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The Phantom embarks on 20 month story-line

Fans of serial comics may want to settle in for a longer than usually story-line that launches today for The Phantom. Tony DePaul, the current writer for the strip, was quoted as saying that he was going to “shake things up a bit” and begin a 20 month story-line opposed to the normal 17 week format.

Over on IPComics he reportedly stated,

There’s a big story coming up, one that will surprise many readers. We’re going to try to shake things up a bit, get away from the 17-week daily format. Yes. The next story line will run for about a year and eight months. The start date is August 24. That will begin a 5-part series, with each part the length of a regular story. Every 17 weeks there will be a logical break in the narrative, a change of venue. Same story, but it will refocus on some new aspect.

You can follow along the new adventure using King Features Comic Kingdom or the Houston Chronical’s comics

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
August/24/2009
@ 1:45 am

What was the previous record for a really long comic strip storyline?

I vaguely remember that “B.C.” did a year-long arc back in 1998-99, although it alternated between regular gag-a-day strips and the arc.

#2 Ted Dawson
August/24/2009
@ 10:07 am

Apparently the Star Trek comic strip had a 20-week story.

#3 Phil Tograph
August/24/2009
@ 11:25 am

the BIG question is, will this work ? with the average readers attention span, will anyone stick with it ? or will this be the end of the strip ?

#4 Rich Diesslin
August/24/2009
@ 12:25 pm

I think the difficult thing about bringing comic books to strips, is the pacing. I think it’s very hard to have Spiderman, Phantom, etc. move quickly enough as it is. Prince Valiant moves very slowly too … perhaps it’s the action/adventure comic that is hard to pace. I can’t think of a way to do it faster, so I’m not trying to be critical – just my observation. I think they do it well as perhaps can be done. It’s still a bit like watching Dragon Ball Z (I have kids) … where in some 1/2 episodes barely anything happens (like watching golf, bowling or baseball on tv … if they had a pre-season ).

Anyway, this sounds like a interesting move but in the opposite direction from what I would have guessed.

I’ve been following spiderman and phantom over the past year, so it will be fun to see how this plays out.

To Phil’s question on attention span, I think if you read these kinds of strips, you are used to the pacing and have to pretty much keep up on the storyline anyway – so I’m not sure how much of a stretch the 20 month arc is. What they do with it seems to be what they think will “shake things up.” I think more folks were surprised when Funky went to the long arcs that were normally the domain of strip soaps and these action/adventure types.

I hope it works out well.

#5 Mark McComas
August/24/2009
@ 5:14 pm

The Phantom is a little long on the tooth, so let the man try something new. He did say it would still have a “change of venue” every 17 weeks anyway, so maybe it’s worth a try. I will be looking in on The Phantom from time to time to see how it is going. The pacing is the thing. Prince Valiant is too slow, but The Phantom was always well done, art and story wise. Wish we had it in the local paper. The Charleston (WV) Daily Mail dropped it years ago.

#6 Andreas Eriksson
August/25/2009
@ 1:38 am

I don’t know about long storylines in general, but the previous record for the Phantom was “The Phantom Goes to War” story during WWII which lasted 49 weeks. There was another Phantom story in the 1990s that lasted 65 weeks, but that was a Sunday storyline only.

That’s not including “connected” stories. It seems that the upcoming Phantom story will be more like 5 parts with their own beginning, middle and end – and not just one, huge 20-month story.

Lee Falk’s other strip, Mandrake the Magician, had a 104-week Sunday story in the 1940s, but it was divided into several parts. Another Mandrake Sunday story from the 1980s was apparently 89 weeks, but I haven’t read that one.

Ted Dawson > Did you mean months?

#7 John Duncan Yoyo
August/31/2009
@ 1:18 pm

I read most of my comics online. The Phantom is easiest to follow the Sundays on the Seattle Post Intelligencer web page and the dailys on the Houston Chronicle’s comic pages on the web . Go to the chron and build a list of your favorite comics and book mark the result.

#8 Louisa
January/22/2012
@ 10:49 am

Short, sweet, to the point, FREE-exactly as irnfomatoin should be!

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January/23/2012
@ 2:29 am

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