& Irv Novick
Joined Mighty Crusaders:
In an untold story
prior to Archie's Weird Mysteries #3
Comics #2, December 1939
No origin was ever given to Broadway theater columnist Walt
Whitney's crime fighting alter-ego Bob Phantom. By means unknown Bob
Phantom could tele-port from place to place. While the limits to the
range and frequency of use to this power are unclear, Bob Phantom
could move at least twice his own mass for at least short distances.
He appears to have some boost in strength beyond the average person.
On several occasions he defies the effects of bullets by methods
Attn: Chair & Publisher
Dear Mr. Silberkleit,
I see on the Archie Comics website
that you are both Chairman & Publisher of the company these days. It
has been a long time since I have been in contact with any senior
member of your organization.
I clicked my way through just about
all of the Archiecomics.com
site today. I finally stumbled across the unmarked link to the page
that offered to sell me Photostats of the first appearance of my
favorite members of the Mighty Crusaders. All eighteen of them. I
see some familiar names there. May I ask that you have a copy of
number eleven made up for me. Why, you ask? No, you do not know me,
but Morris Coyne did. I am Bob Phantom.
Please wait. Don't hit the “delete”
I am not:
b. pulling a prank
c. after your money, or
d. all of the above
I doubt you have heard this story.
Mr. Coyne was rather embarrassed by it. That, plus I never met the
other founders of MLJ Magazines.
It was late in the evening of the
Fourth of July, 1939. Morris Coyne decided he'd rather walk for a
bit than stay on a subway train full of tipsy patriots loudly
returning from the fireworks displays. He found himself looking for
a taxi in the run down area I soon hoped to move from.
About Memorial Day a punk with
delusions of grandeur and just enough connections to keep off the
police blotter had declared my neighborhood his personal kingdom.
Now I used up a huge amount of time, not to mention my special
abilities, keeping the king's soldiers in check while trying to
checkmate the king. By the Fourth of July I was ready to explode.
On the job front, things were
finally looking up for me that week. After a couple of years of
squeaking by as a news stringer, freelance ad copywriter, and boxing
sparring partner, I'd finally sold a second string paper the feature
column your readers knew as “On Broadway.” The rag paid on
publication that would start August first. So I was totally broke.
All I had to do was survive July.
I'd watched the fireworks from the
roof tops. I moved around quite a bit keeping an eye out for his
majesty's thugs. I found them just as they found Morris Coyne.
Coming up behind the well dressed man, a couple of mugs pushed him
into an unlit alley where others waited. I'm sure I said an evil
word or two as I disappeared from that roof in a puff of smoke.
The punks were playing push the mark
in a circle. They'd wear him down before they robbed him. If he did
anything but cringe they would break as many things as they had the
energy for. I'd seen the results before. Not pretty. In this case I
arrived early in the ritual. Mad as Hell!
The lead tough pushed Mr. Coyne
completely across the circle. The puff of smoke caused by my arrival
hid me just long enough so I could grab him. Once I had a good hold
I popped us both out. More smoke billowed. We reappeared on a third
floor fire escape almost above the ring of crumbs. I made sure his
hands had a grip on the railing. Then I popped out again.
Most of the puffs of smoke from my
first appearance remained when I refreshed them again coming back. I
lashed out before the new smoke could begin to clear. To their
dieing days I'm sure the lugs believed that Morris Coyne became the
apparition haunting their activities for the last three weeks.
The triple thick knuckles of my
leather gauntlet smashed into the leader's nose with everything my
shoulder could put into it. He fell into a bunch of trash cans, out
cold. I pulled back into the vanishing smoke as I pivoted about 120
degrees. With one quick step I leaned into the side kick one of my
Chinese friends taught me. An agonized “Whoosh!” resulted as my
hard heel sank into the area just below the man's ribcage. That left
With the smoke almost gone the cries
and yells rang out. “Spook!” “The ghost!” “Its the phantom!” “Get
They charged. I disappeared.
Four of them formed a knot. A fifth
man kept back. I reappeared behind him. I grabbed him in a bear hug,
then popped back out. One reason I'd been on the roof tops was to
pick drop off points. I left that clown in the crow's nest of a ship
heading out to sea. I popped back to the alley to pull another one
out of that knot. A quick gut punch put him over my shoulder in the
fireman's carry. I left him in a church steeple four blocks over.
