Friday, March 13, 2009

Phantom Stranger #1

Phantom Stranger #1 (On Sale: March 13, 1969) has a cover by Bill Draut.

Fresh from his Showcase tryout we have the Phantom Stranger. We begin with "When Ghosts Walk" from Phantom Stranger #1 (1952) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Sy Barry. Three friends share a plane flight that ends in a fatal crash. Sometime after the crash, ghosts appear and carry out the plans of the dead men that they were unable to complete.

The ghost of Carson Rand attempts to take papers from Edgar Jones which were to be used to blackmail him. The ghost is stopped by the Phantom Stranger. Next the ghost of Bart Benson appears to break a unbreakable bronco. The Phantom Stranger appears to and reveals that it was a trick.

Finally, the apparent ghost of John Martin contacts his fiancee, Margo Phillips. The Phantom Stranger once again appears. The Stranger unmasks the ghost as Matt Wright, a night club employee which Margo caught stealing. Matt had used the ghosts to disguise his true goal of killing Margo. The Stranger's arrival saves Margo and exposes the ghostly hoax.

Next is Doctor 13 in "The Hermit's Ghost Dog" from Star Spangled Comics #125 by Francis Herron and Leonard Starr.

Lastly is the only new material in the book, "Defeat the Dragon Curse ...or Die" by Mike Friedrich and Bill Draut. This new story was reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.


B Allen Krauz said...

I never got a chance to ask him, but for some reason, I always assumed that the 1st two PS Covers, were pencilled by JOE ORLANDO. Especially the 1st, there's the spacing quality & composition of the smoke, the placement/stance of his figures, the folds in the suit...It still looks to me, to be JOE's work, maybe his layout followed by BILL DRAUT'S inks...
The 60's was ORLANDO's most important output(MAD/DC), developing his individuality & style, away from his 1950's teachings & clone-ish Wally Wood look...

-Keller said...

This is nicely designed, but Draut was a pretty good artist, just had a boring sort of inking style. Still, I wouldn't put it past Orlando to do the design if not the pencils.