by Rolf Gohs
- Death of a Phantom
- Script: David Bishop
- Art: César Spadari
- First published in Fantomen Nr.23/2004 by Egmont, Scandinavia. Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Simon Treschow.
- Message from the Publisher:
In this issue, we continue the saga of the first year in the life of a Phantom series with the gripping Death of a Phantom. Written by David Bishop and illustrated by César Spadari, the story ranks as one of the most powerful in the long history of The Ghost Who Walks. Kate Somerset returns, we find out what happened to Chris (son of Kate and The Phantom), witness the meeting of Chris and Kit, The Phantom's other son, once again meet up with Julie, the twin sister of The Phantom and watch another in the long line of The Phantom, swing into serious action. This adventure, as you are about to discover, has almost everything!
[Comment from Guran: Chris and Kit do not meet in this issue, nor does Julie appear in this story. You will have to wait for the next issue to read about these events. The following commentary from Jim is therefore a bit premature!]
The reappearance of Julie naturally pinpoints a particular time in The Phantom Chronology. Julie was the twin sister of the 18th Phantom and (this is where you may become a little confused!) actually took over when her twin brother was shot and temporarily put out of action. To explain that a little more ... Julie was the twin of The Phantom who dies in this story. That is why Kit refers to her as "Aunt Julie". Kit naturally becomes the 19th Phantom.
[Comment from Guran: Jim seems to be very confused with this story. Julie was the sister of the 17th Phantom, not the 18th! However, he's correct in saying that Julie was the sister of the Phantom who appears in this story.]
If you refer to the 1978-79 Lee Falk story, The Heirs (Frew #822 in its first Australian printing in 1985) all is revealed and as a matter of interest, young Kit, the 19th Phantom, later marries an unnamed daughter of a South American explorer.
Writer David Bishop has strayed somewhat from the official Lee Falk Phantom history, but I suggest you attempt to overlook that and enjoy Death of A Phantom for what it is - a dramatic presentation of top quality comics story-telling.
For the record, Julie's first appearance in the Lee Falk chronology was in the 1952 story, The Female Phantom, a Sunday adventure illustrated by Wilson McCoy. The story originally appeared in Frew #102 in 1956 and has been reprinted on many occasions. The last was in Frew #1219 (1999 Annual Special).
[Comment from Guran: The Female Phantom (S32) is the most reprinted story in Frew's history. It has appeared in 10 different issues!]
For some reason, The Female Phantom (and a few other non-Lee Falk stories along similar lines) have retained a high level of popularity for almost a half century! It could be that female fans took a special interest in developments or simply, that creator Lee Falk preceded all the super hero titles with the introduction of a girl taking over the role of the central character - if ever so briefly.
In the story featured in this edition, no such heroics are necessary by Julie and her appearance at the Skull Cave comes about after hearing of the death of her twin brother.
(For Those Who Came In Late, it should be explained that in Lee Falk's history, Julie married a jungle missionary and became the mother of four children. But that was after she briefly replaced Kit as The Phantom. In this new story, it is interesting to note that Kit [the 19th Phantom to be] suggests that she once again stand in as The Phantom as he decides whether he is really ready to take over the role of The Ghost Who Walks!)
It may sound like a cracked record, but once again I bemoan the fact that Lee Falk never revealed the year span in which all The Phantoms held office, or told us the names of all of the 21 wives - or, for that matter, never explained what happened to all of the wives who preceded Diana! It is these gaps in (Lee Falk) recorded Phantom history that has prompted so many current writers to theorise in an attempt to fill the gaps and provide us with a complete chronology.