The remaining three split apart. I
popped back in next to the one farthest from the other two. After a
hard backhand I scooped him up and pressed him over my head like a
weight lifter. With every drop of adrenaline energy in my body I
threw him at the other two. The fight ended there
I called encouragement to Mr. Coyne
as I took his tormentors away. One to a heavily alarmed jewelry
store. Another to a ventilated, but time locked, bank vault. One to
an isolated ledge in a sanitary sewer. I put another in a tool cage
of the factory with the toughest, meanest, night watchman in town.
The flat nosed leader I dropped on the roof of the nearest police
That is how I met Morris Coyne.
After I made sure he was not hurt, I
let him buy me dinner. We ate in the back room of faded looking, but
excellent Chinese restaurant. Wonderful folks, with Moo Goo Gui Pan
to die for. They secretly helped me after I pulled the family
patriarch out of a mess similar to Coyne's.
The meal took quite a while. I
practically ate the kitchen empty. After his blood pressure and
heart rate returned to normal Mr. Coyne took quite an interest in
the fact this “Spook” he'd met fought punks and rescued people
fairly regularly. Then he told me about his newest venture: MLJ
After watching me eat like a
ravenous lumberjack, he realized I must be short of money. He told
me about how the first issue of “Blue Ribbon Comics” was just about
ready to be sent to the printers. He thought the contents were
fairly good, but one thing was missing. He'd seen the handwriting on
the wall. The “long underwear” characters would soon take over most
comics. He saw potential in using a real mystery man in the MLJ
line. So we worked out a deal.
Okay, Mr. S., that's how it all
started. Coyne and I would meet now and then to toss around stories.
I never made more than eating money, but those first few months that
was important. I ended up more successful than I would have believed
with my writing. Before “Bob Phantom” disappeared from print I began
donating that income to charity.
Fast forward half a century. On my
desk sits something even Isaac Asimov did not foresee with any
accuracy: a personal computer with an Internet connection. I email
everyone I know. I try playing on-line games. I give every new
search engine a workout. One day I slap my forehead. Why didn't I
try this before? I type in “Bob Phantom” and hit return. Well, I
don't believe it! Along with items containing “...bob, phantom...”
and “Bob Phantom valve bodies” are a couple of hundred hits covering
Bob Phantom of MLJ Comics.
So I joined a couple of MLJ groups
and mailing lists. I stayed undercover until a serious discussion
began about MLJ's stories featuring “real” characters. Some of these
folks' parents were not even born in that era. Finally, under
another screen name, I revealed myself to them, much as I am to you.
Of course nobody wanted to believe
me. At length, (Whoa! Have not used that term in decades.) At
length, I convinced three list members to go to the home of a
trusted fourth. Then I popped in on them. Any more that's not easy,
but I can still do it. By the time I popped out, they believed.
I still belong to that list. We went
over every Bob Phantom story MLJ published. Then your Shield trade
paperback came out. Suddenly everybody tells me that Bob Phantom
should get the same treatment. Now all “my” stories could fit into
one TPB. Some of the stories are quite good. A few are less so. One
or two I have serious problems with. I asked the list members to
give me time to think this over. Before much longer I expect you
will be hearing from them.
Attached you will find my comments
on each story. I would want some version of that printed in any Bob
Phantom book. I would also want some form of donation to an agreed
on charity for my participation.
If this interests you, please reply
with a time and place to meet in the New York City area. Bring
whoever you want. I'll prove to you that I am who I claim to be,
Attachment: “Bob Phantom: Is Fiction
Stranger Than Truth?”
Bob Phantom: Is Fiction Stranger
The “Real” Bob Phantom
Blue Ribbon Comics #2 December 1939
“Bob Phantom, The Scourge of the
Underworld” Great tag line! I always liked that. Only problem was
that neither Mr. Coyne, nor I, read the right newspaper funny pages.
After story was complete somebody discovered that King Features
Syndicate had published The Phantom since 1936. I guess “Bob” was
the only thing that fit and seemed to make a little sense. I'm still
The Phantom on page two, four, and five, but not on page one, three,
or six. The story is a jazzed up version of my showdown with a
neighborhood “King” that I told Mr. Coyne about. I hate bullies. MLJ
used that hatred more than once. As for my powers, I could divert
bullets I knew were coming. I was strong, plus jumping caused my
adrenal gland to squeeze itself dry. Half set concrete I could split
for an impressive show. Otherwise I'd have had to pop the lawyer
right out of his shoes and socks. Both Walt Whitney and Bob Phantom
had red hair.
Blue Ribbon Comics #3 January
Art signed by Irving Novick. Whoops,
I'm both The Phantom, and Bob Phantom on page three. Still got red
hair. I “whisked them away.” On page four things go a little nuts.
