Issue 1541 - Special, 2009


100 pages.

Mint condition.

3 story Special:
  • "The Wrestling Tourney"  - story by Tony Lee Falk and art by Wilson McCoy.
  • "Prince Bular of Tulana" - complete story by Lee Falk and art by Sy Barry.
  • "Crocco Island West" - complete story by Tony DePauland art by Paul Ryan.

An interesting mix of old and new in this edition, with two Lee Falk gems from 1954 and 1970 and the new daily adventure, Crocco Island West. The oldest story is The Wrestling Tourney, with art by Wilson McCoy. Lee Falk builds the story around the legend of the first Phantom challenging the winner of an inter-tribe wrestling competition with the victor ruling the jungle for the following 12 months, It’s worth pointing out here that before the emergence of The Phantom, the wrestling competition was already an institution in the jungle with the final event battled to the death. The first Phantom brought an end to this barbaric practice! Naturally enough, The Phantom, with his strength and athletic ability, never loses and the legend gathers more power each year.

Until this year, when the 21st Phantom is tricked and doped into unexpected defeat. Lee, as you will discover, staked a lot on his skills as a story-teller to get The Phantom out of a hole. Another loss in the re-match—and the saga of The Phantom could have well ended with this cleverly scripted adventure! Look for something unusual within the Skull Cave! The tombs of all The Phantom’s forefathers are marked not with dates—but the famous skull mark! Lee was still busy fine-tuning the quite complicated Legend of The Phantom and in following years, many more segments of the Legend were to be added! The second Lee Falk story has been out of print for roughly the same long time as The Wrestling Tourney.

Prince Bular of Tulana appeared in late 1970 when Sy Barry was riding high as the newspaper strip artist, acclaimed by many at the time as being not only a better comics craftsman than his famous brother Dan, but the equal of the near-legendary Alex Raymond and Hal Foster! Until the dramatic entrance of The Phantom, the story centres mainly around Diana, who is introduced to the evil Prince Bular as….Miss Diana Palmer of the Medical Corps’….(Lee Falk was still fine-tuning Diana’s job responsibilities within the United Nations). If you like spotting old errors and simple oversights in Phantom adventures, see if you can find the frame in which Toma, Hero’s stable-keeper, is referred to as….Roma! Lee’s story moves at a frantic pace and Sy’s artwork is absolutely brilliant.

Our new story is entitled Crocco Island West with script by Tony DePaul and art by Paul Ryan. If you are new to The Phantom fold, the name Crocco may not mean much. Let me explain that ‘Croccos’ are best described as creatures and while no definitive explanation for their existence has ever been offered, it seems they are humans who returned to the sea and developed fish-like characteristics. The Crocco creatures were not inventions of Lee Falk. That honour, interestingly, falls to Tony DePaul who wrote a Phantom adventure for a Fantomen comic book originally published  in Scandinavia in 1997 called The Mystery of Crocco Island. The story was illustrated by Cesar Spadari and his images of the Crocco creatures have been adapted (and dramatically toned down) by Ryan.




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