Over four-hundred years ago, a large British merchantman was attacked by Singg pirates off the remote shores of Bangalia. The captain of the trading vessel was a famous seafarer who, in his youth, had served as cabin boy to Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to discover the New Word. With the captain, was his son Kit, a strong young man who idolized his father and hoped to follow in his footsteps as a seafarer. But the pirate attack was disastrous. In a furious battle, the entire crew of the merchantman was killed and the ship sank in flames. The sole survivor was young Kit, who, as he fell off the burning ship, saw his father killed by a pirate. Kit was washed ashore, half dead, and friendly pygmies found him and nursed him to health.
Walking on the beach one day, he found a dead pirate dressed in his father’s clothes, and realized this was the pirate who had killed his father. Grief-stricken, he waited until vultures had stripped the body clean. Then, on the skull of his father’s murderer, he swore an oath by firelight as the friendly pygmies watched. “I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, and sons and their sons shall follow me.”
And thus we come to an exciting day in the life of the twentieth generation of Phantoms; the birth of a boy baby. It is this boy baby who will grow up to become the twentieth generation of Phantoms, the Phantom of our day, whose adventures we know and follow. And the tale we are about to tell is his story as he grows from that baby boy into the mysterious Man Who Cannot Die, the Ghost Who Walks – the Phantom.
from The Story of The Phantom
A novel by Lee Falk
Lee Falk began writing and drawing The Phantom comic strip in 1936. When he died, in 1999, he was still telling the story of The Phantom. The Phantom comic strip continues to run today. From 1972 to 1975, Lee Falk, and four friends, all internationally renowned authors, recorded the legend of The Phantom in fifteen novels.
The Phantom is the reason you’re reading this. I was born in 1942. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my Daddy’s lap, every day, while he read the latest adventure of The Phantom to me. At least once during each daily session, my mother would call out from the kitchen, “Bert, you shouldn’t read that to him. He’s too young."
In 1946, my younger brother was born. With more demands on his time, and the constant criticism from my mother for reading The Phantom to me, our daily sessions came to an end. There was no way I’d give up The Phantom. I learned to read. As a byproduct of learning to read, I learned to write. That’s why The Phantom is the reason we are sharing this moment.
The Phantom is testimony to the power of storytellers in our lives. I’m a storyteller, the real oldest profession in the world, and I’m proud to be one. This site is a series of stories, snapshots of my life and work. Thanks for taking the time to walk along my path, with me.
Welcome to my Skull Cave….