Answers to some of the ultimate Phantom brain-benders!
The following information is based exclusively on the Phantom daily & Sunday newspapers strips and Avon novels, created by Lee Falk from 1936 to 1999.
At least 16 men (apart from The Phantom) have proposed to Diana or abducted her to force her into marriage. They were:
- Jimmy Wells (The Singh Brotherhood, D1, 1936)
- Melville Horton (The Singh Brotherhood, D1, 1936)
- Count (Prisoner of the Himalayas, D5, 1938)
- Jerry (Prisoner of the Himalayas, D5, 1938)
- Bob/Robert (Prisoner of the Himalayas, D5, 1938)
- Byron (The Golden Circle, D11, 1939-40)
- Lago (Lago the Lake God, D24, 1945)
- Prince Pepe (The 12 Tasks, S17, 1946-47)
- Matt Matton (Romance and the Vesta Pirates, D30, 1946-47)
- Moogoo (The Haunted Castle, S21, 1948-49)
- Drake (The Copter Pirates, S31, 1952)
- The Baron (The Scorpia, D69, 1957-58)
- Prince Bey (The 50th Wife, D79, 1960-61)
- Dr Kirk (The Epidemic, D83, 1962)
- Mr Raye (The Reef, D88, 1964)
- Prince Hali (Prince Hali and the White Stallion, D92, 1965-66)
The Major Treasure Room
One of the oldest components of the Skull Cave is the major treasure room, which houses priceless relics collected by all of the Phantom line. Many of the items have been the basis of stories, yet only a handful have been clearly identified. They are:
The first (partial) printed listing of treasures in the Major Treasure Room appeared in the 1994 adventure The Phantom Cowboy (D182). The listed treasures were shown as:
- The diamond drinking cup of Alexander the Great
- King Arthur's sword, Excalibur
- The mummified asp that Cleopatra used to commit suicide
- The golden laurel wreath (coronet) Mark Antony gave to Julius Caesar
- Roland's horn
- Charlemagne's crown
- The love potion of Tristan and Isolde
- Cleopatra's wedding ring
- The golden flower
- Roland's sword, Durandal
- The tiny ark (from Noah's ark)
- The original script of Shakespeare's Hamlet
- The great ring of Nebuchadnezzar
- The necklace of Nefertiti
- The lyre of blind poet Homer
- The wig worn by the 3rd Phantom when he played Juliet in the original presentation of Romeo and Juliet
- The pen used by Shakespeare to write Romeo and Juliet
- The crown of the great black emperor Joomkar
- Cleopatra's Asp (Glass vial)
- King Arthur's Sword (Excalibur)
- Roland's Horn
- Caeser's Golden Laurel Wreath
- Alexander's Diamond Cup
- Charlemagne's Crown
The Phantom's Face
Only nine people have seen the unmasked face of the 21st Phantom after he took over the role. They are:
- Diana Palmer (The Singh Brotherhood, D1, 1936)
- The Sand Hermit (The Slave Traders, D9, 1939)
- Suzie (The Governor and Suzie, D19, 1944)
- The Chief of the Toad Men (The Toad Men, D48, 1953)
- Rex King (The Phantom's Vacation, D147, 1981)
- Kit (The Phantom's Vacation, D147, 1981)
- Heloise (The Phantom's Vacation, D147, 1981)
- Nukko (The Forest Giants, S124, 1985-86)
- Gondon (Queen Amaza's Mate, S128, 1987)
The Monkey Mailmen
There have been eight named monkeys who have delivered mail to The Phantom. They are:
- Egbert (The Monkey Mail, D77, 1960)
- Fofo (The Monkey Mail, D77, 1960)
- Bibi (The Monkey Mail, D77, 1960)
- Bebe (The Iron Dragon, D80, 1961)
- Koko (The Epidemic, D83, 1962)
- Bobo (The Epidemic, D83, 1962)
- Mutzi (The Jungle Home, D105, 1969)
- Chee Chee (The Heirs, D140 & S108), 1978/79)
The 21st Phantom has battled five all-female gangs over the years. They are:
- The Sky Band (D2, 1936-37)
- The Golden Circle (D11, 1939-40)
- The (revived) Sky Band (S6, 1941-42)
- The Mermaids of Melo Straits (D26, 1945-46)
- The Lady Luck Pirates (D32, 1948)
The first tomb dates related to previous Phantoms appeared in the 1962 story Treasure of the Skull Cave (S60). The readable dates were: 1550-1598, 1621-1662, 1647-17??, 1709-17??, 1753-1781, and 1880-????.
