Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Man Who Never Dies by Dave Goode

When you talk about mythic comic book/strip heroes the discussion has to begin with Lee Falk's iconic the Phantom. Each new comic strip serial began with a recap of the hero's origin. "For those of you who may have come in late..."

I knew the Phantom from the comic strip. And from the Gold Key comic books
with the wonderful painted covers by the likes of George Wilson.

 In 1966 at the height of Batmania Warren put out a one-shot magazine titled On The Scene Presents Super-Heroes. The mag reprinted articles from Screen Thrills Illustrated on the Batman serials, Flash Gordon, the Superman serials, the Captain America and Captain Marvel serials ,the new Batman movie and the 1943 Phantom serial. From the photos that accompanied the Phantom article I knew I needed to see this serial. And I would years later when it was released on VHS.

Reportedly Lee Falk ,the Phantom's creator ,wasn't crazy about the serial. For the life of me I can't understand why. The chapter-play featured all the requisite thrills you'd expect from a jungle cliffhanger. The hero gets caught in quicksand. There's an avalanche/rock slide. There's a collapsing bridge. And best of all (to me at least) the hero fights a gorilla. There are chapters that seem to be lifted from the comic strip itself. And just might have been. The bits with the Tartar chief and the Fire Goddess for instance.

Tom Tyler is picture perfect as the mysterious
masked avenger. Though he's not the wisecracking hero that the character is in the comic strip. And Kenneth MacDonald is outstanding as the villainous Dr. Bremmer. It isn't perfect by any means. The "jungle natives" look like Native-Americans. In fact one of them was played by Jay Silverheels. And the Phantom's pet wolf is portrayed by German shepherd Ace,the Wonder Dog.
  My biggest beef though is that the Ghost Who Walks is seldom referred to as the Ghost Who Walks. Instead he's referred to as the "Man Who Never Dies". Maybe that's the problem Falk had with the serial.

Love old school comics? Do you miss the Bronze and Silver age action packed strips of yesterday? Then you need to read JUDO COMICS written and created by Dave Goode and illustrated by Vance Capley! Grab yours today!!


1 comment:

  1. The Phantom remains my 3rd favorite comic book character just behind Captain America and Dick Grayson.