The Phantom: The Complete Series--The King Years HC
Publisher: Hermes Press
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Price: $49.95
Creator(s): Various
Format: 256 pages, Full-Color, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-6134-5006-2
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

This volume has great historical value to those who want to read the complete works which comprise The Phantom, but also has flaws, as some of the stories simply did not age well.   Not traditionally racist, in that both heroes and villains can be any color, and only mildly sexist, but just a bit old-fashioned in attitudes, with mild stereotyping.

The Phantom was a mainstay of newspaper adventure strips for many years, with stories taking place at a very odd geographic point, a hidden jungle somehow at the boundary of Africa and India.   That weird world map allowed the creator to tell all sorts of stories set in various places around the Indian Ocean, over several centuries, as the stories of the various Phantoms took place.

For this reprint series, Hermes has gathered all of the comics produced for a brief attempt by King Features to produce their own comic books.  The experiment lasted for roughly a year.   The quality of the writing varies wildly, as these stories are short compared to the ones in the ongoing strip, and often felt rushed.   Oddly, between each story and the next is what amounts to an advertisement for the next book in the reprint series, in the form of a teaser page.

For adults, with little appeal for younger readers.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.