4 items from 2016
Geek Culture is both spontaneously youthful and historically well heeled. New brands emerge frequently, like Boom! Studios Lumberjanes and The Backstagers, just written up in the New York Times. But brands like Batman and Captain America are more than 75 years old and provide a rich history for storytellers and collectors alike.
In this, my second of three articles exploring Geek Culture’s fascination with The Phantom, an 80 year old brand, I’m taking our conversation to Ireland.
Eoin McAuley is an ambitious professional who helped launch the Dublin Comic Con. And this year, there’s a charity overlay at this convention spotlighting The Phantom. Here’s my recent interview with Eoin.
Ed Catto: I’m anxious to hear about the Dublin Comic Con, Eoin. Can you please tell me about your convention?
Eoin McAuley: Dublin Comic Convention was first launched in 2013 by two friends, Karl Walsh and Derek Cosgrave, who »
- Ed Catto
A business magazine recently featured a story about the astoundingly short average life span of today’s companies, brands and product leaders. They noted that the average life expectancy of a modern company is something like 15 years. I think about a brand like PalmPilot, where one of my college buddies made a fortune, and how that name is practically a trivia question for this year’s Mba graduates. (“Is it a helicopter operator in Palm Beach?”) Likewise, cool companies they want to work for include Google and Lululemon – brands that didn’t exist 15 years ago.
So with all that in mind, let’s explore the opposite: the challenges of working with an 80-year-old brand in such a fickle climate.
- Ed Catto
People have been arguing the “who was comics’ first costumed hero” question for decades. Some feel it was Mandrake the Magician, by Lee Falk and Phil Davis (1934), others cite the truly obscure Red Knight created by John Welch and Jack McGuire, and still others prefer to credit E.C. Segar’s Popeye (1929). But I think it’s safe to say that most comics fans and scholars bestow that honor upon The Phantom, created by Lee Falk and Ray Moore 80 years ago this past week.
Neither Mandrake nor Popeye are “costumed heroes.” They perform their feats of daring in their regular work clothes. Whereas the Red Knight got his start in 1934 as a guy named Bullet Benton, he did not don the Red Knight costume and, therefore, the costumed hero persona until April of 1940. I suspect somebody at the Register and Tribune Syndicate took a gander at the McClure Syndicate’s success with Superman. »
- Mike Gold
Take a look @ the 1943 comic book movie serial "The Phantom", revealing the superhero 'Ghost Who Walks', pre-dating both 'Batman' and 'Superman':
Created as a newspaper filler by illustrator Lee Falk in 1936, "The Phantom" origin follows 'Christopher Standish', a cabin boy for explorer Christopher Columbus, who marries and becomes the captain of his own commercial vessel.
But when his ship comes under attack by pirates, Christopher's only son 'Kit', the sole survivor, washes up on a 'distant African shore', befriended by the 'Bandar' tribe of pygmies.
Swearing revenge against 'piracy and injustice', Kit fashions a costume and becomes a feared figure, sporting a skull ring that leaves an impression on his enemies, riding a ghost-white stallion accompanied by a red-eyed wolf.
As each 'Phantom' dies of old age, another son or daughter takes up the mask and the fight against injustice.
"The Phantom" that appears in the current comic strip is Kit's 21st descendant. »
- Michael Stevens
4 items from 2016
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