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Home / Opinion / This 'n' That / FUNNY THING ABOUT READING THE FUNNIES

FUNNY THING ABOUT READING THE FUNNIES

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If you’ve ever Googled anything or asked Siri for information on some topic, you are probably well aware that this action can lead you down some very interesting pathways. By that I mean that one thing inevitably leads to another and another and another. I think of this as the curse and blessing of technology. For example, recently while reading the comics page in the newspaper, I started noticing certain comic strips that have been around for a long time. A few of these include Blondie, Rex Morgan, MD and The Phantom. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself going to Wikipedia to get the story behind one of my favorite childhood comic strips, The Phantom. Today I’m sharing some of what I learned. I hope it brings back happy memories of a time when heroes were always fighting crime and preserving the
American way of life. The Phantom first appeared in print in February 1936. It was the creation of Lee Falk. The main character, The Phantom, was a costumed crimefighter in the fictional African country of Bangalla. The phantom character was the 21st in a line of crimefighters going back to 1536, when the father of a British sailor was killed in a pirate attack. The son, Christopher Walker, swore on the skull of his father’s murderer to fight evil, and thus began the legend of The Phantom. One thing you may remember from this comic strip
series was the nickname of the phantom: The Ghost Who Walks. When the strip began in 1936, the current phantom was married to Diana Palmer, and they had two children, Kit and Heloise. Rounding out the family was a trained wolf named Devil and a horse named Hero. They lived in the ancestral home, Skull Cave. Actually I’m not sure if the horse lived in the cave or not. I doubt if that was ever revealed in the
comic strip. What was particularly interesting about the character of The Phantom was that he had no superpowers. He used his strength, intelligence and reputation as a fierce immortal warrior. Another interesting bit of comic book lore is that The Phantom was the first
to wear the skintight costume of a comic book superhero. Also his first mask had no visible pupils in the eyes to make it more frightening.
The comic strip The Phantom is still published today internationally. That’s 82 years and going strong, an amazing accomplishment for its creator. I hope this column brought back happy memories from your childhood. It’s certainly did for me. If you’re interested in learning
more about this or any other old comic strips, just Google “old comic strips” to get started. Then enjoy reliving your childhood via
technology.

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