The Phantom:
A Publishing History in New Zealand

by Bryan Shedden

The Phantom (1949-1965)

Feature Publications








To the best of my knowledge, there has been only one series of Phantom comics produced in New Zealand. Commencing in October 1949, Feature Publications of Wellington published a series of Phantom comics that reprinted the daily and Sunday newspaper strips in black and white. These unusual comics can be easily identified by the "FP" logo on the front cover. They were different in several respects to the Australian Phantom comics published by Frew:
  1. The colour covers depicted the Phantom in a yellow-brown coloured costume, as opposed to the traditional purple. Some samples of the covers are shown above -- larger images are available by clicking on the thumbnails.
  2. The comics were serialised with each story usually running over several issues.
  3. They adopted a landscape format inside but usually had a portrait format cover (the first 20 FP issues had landscape covers). The staples were located along the short top edge, so that after looking at the front cover, the reader had to rotate the comic 90° anticlockwise in order to read the story inside. Actually Frew used this same format themselves from 1949 to 1952 (#7 to #42), before settling on the more common portrait format.
  4. They had fewer pages than the Frew Phantom comics, running for a total of 20 pages with only 16 pages of strips.
  5. There was no advertising material in the comics whatsoever -- the inside front and back covers were left completely blank, and the outside back cover usually ran some sort of editorial information.

The series ran as a monthly from 1949 until #35 (August 1952), with a cover price of 6d (#1 to #24), 7d (#25 to #31) or 8d (from #32). They were then published on a fortnightly basis until #104 (July 1955). From #105 the comics were published weekly -- the cover price had increased to 10d by the mid#300s. The comics sold for one shilling from issue #377 onwards. For some unknown reason issues #475 to #488 (1962/63) carried a "published monthly" tag, before resuming a weekly schedule from #489 onwards. The last issue of the series was #556 in mid 1965.

Since the FP Phantom comics did not require each story to fit neatly within their limited number of pages, each story was usually quite complete and very few panels were removed. However, they were not totally devoid of censorship -- the editors at FP took it upon themselves to correct many instances of "poor grammar" and also converted the occasional Americanism into a local New Zealand equivalent. Some scenes of "graphic violence" were blanked out, which created some confusion over plot development, to say the least.

Nevertheless, these comics are an excellent source of good quality reproduction of the daily and Sunday strips. Over the 16 years that FP Phantom comics were produced, the vast majority of the first 90 daily and 64 Sunday stories were printed. The only stories from this period not printed were The Singh Brotherhood (D1), The Sky Band(D2), The Diamond Hunters (D3), The Shoplifters (D63), The Gibs Brothers (S40), and the Sunday versions of Fathers and Sons (S22), The Flirtatious Princess (S23), The Thuggees (S24), and The Ape Idol of the Durugu (S25). Sunday stories were presented in their original landscape layout with one Sunday strip to a page. The first printings of each daily story were usually in a large format with 6 standard-sized panels per page. Subsequent reprints were often presented with three daily strips per page, each daily fitting neatly on a single line -- thus avoiding the need to reorder panels to make them fit. The publishers also usually maintained the original newspaper appearance order of the various stories, such that continuity could be easily followed. The reprints of Sy Barry's first 14 stories are definitely a highlight of the series -- the dailies being printed in a large format with two unedited strips to a single page.

A complete chronology of the Phantom comics published by Feature Publications is given below. I am indebted to many people for helping complete this list. Should you find any errors in the list please send me an email.