The second appearance of tomb dates was in the 1964 story The Adventures of Lucy Cary (D89). Readable tomb dates were 1720-180?, 1760-1800, 1802-1870, 1870-1920 and 1870-1915.
There are many other appearances of tomb dates in subsequent stories but these two examples are shown to illustrate their contradictory nature. This aspect has both fascinated and mystified Phantom historians for years. Now that Lee Falk is no longer alive, nobody will know whether the dates contained simple errors or oversights, whether an artist or letterer misread Lee's original script or whether Lee had deliberately commenced what was meant to be a riddle.
The Phantom has many names
The Phantom comic strip is a global success and since he is published in many languages, he is known with many different titles:
- Fantomen (Sweden)
- Fantomet (Norway & Denmark)
- Mustanaamio (Finland, translates to Black Mask)
- L'Uomo Mascherato (Italy, translates to The Masked Man)
- El Hombre Enmascarado (Spain, translates to The Masked Man)
- Fantasma (Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela)
- Le Fantôme (France, Canada)
- Fantoom (Netherlands)
- Fantom (Yugoslavia)
- Kizilmaske (Turkey, translates to Black Mask)
- Phantomas (Israel)
- Bethala (India, Kannada language, translates to Ghost)
- Betal (India, translates to Phantom or Ghost)
- Aranyadeb (India, Bengali language, translates to The God of the Jungle)
- Bera-Na-Liva (Fiji)
Kip and Kit
For years, keen researchers have puzzled over the use of the given names "Kip" and "Kit" for a young, future Phantom.
There has been no reversion to "Kip" since the first use of "Kit" and it has to be accepted that Lee Falk simply decided he preferred "Kit". Another school of thought is that in the earlier Sunday stories, it was a young Diana who called the future Phantom "Kip" and that she may have had a little girl lisping problem!
- KIP: used in the 1944-45 version of The Childhood of the Phantom (S11) and The Female Phantom (S32, 1952)
- KIT: first used in the 1959-60 version of The Childhood of the Phantom (S53) and next in The Reef (D88, 1964)
Despite the earlier use of "Kip", all modern histories of The Phantom record the names of the two children of the Phantom and Diana as Kit and Heloise.
Rex, for the benefit of Those Who Just Came In, is always referred to as the "adopted" son, despite the fact that no formal record of adoption exists and it is now known that Rex's family background is traced to the Kingdom of Baronkhan.
The Jungle Patrol
- The first appearance of The Jungle Patrol was in the 1951-52 stories The Professor (D44) and The Jungle Patrol (D45). In the latter story, we were introduced to the commanding officer Colonel James, whose appearance was remarkably similar to Colonel Weeks who soon replaced him. The Jungle Patrol uniform was at first quite different to the familiar pith helmet with shorts and long socks; rather it started out as a military cap worn with long sleeve pants and shirt.
- In The Slave Market of Mucar (D82) from 1961-62, The Phantom reveals the highly secret password of the Jungle Patrol. When asked to identify himself by Colonel Weeks. The Phantom passes over a sheet of paper carrying the password ... "Justice and Peace".
- Colonel Weeks spoke to and heard the voice of the Unknown Commander in The Slave Market of Mucar (D82) in 1961-62.
- In the 1969 story Rex, The Missing Heir (D106), Colonel Weeks was mysteriously replaced by a black commanding officer called Colonel Worubu. Readers of the strips were left to ponder the disappearance of Colonel Weeks, until the 1978 story The Three Bandits (D137 &S105) in which Colonel Weeks explained that he had retired from his old job.
