The First Phantom Comic - A Confusing Tale


Ask any Phantom phan and they will say the first ever The Phantom comic book was produced in Italy. This is something we have all believed, and been lead to believe for 80 years, by people who are much more knowledgeable than us. So without causing too much controversy, could they be wrong?

You'd better believe it because its now time to rewrite Phantom history: we have discovered an older The Phantom comic!

And this is not the end of the story, as there is a real chance that history could be rewritten yet again and we find that the Italian comic, previously thought of as the first The Phantom comic, may not even be the second or third. Let us go back to in time, lay out some known Phantom phacts and go from there. In Frew #1771. the Frew Crew included a feature article reminding readers that the first ever The Phantom comic was published in 1936 which technically is incorrect. Actually the date referred to here is September 13, 1936 when the L'Avventuroso magazine published their weekly magazine with a supplement filled with comics from around the world, including American comics and The Phantom. It is argued if these are actually comic strips or more like a magazine supplement (i.e. like the travel section in the newspaper) and not really a comic book as we understand it. Also it is argued that this magazine only featured a page or two combined with others and was therefore not a true Phantom comic.

The most commonly known first The Phantom comic is the Italian Collana Albi Grandi Avventure 1 (above) which was released in May 1937. When Phantom phans talk about the first Phantom comic, this is what they are referring to. As you can see on the cover, it is dated Maggio (May) 1937. Now let's discuss how this is wrong. Uncommon knowledge is that there were many other The Phantom comics published before 1940 including Brasil, Turkey, France, the United States, Australia and the former Yugoslavia.

About a year ago a Phantom phan from Brasil posted this Phantom cover (below) on a Facebook post citing a date of 27 April 1937 - a full month before the date that it had been credited with previously, as identified on the Deep Woods website. Clearly, this is also about a month before the well recognised May 1937 publication date of the Italian comic Collana Albi Grandi Avventure 1.

This has been confirmed personally by the original Brasil phan who posted it, plus the original writer on the Deep Woods webpage who also owns a copy, as well as other researchers working independently, besides myself. The below image is the inside cover which shows the date 27th April 1937!

So it seems that the title of "First Ever Phantom Comic" must pass from Italy to Brasil.

Now to make this even more interesting, both Turkey and the former Yugoslavia also published comics featuring the Phantom in 1937. However at the moment we do not have confirmed months of publication for those two, so at this time the Italian comic is only relegated to the second Phantom comic ever published. However in time, it may prove that Collana Albi Grandi Avventure 1 was actually third or even fourth!

Special thanks must go to Helio, Sergio, Swaroop and Andreas who have helped gather the information with the team at Chronicle Chamber.

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