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.

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6 comments:

  1. Regarding the Phantom, I first encountered the strip in a British comic called TV TORNADO back in the late '60s. (I think they were reprints from the Charlton or Gold Key issues.) I remember seeing an ad for Captain Action in DC comics at this time, and coveted the Phantom disguise, even 'though I didn't obtain a CA figure until Playing Mantis (I think) re-released the figure in the late '90s or so. I never even managed to get the re-released Phantom costume for CA. Maybe one day. I must dig out my DC issues of the Phantom and read them again.

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    1. That was always the costume I was most interested in too. The Phantom is in many ways the uber-hero, and it made utter sense for Captain Action to become him.

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  2. You didnt mention the Harvey issues. Of course i only know about them because of yout blog. And i guess you didnt mention them because they dont follow the same numbering

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    1. Exactly. That must be some of the reason why Hermes did have access to those. Maybe when they complete this current run.

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  3. ah....so simple! I should have put 2 and 2 together before about the missing issue! silly me!

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    1. What's strange is that two stories seem to float around. One suggests the foreign publication of the issue is mythical, but then we have the evidence before us. I found one website which has both versions extant. Apparently the overseas publication of twenty-nine was a long-standing Phantom rumor which as relatively recently been confirmed.

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