- Colonel Worubu had an historical face-to-face meeting with the Unknown Commander of the Jungle Patrol in the 1991 story The Jungle Patrol v The Drug Cartel (D173).
Location Location Location
- Way back in the 1936 story, The Singh Brotherhood, the Phantom's home was on the island of Luntok somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago (then known as the Dutch East Indies). At first mention Luntok was off the coast of Sumatra (12 June 1936), but a few days later it was off the coast of Java (15 June 1936). Perhaps it was a floating island!? Of course Luntok is a mythical place, but there is actually a village called Muntok -- it is on the island of Bangka off the coast of Sumatra. And while we're on the subject, Krakatan, the underwater hideout of the Singh Brotherhood was probably derived from the volcano Krakatoa which famously blew itself apart in 1883. Krakatoa is located between Sumatra and Java.
- Over the next few years of The Phantom strip, creator Lee Falk seemed almost anxious to have the Ghost Who Walks based somewhere in India. In his second story (the 1936-37 classic The Sky Band), the names of three flying boats were India Clipper, Bombay Clipper and Calcutta Clipper.
- In Lee Falk's third story The Diamond Hunters from 1937, the nearest town to the Skull Cave was given as Frasertown. In later years, the name of the town changed to Morristown, Mowiton and, most commonly, Mawitaan.
- The Phantom has made at least three trips to London over the years. His first visit was in the 1937 story Little Tommy (D4), followed by the 1969 story Rex, the Missing Heir (D106), and the 1974 story The Curse of the Sacred Image (D124).
- The first time The Phantom's postal address was published was in the 1945 story The Blue Gang (D23). It was given as Post Office Box 14, Morristown.
- The last residential address in North America given for Diana was 7 Sasqua Road E. Norwich, USA (D32). Do not bother dropping in for a visit, such an address does not exist!
- The Isle of Eden was shown for the first time in The Honeymooners (S55) in 1960. Bandar pygmies guarded the island and a small house was present for the use of The Phantom and his guests.
- Lee Falk probably accidentally answered the continental whereabouts of Morristown and Bengali in the 1964 daily story The Reef (D88). In that story, Diana writes to The Phantom and addresses her note: "Mr. Kit Walker, Box 7, Morristown, Bengali, Africa".
- The first mention of the Whispering Grove was in the 1966 story The Sea God (D95).
- Lee Falk changed Bengali to Bangalla halfway through the daily story The Witchman from 1972 (D116). Bangalla has often been spelt Bengalla, sometimes both spellings appearing within the same story! Morristown was changed to Mowiton in 1971 (D113) and then became Mawitaan in 1972 (D119).
- Maps showing the location of Bengali/Bangalla in Africa have often been very vague and contradictory. Locations near Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon have all been indicated on maps. Incredibly, it is not even certain if Bengali/Bangalla is on the east or west coast of Africa!
- The last map of Phantom Country to appear in Lee Falk's lifetime was seen in the 1998-99 Sunday story The Floradon Mystery (S149).
Animals & Pets
- The colour of Devil's eyes was described as "shining green" in The Game of Alvar (D13).
- Hero, The 21st Phantom's great horse, made his first appearance in the 1944-45 story The Maharajah's Daughter (D22). At the time, Hero was said to be the costliest, smartest and fastest horse in the world, and the grateful Maharajah of Nimpore gave him to The Phantom. Prior to this time, The Phantom had travelled the length of the Bengali jungles on foot!
- Hero once had a skull mark emblem on his bridle. The first appearance of the emblem was in The Devil Road in 1947-48 (D31). Artist Wilson McCoy continued with the emblem up to and including Grove of the Sleeping Giant in 1956 (D62). Artist Sy Barry, who took over the daily strips in 1961-62 briefly drew an outline of the emblem.
