He is called the ‘Ghost Who Walks’ by those who fear him.
For over 450 years, the Phantom has lived in the Bengali interior of Africa surrounded by the Bandar natives that who have faithfully kept his the secret that the Phantom is not really immortal, but a legacy handed down from father to son. Calling the "Skull Cave" his home, the current Phantom, and the 20 Phantoms before him, have taken the an oath that binds them to each other through time.
"I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice!" he cried as he formally took "The Oath of the Skull" by firelight. "And my sons and their sons shall follow me!"
His ancestors have fought pirates, greedy traders, and corruption in any form. Included in the Phantom Chronicles, the diary of the many lives of the Phantom, are accounts of battles with Blackbeard, the Pirates of the Singh, ivory hunters, discoveries of lost cities and civilizations, gold hunters, and even mentions Jean Lafitte, and the American wild west.
His family lineage includes Shakespeare's niece, a Mongol's daughter, and even Christopher Columbus' granddaughter. When traveling outside of his Bengali refuge, the Phantom adopts the guise of Mr. Walker. Diana Palmer, an American United Nations specialist, is secretly Mrs Walker. Kit Walker, their twin boy, bears the awesome responsibility of becoming the 22nd Phantom upon his fathers death.
The Phantom is never alone.
Adventure fans have thrilled to the adventures of
the Ghost Who Walks since his creation in 1936 by Lee Falk. Falk, also creator of
Mandrake the Magician, chronicled the daily and Sunday newspaper strip adventures of
his creation up until his death in 1999, assisted by Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy, Sy
Barry and George Olesen. Olesen, along with Graham Nolan, Ben Raab and others, have
continued the strip.
In the comic books published by King, Charlton, and DC Comics, Bill Lignante, Jim Aparo, Don Newton and Joe Orlando handled the art chores. The newest comic stories are currently being created by Moonstone in the US and Egmont Publishing in Scandanavia. Frew Comics of Australia produces an excellent monthly series which reprints the newspaper strip from all eras, along with English translations of the Egmont material and the occasional new story produced by all Australian creators.
The Phantom has appeared on television in Phantom 2040, and in a supporting role in Defenders of the Earth with teammates Flash Gordon, and Mandrake the Magician. On the big screen, Tom Tyler gave us an excellent serial in 1943, and Billy Zane and Catherine Zeta Jones thrilled us in the Phantom during the 1990's. A new movie has just been announced by Crusader Entertainment and Hyde Park with script tentatively by Mel Stewart.
Avon Books gave us the highly collected Phantom book series, many of which were written by Lee Falk. Excellent artwork graced the covers of the 15 titles produced.