“I” beat the stuffing out of four hoods. No problem, done that. Then
I pick them up and fly away with them! I never claimed to be able to
fly. I brought that up with Mr. Coyne at our next meeting, but more
stories were already in the pipeline. Anyway I terrorized the bad
guys into giving themselves up. Poor Walt gets not a mention. I'm
supposed to appear in the next issue. Doesn't happen.
Top-Notch Comics #3 February 1940
Changed books, but did not skip a
month. Novick art again. This time Bob Phantom is a blond. “Bob
Phantom Blows The Trigger Slum Gang To Justice.” That line in the
splash panel should have warned me. Slum's gang kidnaps an oil
millionaire's kid. The chauffeur is supposed to be in or it, but the
story's drawn like he isn't. The gang hides out in a shack in one of
Daddy Barnes' nearby oil fields. (Note to self: Locate former oil
field on Long Island.) “On Broadway” appears for the first time in
the News-Chronicle. The chauffeur confesses off camera. That brings
the police to the oil field. In the meantime I am “blowing” the
bullets back at Trigger Slum! Mr. Coyne did not have time to fix
this story. It gets even better/worse. Trigger sets the oil field
ablaze. “Bob Phantom starts a cyclone and sandstorm by waving his
cape.” “The shack is lifted into the air by the cyclone...” “Bob
Phantom appears inside the shack.” He says: “Just taking you out for
a ride, boys.” “The freakish storm sets the shack down on the
Barnes' estate.” A -red- headed Walt Whitney broadcasts the news on
radio station WSGG. Reading this story again is like experiencing a
split personality. It is an exciting, pretty well drawn, little
story for its time. Yet I am also embarrassed by it. Blowing bullets
away? Come on! Had somebody just come from seeing “The Wizard Of
OZ?” Even if I could create a cyclone, no way could I keep that
shack intact. I've lived in tornado alley. There is no way!
Top-Notch Comics #4 April 1940 (Skipped a
Novick again. Bob is still a blond.
And so is Walt. This is “my” first Chinatown story. Many of the
early stories had Bob Phantom just warning the bad guys until they
did something some thing drastic. This time I let at least seven
illegal alien Chinese get murdered. Only then do I take action by
tearing the plane apart in mid-air killing the two white smugglers.
By the way, how did “I” get into a moving airplane off the
California coast? Then the story introduces Walt Whitney to Princess
Ah-Ku, “my” most recurring foe. Following that "I" let another load
of Chinese get dumped into the ocean before I kill the pilot. Have
“I” been taking Stupid Pills®?
The gang starts bringing the Chinese in via the Mexican border. My
old buddy Trigger Slum muscles in. Bob takes them all on, but Ah-Ku
fakes her death. Exciting story. Boneheaded hero.
Top-Notch Comics #5 May 1940
Signed by Gerry Thorp (or is it
Thorpi?) The art is good. In some ways better than Novick. Both Bob
Phantom and Walt Whitney now have the famous comic book black hair
with the blue highlights. Walt becomes part of the action for the
first time and is promptly arrested. “Bob” tries to stop a
kidnapper's airplane from getting away. Poison gas from the engine
exhausts engulfs him. “Bob Phantom's amazing vitality overcomes the
effects of the deadly poison.” Not bad. At one point “Bob” hides the
kidnapped girl in a smokescreen. Now that is possible, very
briefly. The lion fight that follows is a fun read, but I would
have just popped her out of danger.
Top-Notch Comics #6 June 1940
By J. Thorp & H. Shorten. Walt seems
to have a blond female assistant. This time Ah-Ku is smuggling
narcotics while killing police and witnesses in wholesale lots. Walt
Whitney is still a pain in her neck. Walt gets grabbed and tossed
into the river. “Bob” goes undercover in an opium den. He lays down
a smoke screen. (In an opium den, who needs a smoke screen?) Bob
blindly jumps over three miles offshore to the smugglers' boat. A
blackjack to the head has no effect. Ah-Ku escapes again.
Top-Notch Comics #7 June 1940
This story about an arson ring is
unsigned. Walt actually does some investigating that almost kills
him. “When suddenly, as though from the skies... Bob Phantom
appears.” Now that's more like it. Walt seems to start dating the
girl that “I” rescued. Good story and art for only six pages. Looks
like the weirdness about Bob Phantom is under control.
Top-Notch Comics #8 July 1940
By Jerry Thorp & Harry Shorten.
