The Phantom:
A Publishing History in England

by Bob Griffin and Bryan Shedden

The Phantom (1992-93)

(Wolf Publishing)










In July 1992, The Phantom was resurrected as a regular series in England by Wolf Publishing of London (editorial offices in Birmingham). Selling for a mere 99p, each 36 page full colour monthly issue reprinted original stories created by the team of writers and artists commissioned by Semic of Sweden. The comics were printed in England and local artists created the excellent covers. The publishers were wise not to rely on the British market, and the series was distributed to comic shops in the USA and Australia.

The first four issues were sold as limited collectors editions, and can be recognised by a number printed at the top-left corner of the third page. Various issues included editorials dealing with the Defenders of the Earth animated TV series, other Phantom comics seen in England, the 1943 Phantom Serial, and Phantom merchandise. Biographical details were also given for each of the writers and artists. Reader letters were published in issues #4, #5 and #6. The Wolf Phantom comics were obviously a hit with many fans judging by the reader response. Issue #8 included a pack of "Battlecards" taped to the front cover, and a two-page promotional spread inside the comic.

Unfortunately, the series was not profitable and was cancelled before the end of its first year. The last issue (#9) was a limited edition for subscribers. Each was individually numbered and signed by the editors and cover artists. Unnumbered and unsigned copies were also sold through comic shops. This last edition was the only one not printed in colour. Would you believe that Wolf's publishing partner Redan pulled the plug on The Phantom in favour of the children's titles Super Ted and Thomas the Tank Engine?

With the launch of their first issue, Wolf Publishing established a Phantom Society with free membership for subscribers to the comic. The membership kit included a badge, card, diploma, and uncut sheet of Phantom trading cards. Unfortunately the club dissolved with the failure of the series.

IssueCover ArtStory TitleWriterArtistOriginal SourceFrew Issue
1Mike HiggsMarineland Drug MenaceMichael TierresRomano FelmangFantomen Nr.1 1991n.p.
2John RidgwayThe Boy from the SeaDonne AvenellCarlos CruzFantomen Nr.3 1991#985
3Brett EwinsRedbeard the TraitorMichael TierresGeorge OlesonFantomen Nr.4 1991#998
4Mark FarmerTights, Camera - ActionSverre ÅrnesCésar SpadariFantomen Nr.5 1991#1416
5Dean OrmstonMonster MayhemNorman WorkerHans LindahlFantomen Nr.11 1992#1027
6Mike CollinsWinter of the WolfSverre ÅrnesCésar SpadariFantomen Nr.15 1992#1032
7Dean OrmstonThe Secret of the Colossus (Part 1)Scott GoodallKari LeppánenFantomen Nr.13 1992#1024
8Dean OrmstonThe Secret of the Colossus (Part 2)Scott GoodallKari LeppánenFantomen Nr.14 1992#1025
9Dean OrmstonThe Stolen Ring
The Girl Phantom
The Saboteurs
Lee Falk
Bill Lignante
Lee Falk
Sy Barry
Bill Lignante
Ray Moore
King Mandrake #4
All of the above Fantomen stories have been reprinted in the Australian Frew Phantom comic (usually with different titles), except for Marineland Drug Menace. The corresponding Frew editions for the other stories are shown above in the last column of the table.

In 2006, The Phantom Society and Ugly Duckling Press published Wolf Phantom Classic Comics Selection. This is a compilation book consisting of unsold copies of the Wolf Phantom comics, glued together with a new outside cover, and some extra editorial pages in a limited release of only 500 books (each issue is individually numbered). Each issue contains only six of the original nine comics. Due to the varying quantity of each number available for selection, contents may be different in some copies. Most seem to contain issues #1, #2, #3, #5, #6 and #9. The book is currently being sold via ebay for £10 (fixed price, no bidding).


Return to The Phantom in England

Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 6 November 2006