26 July, 2021

White Skin, Black Mask

Did Phantom — the man who cannot die -- live in India? Will he survive his creator Lee Falk's death?

White Skin, Black Mask

FOR those who came in late...Lee Falk, creator of The Phantom a.k.a. Kit Walker, the Ghost Who Walks...the man who cannot die—well, he died last month.

Some 35 years ago, Bennett & Coleman began to publish the Indrajal Phantom comic books that dominated the misspent afternoons of my childhood. It was a quieter, gentler time. Mrs G had not yet become She Who Must Be Obeyed, a car was still an Amby, TV was Chitrahaar at a neighbour's house, and Coke was it. And my friends and I were a cargo cult. The products of phoren that washed up on these shores were marooned here without their global marketing strategies or moulded plastic packaging. So we hoarded, borrowed and rented Superman, Batman, and even Aquaman when we could. But The Phantom had come in on an earlier tide. He was a castaway on our side of the pond. The production values had a familiar local crappiness. Phantoms had matte covers and no ads for Amazing Incredible Sea Monkeys or the Inflatable Raquel Welch Doll.

But the currents of international commercial and cultural transmission have...

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