Diana vs. Sala

Translated and Adapted by Ivan Pedersen

From information in Fantomet Nr.14 1995

A Norwegian version of this document is available on Ivan's Fantomet Page

In Norwegian Phantom comics and newspapers, Diana Palmer (now Walker) is called Sala, and Sala (from the Sky Band) is called Diana. Confused? Read on to discover just how this strange circumstance arose.

The Phantom strip first appeared in Norway in the weekly special "A-Magasinet" from the daily newspaper "Aftenposten". The Sunday pages were published from 1939 until #12 in 1942, when the strip was abruptly pulled from the publishing schedule. What was the reason for this sudden stop? It could be that the war made it difficult for the material to reach Norway. It also could be because there had been a German Submarine in the last page printed. Norway was occupied, and all media were strictly secured.

The last printed page was from the "Return of the Sky Band". The leader of the Sky Band, Sala, had been very intimate with the Phantom. This could have led some of the editors from "Aftenposten" to believe that the Phantom and Sala had a romantic affair. We must also remember that the Phantom's real girlfriend - Diana - had never been seen in Norway -- only the Sunday pages had been published. Diana had not appeared in the Sunday pages when it stopped in Norway.

(NB: Diana did not appear in the first FIVE YEARS of the Sunday strip. And when she did finally appear, it was as a six year old girl!)

After a short interval, the Phantom strip appeared again in "Aftenposten" -- but this time it was the daily strip. The first story was "The Game of Alvar", in which Diana and the Phantom talk about marriage. This was too much for somebody in "Aftenposten", because the Phantom had just been "involved" with Sala. The Norwegian readers of 1942 had to be spared from this Casanova. A quick solution was found, and depended on the observation that Ray Moore drew Sala and Diana similarly. Diana's name was changed to Sala, and any complaints from readers were avoided. Simple!

To explain this, or to confuse the readers further, "Aftenposten" did print a page as an introduction to the strip. On this page it is shown that Sala and the Phantom are really close. This page was edited, and has never been printed outside Norway.

So there are a lot of reasons why Diana is called Sala in Norway -- WW2, Germans, Puritanism and a confused editor.


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Bryan Shedden / guran@deepwoods.org
Last Updated 22 September 1997