Issue/sStory TitleArtistCodePrinting
1-2The Blue GangMcCoyD231st
2-3Lago the Lake GodMcCoyD241st
3-5The Wild GirlMcCoyD251st
5-6The Mermaids of Melo StraitsMooreD261st
6-9Princess ValerieMoore/McCoyD271st
9-11Queen Asta of TrondelayMcCoyD281st
11-14Mister HogMcCoyD291st
14-18Romance and the Vesta PiratesMcCoyD301st
18-22The Devil RoadMcCoyD311st
22-24The Lady LuckMcCoyD321st
24-26The Masked MarvelMcCoyD331st
26-27Fathers and SonsMcCoyD341st
27-29The Flirtatious PrincessMcCoyD351st
29-33The ThuggeesMcCoyD361st
33-34The Ape Idol of the DuruguMcCoyD371st
34-36The Movie StarsMcCoyD381st
36-38The White MonkeyMcCoyD391st
38-40The Gray GangMcCoyD401st
40-41Whirlpool ChannelMcCoyD411st
41-43The Tiger GirlMcCoyD421st
43-44The Governor's FamilyMcCoyD431st
44-46The ProfessorMcCoyD441st
46-47The Jungle PatrolMcCoyD451st
47-48Bobo the Toy DogMcCoyD461st
48-49The Dragon GodMooreS181st
49-51The Marshall SistersMoore/McCoyS191st
51-52The Phantom TrophyMooreS201st
52-54The Haunted CastleMoore/McCoyS211st
54The Mysterious PassengerMcCoyS261st
54-55Jungle KingMcCoyS271st
55-57The Phantom's RingMcCoyS281st
57-58The Rope PeopleMcCoyS291st
58-60Tale of DevilMcCoyS301st
60-61The 'Copter PiratesMcCoyS311st
61The Female PhantomMcCoyS321st
62Diana and the Bank RobbersMcCoyS331st
63-66The SeahorseMooreD121st
66-68The Game of AlvarMooreD131st
68-72Diana Aviatrix LostMooreD141st
72-76The Phantom's TreasureMooreD151st
76-77The Shark's NestMooreD71st
77-78The Golden CircleMooreD111st
78-80Adventure in AlgiersMooreD61st
80-82The Mysterious GirlMooreD101st
82-85The Prisoner of the HimalayasMooreD51st
85-87The Maharajah's DaughterMcCoyD221st
87-91The Phantom Goes To WarMoore/McCoyD161st
91-94Hamid the TerribleMcCoyS101st
94-96The Toad MenMcCoyD481st
96-98The Lady from NowhereMcCoyD491st
98-100The MatchmakerMcCoyD501st
100-102The Super ApesMcCoyD511st
102-105Ragon's GameMcCoyD521st
105-106The Great AjaxMcCoyD471st
106-108The MobMcCoyD531st
108-109The Wrestling TourneyMcCoyD541st
110-114Little TommyMooreD41st
114-117Fishers of PearlsMooreD81st
117-121The Slave TradersMooreD91st
121-123The Phantom Goes To WarMoore/McCoyD162nd
123-131The Governor and SuzieMcCoyD191st
131-134The Spy GangMcCoyD201st
134-137The CroonerMcCoyD211st
137-138The ChainMcCoyS341st
138-140Madcap MiriamMcCoyS351st
140-141The Imaginary PlaymateMcCoyS361st
141-142The BeltMcCoyS371st
142-143The Master SpyMcCoyS381st
143-144Alexander's CupMcCoyS391st
144-145The Crescent CultMcCoyS411st
145-148Aboard the SS GayMcCoyD551st
148-150The Slimming of Prince TagonMcCoyD561st
151-153Captain Kidder's TreasureMcCoyD571st
153-155Dr Axel and the WitchmenMcCoyD581st
155-160Bent Beak BroderMcCoyD171st
160-162The Phantom's EngagementMcCoyD181st
162-163The League of Lost MenMooreS11st
163-165The Precious Cargo of Colonel WinnMooreS21st
165-166The Fire GoddessMooreS31st
166-167The BeachcomberMooreS41st
167-168The SaboteursMooreS51st
168-171The Return of the Sky BandMooreS61st
171-173The ImpostorMooreS71st
173-175Castle in the CloudsMoore/McCoyS81st
175The Ismani CannibalsMcCoyS91st
175-177The Childhood of The PhantomMcCoyS111st
177-178The Golden PrincessMcCoyS121st
