A Role Model (and A Leader)
Why is The Phantom a Role Model?
The Phantom is, without a doubt, my favourite comic book character. He is neither in the Marvel Universe nor the DC Universe (although both comic houses did publish a handful of Phantom stories along the way). He is human, but has amazing prowess and an incredible ability to deal with criminals. As kids, we all wanted a phantom ring. Even now, I will buy the latest comic book release when I come across one. Linda likes to read them too.
For as long as I can remember, the Phantom has exhibited the following traits and qualities:
- He works hard at improving himself;
- He believes in justice for all and is the secret head of the Jungle Patrol;
- He helps his neighbours whenever they are in trouble (neighbouring districts and kingdoms);
- He protects the weak and downtrodden;
- He looks after his health and cares for his family and friends;
- He is a strong environmentalist and cares deeply for animals and other important elements of nature;
- The Phantom is respected by heads of government the world over.
As a leader he takes charge with s clear purpose and works with others as required. He communicates and keeps those around him informed. He keeps himself up to date and invests in training and development not just for himself, but those who assist him with the very important role that he undertakes every day of his life.
Underneath it all, the Phantom is very human, but not flawed like many superheroes are. Apart from upholding justice, he goes about his life in a very manner of fact way: spends time at home, he studies, keeps an eye on newsworthy items and has a family (eventually). Funnily enough, everyone know he is Mr Kit Walker, but no one has ever seen his face except for his wife. There is an Old Jungle Saying: “He who sees the Phantom’s face, dies a horrible death,” or “In China it is said, man who looks on Phantom’s naked face must surely die.”
The Phantom is also known as The Ghost Who Walks.
So, Who is the Phantom – The Ghost Who Walks?
The Ghost Who Walks is an interesting character. To understand why he is a role model, we need to understand him as a person, his background and family history.
The Phantom is credited as being the first “costumed superhero”, i.e. the first crimefighter to wear the skintight costume attributed to comic book superheroes, and being the first hero to have white eyes behind his mask, a phenomenon very common with superheroes (The Ghost Who Walks Wiki). Although, as I point out in the sidebar below, this may or may not be the case.
The comic strip legend goes that during the sixteenth century, a man named Christopher Walker was sailing on the seas off Africa with his father, when they fell prey to a pirates’ attack. The pirates slaughtered the ship’s crew and blew up the ship. The only survivor was young Christopher. He was washed up onto the Bangallan Beach. He then took his father’s skull and swore an oath upon it, “I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice! And my sons, and their sons, shall follow me!“
Thus originated the first Phantom. He became friends with the various local tribes and dedicated his life to fighting injustice and cruelty. The violet costume was standardized by this Christopher ‘Kit‘ Walker (Comicvine).
The legend in the jungles of Bangall is that he can never die. He lives in the Skull Cave within The Deep Woods. As International Hero points out, the Phantom is both more, and less, than his legend. Instead of a single, undying apparition, the Phantom is a dynasty of crimefighters who have sworn down the years to protect the innocent and punish the guilty, and if necessary, to lay down their lives in the service of justice. Directly descended from Christopher Standish, Columbus’ cabin boy, the current Phantom, Kit Walker, is the 21st of the line. Since the 1930s, when he took over after the death of his father, Kit has fought the good fight. In 1977, after decades of courtship, he married his love Diana Palmer, and they now have two children, Christopher (Kit) and Heloise.
The future looks interesting for the Phantom as Christopher (Kit) an Heloise may be the 22 and 23 phantoms respectively.
The Phantom is forged so strongly by his past, that it becomes his destiny to do what he does. The struggle of such a burden is played out through his children when they become of age including whether they want to become phantoms or not. Ominous events step in and the emotional elastic band pulls the children towards their fate.
Sidebar – A Long Lost Comic Collection and Favourite Anime Superhero
Once upon a time I had my dad’s comic collection and many of those in his collection were Phantom comics. The earliest edition I can remember in the collection was No. 7. On Comics Price Guide, Issue No 7 (Australia) in mint condition is worth $2,500 (Aus). The copy I had was probably worth somewhere between $150 – $450. So, overall, I had quite a valuable collection. The only problem was my mum, I think, threw them all out when I was away at boarding school many years ago and I didn’t realise this for a number of years.
My all time favourite cartoon (anime) superhero is Golden-bat (Phantoma) and was very popular in Australia. Golden Bat (or Ogon Bat) is of Japanese origin. Ōgon Bat made his debut in a kamishibai in 1930/31, a traveling show in which a sequence of pictures is narrated by a storyteller. The character was popular enough to survive the decline of kamishibai following World War II and was eventually translated into manga and anime form (Public Domain Super Heroes). He was the first illustrated superhero, and the first with many of the superpowers we see in our super heroes today. He pre-dates Superman by 8 years and The Phantom by six years. Due to his popularity in Japan, Golden Bat was essentially the Trope Maker for Japanese superheroes (TV Tropes).
The anime of Golden-bat was produced in Japan in 1967. There were also live action films made.
So, I hope your weekend is going well, and for those who observe Valentine’s Day I hope it is everything you wish it to be 🌹