Major problem with the coloring. Every police uniform in the story
is colored dark GREEN. Walt's feud with the police and D.A.'s
office gets a bit over the top. Walt knows too much. So the crooks
snatch him, again. To this point MLJ implied, but never stated, that
Bob Phantom and Walt Whitney were the same person. If Walt is, why
does he worry about getting ropes loose instead of just popping out
of the flowing concrete? Again, good story and art.
Top-Notch Comics #9 August 1940
By Bernie Klein & H. Shorten. Walt
appears to have a red-head for an assistant. Ah-Ku, shows up one
more time. A hatchet man tries to whack the sleeping Walt. In fact,
there is the most 'on camera' killing so far in the series. Walt's
connection to the honest side of Chinatown gets some needed
attention. One racial slur appears in the narration, as opposed to
those in the character dialog. With no reason given “Bob” must
disable a death trap instead of popping out. Ah-Ku is finally
captured. If you don't mind bloodless axes sprouting out of heads,
this is a pretty good story.
Top-Notch Comics #10 September 1940
Unsigned, but looks like more of the
same. “A rush of wind, a swirl of smoke, and there stands Bob
Phantom, sounding the death knell of criminals the world over. Bob
Phantom is a lone crusader, whose identity in real life, as Walt
Whitney, Broadway columnist, is not known to a living soul!”
Finally, somebody said it! That's good, but Walt tells the police
chief he will put “my pal Bob Phantom” on the case of multiple
suicides by new brides. Walt manually saves himself when pulled out
a window, but this time it is logical to do so. Near the end of a
good, but dead body laden story “Bob” tosses the begging for his
life gang leader out the upper story window. Then he speaks directly
to the audience! “And that, boys and girls, is a true picture of the
swaggering, treacherous parasites who terrorize society. Take the
guns from their hands, and you have........ Joe Chizzler!”
Top-Notch Comics #11 January 1941
By Bobby King. (The last panel is
signed Bernie.) Somebody's trying to monopolize pro-boxing. Two
boxers are dead. Now I've seen a bunch of masked wrestlers over the
decades. Masked boxers, on the other hand, are so rare I can't
remember a single one. But, Walt discovers that the Masked Mauler
has been kidnapped and temporarily disabled. “I” take his place. No
one notices. The bad guy dies by accident this time. I'm referred to
as “The Man Of Smoke.”
Top-Notch Comics #12 February 1941
Splash page signed Bernie. Its the
old (even then) disgruntled inventor trick. War Department turns him
down and he starts using his 'explosive light beam' trick to blow
up cop cars. Newsman Walt actually uses the paper's morgue for
research. He also gets captured... again. Maybe the MLJ staff
thought Bob Phantom had to be in costume before he could jump. The
mad-greedy scientist exits by his own invention. One high ranking
cop wonders if Walt knows who Bob really is.
Top-Notch Comics #13 March 1941
Signed Bernie. Strangely, only one
story in the whole issue has a title. Somebody is killing the
Mayor's re-election supporters. One more time... Walt writes. Walt
gets snatched. Walt gets left in a death trap. Walt doesn't jump
Top-Notch #14 April 1941
Signed by Bobby King. Walt just
happens by a jewelry story robbery and murder. Neither Bob Phantom,
nor 'the brake their squad cars by crashing' Police, find evidence
on the suspects. Using one of wildest diversions ever, the killer
lady bandit tries to retrieve the loot. “I” end up rescuing a dead
body. Thank goodness for running boards. Bob Phantom crashes the
getaway truck, but Walt shows the cops where the diamonds are. A
good story that's more inventive than many of the era's efforts.
Top-Notch #15 May 1941
Signed by Meskin, who seems to like
“Citizen Kane” style camera angles. For once “I'm” not fast enough
to catch a couple of crooks robbing an untenanted mansion. The bad
guys are working a con on their mousy girl neighbor, Jinx Friday.
Meanwhile, Walt finishes a column and heads off to catch the second
act of a new play. Maybe he needs an assistant. The lead crook and
the girl attend the same show, but he gets stabbed in the lobby. “I”
pop in and grab Jinx. (The cops might accuse her.) I spirit her out
of the theater via the fire escape like my pal The Fox would. Maybe
Mort didn't understand “my” powers. Later “I” rescue her from the
other crook. Then I “send my friend” Walt to see her. Jinx shows
Walt the ingenious method the dead bad guy used to hide the
diamonds. Walt hires her as his assistant. Then he takes off her
glasses and undoes her hair bun. Faster than you can say “Hey
Rube!”, she's beautiful. Very strange story, but I like the art.
