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The Phantom, 9/28/04

Aaaaannnd to prove my point about The Phantom having different storylines during the week than it has on Sunday, here’s a weekly strip for your perusal. The Phantom is hot on the trail of one of his tigers, stolen from his private island and cooped up in an American zoo. One of the funny (not ha-ha funny) things about the Phantom is that, unlike most superheroes with dual personas, he’s in disguise in both of them. Whether he’s clad head-to-toe in skin-tight purple lycra, or wearing a mysterious yet stylish trench coat-fedora-sunglasses combo, you can never get a good look at his face. Which leads, of course, to the question of: Why? I mean, if nobody can ever see your face, then who exactly are you hiding it from? Surely if everyone’s used to seeing you in a mask, then going around in plain sight is the best disguise of all. Come on, Ghost-Who-Walks, all the other costumed crime-fighters have figured this out.

Anyway, on this adventure, you’d think the Phantom would be sneaking into the zoo at night all Phantom-stylie in a bid to free his striped buddy. Instead, he’s wandered into the zoo after hours, offering cryptic answers to legitimate questions from the staff. (I bet most zoo-keepers get really peeved when they have their book-learnin’ questioned.) Fortunately, this zoo is run by indulgent types who apparently enjoy, or at least tolerate, the vague prattling of mysterious strangers.

Extra credit question: Can anyone really say “?!” Because people in The Phantom say it a lot. Eternal glory goes to whoever can explain to me how to pronounce it. My guess is a sort of “mmmmmmmmOOOMP!”