In this issue we present an old Phantom adventure first published in Scandinavia in 1990 and in Australasia in 1991 (Frew edition No 984).
There are a number of special reasons for reprinting The Last Emperor!
Firstly, the central character, Emperor Joonkar, was first introduced by Lee Falk (whose work will always be regarded as official Phantom history) in the 1986 Sunday adventure, Tale of Phantom Head Peak (Frew No 973).
In an historical flashback in that story, Joonkar meets the 7th Phantom, ends up in hand-to-hand combat with The Ghost Who Walks—and loses the fight!
Almost oddly, the pair patch up their differences and become firm friends.
In later, real-life times, such stories as The Golden Sands of Keela-Wee (Frew No 1061) and Joonkar and the Slavers (Frew No 1019) we learn that Joonkar commissioned Michelangelo to design the carving of what we now know as ‘Phantom Head Peak’, that The Phantom rescued Joonkar and separately, his wife-to-be, from slavery and that when Joonkar’s bride dies in childbirth, the great Emperor goes into reclusive retirement and makes a gift of Keela-Wee and the fabulous Jade Hut to The Phantom.
Lee Falk accidentally injected a great deal of mystery into Emperor Joonkar’s life, bringing him into Phantom adventures in no strict chronological order (there is mention of him for example, in the 1970 story, The Gold Prospectors (also known as The Beach) and by almost regularly misspelling his name!
At various times, he has been referred to as Jonkoor, Joonkoor and Joomkar, which may not necessarily have been the fault of Lee Falk. Letterers, who usually work independently of artists and syndication companies, occasionally are swamped by pressure and do not spot obvious errors!
The special editorial feature in this issue will enable you to trace everything that is known about the life of Emperor Joonkar.
Remember however, that Lee Falk never made mention of Joonkar’s final years or his death.