Top-Notch #16 June 1941
By R. Petereude (At least that's
what it looks like.) and Joe Blair. Some two bit hoods threaten the
world's top woman tennis player in her hotel room while Walt takes
Jinx shopping for a glamorous new wardrobe and makeover. I hope she
really didn't need the glasses Walt takes away from her. Then, just
by chance (and only six story pages), its off to visit the tennis
star. I've had to explain what happens next to a lot of younger
fans. The tennis player manages to get the phone in the hotel room
off the hook. In those days that meant that a light lit up on the
hotel switchboard. The operator would literally plug in a cable and
could hear anything going on in the room. (Think Lily Tomlin as
Earnestine.) The operator spills the beans. Walt dashes to the
rescue, but somehow Bob Phantom beats him to the room. “I” manage to
get the two hoods to shoot each other. (I recall that Joe Blair
seemed the MLJ artist most likely to put lots of on-camera blood
into his art. This page looks like the editors cleaned it up some.)
The tennis star must lose her match that evening, or die in her
tracks. (For some reason the bad guys even toss a note-brick through
Walt's upper floor office window.) She wins and “I” stop the killer.
Top-Notch #17 July 1941
Jinx and Walt go to the fights. On
the card is Walt's old college buddy, Johnny Napoleon, who wins
easily. Johnny is murdered on the next page while a notorious
gambler flees the scene. Walt, then “I”, take off after him. Jinx
puts her glasses back on and sees a clue. Just like so many times
with Walt, she's grabbed by Johnny's manager before she tells what
she saw. “I” believe the gambler when he says he didn't do it. Walt
thinks Jinx went home, but she's left tied up somewhere for the four
legged rats to eat. The manager sneaks into the morgue. He cuts off
the boxer's hands, then throws them in the morgue furnace. Later “I”
pop in to the morgue. Walt decides that Johnny must have broken his
hands in career ending fashion, so the manager killed him for
insurance money. Continued next month, but Walt still hasn't
realized that Jinx is actually missing.
Top-Notch #18 August 1941
Signed “-Pat-”. The big splash page
of Jinx tied to a chair recaps last issue. Two things have changed.
The chair has turned from blue to brown. And Jinx's feet are no
longer tied together. Rats surround her, but tied to a light duty
chair she could stand up and walk away. Bob Phantom searches for the
manager. “I” get to the insurance office a moment too late to stop
the payout. Meanwhile, instead of walking somewhere, Jinx uses her
glasses and a shaft of sunlight to start a fire. “I” become Walt, in
a different colored suit, to warn a cop about the manager. This
“just happens to be” across the street from the building Jinx set
ablaze. Walt must be taking Stupid Pills®
again. He decides not to check out the burning building for trapped
people -until- he hears Jinx's scream for help. “I” bat out the
flaming hem of Jinx's dress, then pop her to safety. She's been tied
up for who knows how long while wearing no watch, but she tells “me”
that the manager might be on the S.S.Vandergrift which sails in a
few minutes. Walt is too late so “I” pop on board and remove the bad
guy. And at the end Walt refuses to let Jinx put her ruined glasses
on her expense account. Bonehead! A real two parter, they tried
something different. Too bad it has bunches of holes. The writer,
the artists, and the editor really should have communicated better.
Top-Notch #19 September 1941
Unsigned, with rather primitive art
that serves the story fairly well. Jinx and Walt stroll past a
jewelry store being bobbed. Walt would not buy her new glasses last
issue. Now he tells her to keep her big eyes open so she can
identify the famous people she sees. The duo muscles in on the
robbery investigation. Neither the cops, nor Walt, nor even Bob
Phantom, can figure out how the masked thief got out of the building
without being searched for the loot. Outside, Jinx whispers an
observation in Walt's ear. Bob Phantom catches the crooks, but the
police still shoot at him. (It did not help that every male in the
story, cop or not, wore a blue suit.)
Top-Notch #20 October 1941
Unsigned, but better than last
issue. Walt walks over a bridge to the office when he sees one car
knock another off the bridge. Rather than pop up down on the
riverbank, or even just above the water, “I” appear on the bridge
and do a headfirst dive after the car. The dead man in the car “just
happens” to be carrying a letter to Walt asking for Bob Phantom's
help. (I know the story's only six pages, but give me a break.) Walt
investigates the letter. He is met with what today we politely call
mis-information. Walt says good-by, but quickly sneaks back in. (At
least he's wearing a green suit this month.) The fresh wardrobe
doesn't keep him from receiving a gun butt cranial massage. The bad
guys hang him by the neck from an attic rafter, then leave. Instead
of popping out Walt performs amazing feats to rescue himself. Soon
"I" pop in downstairs to begin pulverizing all the bad guys. This
strange little story ends with Walt harassing the cops again
Top-Notch #21 November 1941
Appears unsigned. The splash panel
of an ocean liner stateroom contains what some call "good girl art."
