If you have listened to the X-Band podcast interview with Hermes Press you would have heard me raising a couple of edited panels with Dan Herman from Hermes Press in their first Daily Volume reprint. It was the first time he had noticed they where edited and in talking to a few other phans, they hadn't noticed either.
This article is a written explanation of the adventure we went through and I hope you enjoy this look into the history. I have looked at both the Hermes volumes, Frew 1128 and other publications from around the world and from collectors personal scans and they are all the same. The majority of these examples have all come from the one source so it's safe to say that these edits / changes happened pre-release but why were they done?
The first panel example is early in the story dated 25th March 1939 with Diana on her way to Achmed's party and have a look at the writing style of the third panel compared to the others.
If you have listened to any of the past podcasts with any of the newspaper creators like Tony DePaul, Mike Manly, Jeff Weigel etc you will know that editing happens all the time post the artist handing in their work. In the case of the Dailies, the colouring also happens post by a KFS staff member. I think in this example a KFS staffer rewrote the words in the speech bubble to cover up a spelling or grimmer mistake or a last minute editorial change.
The main focus of this article is the next edit / change which has me very interested.
The first two panels shows Sala being tied up and then the place is bombed and Sala who is forgotten rescues the Phantom by killing Kabai Singh. However have you noticed in-between all the bombing, being tied up and her life in danger, she has time to get changed into a night gown?
If you read the comments on social media with the censor / edit article on Frew 1817 you are aware that changing anything from what the artist originally designed can be dangerous with passionate fans. So what happened in this case? Was it edited or was there another reason behind it?
Myself and a band of fellow Phantom enthusiasts can think of two possible likely reasons it has happened.
First option we can think off is called a 'Weekend Miss' where by the time Ray Moore got around to drawing the next panel, he simply forgot or didn't have the previous panels handy to reference what clothes he drew Sala in. Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Lee Falk have all been guilty of this in their careers. I do not know of any other 'weekend misses' Ray Moore did but it's possible. If it can happen to the previously mentioned legends, it can happen to Moore.
The second option is a pre publication edit where Ray Moore handed in the daily with the normal Sala attire and due to one reason or the other it was censored from that panel onwards. In the Lee Falk Storyteller book on page 222 Lee Falk in an interview retells a story from a Mandrake story where something similar happened. (Video review of the Lee Falk Storyteller Book & how to get your own copy here)
Back in February 1936, a number of newspapers were concerned about a women who was scantily clad being chased by a werewolf (who turned out to be a dog-faced boy from the circus) for a week. After the complaints and concerns they had changed her attire by putting on a dress to cover her exposed knickers and bra.
This option in my opinion makes the most sense.
Other options could be that the only remaining proof of the strip is the edited version and while its likely after 80 odd years for every known proof from KFS, people's collections and printed in other comics show the above, it is unlikely.
[Editors Note: There has been another example of a 'Weekend Miss' this time found by phan Guy Poissant]
You will notice Diana is asleep and her arm is bare on the Friday (21 March) and on the Monday (23 March), she is wearing a full length nightie covering her shoulders and arms. keen observers will also spot the bed end has changed with Mondays bed having ornamental poles were on Friday it was a simple rounded cornice bed end.
Thanks must go to a bunch of Phantom phans & creators who all chatted with me about these panels. In no particular order I thank Shane Foley, Andreas Eriksson, Ivan Pedersen, Guy Poissant and Dan Herman.