The Phantom Unmasked
America's First Superhero
University of Iowa Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in ArtNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books Network February 2, 2018 Rebekah Buchanan
In The Phantom Unmasked: America’s First Superhero (University of Iowa Press, 2017), Kevin Patrick examines the history of The Phantom—an American comic strip superhero that made his debut in 1936. Although not popular in the United States, The Phantom knows a long history and popularity in Australia, Sweden, and India. In The Phantom Unmasked, Patrick explores this history. By tracing the publication history of The Phantom and connecting its success to the media licensing industries starting in the 1930s and 40s, Patrick presents an under-explored history to show the role of this comic in international markets and its importance for understanding how international markets worked.
In The Phantom, Patrick assesses how historical, cultural, political, and economic conditions impacted The Phantom’s rise in popularity in Australia, Sweden, and India. In addition, he surveys Phans in order to explain how they have come to love the superhero. Well researched and informative, The Phantom Unmasked adds to the burgeoning comic history.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English at Western Illinois University. She researches zines, zine writers and the influence of music subcultures and fandom on writers and narratives. She is the author of Writing a Riot: Riot Grrrl Zines and Feminist Rhetorics (Peter Lang, 2018). You can find more about her on her website, follow her on Twitter @rj_buchanan or email her at [email protected].