Not bad unless you mind that she's being shot dead at the time. Walt
and Jinx soon peak in the window. Jinx listens as the star dies with
a mysterious clue on her lips. Walt & "I" chase, then catch, a
suspect. "I" turn him over to the cops and get shot at for my
trouble. That suspect is innocent, but Walt breaks the clue. Soon
"I'm" pulling the real killer off another departed cruse ship.
Decent story. (Times do change. These days Walt's "hands on"
approach to Jinx would result in an easily won sexual harassment
Top-Notch #22 December 1941
Unsigned, seems more of the same.
Walt sees an impending construction accident. "I" come to the
rescue. A rackets big shot is trying to fix the outcome of his
trial. Walt follows his lawyer from the courthouse. The mouthpiece
leads a bunch of hoods to the same construction site. As they begin
to dig, "I" pop up to watch. The clowns end up tied up, but tongue
tied, as well. A few tons of dirt from a steam shovel gets them
talking. Seems that this is literally where the body is buried. I
pop the stiff into the courtroom just in time to keep the charges
against rackets king pin from being dismissed.
Top-Notch #23 January 1942
Signed by King. A lend-lease bomber
on the way to Brittan crashes. A girl tips off the cops about it.
Thinking she is nuts they send Walt after her as a prank. Before the
page ends "Bob Phantom" yanks the girl out from under a falling
grand piano. Soon Walt and the girl are tied to the shafts of HUGE
drills at the factory that made the bomber. Walt gets free without
any mysterious help. Good for him. Soon "I'm" saving a departing
bomber from a vial of poison gas. With the girl's help the bad guys
head for the lockup. Plus Walt lords it over the cops who believed
him on a wild goose chase. Somewhat lacking, the art does get the
Top-Notch #24 February 1942
Again signed by King. This happens
to be the one original issue I hung on to. Captain Casey tries catch
Big Nick, The Greek, with one of his night spots operating as a
casino. His tip was bogus, or compromised. Soon Casey is framed for
corruption. Walt calls him dumb, but honest. His "pal" Bob Phantom
takes up the case. What follows pretty much seems a re-do of "my"
very first story. I harass Big Nick regularly. Each time I make off
with a member of the mob. As I kidnap one thug I call him "Dude."
Casey is reinstated with honors. Then I tell him that the mobsters
are tied up in his own basement. This story seems about the best
introduction to the "Bob Phantom" strip.
Top-Notch #25 March 1942
Jinx, "newspaperwoman," checks out
an art exhibit for charity at a major museum. Thieves posing as
painters swap out some master pieces for forgeries. As their work
truck exits the museum it collides with a bus, and almost Walt
Whitney. Walt observes the get-a-way, but takes no action. (Stupid
again?) Jinx returns to the museum. With masterpieces replaced,
ransoms are negotiated. Walt does some real investigating. For once
he does not get another concussion out of the deal. Walt, "Bob," and
Jinx bounce from place until the case concludes. Less action, but a
better plot than usual.
The final panel of this story
proclaims, "Every issue of Top-Notch brings another thrilling
adventure with Bob Phantom." Did not happen. Two issues later the
title changed to "Top-Notch LAUGH." Far as I know To-Notch #25 is
the last place "Bob Phantom" appeared for over twenty years. Even
with no cover appearances, twenty-five stories seems a pretty good
run back then. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that more times
than Captain Flag and The Web combined. Maybe adding Black Jack
would make it over twenty-five.
I'll have some of "Bob's" fans check
this piece for errors.
If a trade paperback should happen,
I can provide a few pictures from back in the day. I can even still
stuff myself into my original costume. However, that seems much
harder today than jumping a few times.
Just let me know,
the real one
Powers & Weapons:
Bob Phantom can make himself
Ribbon Comics 2-3
& Radio Comics:
Circle & Archie Comics:
Archie's Weird Mysteries 3, 14
TEXT BY: Erwin K. Roberts author
of Justice in Spite of Evidence
MICRO BY: CopperAge, Isaac Turner and