The Philippines has a rich history with comics (komiks in the Filipino language) and was widespread and popular throughout the country from the 1920s. Komiks were partially inspired by American mainstream comic strips and comic books during the early 20th century. This sky rocketed particularly after World War II and then again in 1971, when DC Comics editor Joe Orlando and publisher Carmine Infantino traveled to the Philippines on a recruiting trip.
This led to the Phantom being published briefly in the Philippines, that series was not popular and only a handful of comics still in circulation today. From the research I have done, I know off five comics to exist in today's market.
However what was popular in the 1970s and 1980s were TEK(S) cards. It is believed that the cards and the game actually started from the 1930s, however the popularity was at the highest in the 1970s and 1980s.
The cards featured characters from TV Shows, Comics and movies including The Phantom, Batman, Spiderman, King Kong, James Bond, Wonder Women, Sesame Street, Iron Man and many others. Each card was meticulously drawn by unknown Filipino illustrators and were usually numbered from 1-60 to complete a storyline.
They were sold by vendors attached together in packs of four or six. You would then either cut them or punch them out to single cards.
Not only did the children collect and trade the cards, they also played a game which consisted of the two players placing a betting card on the floor and then the other player hits the card with another card. If the betting and hitting cards face the same way, the player keeps the cards. As you can imagine, majority of these cards did not last.
Add the climate, the game, the fact they are just printed cardboard and the age it is no wonder why these cards are fairly hard to come across 40-50 years later. You can find Tek cards occasionally on eBay however very rarely do Phantom Teks cards came along.
The Phantom Teks cards from the 1970s & 1980s are usually 35mm x 46mm in size however the earlier cards are a bit larger measuring 50mm x 68mm.
I do not know the exact dates the Phantom Teks cards originated but I do know there is at least two sets as you can see with the gallery attached below.
I believe this game also made it way into other parts of South East Asia with two sets of the Phantom games also being printed in Indonesia from the 1970s. These cards are smaller than the Filipino counterparts.
Below in the gallery are the two known full sets uncut. The stories are "The Phantom vs The Black Cobra" and "The Phantom vs Raja Sihir".
You will notice the Indonesian cards feature a different looking Phantom. This is fairly common with Indonesian Phantom comics.
These cards are hard to find and if you find any, buy them. While not licensed, they are highly sought after by Filipino collectors who want to collect items from their childhood as well as collectors of the specific characters like the Phantom.
If you like these type of posts of us delving into odd and rare collector items, please let us know. Thanks to Jon Cookson and Guy Poissant as some of these photos are from their personal collections.