- Diana has owned at least four different horses. The names of the horses that have been identified are Lady (D78), Tancred (D92), Venus (D111), and Heroine (D165). There are other stories in which Diana is shown riding a horse that was not necessarily her own. For example, in The Wild Girl (D25), she hires a dark coloured horse named Blackie from a store in Morristown. Unnamed dark horses are also ridden by Diana in The Marshall Sisters (S19), The Wrestling Tourney (D54), The Female Phantom (S32), and Diana and the Bank Robbers (S33).
- The Phantom's falcon, Dart, made his/her first appearance in Bullets Town (D93) in 1966. Dart also appeared in the next story The Killer (D94) and Rex King (S68). However, is later appearances of the Phantom's falcon, his name was changed to Fraka (Yes, D111).
- There were several fascinating firsts in the 1966 story Rex King (S68). Katon, which in the Llongo language means "great cat", made his debut. The lion shortly afterwards changed name (and sex!) to Kateena (Llongo for "girl cat")! Joomba the elephant made his debut and for the first time we discover there was a school in the Deep Woods, where the teacher was a then unnamed Miss Tagama.
Friends & Family
- Mystery surrounds the relationship of Diana's mother and uncle, since they share the same surname of Palmer. According to The Singh Brotherhood (D1), Mrs Palmer is a widow who presumably took the surname of her husband when they married, as Diana also has the same surname. Yet Dave Palmer has always been described as Lily Palmer's brother, which suggests that Mrs Palmer's maiden name could also have been Palmer. Alternatively, Dave might actually be Mrs Palmer's brother-in-law.
- The first name of Mrs Palmer is now accepted to be Lily, but that was not always the case. In various early stories she was known as "Mrs E.V.Palmer" (D5), "Lily" (D12), "Evie" (D18), "Laura" (D29), and "Elsie" (S43).
- The character "Trader Joe" has appeared in the adventures of The Phantom for a remarkable 56 years, spanning 1942-1998, but it has not always been the same person! He made a surprise comeback in the 1978 story The Three Bandits (D137 & S105), having been last seen in the 1962-63 story The Mysterious Ambassador (D85). Just as surprising (and mysterious) is the fact that he is now married, but his wife is unnamed.
- The family and relatives or President Lamanda Luaga have played many vital roles in Phantom stories. Lon is Lamanda's son and he marries Lila, the daughter of General Bababu, arch enemy of both Lamanda and The Phantom! Loka is an elder brother of Lamanda, Lomo is Lamanda's cousin. Ala Onord is a nephew of Lamanda who once tried to exile Luaga and become dictator of Bangalla. Father Morra is Lamanda's brother.
- Being a single parent seems to be a common theme in The Phantom strips. Guran has sons named Timo and Tomm, Colonel Weeks has a daughter named Caroline, and President Luaga has a son named Lon -- and in all cases there is no mention of a mother or wife. Strangely, by 1979-80 in The Return of General Bababu (D142), Luaga is said to have no family!
- We learn interesting things about Diana's wedding ring in the daily version of The Wedding of the Phantom (D136). The ring, once worn by the bride of the Roman Emperor Augustus, is solid diamond and carved from a single jewel: " fit for an Empress ... fit for Diana".
- Doctor Axel miraculously changed his skin-colour for a brief period of time between 1971 and 1978 when he was drawn with black African features (D83, D85, D104). Before and after this period, Axel was always shown as an elderly gentleman of obviously white Anglo-Saxon descent.
- The twins Kit and Heloise spoke their first words in the 1980 story The Tree House (D143). The immortal words were ... "Mama, Dad".
- Lee Falk might well have had it in mind for Rex to commence a romance with 10 year old Princess Bonabel in the 1975 story Little Girl (S95), before Princess Alicia came on the scene in the 1989 story Rex: Prince of Baronkhan (D166).
- Miss Tagama caught Diana's bouquet in The Wedding of the Phantom (D136) but had to wait almost 20 years before she married President Luaga in Battle of the Jungle Boys (S143).
- Uncle Dave figured in possibly the most remarkable return from obscurity. Retired for many years from his old job as Police Commissioner, he returned in the 1989-90 story The Death Threat, as Police Commissioner of New York, and then went on to become Mayor in 1996 (D186). His final post in 1999 was to be a Member of the President's Cabinet, heading the fight against terrorism (D195).
