Monday, January 11, 2010

My First Phantom [1]

 I am pleased to present a series of short stories describing the first time we read The Phantom.
This first installment has been written by Pidde Andersson. If you want to share the memories of your "First Phantom" with the readers of this blog, please contact me.

Here is a cover illustrated by Jaime Vallvé for Fantomen n.18, 1976. This was the VERY FIRST ISSUE of Fantomen I bought!  I had an old Christmas Album, but no issues of the regular comic book.  I was eight years old and remember seeing it in the comics rack at EPE Livs, a grocery store where I leafed through comics while my mother was shopping. That issue looked sooo cool.  Look at that flaming background with the "V" and the spikes in the pit!  And The Phantom's facial expression! It screamed "BUY ME!" and I managed to have my reluctant mom buying it for me.  I may be wrong, but I think the cover was voted Best Fantomen Cover of '76 and that I had the poster on my wall. The contents impressed me as well. "Vultures over Vacul" was Norman Worker's first Phantom story, and he wrote as J. Bull. Vallvé's art was moody, atmospheric, a bit spooky - and I had been in Transylvania the year before, so I was into stories like this.
I re-read this issue last summer. I bought a "new" (used) copy of it. The first one fell apart, the cover fell off, and I had cut the coupon for The Phantom Club out. (Yes, I became a member right away!)  I bought a second copy in the 90s, which somehow disappeared.
I understand why this episode made me hooked on The Phantom. The story is rather simple and banal, but as I wrote above, it's all about atmosphere, and back in the 70s Vallvé was amazing at historical adventures. And I found The Phantom a fascinating character.
The issue also contained Bernard Prince, which I thought was cool, and a really silly episode of Mandrake. Plus The Phantom's Fishing School!!!

Pidde Andersson is a freelance movie journalist/ critic/ columnist since 1993, but also a screenwriter, and to make matters worse, he writes scripts for comic books. As a matter of fact, he's a member of the Swedish Academy of Comic Art. You can read Pidde's Blog, TOPPRAFFEL! by clicking here.


  1. "Sometimes the Phantom fan walks the streets like an ordinary movie journalist"
    - Old jungle saying

    ...In the 1930s, Lee Falk moved Bengali from India to Africa. It seems like the country kept on travelling. Three years ago, it was in Cannes, France. (Wasn't that Old Moz mixing cocktails in the bar at the Carlton?)

  2. Mine was Frew 1120, The Set Up. Brought it on the way to a family trip to Indonesia and I read it about 20 times on the flight and on the trip. As soon as we got back, I spent weeks of advance pocket money to get as many past issues as possible.

    To this day its still one of my favourite stories.

  3. Jermayn,
    If you elaborate a little more on your story and email it to me, I'd be more than happy to post it.

  4. Please allow me to correct myself: That cover was NOT voted Best of 76, so it DIDN'T have the poster on my wall. That desert adventure, "Son of the desert" or something like that, won. I hadn't read that story, but put the poster on my wall anyway - it was pretty cool with The Phantom and a scantily clad babe...!