Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Thing and The Phantom Stranger

The Phantom Stranger is another character that I was drawn to due to the incredible artwork of Jim Aparo. I liked how he seemed to keep one foot in the mystery/suspense genre and the other in the more traditional superhero world. Another cool thing was how his role in each story changed from tale to tale. Sometimes he would be the main driving protagonist, and other times he was more of an observer, doling out a few key pieces of advice. His back story has always been shrouded in mystery, and I think that is very fitting for the character. He hasn't had a very high profile lately, but with the Vertigo characters being woven back into the DCU and some of the new titles that have been announced I think the time is right for The Phantom Stranger to make a return.


Pete M said...

He played a major role in Matt Wagner & Amy Reeder's Madame Xanadu Vertigo series, which was cancelled just to make way for the DCnU's use of Hellblazer/Swamp Thing/Madame Xanadu etc. It was an excellent series, highly recommended. Wagner (who is always great) played fast & loose with the line of demarcation btwn Vertigo & DC with John Jones, Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, and Alan Scott's lantern(the actual lantern,not the character) all making appearances. Reeder's art is fantastic. Worth checking out.

Cathy and Dave said...

Dave sez,

Another very cool cover.
The Phantom Stranger is a very cool character; to me kind of an updated version of The Spectre.

I think both characters are way underused by DC.

I'm surprised that DC hasn't used The Stranger as part of Flashpoint, or Darkest Night. He's a natural.

pblfsda said...

I second the recommendation for the recent Madame Xanadu series. It should be available as four trades now. Also worth seeking out is the all-Phantom Stranger issue of Secret Origins, #10. Because he's the one character who never had (and never will have) an origin story, he gets four mutually contradicting ones. There's a Mike Barr/Jim Aparo one and Alan Moore/Joe Orlando one. And wasn't Ben Grimm a huge horror fan, back in the 70's and 80's? I seem to remember him reading Salem's Lot back in MTIO Annual #2.

Anonymous said...

I can just picture that "houngan" secretly working for AIM. Or, maybe even the Dark Circle!

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