unreadiness seems like it ought to be interesting material for stories, although it’s hard to say how many of them would be substantially different ones. The unfit-thrust-into-the-role is a story that’s been done an awful lot, though. While it’s not going to exit from our culture anytime soon, it does present the challenge of finding something fresh to say with it.

      Now, the racial politics of The Phantom as the great white hope for this African peoples … hoo, yeah, that’s very out of date. The work done in building up Bangalla as a country that functions all right without his intervention, and The Phantom’s international escapades bringing him to the United States or China or Western Europe do a good bit to soften that. The more the locals stand on their own, and the more he superhero-vigilantes for all humanity, the less the colonialism baked into the premise shows.

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