May 9th, 2010


The Phantom Menace

So, Dynamite Entertainment pulls an end run and gets the rights to make comics based on Lee Falk's The Phantom, leaving Moonstone (a local comic publisher) holding the bag.  Not only do I consider this dirty pool, but given Dynamite's output, I don't have much faith in the series.  I was a huge Phantom fan, reading the comic strip when it ran in the Chicago Tribune.  It was the only adventure strip I read -- wasn't much for Spider-Man, and Brenda Starr made me nuts.  So I consider myself reasonably versed in the Ghost Who Walks.

Lee Falk may not have held the rights, but he was pretty vocal about what he thought of other takes on his character.  When Billy Zane got the role in the Phantom movie, Falk, to put it mildly, expressed disappointment.  He did not anticipate that Zane was determined to do right by the character, and launched on an exercise program to get cut for the role.  When Falk was brought in to tour the sets during shooting, Zane in full Phantom regalia bounced up to him and said, "What do you think?"  Falk changed his mind on the spot.

One of Peter David's early writing gigs was a Phantom miniseries for DC.  I don't remember the details anymore, but in one part of the book, the Phantom draws his guns and uses them to either shoot a weapon out of someone's hand or shoots to wound someone.  Falk wasn't happy (I'm thinking it was shoot to wound, given how much Zane shot weapons out of the bad guys' hands during the third act).  David countered that the Phantom had guns, he might as well use them.  Falk maintained that the Phantom fought like a man with his fists.  It is one of the few instances of the character that Falk didn't like.

Why do I bring this up?  Moonstone's rights to make Phantom comics are up in June.  Dynamite is already gearing up their first Phantom miniseries, called "The Last Phantom."  Here's the cover....

Something tells me Falk would not be thrilled with this....