The Skull Cage Key: A Novel


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When he died, his son took over for him, when the second Phantom died, his son took over, and so on. So it would go on through the centuries, causing people to believe that the Phantom was immortal. His base is in the Deep Woods of Bengali originally "Bengalla", or " Bangalla " and renamed Denkali in the Indian edition [33] , a fictional country initially said to be set in Asia, near India, but depicted as in Africa during and after the s.

The Phantom's base is the fabled Skull Cave , where all of the previous Phantoms are buried. The Phantom is the commander of Bangalla's Jungle Patrol. The Phantom uses several ways to stay in contact. These include radio and a safe with a false bottom. The 21st Phantom's birth name is Kit Walker, as was the name of many of the Phantoms before him. Kit was born in the Skull Cave and spent his first years in the jungle of Bangalla.

His mother, Maud Thorne McPatrick, who had previously worked as Rita Hayworth 's stunt double, was born in Mississippi, where Kit was sent to study when he was 12 years old, living with his aunt Lucy and uncle Jasper in the town of Clarksville, Missouri. Here he met his wife-to-be, Diana Palmer. Kit was an extremely talented sportsman and was predicted to become the world champion in many different events even knocking out the world heavyweight boxing champion in a sparring match when the champion visited Clarksville. Despite the opportunity to choose practically any career he wanted, Kit faithfully returned to Bengalla to take over the role of the Phantom when he received word from Guran that his father was dying from a knife-wound.


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One of Kit's first missions as the Phantom was to find his father's killer, Rama Singh, who had betrayed and murdered the 20th Phantom by first helping him to blow up a fleet of ships owned by the Singh Brotherhood, only to then stab him in the back, stealing his special gunbelt in the process. The 21st Phantom eventually found him and reclaimed the belt at the island of Gullique, but before he could avenge his father and bring the killer to jail, the desperate Rama blew up his lair, killing himself and his henchmen in the process.

The Phantom has two animal helpers, a mountain wolf named Devil and a horse named Hero. He also has a trained falcon named Fraka.

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From on, The Phantom raised an orphan named "Rex King", who was later revealed to be the prince of the kingdom of Baronkhan. He also has two dolphins named Solomon and Nefertiti, and numerous other animals kept on the island of Eden. In , he married his sweetheart, Diana Palmer, who works at the United Nations. The Phantom and Diana have two children, Kit and Heloise. Guran is the Phantom's best friend since childhood and a supporter of his cause.

As part of the official uniform, the Phantom wears a black domino mask and a purple skintight bodysuit. He also carries period-appropriate sidearms , currently two M pistols [40] in a special belt with a skull-like buckle. Falk has insisted that the Phantom only uses his guns to shoot out the guns of his opponents, a fact that writer Peter David was unaware of when he wrote DC Comics ' four-issue Phantom miniseries , in which he had the Phantom shoot to wound his enemies.

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While there had been masked crime fighters like the costumed Zorro , The Shadow , or the business-suited The Clock , the Phantom was the first fictional character to wear the skintight costume and eyes with no visible pupils that has become a trademark of superheroes. Creator Lee Falk had originally envisioned a gray costume and even considered naming his creation "The Gray Ghost".

It was not until the Phantom Sunday strip debuted in that the costume was shown to be purple. Falk, however, continued to refer to the costume as gray in the text of the strip on several occasions afterward, but finally accepted the purple color.

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As part of a modernization of the character in the Moonstone Books' series, The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks , the Phantom began wearing a costume made of kevlar. A signature of the character is his two rings. One has a pattern formed like four crossing sabres, "The Good Mark", that he leaves on visitors whom he befriends, placing the person under his protection. The other, "The Evil Mark" or "Skull Mark" has a skull shape, which leaves a scar of the corresponding shape on the enemies he punches with it. He wears the Good Mark on his left hand because it is closer to the heart, and the Evil Mark on his right hand.

The most dangerous and lasting enemy of the Phantom is the Singh Brotherhood, active for centuries and responsible for the death of the 21st Phantom's father. This is because "Singh" is a common name in India, and Falk wished to avoid offending Indian readers by implying that the organization originated in that country. Another criminal organization that the Phantom repeatedly clashes with is the Sky Band, a group of all-female air pirates. The Phantom's repeated role in thwarting the activities of the Dakk people is the source of his "Guardian of the Eastern Dark" title.

Antagonists in the Team Fantomen stories include larcenous art collector Jason Parnassos, [47] thief Vasti Riba, [50] dictator Prince Grigor, [47] murderous treasure hunter Bail, and Goldhand, named for his prosthetic hand made of solid gold. Written by Dale Robertson , the book was based on Lee Falk's comic strip story "Childhood of the Phantom", although Falk had no involvement with the novel.

