He pre-dates Superman, and he’s now moving to Dynamite Entertainment. According to company President Nick Barrucci, Dynamite has acquired the rights to produce The Phantom comics – with Alex Ross attached.
Created by Lee Falk in the mid ‘30s, “The Ghost Who Walks” has been in virtually continuous publication since 1936, either as a comic strip of comic book. Most recently, Moonstone held the license for the character.
“I don’t know all the particulars about whether or not the other publisher let go of the license, or how, but we were approached,” Barrucci tells Newsarama. “We liked the idea, and we have a take that I think is a great one, and Alex Ross has sat down with me to go over the direction of the series. Basically, Alex likes our idea, and has already started on some drawings that we can’t show, because they’re just initial sketches, and he doesn’t want to show them to the world just yet.”
According to Barrucci, Dynamite’s treatment of The Phantom will be a reboot, similar to what the publisher has done with The Lone Ranger and Zorro. “Our take is going to be an interesting one – we are going to reboot it in such away where we will explain his costume – which will be tweaked – differently. Anyone who knows Alex knows that his idea of tweaking involves taking the best of what is there, and make it contemporary while including those elements. I think, in broad strokes, how we see the character can be described in three sentences:
“He will start in the jungle.
“He will be ‘born’ in the jungle.
“He will come to the concrete jungle of New York City.”
Those familiar with the character and Falk’s original take on it will recall that The Phantom was originally meant to be in the city, but the creator later moved him to the jungle – according to some sources, due to legal pressure that resulted from his perceived similarity to Batman. But with Dynamite, he’s heading back to town.
“One of the things we felt with the Phantom is, you can only have so many adventures in the jungle,” Barrucci explains. “It’s about time we put him back in civilization, and we pit him against the animals of New York City. “
Currently, a writer is under consideration, Barrucci says. “We are talking to someone who is on a similar level with Alex Ross – someone like a [Lone Ranger writer] Brett Matthews who can reinvent the character, who can not only take out the essence of the character while making him contemporary as well.”
The first storyline of the new Dynamite series is called “Born in Blood,” and Barrucci says a launch date will be announced shortly.