Last week, Cash Gorman mentioned that both Dynamite AND the SyFy channel had Phantom revamps in the works.
Well, this week, some art from the Dynamite series was released, and it was met with quite the number of moans and groans from comic fans. And not just old geezers like me. If you haven't seen the images in question, then behold...
Now, I don't actually think this comic is going to feature Lee Falk's character running through the jungle in nothing but a loin cloth and leather boots - this just strikes me as a the type of evocative image Alex Ross likes to use (like Captain America with a scarred back.) What I'm more concerned with is the story concept as detailed at Newsarama...
As we begin the series, there is no Phantom. The historic line stops at Kit Walker the 21st, who has forsaken the mantle of The Ghost Who Walks and is enjoying a life with a growing family, while handling the day-to-day affairs of the Walkabout Foundation, a philanthropy created by one of the previous Walkers/Phantoms to help support charities benefiting Bengala, and the surrounding nations of continental Africa...
This seems right in line with what the SyFy Channel is pitching...
I don't know - doesn't that show look more like M.A.N.T.I.S. than jungle adventuring Phantom?
Now I understand my fanboy sensibilities are completely at odds with what the kids want (though I don't think Hollywood is any closer to figuring that out than I am...) but this whole tact of main character who rejects his legacy and then must accept it - not only is that played, it's shortsighted.
That's not enough to build a series on. It's what you PITCH the series with. After that, once the hero has made his journey of self discovery or whatever and accepted the mantle of The Phantom (or Green Hornet or Captain Midnight or whoever) then all you have is Roger Corman's Black Scorpion - it takes more than that to build a series.
What really confuses me is that SyFy was savy enough to green light the groundbreaking Battlestar Galatica series, but damn if they have presented anything with the same verve and vigor since then.
Really, I think a better *modern* treatment of the Phantom would be this:
Jim Shelley's Phantom Revamp Pitch:
A small airplane crashes in the jungle with 12 people surviving. Their only chance to survive is to travel through the jungle on their own to reach civilization. Like Lost, we discover things about the 12 as the series goes on. The Phantom is ever on the perimeter - doing his own thing, watching over them, but his motivations are unknown to us. When he appears it's a moment that can cause fear or relief for our travelers - depending on who they might be. He's the Others and the Smoke Monster rolled up in one. We also get the occaisional anachronistic dinosaur or Roman Soldier ruled lost city thrown in.
See? You get a Phantom that can be true to the original idea, but you also get modern day angst and conflict. The trick is to keep The Phantom mysterious and wonderous. Not turn him into just another vigilante with a gun.
As to the Dynamite version, does anyone know if this means that Moonstone will have to stop publishing their version? I would think the answer would be yes, but in the recent past the Phantom liscensing wasn't always exclusive.
Of late, Moonstone has done some really nice things with the character, most recently was the cool Captain Action/Phantom team up drawn by FBU friend Reno Maniquis
Strangely, the Moonstone Publishing site doesn't seem to be available today. I hope this is just a momentary glitch and not a sign of some other problems. I know Moonstone recently upgraded their website (for much the better) so it's probably just a server error.
Anyway, for today's free comics, I present two issues of a guy who (as far as I know) has thankfully not gone through a recent revamping...Captain Midnight.
[ Captain Midnight 23 ]
[ Captain Midnight 46 ]