The Phantom Writer Tony DePaul on Revising Lee Falk’s “The Chain”

HERE’S that piece I said I’d get to on the new Phantom daily story that started two weeks ago.

The Phantom writer Tony DePaul discusses rewriting the 1953 story “The Chain” by Lee Falk.

On Phantom matters, Bret Blevins and I are deconstructing a confounding little Sunday story from 1953, one in which Lee Falk, the Phantom’s creator, turned his own creation on its head in the service of a trite point he had to make: that patience is a good thing.

During the discourse DePaul disavows any notion of the current Phantom being a white god to savages:

The Phantom’s no white savior of black Africa. He doesn’t rule over anybody. No one looks to him as a lawgiver. He’s a native Bangallan, wholly assimilated into the land and culture that welcomed his shipwrecked ancestor in 1536.

above: from Lee and McCoy’s original story (April 12, 1953)

below: from DePaul and Blevins recreation (February 5, 2024)

Read Tony’s full essay on what was wrong with Falk’s original and how it is being corrected.

It’s not that the scenario’s preposterous—everything in comics is preposterous. A man running around the jungle in purple tights, that’s preposterous. The idea is to manage the poetics of the preposterous in a way that delights or intrigues the reader. The Chain can’t do that for a reader who sees what’s on the page.

Further reading: “The Chain” by Lee Falk and Wilson McCoy via Comics Kingdom’s Vintage Phantom Sundays.