Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Ghost Who Walks...Is Gonna Keep Right on Walkin'

I'd "reported" that THE PHANTOM series by Moonstone Comics was ending. Dynamite Comics was set, I guess, to take over the franchise, but after some haggling, Dynamite gave it up and Joe Gentile's Moonstone company kept the rights.

It's timely in that David Michelinie, whose Unknown Soldier I'm delving into, is editing this book, thirty-four years after the Faceless Avenger's stories.

Thirty-four years, folks...and I'm 38 in a few weeks!

I'm intrigued by the inclusion of Michelinie, but I'd noted the PHANTOM has been a decent comic but nothing earth-shattering. I like it fine but don't seek it out.

The hope here is that Michelinie brings his writing saavy and Joe Orlando time-tested editorship to the role, introducing some elements into the series that will make it as "evergreen" as former works of his own.

I've had a problem with the Phantom not having many real challenges in these books. It's one thing to use him as a revenger for sins committed against the innocent and all, but I think there needs to be other elements as well. Where Doc Savage and the Shadow have fallen off the pace in recent years (not the least to blame the copyright holders Street and Smith, as I haven't seen a project headlined by those Pulp Heroes in years now,) the Phantom will hopefully advance. I'm hoping the indication that this relaunch happens "years" after the former series will provide the Phantom with dangers and adventures befitting his status as one of the cornerstones of Pulp comics.

Personally, I think the Phantom needs to be more the Ghost Who Walks, who strikes utter terror into men in his territories, which it sounds like will happen.

Also, he needs a counter, a mirror-image adversary. A Moriarty, someone who can oppose the Phantom anywhere under any circumstance.

I'm definitely picking up this Michelinie-influenced edition. Not to slight the current writer and artist, but I'd like to see a PHANTOM comic actually become a hit in the States.

No comments: