The Phantom: the pioneering comic turns 85 | Digital Trends Spanish


On February 17, 1936, the first copy of The Phantom, considered one of the first superhero comics in history.

The mission of creating this story fell to Lee Falk and Ray Moore, who were commissioned by King Features newspaper to create a new strip after the success of Madrake the magician.

Originally, Falk wanted to write a story about King Arthur and his knights, which did not end up convincing the people of the newspaper.

As a result of this rejection, Lee Falk created the comic under the name of The Phantom, which followed the adventures of a mysterious costumed character while fighting crime.

The author took two weeks to bring some sample strips to life and was inspired by other famous characters such as Tarzan, Robin Hood or mythological heroes.

An unexpected success

At first, the comic strip was published on a daily basis, and from 1939, it also began to appear in the Sunday edition of the same newspaper (in color).

Over time, Ghost (name in Spanish) has been adapted to the cinema. Probably one of the best known versions was the one starring Billy Zane in 1996.

The same hero has also given life to an animated television series, called The Ghost 2040, in addition to participating in the eighties series The Defenders of the Earth.

The superhero story itself has also inspired documentaries, musicals, and a number of books.

Its influence is so noticeable that it is still being published in some countries today.

Many consider this mask character as one of the first superheroes, in addition, the cartoon of The Phantom it has been highlighted as an aesthetic precursor to the comic.

Although many followers of the genre establish Superman as the “first superhero”, they are making a mistake, since the “man of steel” was published only in 1938, that is, two years after The Phantom.

For this reason, this 85th anniversary can be a good occasion to give the historic publication the importance it deserves, especially as the initiator of a successful path that has been full of other heroes whose sole purpose is to defend the Earth.

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