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The Phantom, 7/10/05

So for the past several weeks, I’ve been trying to get a handle on what the cultural deal is of the plague-ridden African nation of Baronkhan (BaronKhan?). It’s a neighbor to the Phantom’s own happy post-colonial democracy of Bangalla and the obviously apartheid-based state of Rhodia. But Baronkhan (BaRonKhaN?) is a tougher one to crack. In this strip alone, we’ve got a kimono-wearing doctor in panel two (assuming that we’re looking through de-colorizing glass and not at a sepia-toned Japanese print hung on the outside of the building for some reason), some soldiers apparently on loan from the 18th century Ottoman army in panel three, and our Aryan prince and his native sidekick Tom-Tom (Tom-Tom?), dressed for a trip to a mall in suburban Ohio. With this melange of sartorial styles on display, I guess the Phantom can indulge himself in disguises he doesn’t get to wear very often. In this case, he’s chosen some sort of hooded faux-medieval get up, perfect for working the manor fields under the watchful eye of a benevolent duke, or possible for leading a pitchfork-wielding mob to roust out a coven of potential witches. It would have been a little more effective if you couldn’t see the purple spandex through his décolletage.

By the way, if you’re not a regular follower of the Phantom, you might be edified by the little explanatory footnote in the middle panel of the bottom row. The fact that similar footnotes appear roughly once every two to three weeks says something about the how long the Phantom’s creators think they can hold on to readers.