A recent Egmont story, created by Philip Madden and Alex Saviuk and with covers by Henrik Sahlström, has gained attention in mainstream media and generated an unusual volume of commentary on social media.
This is all based on a few images of the Phantom hitting a roughneck with a rainbow flag.
Sexual preference and equality has been a media hot button topic recently, and some media and a number of Phantom phans have made ill-informed comments and judgements based merely on a cover and a few interior panels.
As the story has only just made it to newsagent stands in Sweden (not even available in Norway yet, let alone Australia) I have contacted CC phriend Andreas Eriksson who has supplied us with a plot of the whole story.
Polish nationalists are after an old artifact (The Golden Eagle, also the title of the story) which is hidden near the Phantom's castle Vacul. They want to use it as a national symbol and create an uprising. During the chase for the Golden Eagle, the gang happen to pass by the Pride parade, which the bad guys happen to dislike. They then try to attack the Pride parade, but Phantom steps in, protects the marchers, and then the chase for the golden eagle continue.
The Gay Pride event is 3-4 pages of the 22-page story - it is not the central focus of the story.
CC has spoken to the writer Philip Madden, who told us,
The Phantom is a heroic character who fights for justice and decency. He defends and protects those who are in need of a hero and punishes those who side with evil, hate and the exploitation of their fellow human beings. The story I wrote is about The Phantom upholding those values.
Philip refers to a very important theme here, which I believe is the point of these 3-4 pages and perhaps the whole story. The Phantom fights for justice and decency, and defends and protects those who are in need of a hero no matter their race, sexual preference, religion or background. According to this plot summary, these people were in need of help and the Phantom helped them - I would like to believe anyone with a decent heart and compassion would do the same, no matter their preference, skin colour or background.
It is worth noting that in past Phantom stories created by Lee Falk and Team Egmont, The Phantom rarely took sides in wars, political parties and religious conflicts (The Phantom Goes to War being an example of an exception). He always defends the weak and oppressed ,and fights for justice.
Let us re-examine the Phantom's oath:
"I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, and cruelty in all their forms, and my sons and their sons, shall follow me."
This is something I believe every true Phantom phan should follow. Some parts of the media have called for a boycott of the story and some individuals have made some horrible comments on various social media platforms.
Below are some of the images of the pride parade scene for those who have not seen the story.
There has been no word yet if or when Frew will publish this story in English.
You can read some of the media stories on this here:
NB: You can use Google Chrome's auto translate tool to help you read the article if you do not speak Swedish.
One interesting late development regarding this story has been a local newspaper in the city of Ludvika (Sweden) asking for help and protection over a legally permitted Nazi demonstration seemingly in reaction to comic.
he article is behind a paywall, but here is some context regarding the situation::
Although the story is set in Poland, Sweden is not without its own right wing nationalist extremists. They take full advantage of their rights in a democratic society while they at the same time want to get rid of democracy and enforce their own views. Most notably, a group of Nazis sought permission to hold a demonstration in Gothenburg during the 2017 Gothenburg book fair - on the street right outside the fair. They disrupted the whole city during the day and the attendance at the fair was the lowest in decades as a result. Another such legally permitted demonstration by a Nazi group is scheduled in the city of Ludvika, where the local newspaper's editorial now asks the Phantom for help: "Let the jungle drums sound when the Nazis come to Ludvika - perhaps the Phantom will come to help".
Thank you to Andreas Eriksson, Philip Madden, Alex Saviuk, Henrik Sahlström and the editorial team at ChronicleChamber for their input and help in this article. Putting aside any disagreement we may have, none of us want to see anyone get hurt physically or verbally, and we all applaud the Phantom helping people in need no matter their background.