It featured a cover drawn by Wilson McCoy. The series ran from to , and was written by several authors, including Falk; the covers were done by George Wilson. It was written by Rob MacGregor. The book was released in both a softcover and limited hardcover edition, and featured an introduction written by Lee Falk's daughter, Valerie Falk.

The Phantom Chronicles 2 was released in It features a story where the Phantom teams up with Green Hornet , written by Harlan Ellison , and has a foreword written by Diane Falk. The book also features illustrations of the Phantom, drawn by Ray Moore. In Papua New Guinea , the Wahgi people have used images of the Phantom on their ceremonial war shields , or "kumbe reipe".

Art historian N. Karlins believes that comic books featuring the Phantom may have been brought to Papua New Guinea by American troops as early as the s. A episode, minute movie serial , starring Tom Tyler in the title role, was made in by Columbia Pictures and directed by action specialist B.


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Creator Lee Falk was billed on screen as "Leon Falk. Bremmer, played by Kenneth MacDonald , from building a secret airbase in the jungle. The Phantom's real name in the serial was Geoffrey Prescott, as the alias of Kit Walker had not been mentioned in the strip at that point. Walker after having become the Phantom. Two episodes loosely adapted Lee Falk's story "The Fire Princess" for the screen, and fit it into the plot of the Phantom's fight against Dr.

Tom Tyler in costume bore a striking resemblance to the comic-strip character, and the serial was a success. In , when Columbia's serial producer Sam Katzman was making low-budget remakes of older cliffhangers, he cast John Hart in a sequel, filmed as Return of the Phantom.

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Unfortunately Katzman failed to check with the studio's legal department, and found that its rights to the Phantom character had lapsed. Katzman, unwilling to meet the rights holder's high price, reshot much of the action with Hart in a vaguely similar costume helmet, mask, sweater, and riding breeches to match the old footage with Tom Tyler. Katzman, having been forced to delete many of the action scenes from The Phantom , filled the gaps with scenes from two more old serials, The Desert Hawk and Jungle Menace.

The new mashup was finally released as The Adventures of Captain Africa. The Phantom was also adapted into a live-action movie in Produced and released by Paramount Pictures , the movie was set in the s, and incorporated elements from several of the Phantom's earliest comic-strip adventures. Cult-icon Bruce Campbell was another choice for the role, [66] but Zane, already a huge fan of the comic strip since being introduced to Australian Frew comics on the set of Dead Calm , ended up getting the part after actively lobbying for it for years.


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After his casting, he pumped iron for a year and a half to fill the Phantom's costume, refusing to wear a costume with moulded muscles. He also closely studied panels of the comic to capture the character's body language. Though the film was not a theatrical success, it was the reason why Zane was cast as Caledon Hockley in Titanic , the world's second most commercially successful film, [67] and has sold well on VHS and DVD.

The movie was filmed on location in Australia, Thailand, and Los Angeles, and featured the Phantom in his attempt to stop madman Xander Drax Treat Williams from obtaining a weapon of doom, the legendary "Skulls of Touganda". The film also has elements taken from the story "The Singh Brotherhood", the first Phantom story, and its continuation "The Sky Band".

In , syndicated gossip columnist Liz Smith claimed that Paramount was putting a sequel into development, with Zane returning to play the title role, because of the good VHS and DVD sales of the first film. On December 15, , it was announced that Sherlock Symington Productions had secured the rights to the Phantom, and were set to make a film called The Phantom: Legacy unrelated to the Moonstone Books graphic novel of the same name and any other screen incarnation of the character.

Phantom (comics)

Bruce Sherlock, executive producer and head of Sherlock Symington Productions, said that The Phantom: Legacy would follow the lead of films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man , and present a serious treatment of the character. The film will be set in the present day, and revolve around the relationship between the Phantom and his son, and what it means to be the Phantom. Work on the film was expected to begin in Filming was scheduled to take place in Australia, and producers were in talks with both Australian and international actors to work on the film.

In an interview with Dark Horizons , Boyle said the film would feature two main antagonists, one taken from the comic and one created for the movie. The Phantom's costume was expected to be updated for the screen, with Boyle seeking to make it more reality-based.

The film was said to be heavily focused on the mythology of the comics, with a lot of screen time expected to be devoted to the origin of the 1st Phantom. The Phantom's eyes behind his mask would be white, unlike in previous film-versions.

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Boyle was originally considered to direct the movie, but in confirmed he was only attached as the writer. It was announced in that Mark Gordon and his production company were developing a new film with Management , Drew Simon was executive producing, and they were currently looking for a new writer on the script. At least three unauthorized Phantom movies were made in Turkey.

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