Howard Gesbeck recently posted this fascinating history lesson to our PhantomCollector Facebook group. With his permission, we repost it here.
Friends of the Phantom was an American fan club for the Phantom. Ed Rhoades, one of the founders of the group, was also the Editor of the FOTP Newsletter. The newsletter was published from February of 1993 until the Spring of 2004. There were 24 issues.
The first issue contained 4 pages, and the newsletter became progressively longer (Issue #24 had 28 pages). Starting with issue #21, the issues were professionally printed.
The FOTP newsletter was Ed Rhoades' baby, and Ed did the majority of the writing. Several of us [including Pete Klaus] helped him by writing articles, providing pictures of items from our collections, and getting the newsletter printed. There were articles about Phantom artwork and artists, collectibles (rings, toys, costumes, etc.), the 1996 movie, and much more.
The 24 newsletters were all approved by King Features, and included appropriate copyright. The newsletter had less than 100 subscribers. For several years after the printing of the newsletter ended, Ed continued the newsletter in an online format. Ed died in a tragic bicycle accident in 2012.
I became involved with FOTP in 1996 and was able to obtain copies of all previous issues. In my Phantom collection, I have all 24 issues and various extra items that were provided to subscribers. Is there any other collector who has all 24 issues of FOTP in their Phantom collection?
In issue #17, Ed wrote an article describing Phantom trading cards that we would want to see. The cards were drawn by 9 different Phantom artists, and an uncut sheet of these cards was included with that issue. The back of each card provided information on the artist who drew that card. Also, in issue #17, there is a 4-page article about Phantom Costumes, with 14 color pictures.
In #23, a 4-page article about Phantom Figures, included 22 color pictures. And, in #24 there was a 4-page article, with 13 color pictures on Phantom Games.
There is a tremendous amount of information for Phantom Collectors in the FOTP Newsletters. As you can imagine, a lot of work went into the FOTP newsletters.
Thanks so much to Howard for allowing us to reprint his post - it's wonderful that this important part of Phantom history is not forgotten.
Pete Klaus spoke to us in detail about the FOTP club and newsletters in Episode 88 of X-Band: The Phantom Podcast, so make sure you check that out.