Ever since The Deep Woods web-site was launched in 1996, I have been regularly bombarded with a multitude of questions about all things Phantom. Often I find myself answering the same question over and over again. Hence I've started a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page aimed at addressing the most common ones. Please take the time to read this page and see if your question already has an answer. If your question is still unanswered, feel free to ask Guran.
- Where can I buy a complete set of Phantom comics?
- Where can I buy new Phantom comics?
- Where can I read The Phantom dailies and Sundays on-line?
- How much is my Phantom comic worth?
- I want to buy Phantom comic #XYZ. How much will it cost me?
- I want to insure my Phantom comic collection. What value should I insure it for?
- How much is Frew Phantom comic #1 (or #2, #3, etc) worth in absolutely perfect condition?
- Where can I buy Phantom collectables (skull rings, coffee mugs, t-shirts, posters, etc)?
For questions related to basic aspects of The Phantom (eg. what is the name of his horse?), I suggest you first take a look at The Phantom FAQ by Todd Goldberg.
Question 1: Where can I buy a complete set of Phantom comics?
This is without doubt the most common question I am asked, and mostly the question comes from Phans in India. It is generally not possible to buy a complete set of Indrajal Phantom comics, Frew Phantom comics, Egmont Fantomen comics, or any other for that matter. Such complete collections are exceptionally rare and worth an incredible amount of money if indeed the owner would be willing to part with them. However, there is some good news. Most publishers of Phantom comics have reprinted the same stories several times, so it is often not necessary to buy all the comics in order to collect all the stories. I also find that most people making these enquiries are mainly interested in collecting the newspaper strip stories by Lee Falk (as opposed to the stories created by Team Fantomen, or others). With this in mind I make the following recommendation. Firstly, visit the daily and Sunday newspaper strip story lists and take note of the "Last" column. This shows the most recent issue number for every single Phantom story from the newspaper strips, published in black & white with original, unedited English text. These issues of Frew's Phantom comic are the ones that you would need to buy. The next step is to buy the comics and there are several options:
If black & white comics are not good enough for you, and you must have colour, then Diamond Comics Digest from India is my next recommendation. Back issues of Diamond Comics Digest can be purchased direct from the publisher for 30 rupees each (available in stock in Hindi, English and Bengali). The stories are heavily edited and not all Phantom stories have been published in this series.
- purchase directly from Frew Publications - limited stocks available (click here for contact details)
- purchase from Comic Quest who will give you a good price for top quality comics.
- purchase from another comic book shop in Australia (click here for a list)
- purchase via auction websites such as ebay or ebay Australia
- purchase from secondhand bookstores, charity stores, etc throughout Australia
If you absolutely must have Indrajal comics, then my only suggestion is to scrounge through raddiwallas in India (used paper sellers). I've heard that they occasionally have the odd Indrajal comic for sale. You will be extremely lucky to find a complete set this way! Best of luck!
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Question 2: Where can I buy new Phantom comics?
There are currently only two publishers producing Phantom comics in English: Frew Publications in Australia, and Moonstone Books in USA. My recommendation is that you first subscribe to Frew's Phantom comic. This black & white comic has been in continuous publication since 1948, and over 1400 issues have been published. Frew provide a unique combination of complete reprints of classic newspaper strips stories plus new exciting stories created by Team Fantomen in Scandinavia. Full details on Frew Publications are provided at the following pages:
After an absence of 7 years, The Phantom returned to American comic book shelves in February 2002 when Moonstone Books published their first Phantom book. To date, Moonstone have published five Phantom graphic novels, a trade paperback edition (collecting the first three graphic novels in one volume), and now four Phantom comics, with more to come. Moontone's Phantom books can be purchased from most comic stores -- in Australia, you can get them from Phantom Zone in Sydney and Wollongong, or Quality Comics in Perth, just to name two that I know of. More news and previews are available at Moonstone Books.
- History of Frew Publications
- Subscriptions & Back Issues
- 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 1998
- Complete Publishing Chronology
- Archive of Covers from #1 to #100
- Frew in Review: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
- Annual Specials: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.
Various Phantom reprint books can be purchased from Pacific Comics Club and Ken Pierce Books. For more information about these books, refer to Pacific Comics Club, Pioneer Books, and Miscellaneous One-Offs in the USA Publishing History.
