The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number 82: The Phantom #14

The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number 82: The Phantom #14, drawn by Bill Lignante, published by Gold Key Comics in October 1965.

For those who came in late… The Phantom was created by Lee Falk and made his debut in February 1936 as a newspaper comic strip. Falk devised a brilliant origin for his hero:

Over 400 years ago a merchant ship was attached by pirates off the coast of Africa. All aboard perished, except for young Christopher Walker, who washed ashore on the beaches of Bangalla, where he was where he was taken in by the Bandar tribe. Walker swears an oath that he, his son, and their sons will fight against “piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice.” Donning a costume & mask, Walker became the first Phantom.

In the present day his descendent Kit Walker is the 21st Phantom. Due to an unbroken family lineage across four centuries, those unaware of the Phantom’s true origin believe he is a single immortal individual, and he is known as “The Ghost Who Walks.”

Kit is married to Diana Palmer, who has often serves as a confidant in his fight against evil. In this story, set before they married, Diana’s wealthy grandfather appalled to learn she is dating the mysterious Phantom. Grandpa attempts to set Diana up with a succession of rich young bachelors. However, after the Phantom saves Diana’s life by wrestling a pair of wild bears into submission, and then rescues Grandpa from kidnappers, the elder Palmer relents. That night over coffee he expresses his admiration for the Phantom, giving his approval to Diana.

Bill Lignante drew The Phantom comic strip for a short time in the early 1960s. He then became the artist on the comic book series published by Gold Key, drawing the entire 17 issue run. Lignante continued on the series when King Features itself took over publishing it. Subsequently he worked as a layout artist and designer for Hanna-Barbera, and as a courtroom sketch artist. Lignante passed away in 2018 at the age of 92.

About Author