With Dynamite Entertainment’s The Last Phantom series just around the corner, Paul Jonassen and Joe Douglas decided to put some questions towards the series writer Scott Beatty.
Scott Beatty: If you Google me or search my name on Amazon.com, you’ll find that I’ve spent a good portion of my career writing for DC Comics in the company of Bat-Characters mainly. I also wrote RUSE for CrossGen Comics and I just concluded a 12-issue run on BUCK ROGERS for THE LAST PHANTOM publisher Dynamite Entertainment, a company that has graciously allowed me to play with some very cool “action figures.”
I’m a HUGE Phantom fan and I hope that comes through in the writing. And as any reader of my Ultimate Guides for DC knows, I’m pretty “immersive” when it comes to research on any given character. I’m familiar with Lee’s stories and I count the Jim Aparo and Don Newton tenures on Charlton’s PHANTOM run as some of my favourite stories.
Inarguably, The Phantom is an archetypal superhero and the model for just about every costumed hero who followed him beginning with comics’ Golden Age. Perhaps it’s the setting. Superman and Batman are inherently American. The Phantom is the guardian of Bengali, yet doesn’t shy away from globetrotting to battle evil. I think that latter trait makes him so easily embraced by other parts of the world. His primary loyalty, after Bengali of course, is to JUSTICE. So therefore he’s not just the defender of a major Metropolitan city, but a hero to THE WORLD. He belongs to EVERYONE.
I don’t think you can have one without the other. Obviously, we want to appeal to both Column A and Column B. Alex, Ed, and I want to please the hardcore fans while introducing Kit Walker to readers who’ve never read a Phantom story before. But we’re not slowing down for either camp. A good “jumping-on point” for any comics story is simply a GOOD STORY, and that’s what we’re striving for in THE LAST PHANTOM
The core of the character is the enduring nature of Kit Walker. Generation after generation there’s always a Kit Walker, and by extension—always a Ghost Who Walks—because evil is often hard to kill. The Phantom isn’t simply a hero who dons a costume in order to exact retribution on the villains who wronged him. He’s part of a DYNASTY. If you’re the son of Kit Walker, this is the family business, no questions asked. Except Alex and I envisioned a Kit who didn’t exactly figure on carrying on the Walker legacy. That’s a CONFLICT that’s every bit as important as the schemes and stratagems of the bad guys.
Yup, and we will.
As far as were concerned, and this may seem contradictory given the title, THE LAST PHANTOM is an ongoing series until the wheels fall off.
We’ll see. As far as Kit Walker is concerned, the 21 Phantom is THE LAST PHANTOM.
Oh yeah? Where did you hear that? I think the best Rogues Galleries are like that old wedding tradition where brides-to-be carry with them four specific items: Something OLD, Something NEW, Something BORROWED, and Something… RED. I’ve said too much!
Alex has sworn me to secrecy! It’s a blood oath and I bear the mark of the Good Ring to prove my fealty here. Change is inevitable. Superman didn’t even wear boots in his first appearance. His costume resembled a toddler’s footy pajamas! And Batman carried a gun! Phantom fans need to read the story. Every detail means something. Trust us: WE HAVE A PLAN.
I’m going to go on record and say that Kit WANTS his enemies to see his eyes. As for the reason, you have to read the opening story arc, “Ghost Walk.”
We’re quite respectful of The Phantom’s huge phan following. And I’m not about to spoil the story by explaining what we have planned. Give us six issues and you’ll be HOOKED.
THE LAST PHANTOM is set in the here and now. The current Kit Walker believes that after 20 generations, there might be a better way. He actually thinks that he has a CHOICE.
It “rings” true for the latest Kit Walker.
Definitely. Alex is part of the creative team from the get-go.
There are many jungles in this world, including the so-called concrete jungles.
Moonstone put out a few stories where the Phantom teamed up with Mandrake the Magician, Captain Action and the Domino Lady. Is there a possibility to see stories where the purple guy teams up with characters licence by Dynamite, like the Green Hornet, Zorro, etc.?
That’s up to Dynamite Head Honcho Nick Barrucci, as well as the characters’ individual owners and licensors. You’ve undoubtedly read by now that Dynamite acquired the rights to publish stories with Mandrake and Flash Gordon. Want DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH? Write to Nick and make your voices heard!
I’ve only seen the Billy Zane film, which I think is simply a hoot. Much fun. In my mind, any comic book film worth its salt simply MUST take the subject matter seriously. I’m talking about staying true to the character(s) core motivations and not dumbing it down for an audience. And for God’s sake, make it about THE HERO. Not his love life. Not umpteen villains vying for screen time with hammy actors chewing scenery. Show us why he wears a purple leotard and zebra shorts. Trust us. If it’s good, we’ll stay until the final credits roll.
Didn’t I already tell you Alex and I have a pact! What happens in the Skull Cave STAYS in the Skull Cave!
A HUGE thanks goes to Scott for taking the time to answer our question and to Paul for helping me with this interview!