Sunday, January 20, 2013

Number 1301: In India-Africa with the Phantom

I never thought much about where the Phantom is headquartered. Some jungle, somewhere, in a cave. One jungle and one cave is much like another, I thought. But then I read that originally the jungle-based Phantom stories were set in India (even using the derivative name, “Bengali,”) but were at some point re-set in Africa. In the Evansville Courier and Press of January 19, 2012, writer Andrew A. Smith, discussing his lifelong love of the Phantom comics wrote, “Sometimes The Phantom's jungle adventures seemed to be in India, sometimes Africa. (For the record, the strip was set in India in the 1930s, but The Phantom's home turf gradually shifted to Africa by the 1960s, and has been there ever since.)”

Okay, sounds good enough for me, and the only reason I point it out is in this story the Phantom’s girlfriend Diana is arrested for stealing a necklace from a maharajah, who is strictly Indian. The story itself...well, it’s fairly typical Phantom business, i.e., getting Diana out of trouble. What would that woman, born of privilege,* do without the Phantom? She'd probably be home in America married to a banker, spending afternoons having cocktails with her friends at the country club, that's what. Which would mean the Phantom wouldn't have much to do except hang around the Skull Cave, sitting on his stone throne.

From Harvey Comic Hits #56 (1952):

*According to a Wikipedia entry on Diana Palmer: “Diana was born into a wealthy family, to mother Lily Palmer and father Henry Zapman.” Zapman! I like that name.


Kirk said...

The artwork looks 1930sish to me. Since it's called Harvey's Comic Hits, can I assume it's a reprint?

Pappy said...

Kirk, it is a reprint. I don't know when it was originally published in newspapers. I don't remember any new Phantom stories, only reprints, until Gold Key began publishing Phantom comics in the early '60s.

Darci said...

Pappy, Kirk, lists:
#56 Dec 1952
S18 The Dragon God
S15 King of Beasts

Their code for this story (S15) means it was a reprint of a Sunday strip. You can then go to and see that it was by Ray Moore and originally appeared from 24 March 1946 to 4 Aug 1946. There's a tremendous amount of research there!
Hope this helps!

Pappy said...

Darci, thanks for the information. I've written down the website, so I won't have any excuse next time.

Darci said...

Oh that's OK, I don't m ind looking it up. I'm just glad you provide these scans. If you find S18 as well, I can index this issue at the GCD (hint, hint).

Pappy said...

Darci, I assume S18 is the second story in the book, "The Dragon God of Death"? I can handle that, but I'm scheduled until the end of March, so please be patient. I...move......slow........