179-180The Strange FishermanMcCoyS131st
180-181Queen Pera the PerfectMooreS141st
181-182King of BeastsMooreS151st
182-183The Scarlet SorceressMoore/McCoyS161st
183-185The 12 TasksMoore/McCoyS171st
185-186The Horned Star DemonsMcCoyS421st
186-187A Proper HusbandMcCoyS431st
187The Jungle TourneysMcCoyS441st
188-191Queen Sansamor and the Sixth ManMcCoyD591st
191-192The Wisdom of SolomonMcCoyD601st
192-198The Grove of the Sleeping GiantMcCoyD621st
198-199Pirate DayMcCoyS451st
199-201The Blue GangMcCoyD232nd
201-205The Wild GirlMcCoyD252nd
205-208The Mermaids of Melo StraitsMooreD262nd
208-212Princess ValerieMoore/McCoyD272nd
212-214Queen Asta of TrondelayMcCoyD282nd
214-223Romance and the Vesta PiratesMcCoyD302nd
223-229The Devil RoadMcCoyD312nd
229-234The Lady LuckMcCoyD322nd
234-238The Masked MarvelMcCoyD332nd
238-240Fathers and SonsMcCoyD342nd
240-244The Flirtatious PrincessMcCoyD352nd
244-250The ThuggeesMcCoyD362nd
250-253The Ape Idol of the DuruguMcCoyD372nd
253-257The Movie StarsMcCoyD382nd
257-260The White MonkeyMcCoyD392nd
260-263The Gray GangMcCoyD402nd
263-265Whirlpool ChannelMcCoyD412nd
265-268The Tiger GirlMcCoyD422nd
268-271The Governor's FamilyMcCoyD432nd
271-274The ProfessorMcCoyD442nd
274-277The Jungle PatrolMcCoyD452nd
277-278Bobo the Toy DogMcCoyD462nd
278-279The Dragon GodMooreS182nd
279-281The Marshall SistersMoore/McCoyS192nd
281The Phantom TrophyMooreS202nd
281-282The Mysterious PassengerMcCoyS262nd
282-283Jungle KingMcCoyS272nd
283-285The Phantom's RingMcCoyS282nd
285-286The Rope PeopleMcCoyS292nd
286-287Tale of DevilMcCoyS302nd
288The 'Copter PiratesMcCoyS312nd
289The Female PhantomMcCoyS322nd
289-290Diana and the Bank RobbersMcCoyS332nd
290-292The Heavyweight ChampionMcCoyD641st
292-294Wambo the GamblerMcCoyD651st
294-297The White PrincessMcCoyD661st
297-300The Valley of No ReturnMcCoyD671st
300-303The Crown Jewels of CorbaMcCoyD681st
303-308The ScorpiaMcCoyD691st
308-312The Carlyle's Good MarkMcCoyD701st
312-314The CrybabyMcCoyD711st
314-319The Underwater Diamond ThievesMcCoyD721st
319-322The BetrothalMcCoyD731st
322-326The Swamp RatsMcCoyD741st
326-327The RattleMcCoyS461st
327-328Danglor, International Bank ThiefMcCoyS471st
328-329A Lesson for Prince OrqMcCoyS481st
329-330The FrameupMcCoyS491st
330-332The Monster of Green ValleyMcCoyS501st
332-333The Plant God of the MassauMcCoyS511st
333-335Conley's Good MarkMcCoyS521st
335-337The Childhood of The PhantomMcCoyS531st
337-342The Toad MenMcCoyD482nd
342-346The Lady from NowhereMcCoyD492nd
346-350The MatchmakerMcCoyD502nd
350-353The Super ApesMcCoyD512nd
353-358Ragon's GameMcCoyD522nd
358-360The Great AjaxMcCoyD472nd
360-364The MobMcCoyD532nd
364-367The Wrestling TourneyMcCoyD542nd
367-375The Governor and SuzieMcCoyD192nd
375-378The Spy GangMcCoyD202nd
378-381The CroonerMcCoyD212nd
381-382The ChainMcCoyS342nd
382-383Madcap MiriamMcCoyS352nd
383-384The Imaginary PlaymateMcCoyS362nd
384-385The BeltMcCoyS372nd
385-386The Master SpyMcCoyS382nd
386-388Alexander's CupMcCoyS392nd
388-389The Crescent CultMcCoyS412nd
389-392Aboard the SS GayMcCoyD552nd
392-394The Slimming of Prince TagonMcCoyD562nd
394-397Captain Kidder's TreasureMcCoyD572nd
397-399Dr Axel and the WitchmenMcCoyD582nd
399-404Bent Beak BroderMcCoyD172nd
404-406The Phantom's EngagementMcCoyD182nd
406-407The League of Lost MenMooreS12nd
407-408The Precious Cargo of Colonel WinnMooreS22nd
409-410The Fire GoddessMooreS32nd
410-411The BeachcomberMooreS42nd
411-412The SaboteursMooreS52nd
412-415The Return of the Sky BandMooreS62nd
415-417The ImposterMooreS72nd
417-418Castle in the CloudsMoore/McCoyS82nd
418-419The Ismani CannibalsMcCoyS92nd
419-420The Golden PrincessMcCoyS122nd
420-422The Strange FishermanMcCoyS132nd
422-423Queen Pera the PerfectMooreS142nd
423-424King of BeastsMooreS152nd
424-425The Scarlet SorceressMoore/McCoyS162nd
425-427The 12 TasksMoore/McCoyS172nd
427-428The Horned Star DemonsMcCoyS422nd
428-429A Proper HusbandMcCoyS432nd
429The Jungle TourneysMcCoyS442nd
430-433Queen Sansamor and the Sixth ManMcCoyD592nd
433-434The Wisdom of SolomonMcCoyD602nd
437-440The Grove of the Sleeping GiantMcCoyD622nd
440-441Pirate DayMcCoyS452nd
441-444Oogooru and the WitchmenMcCoyD751st
444-446The ReporterMcCoyD761st
446-450The Diamond HijackersMcCoyD771st
450-452The Gurk TwinsMcCoyD781st
452-455The 50th WifeMcCoyD791st
455-457The Iron DragonMcCoyD801st
457-460The WerewolfMcCoyD811st
460-465The Slave Market of MucarBarryD821st
465-466The River GangMcCoyS541st
466-467The HoneymoonersMcCoyS551st
467-469The Goggle Eye PiratesMcCoyS561st
470The LimperMcCoy/Infantino/
471-474The EpidemicBarryD831st
474-477The Wharf RatsBarryD841st
477-483The Mysterious AmbassadorBarryD851st
483-485Queen Samaris XIILignanteS591st
485-486Treasure of the Skull CaveBarryS601st
487-488The Astronaut and the PiratesBarryS611st
488-490Old BaldyBarryS621st
490-495The Mystery of the Island of DogsBarryD861st
495-497The Blue GangMcCoyD233rd
497-498Lago the Lake GodMcCoyD242nd
498-500The Wild GirlMcCoyD253rd
500-501The Mermaids of Melo StraitsMooreD263rd
501-504Princess ValerieMoore/McCoyD273rd
504-506Queen Asta of TrondelayMcCoyD283rd
506-510Romance and the Vesta PiratesMcCoyD303rd
510-513The Devil RoadMcCoyD313rd
513-516The Lady LuckMcCoyD323rd
516-518The Masked MarvelMcCoyD333rd
518-519Fathers and SonsMcCoyD343rd
519-521The Flirtatious PrincessMcCoyD353rd
521-525The ThuggeesMcCoyD363rd
525-526The Ape Idol of the DuruguMcCoyD373rd
526-528The Movie StarsMcCoyD383rd
528-530The White MonkeyMcCoyD393rd
530-532The Gray GangMcCoyD403rd
532-533Whirlpool ChannelMcCoyD413rd
533-535The Tiger GirlMcCoyD423rd
535-536The Governor's FamilyMcCoyD433rd
536-538The ProfessorMcCoyD443rd
538-539The Jungle PatrolMcCoyD453rd
539-540Bobo the Toy DogMcCoyD463rd
540-543The Drummer of TimpenniBarryD871st
543-546The ReefBarryD881st
546-550The Adventures of Lucy CaryBarryD891st
550-552The Giant Bird of GandorBarryS631st
552-554The Founding of the Jungle PatrolBarryS641st
554-556The Bad OnesBarryD901st

My sincere thanks go to the following people for their help with compiling this list:
Barry Stubbersfield,
Jim Shepherd, John Henderson, Colin Williams, Jon Cookson, and Bob Ritchie.

Return to The Phantom Reference Guide

Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 19 August 2001