Egmont Imagination India produced a colour comic series between 2000 and 2002, reprinting the Phantom stories produced by Egmont Scandinavia. The first 11 issues of the series plus the Phantom Adventure Kit pack can be purchased from Phantom's Vault in Sydney, Australia. The cost is Aus$36.30 for the set of 11 issues, and Aus$11 for the Adventure Kit (contains 3 comics and other goodies). Email Rene White to place your order. Phantom's Vault will also be obtaining the new Phantom Action Adventure Series sometime soon. Unfortunately, Egmont Imagination India have stopped publishing Phantom comics. For more information contact the publisher at Indian Express Egmont Publications Ltd., 1st Floor, Diamond Palace, Hill Road, Bandra (W), MUMBAI 400050, India. I recommend Aman King's website for more details on Indian Phantom comics.
If you're after Phantom comics in non-English languages, your journey is best started with Egmont's Fantomen magazine from Sweden (plus Fantomet in Norway and Mustanaamio in Finland). Check out the Fantomen web-site for subscription information.
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Question 3: Where can I read The Phantom dailies and Sundays on-line?
There are several different on-line newspapers that carry The Phantom dailies and Sundays in colour, with some more up to date than others, or offering a small archive of recent strips:
Visit Aman King's website for a nice portal that enables easy access to these strips, including an archive that stretches back to 1 January 2003.
- Daily Ink - hi-res current dailies & Sundays, 12 month archive, plus vintage strips
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer - current dailies & Sundays, 4 week archive
- San Francisco Chronicle - current dailies & Sundays, no archive
- Washington Post - current dailies only, 2 week archive
- Houston Chronicle - current dailies only, no archive
- Arizona Central - current dailies only, no archive
Please note that the above websites only provide access to the latest strips. Fantomet.no (Norway) provides an archive of recent daily and Sunday stories.
Mandrake dailies are available from King Features. Once again, a large archive of Mandrake strips can be accessed via Aman King's website.
For information on print-version newspapers that carry The Phantom strips, check this page.
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Question 4: How much is my Phantom comic worth?
The standard answer is "as much as someone else is willing to pay for it!" Seriously though, it really depends on why you want to know. Are you trying to sell? Or do you just want to know for insurance purposes (ie. replacement value)? For the latter case, see Question 5. If you are trying to sell some comics there are several options open to you:
It is also important to remember that the value of a comic depends dramatically on its condition. I'm not about to go into the tricky subject of grading comics, but keep in mind that your own idea of "near mint" may be someone else's "very good"!
- Find a friend or relative who wants to buy them from you. Why trust your beloved Phantom comic to someone you don't know?
- Post an advertisement on The Phantom Phorum or a newsgroup (alt.comics.phantom). This is a good option if you want to swap for another comic or just want to have that warm feeling of dealing directly with another Phantom Phan ... and possibly make a new friend.
- Put it up for auction at ebay, ebay Australia, or similar sites. A fairly clinical approach that usually rewards with a good price, provided that someone wants to buy it.
- If all else fails, sell them to a specialist Phantom comic dealer. Keep in mind that comic dealers will rarely offer more than 50% of the price they intend to sell for. Don't expect to receive full "guide prices" from comic dealers. My personal recommendation is Comic Quest who will give you a good price for top quality comics. The Comic Quest page also provides a useful guide to the going rates.
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Question 5: I want to buy Phantom comic #XYZ. How much will it cost me?
First of all, please understand that this site is completely non-commercial. I do not sell comics or collectables.
The price of a comic all depends on where you intend to buy it and what comic condition you are happy to settle for. Low grade comics are generally fairly cheap, and this is the best option if you only want to read them and don't mind seeing someone's grocery list scrawled on the back cover. Collectable grades are obviously more expensive because they are in shorter supply. Most specialist comic and secondhand book dealers in Australia will base their prices on Johnson's Official Phantom Price Guide. However, if you shop around you will find some places dramatically cheaper than guide. For Frew Phantom comics, you will be hard pressed to find anyone with better prices or quality than Comic Quest. It is also worth hunting through charity stores that have a books section -- not only will you find some great bargains but your money will go to a good cause. A fairly thorough list of Australian comic book specialists is available here.
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Question 6: I want to insure my Phantom comic collection. What value should I insure it for?
If you want to do this properly, get ready for some hard work! I recommend that you itemise your collection, determine a value for each comic based on published guide prices, and then provide this list to your insurance company as proof of a "special collection". It might also help to provide photographs of the overall collection and individual key items. It is then up to the insurance company to decide whether or not they will insure your collection and its insured value. Small collections may already be covered. Check the details with your insurance company.
