What’s Going On In The Phantom (Sundays)? Why are you publishing on Monday? September – November 2022


After a lot of running late I wanted to prove I could meet my own deadline, okay? Also I’m probably going to want to explain why everyone’s angry at Funky Winkerbean soon and I’ll need to clear some publication slots for that, too.

So this should catch you up to the end of November in Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel’s The Phantom, Sunday continuity. If you want to know about the weekday continuity, or are reading this after about February 2023, a more up-to-date plot recap should be here. Now back to the strange subterranean labyrinth of an Ancient Egyptian cult and their animal-human hybrid super-creatures.

The Phantom (Sundays).

11 September – 28 November 2022.

The Phantom, his wife, and of course Devil were exploring the Temple of the Gods. This ancient lair held an Egyptian cult, long ago. And also inhuman mummies. And the relics of ancient battles, including a particularly bloody one that the Third Phantom barely survived back in 1624. He tried to keep his descendants from visiting again, down to using hieroglyphic riddles in his Chronicles to conceal the place.

The current Phantom has visited at least twice, exploring some of the place in the comic strip in 2005. (There were sequel stories by Team Fantomen in 2006 and 2007; I don’t know whether they returned to the Temple.) He’s there now pursuing a German team that got its host mauled on-camera and, apparently, knows something, somehow, about all this.

The 21st Phantom, showing a skull drawn on the wall; 'This is the place, Diana. The 3rd Phantom left our mark here in blood. His own, I suppose. We'll never fully know what the 3rd Phantom went through in this place ... ' We see flashbacks to 1624, and The 3rd Phantom fighting with sword and knife a pack of animal-headed people. 3rd Phantom thinks: 'My son is prepared to be the 4th Phantom, but I must survive this day! Defy all doom in the name of The Legend itself! For however long I can REMAIN ALIVE in this place --- I AM the legend! ' He shouts, as he stabs a bird-headed figure, 'A Ghost who walks!' As he chokes a snake-headed man, '... MAN WHO CANNOT DIE!'
Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel’s The Phantom for the 9th of October, 2022. I picked this one to share not so much for its plot-bearing status as for having the most interesting action. Most of the story has been given to mood and speculation, all nicely evocative especially when you read several months’ worth of the Sunday strips together. But this one gives you some cool animal-people fighting which we’ve had a shortage of since Flash Gordon went into all-reruns.

The past months have been The Phantom and Diana Walker exploring the caverns. They had a first remote encounter, aware that something was watching them. They were easy to scared off, though. Further exploring found the skeletons of ancient battles, and the mark the Third Phantom left at his ne plus ultra. They press on, farther than the 21st Phantom had gotten. They find remains of a much more recent fight, one with animal-headed people whose bodies haven’t even decomposed. And hear … something.

The Phantom sends Diana ahead, with the torch, while he hangs back in the shadows. He sees their follower, a woman, and says they’re friendly, they don’t need to be stalked. Diana hears a load roaring. She and Devil race back to The Phantom but that’s all we have seen yet.

Next Week!

What terrible medical condition in roots-country singer Mud Murphy did we see Rex Morgan, M.D., very nearly treat? Food poisoning? Irritable bowel syndrome? Crippling social anxiety? Or is he a big lying liar who tells big lies? I explore Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. next week, and just guess which day I do it!

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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. He/him.

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