- The first time anybody was punched by The Phantom and received a permanent skull mark on the jaw was in the original story The Singh Brotherhood (D1). On March 5, 1936, a Thuggee was on the receiving end . Like so many happenings in so many early Phantom stories, it was ultra-strange -- The Phantom was wearing gauntlets when he punched the pirate!
- Apart from the earlier variations of "pygmy" and "pigmy", the first recorded spelling error in an adventure of The Phantom appeared in Fishers of Pearls (D8). The tribe known as the Swari accidentally became the Swali.
- In the 1979-80 story The Vault of Missing Men (S111), the skull ring is shown on the Phantom's left hand.
- The Phantom's famous Post Office Box (usually No.7) appeared in the 1996 story The Lookout (S145) as both No.5 and No.7.
- The Phantom once had a strange means of letting the Bandar tribesmen know he needed their help. In The Sky Band (D2) and The League of Lost Men (S1), he sent them his skull ring! That was the sign for them to come to his aid - and presumably - return the ring!
- The Phantom is the only man outside the Bandar tribe who knows the antidote for the Bandar poison. After being arrowed in the back by Guran's wayward son Timo, The Phantom orders the remedy of "the juice of three white bell flowers" (D15). Perhaps this comes as no surprise since it was the 1st Phantom who showed the Bandar how to use their now famous poison, in the 1975 story The First Phantom (S96).
- The Phantom was referred to as "Mr Walker" for the first time on January 21, 1943 in the story Bent Beak Broder (D17). Obviously pleased with the idea, Lee Falk inserted three separate captions to reinforce the new moniker.
- The 21st Phantom's height and weight has remained something of a mystery, but he was actually weighed on three separate occasions: 198 pounds in 1948-49 (D33), and 200 pounds in 1956 (D64) and 1965 (D92) -- ie. 90-91kg. In 1980, Devil the giant mountain wolf weighed in at an impressive 175 pounds (D145) or 79kg.
- The 1960s may have been the era of drug experiments, but The Phantom's first encounter with drugs came in the 1954 story The Wrestling Tourney (D54). A wily schemer by the name of Conky tricked The Phantom into drinking a toast that had been spiked with the powder of "sleepy root", a well known native drug that put the victim into a deep sleep.
- The Phantom first experienced the effects of a hypnotic state in the 1963-64 story The Drummer of Timpenni (D87). In that story, the Phantom was temporarily defeated by the mysterious power of the drummer of Timpenni, who also briefly became the King of the Wambesi.
- Lee Falk never quite finished the famous 1965 daily story The Hanta Witch. Newspaper readers never learned what happened after The Phantom and the witch jumped into a moat -- that last page of the story had mysteriously been torn from the Chronicle. It was not until Lee Falk's Avon novel The Vampires and the Witch (June 1974), that the final chapter was told -- the 8th Phantom had fallen in love with and married Heloise the Hanta Witch. Fans of the newspaper strips had to wait until 1979 and the stories The Name (S110) and Return of General Bababu (D142) for the answer told in comic strip form.
- In the 1972 story The Massacre (S87), the spirit of a long dead ancestor "spoke" to the current Phantom. His words ... Follow, I will hide you in the Mesa.
- Lee Falk only revealed how nine of the 20 previous Phantoms met their end. The fate of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th will forever remain a mystery. Meanwhile, some Phantoms have apparently died more than once! For example, the 8th Phantom is said to have died from the bite of a viper (D161) and also from an arrow in the back by a Mongol guard (S137).
- The ultimate mystery linked to the legend of The Phantom will always remain, what happened to the wives of 19 of the previous 20 Phantoms? Lee Falk only ever revealed the fate of one wife, Maude, the wife of the 20th Phantom, who died peacefully but of unknown causes in the Skull Cave (S11).
