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Author Topic: Jim Aparo, 1932-2005  (Read 6916 times)
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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2005, 02:07:41 PM »

Not to hijack this thread away from Jim Aparo (poor guy's getting eclipsed in his own obit!), but on the subject of the Phantom:

- Nobody ever actually said his outfit was wool, but Jim and Don always drew him with those ribbed cuffs at the end of his sleeves, making it look like George Reeve's super-suit (or, more on topic, Tom Tyler's outfit in the Phantom serial).  It always seemed to me superheroes were drawn in "longjohn"-like fabrics until the Silver Age, when they started looking more like spandex.

- I think I read somewhere the Phantom was supposed to have a gray suit -- and it was in the dailies -- but somehow it turned purple in the color Sundays, at least in the States.  Why I don't know.  Those things happened in the old days...in Italy, Batman's outfit was red!

- I agree the Phantom is a great character, and a cool concept.  I've gotten some of the recent reprints of the early Falk/Moore stuff and it's really well done.  Makes me wish I'd been around in the days newspaper strips were worth reading.

And you're right of course, the Phantom beat all superheroes to the punch.  But I never held up Superman or Batman as particularly original creations; they're each sort of a mish-mash of earlier stuff, it's just that in their case they got the mix just right.

Back to Aparo, I remember one thing I loved about his Phantom was that he looked "old school," but he had all kinds of modern technology.  There was a Phantom jet that sticks out in my mind, for example, and a motorcycle.  All in all, pretty good practice for an artist destined to do Batman.

Wow...imagine a Phantom-Batman crossover drawn by Aparo.  How cool would THAT have been?
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2005, 03:47:02 PM »

Quote from: "nightwing"
Not to hijack this thread away from Jim Aparo (poor guy's getting eclipsed in his own obit!), but on the subject of the Phantom:

- Nobody ever actually said his outfit was wool, but Jim and Don always drew him with those ribbed cuffs at the end of his sleeves, making it look like George Reeve's super-suit (or, more on topic, Tom Tyler's outfit in the Phantom serial).  It always seemed to me superheroes were drawn in "longjohn"-like fabrics until the Silver Age, when they started looking more like spandex.


Definitely in the Mad parodies and in Goodman Beaver, Superman looked like he was in a sweatsuit/longjohn affair. Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2005, 10:49:45 AM »

Quote from: "Nightwing"
Back to Aparo, I remember one thing I loved about his Phantom was that he looked "old school," but he had all kinds of modern technology. There was a Phantom jet that sticks out in my mind, for example, and a motorcycle. All in all, pretty good practice for an artist destined to do Batman.


I don't know this version of The Phantom you're talking about, but I wouldn't agree at all with The Phantom having a Phantom-jet and Phantom-motorcycle and other specialist equipment a la Batman. If you have some of the old Ray Moore comics, you will have a feel for what The Phantom is really like.

The Phantom, the man, is not as cerebral as Batman; he is more like the two-fisted old-school adventurers, with a healthy dose of the "intuitive improvisation" you wrote about in your 007 article. The rare times The Phantom ponders over something, it is usually about his relationship with Diana. Like Batman, The Phantom is backed by a huge fortune (ie. the contents of the Treasure Room), but he doesn't spend it on gadgets and personal ownership. When he travels, he dresses in civilian clothes and uses public transport as a passenger on ships, planes, and trains. This always added a genuine element of excitement to his adventures. Here was the Ghost Who Walks getting around just as we might. He was never weighed down by gadgets or the accoutrements of wealth.

He never lost that appeal of travelling light and travelling quickly, often on horseback, with just his suit, guns, and civilian clothes, and the companionship of Devil. For me, it gave him a special kind of freedom and self-reliance.

Any chance someone can post some pictures of the Phantom as drawn by Jim Aparo? I'd be very interested to see them.
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2005, 06:13:53 PM »

Quote from: "Aldous"
Quote from: "Nightwing"
Any chance someone can post some pictures of the Phantom as drawn by Jim Aparo? I'd be very interested to see them.


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Here you go:




Jim Aparo interview! Read it folks!

right here: http://www.twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/09aparo.html
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2005, 01:22:22 PM »

Aldous:

I certainly agree the Aparo-era Phantom gadgets (and I only read a couple stories, so I can't say with certainty they were a big part of the continuity in the 70s) are at odds with the early Moore-era Phantom.  But seeing as how this was my introduction to the Ghost-Who-Walks, I didn't mind.

Interesting tid-bit; did you ever read the first Phantom story?  It's set in New York and some heavy hints are dropped that the Phantom's secret ID is Diana Palmer's fiance....whose name I can't remember at the moment.  And in fact that was the original plan.  But then Falk brought in Kit Walker and switched the heart of the mythos to the jungle.  Another example of the comic strip as an organic, evolving entity...it's fascinating to watch the early strips experiment and play around until they get the formula right.

But reading that story, it's an obvious "cheat."  Darn it, what was that guy's name?  He figured in the movie, I remember...played as a hopeless twit.
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2005, 03:01:25 PM »

Yes, I am pretty sure I have read it. I don't know the film, but I think the name you're looking for is Jimmy Wells.

I think I have the story in one of the early, slightly abbreviated, Frew editions.

Yes, it's so interesting how Lee Falk's ideas were evolving even as the strip was being published. How amazing that we almost had what would have been a seminal wealthy playboy/costumed hero for the comics. A few years later, in the Forties, we had a plethora of wealthy playboy/costumed heroes, all owing something to the great Batman, more or less.

However, I wouldn't change a thing regarding The Phantom. He is in a special category all his own.

Archived on this website is a post or two about this subject by India Ink. Superman from the 30s to the 50s. "Gladiator" rates a mention as well.

I like the Phantom drawing by Jim Aparo.
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