The Phantom:
A Publishing History in Australia

by Bryan Shedden

Frew Phantom Publishing Chronology

Presented in the following pages is a complete chronology of all Phantom comic books produced by Frew Publications, current to the present date. This chronology began development in 1991 from information published in Frew issues #972 and #978, in combination with a set of Reference Lists compiled by Barry Stubbersfield and assembled by Carl Braga. Corrections were made after the publication of additional reference material in Frew issues #1000 and #1209 (Frew Index), and Comics Revue #100. Information for stories from Semic/Egmont was sourced from Fantomet Serieindeks (1990) and Splasch Magazine (1997), in addition to my own collection. I'd like to acknowledge several people who helped with this part of the research: Peter Scott, and Brian Jensen.

There are several important items that should be noted before delving into the lists:

  1. In quite a few cases, the listed story title will differ from the given published title. This is because the story titles shown are those used in the original newspaper strips, where known. As each story has been republished by Frew in complete, unedited form, corrections in story titles have become apparent. In such cases, previously used story titles are given in parentheses.
  2. The "Source" column indicates the original source of the material used for each story. This may be from daily (D) or Sunday (S) newspaper strips, Swedish Fantomen comics (F), Gold Key / King / Charlton comics, or Australian-created stories.
  3. The daily and Sunday story numbers are also indicated and these can be used for cross-referencing purposes with the daily and Sunday lists.
  4. For stories created by Semic/Egmont, full writer and artist credits are listed in addition to the original issue number of the corresponding Fantomen comic book. These fortnightly comics are not numbered continuously. Instead they are numbered in the form NN/YY where NN is the fortnight number, and YY is the year of publication.
  5. Only four stories have been created within Australia during the entire 60+ year history of The Phantom in this country. These stories are indicated by the term "Australian" in the "Source" column. The first three stories have been reprinted in recent annual specials (1996, 1997, 1999).
  6. Stories that were taken from the Gold Key / King / Charlton series of comic books are also indicated with the relevant issue numbers in the "Source" column.

Serious researchers should also especially note that a number of editions may have actually gone on sale in a year later than shown. This is because issues released for sale in eastern states of Australia in late December in many years, actually reached the newsstands in western states early in January.

The overdue move towards releases of unedited and uncensored stories can be linked best to "The Phantom Goes To War", which appeared as #910A in mid-1988. While there were a number of shorter stories which appeared in their entirety prior to this, #910A represents the first serious attempt to re-assemble an old story. Thereafter, all Lee Falk stories can be considered to be complete and unedited, with the following exceptions: #912, #913, #914, #915 and #918A. It must also be recognised that "complete and unedited" is not strictly an accurate description. Occasionally, the editors at Frew crop long panels in half, extend small panels with extra inking, blank out copyright information and continuity boxes, or simply paste panels in the wrong order ... all so that they can fit the artwork to their portrait page format. Still, the efforts of Frew Publications to reassemble all those classic Lee Falk stories is sincerely appreciated!

As a matter of historical record, it should be noted that the first Semic story appeared in 1981 (#730), and most have never been reprinted. The very first story The Ghost from #730 was accidentally reprinted in #1058. The first intentional reprint of a Semic story that had previously appeared under Frew covers was in the 1996 Annual Special Issue (#1125), which included a collection of reader favourites. Since 2001, Frew have begun to run short of new material to publish and the following issues contain reprints of Semic stories: #1309, #1310, #1312, #1317, #1324, #1325, #1326, #1343, #1348. In three cases they even included the cover art from the previous edition (#1324, #1325, #1326) -- the first time this has ever been done at Frew and surely a sign of desperation!

Now all you have to do is click on the links below and away you go ...

1948-1957 ¦ 1958-1967 ¦ 1968-1977 ¦ 1978-1987 ¦ 1988-1992 ¦ 1993-1997 ¦ 1998-2002 ¦ 2003+

Return to The Phantom in Australia

Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 8 March 2003