The Phantom was created by Lee Falk in 1936 and became an exceedingly successful comic strip. It rumbled along for decades, gaining worldwide popularity, though for some reason rarely getting a steady bid in the comic book format. Then Gold Key got the nod and gave the Ghost Who Walks his own self-titled ongoing comic and it must have done okay, because later King Features had its own comic book version and when that enterprise sputtered the property came into the domain of the Charlton folks who continued the numbering which had been running through both the Gold Key and King runs. They assigned Jim Aparo to draw the book and it immediately gained a modern dynamic which many of the classic versions lacked. Aparo was eventually replaced by Charlton stalwart Pat Boyette who offered up a rather idiosyncratic version of the hero. I liked it, but then he was phased out and a more reliable classic look appeared. That held sway for a short time and then it happened.
Don Newton was a name known to many comic fans, an early attendee of the up and coming conventions, Newton was a major contributor to the fanzines of the day and he clearly had professional level skills. He'd been working at Charlton on some ghost stories here and there and then he was tapped to draw The Phantom. I remember picking up the comic, issue sixty-seven which featured a dramatic poster shot of the iconic hero with his sidekick Devil, and the story was brimming with atmosphere and rich with dark details. This was a different Phantom and I knew I liked it. I was not alone and the issues, though few they are, of the Newton run have been considered the gold standard for the strip since by many fans including yours truly.
Now Hermes has collected just those Don Newton issues together under one cover. It lovely stuff, showcasing the rough-hewn nature of Newton's take on the world, a world often with a film noir feel. The Phantom here is mysterious and agile and feels somehow more dangerous than any who has walked before. Here are the issues in this not-cheap hardback tome.
|(Don Newton cover only on this issue.)|