Friday, March 8, 2013
The Ghost Tribe!
Above is a glimpse of a lost jewel in the history of Lee Falk's The Phantom. This cover art derived from the work of the great Sy Barry and sadly never saw publication in the United States.
The Phantom comic book series begun under the Gold Key banner and which switched over to the King Comics label kept its numbering intact. There were seventeen Gold Key issues and King began with eighteen. When the title shifted again to the Charlton banner though there was a glitch.
The last King Comics number was twenty-eight, but the first Charlton number was thirty.
What happened to twenty-nine?
Since Charlton Comics is involved, it doesn't necessarily send off alarm bells when the numbering of a comic book series hits a snag. Charlton was notorious for such malarkey. But what happened?
As it turns out, a twenty-ninth issue was prepared but never published under the King banner, at least not in the United States. The cover art (seen at the top) was eventually published in Mexico.
The story for that missing issue titled "The Ghost Tribe" did eventually see U.S. publication though, in Charlton's thirty-fifth issue beneath a striking Jim Aparo cover. The story was written by Bill Harris and featured art by Bill Lignante, the artist who had been responsible for nearly all the Phantom stories before the move to Charlton.
Here is the Frew version of the comic, with a different cover.
And here is yet another cover for the story for the Indrajal Comics line. To read this version of the "The Ghost Tribe" check out this link.
It seems fitting almost that The Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks, would have a "phantom" issue of his own comic series. Weird, but fitting.