September 8, 2006

Phantom 2040 #1 [1995]

Ditko pencilled all four issues of this 1995 mini-series, based on an animated cartoon of the era that took Lee Falk's comic strip character into a near-future science fiction world. Which, yeah, is kind of an odd direction to take a traditionally jungle based character, but that's animation for you.

"Generation Unto Generation" is a 20-page story presenting the first part of the origin of the new Phantom (not sure if it's directly based on an episode of the cartoon). Young Kit Walker of Metropia is approached by Guran, a friend of his father, who vanished 16 years earlier and, as he finds out, was the previous Phantom, with a brief rundown of the classic Phantom history. Kit takes on the identity of the Phantom just as an old enemy of his father plans an attack on the city involving robots, hypnosis and other things. Good enough story, and Ditko does a good job with the action bits. The brief bit of him drawing the Phantom history makes me wish he was doing a historical Phantom series.

The inking is by Bill Reinhold, who does a really good job. As I recall, he mentioned back in an issue of DITKOMANIA that he made an effort to add elements of the style of some of Ditko's classic work to the looser style Ditko used when pencilling work for others. It's one of my favourite of the later examples of someone else inking Ditko, and overall this series is probably my favourite of Ditko's mainstream work in the 1990s.

The issue also features a two-page centerspread poster of the character, pencilled by Ditko and inked by John Romita, I think the only time that combination has ever been seen. As with most things inked by Romita it ends up looking more like Romita with a light flavour of the penciller, but still nice to see.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that this is some of Ditko's nicest mainstream work of the period. Reinhold really did a fine job on the inking, one of my favorites. It would have been interesting to have seen Ditko on a traditional Phantom series. It's too bad he never took a turn on the strip when he was at Charlton.

    Nick Caputo