The ghost who walks

Phantom

The Phantom in action with his horse Hero and his wolf Devil.

Remember Phantom, anyone? The great daddy of all superheros? If you’ve grown up in the India of the 80s you certainly would have encountered him in the pages of The Illustrated Weekly or the daily newspaper. You would know him as Vetaal in Hindi. Wiki tells me that at the peak of its popularity, the strip was read by over 100 million people each day.

How he was made

If you’ve joined the human race later and are unaware of this great mystery man, he was fighting evil way before Spiderman, FYI. He was born in 1936 and the strip is still going on in 2015. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? He was created by Lee Falk (who also created Mandrake the Magician). Phantom survived his creator’s death (in 1999) and is now produced by new writers and artists. I for one will always associate Phantom with Lee Falk.

Five Phantom facts

  1. When young sailor Christopher Walker’s father is killed by pirates he takes a vow on his father’s skull to rid the world of crime. And that’s how Phantom was born.
  2. He is believed to be immortal. The baton of superheroism passes from father to son so seamlessly that people never get to know when the old phantom is gone and the new one has taken his place. The current phantom is the 21st Phantom.
  3. Falk said his skin-tight costume was inspired by Robin Hoods green tights.
  4. He lives in a Skull Cave in Africa in a fictional country called Bangalla. He has many other houses including a tree house, an Isle of Eden and a castle.

phantom skull cave

phantom ring

5. Oh and this I must tell you – he wears two rings and leaves their mark – a skull (from the ring he wears on his right hand) for the bad people and the four sabres mark (from the ring on his left hand) on the good people who remain in his protection. Another bit of trivia – the Skull ring is supposed to be made from the nail that hung Jesus to the cross.

Five reasons why I love him

  1. The obvious one first – He’s a superhero – brave and indestructible, stranding up for the weak and fighting the bad people. What’s not to like?
  2. He’s romantically tantalizingly mysterious. You never get to see him really properly. He hides behind that hideous purple mask (Why Purple????). All you get are rare glimpses of half a profile or his back. And in your imagination you make him perhaps much more handsome than any man can ever be.
  3. He is real. Well as real as a superhero can get. He has no special powers. No spider senses tell him of brewing trouble. He gets and gives news through the Jungle patrol – tribal drummers. His best assets are his own strength and the undying loyalty of Devil and Hero.
  4. He has a love story too. He falls in love with Diana Palmer who he met during his college days. He later goes on to marry her.
  5. He’s a family man!! Yeah he has a wife Diana Palmer and twins (Yess!!) Kit and Heloise. A superhero dad – how adorable!

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Linking up to ABC Wednesday the fun weekly alphabetical challenge where I’m picking up a character each week to talk about.

abc 17 (1)

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23 thoughts on “The ghost who walks

  1. nabanita

    Oh yes I remember him…I didn’t really like him so much, let’s just say he’s not my favourite superhero but I do like him better than Superman!

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  2. Melody

    I don’t remember it…. ofcourse (i would say, being dutch…. other books came first 😉 )

    But it seems like a wonderful story to get lost in .

    Have a nice abc-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Will it’s a popular comic that appeared in well-known magazines when I was a child.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Oh is it? I wasn’t sure of that since the Internet was giving contradictory information. Thanks Roger.

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  3. Shailaja/ The Moving Quill

    I LOVE Phantom. I love him, I love him, I love him. Now that we’ve established I love him, I agree with everything you’ve said. I especially like the mystery being kept under wraps, about the baton being passed on from the father to the son, generation after generation. It’s one of my favourite childhood comics. PLEASE let’s turn the clock back. I don’t want to be an adult anymore. It’s too messy!

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Lol Shailaja — one more common love added to the list of ‘things to talk about when we meet’.

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  4. akaushiva

    Phantom is my husband’s favourite. But I never read his stories, just knew he is one of the superheros. Some of the facts you shared, mighty impressive and intriguing!

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thanks Indrani. For me Phantom comics had more action than Mandrake hence they were my choice.

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  5. Eli

    I loved Phantom too, thanks for bringing him back —- yes mysterious indeed – and then yet so normal… or at least thats what we thought. This post made me happy when I read it. yay to superheroes:-) Lovely Tulika dear:-)

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Oh you did? I loved all the mystery around him too and would wait for him to reveal whatever little of himself he did. Thanks for visiting Eli.

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