- In the 1937 story The Diamond Hunters (D3), Lee Falk and artist Ray Moore highlighted The Great Skull, a dramatic Phantom set piece, that "magically" appeared from the jungle floor. Strangely, The Great Skull only ever made one other appearance, and that was 19 years later in The Wisdom of Solomon (D60).
- The first introduction to The Phantom, For Those Who Came In Late, appeared in the 1938 story Adventure in Algiers (D6).
- The old character Lieutenant Byron invented what today would be regarded as an Old Jungle Saying. In the 1939 story The Slave Traders, he says "Nobody tells The Phantom not to do anything - it's like trying to stop an avalanche."
- A few secrets explaining the extraordinary fitness of The Phantom were revealed in the 1944 story The Crooner. Whenever possible, his "warm-up" exercise routine consisted of a five-mile swim, a chin-up session 200 feet above a river, then a 10-mile run!
- The first time that The Phantom ever gave anybody his mark to show that they were under his protection, it was actually the skull mark! Although normally used to identify criminals, The Phantom stamps his skull mark on the Connie's wrist in The Devil Road from 1947-48 (D31). She is even told that it will wash off eventually -- so much for an indelible mark! The first time that the Good Mark sign or emblem was handed out was in the 1958 story The Carlyle's Good Mark (D70).
- There was an odd crossover in the 1962 story The Epidemic (D83). Featured is a wooden idol called Moogoo the Ox-God. Way back in 1948, a real-life villain called Moogoo starred in the adventure The Haunted Castle (S21).
- Lee Falk changed his own Phantom history in the 1969 story Walker's Table (S75). Kit Walker, the father of the first Phantom, is described as having been the cabin boy of Christopher Columbus. Way back in 1936, the first Phantom was said to be Sir Christopher Standish (D1).
- When the twins were born in 1977, much was made of The Phantom dancing with the natives in celebration. The first mention of The Phantom ever dancing can be traced back to the 1938 story The Shark's Nest when The Phantom says to the character Trudi "The only ones [dances] I know are the Ghost and Skull dances ... not the thing for your ballroom."
- The most incredible shot ever fired by The Phantom was not from one of his handguns - but from a rifle! In The Tarashima Terrorists (D160), The Phantom shot down a jet fighter from a helicopter.
Real Life References
- In the 1938 story Adventure in Algiers (D6), Diana and her mother visit Paris where they stay at the George III Hotel, an actual location.
- The first member of Lee Falk's family to be featured in an adventure of The Phantom was his daughter Valerie, who was depicted as being five years old in the 1946 story Princess Valerie (D27). Valerie also starred in the 1946 sequel The Scarlet Sorceress (S16), and was correctly described as being "six years of age".
- The Sunday story The Astronaut and the Pirates (S61) from 1962-63 marked the fourth and last appearance of a character named "Conley". Conley, which is the name of Lee Falk's only son, first appeared as a young boy in the 1953-54 daily story The Imaginary Playmate (S36).
- The 1963 daily story The Mystery of the Island of Dogs (D86) was loosely based around the real life drama of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, when Russian missiles were discovered based in Cuba.
- Lee Falk had a curious fascination with the name "Cary". He introduced a character called Cary Gary in 1950 (D38), then followed with a ship named SS Cary in 1951 (S28), the character Ambassador Cary in 1962 (D85), Bart, Janie & Lucy Cary in 1964 (D89), Tom, Jim & Janet Cary in 1971 (S85), and Ambassador Cari again in 1976 (D132) and 1977 (D133).
- The year 1977 not only marked the marriage of The Phantom and Diana Palmer. Lee Falk also married his third wife, Elizabeth Moxley. Speaking of whom, Falk used his wife's maiden name for the 1993 story Moxley Awards (D178).
Most of the above information was originally compiled by Barry Stubbersfield and Jim Shepherd, and has been extracted from the following editions of the Frew Phantom comic: #1187, #1254, #1270, #1280, #1286, #1312, #1317, #1323, #1329, #1335. Some extra details have been added by Guran. If you know of any other appearances of Did You Know? not listed, please email Guran.