Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Presenting The Phantom Stranger

When I first started collecting comics in 1977, one of the characters who really grabbed my interest was the mysterious Phantom Stranger. I first became aware of him through his appearances in the Justice League Of America book. I didn't know too much about him and my access to back issues was very limited at the time. He didn't appear too much in JLA so my appetite was definitely whetted for more PS. I was real excited in the summer of 1978 when this issue of my favorite book came out.

I was thrilled. I was finally going to see more of this mysterious supernatural superhero. As much as I liked Dick Dillin's version of him in JLA, it didn't hold a candle to the great Jim Aparo's version. This is a great issue by the regular B&B team of Bob Haney and Aparo. I was excited to get Aparo himself to sign the splash page when I met him in 2002.

As the years went by, I managed to acquire Aparo's early 1970's run on the Stranger's own book, which I didn't even knew existed when I was eight. Out of all the covers Aparo did for the series, these two are probably my favorites although it was hard to pick just two.

Phantom Stranger #21 October, 1972

Phantom Stranger #22 December, 1972

Of course after I got all the original issues, DC put out two volumes of Showcase Presents reprinting every issue in glorious black and white.

When I got old enough to start buying commissions from pro artists, The Phantom Stranger turned up in a couple of them, including my all time favortie commission piece from Jim Aparo in 2000.

I also got local Kansas City artist Rick Stasi to draw me a great color piece featuring the PS and the equally mysterious Spectre.

I was real jealous of my buddy Neato Coolville's Aparo commission he got around the same time as mine. What a beauty!

For more info on DC's underrated 70's hero, check out this great blog dealing exclusively with PS. There's tons of great info there. It'll make you want to break out some good old Bronze Age suspense.

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