Many insurance companies will only cover you for items listed in published price guides. So a useful book for valuing your Phantom comics is Johnson's Official Phantom Price Guide. Both the first and second editions of this book can be purchased (Aus$14 each, Aus$24 for both, including packing and postage within Australia), from Phantom Comics, PO Box 4072, Loganholme DC QLD 4129, Australia, ph. (07) 3287 6748, email email@example.com. The prices are quite inflated compared with typical prices from some other dealers, but if this is what the insurance company wants, the guide is your best option for valuation.
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Question 7: How much is Frew Phantom comic #1 (or #2, #3, etc) worth in absolutely perfect condition?
This is often a loaded question from someone who has been given such a comic by their grandmother or something. The important thing to understand is that in the vast majority of cases, perfect condition copies of Phantom comics #1 and #2 are probably only replica editions. When Frew published their 1000th Phantom comic (#972) in 1991 they included a FREE replica of their first comic. Now at the start of each year, a ~300 page annual special is published, each containing a replica edition of an early Frew Phantom comic (except for #1032). Most of the replicas are easily identifiable via obvious features such as the words "REPLICA EDITION" and a barcode on the front cover. But this only came after complaints were made about the difficulty of distinguishing the first three replica editions from the originals. The replica of #2 is particularly difficult to spot. For details on how to differentiate originals from replicas, please see this page.
To give you a rough idea of the difference in value of the originals versus the replica, the following is extracted from Johnson's Official Phantom Price Guide (1996). All prices are in Australian dollars. Refer Question 5 for information on where to buy this book.
Issue Original Replica F VG NM F VG NM #1 $900 $2500 $5000 $2 $5 $12 #2 $700 $1500 $3000 $2 $5 $12 #3 $500 $900 $1800 $2 $3 $5 #4 $350 $700 $1400 $2 $3 $5 #5 $300 $600 $1200 $2 $3 $4
On average, the originals are worth about 300 times more than the replicas. Would you believe I have seen several people trying to sell replicas of #1 and #2 as originals? Caveat emptor!
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Question 8: Where can I buy Phantom collectables (skull rings, coffee mugs, t-shirts, posters, etc)?
Where do I start? Here's some suggestions:
- The Phantom's Vault is an Australian company producing an excellent range of Phantom products: mousemats, posters, calendars, binders, statuettes, etc.
- Another Australian company, 99.94 Editions, are producing a limited edition series of art prints, depicting a portrait of each and every generation of The Phantom, commissioned by artists from around the world. More info is available here.
- Chris Smith has a vast array of international Phantom collectables and original artwork available through his Phantomania Site. Chris is a regular trader on eBay.
- The old Phantom Club in Queensland Australia produced a wide range of collectables during the 1980s, including skull and good mark rings (available in brass, silver-plate, sterling silver, 9ct and 18ct gold) and a wide range of t-shirts. Many of these items are still available. Check this page for contact details.
- Internet auction sites such as eBay and eBay Australiahave literally hundreds of Phantom items for sale every day of the week. Try this link for a shortcut to the Phantom comics section at eBay Australia.
- For the last few years, Flatt World Figures have been talking about producing a limited edition Phantom action figure. It now looks unlikely that this project will get off the ground due to insufficient pre-orders.
- Playing Mantis produced a remake of the Captain Action figure and Phantom costume set.
- How about a case of wine direct from the Deep Woods? Check out Deep Woods Estate, a winery with a strong Phantom connection. More info is available here.
- The 15 chapter Phantom Serial from 1943 has been released on DVD by VCI Home Video. The picture is crisp and clear and the sound is good considering how old it is. The damaged chapter 11 has been digitally restored using a cast of actors to recreate some of the voices based on the original studio cutting continuity. Special features include interactive menus, dolby digital, chapter stops, biographies, chapter one commentary by Max Allan Collins, and an image library of some American Phantom comics and lobby card photos. An absolute bargain for only US$30. Non-US residents should be aware that the disc is Region 1 encoded so you will need a multi-region DVD player. Orders can be placed directly with VCI Home Video or (like me) from Amazon.
- Big Sky Video have released a digitally remastered video version of the 1943 Phantom Serial. They also have the Captain Africa serial from 1955, and the Phantom 2040 Animated Movie. Be aware that these videos are in PAL format on VHS tapes. Contact details: Big Sky Video, PO Box 545, Niddrie VIC 3042, Australia, Ph (03) 9374 3544, Fax (03) 9374 3566, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.bigskyvideo.com/.
- The 1943 Phantom serial is available on NTSC format video from Jim's Rare Serials.
- An NTSC video of the unaired Phantom TV pilot can be purchased from 1960s Phantom TV Pilot.
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Bryan Shedden / email@example.com