The Phantom of Cursitor Marsh
Real Name: "Honest" John Goodfellow
Identity/Class: Human technology user
Affiliations: Jim Wayburn
Enemies: Judge Jefferson
Known Relatives: Unnamed father (deceased), Joseph (brother, deceased)
Base of Operations: London, c. 18th century
First Appearance: Hurricane(10 October 1964 - 23 January 1965)
Powers/Abilities: The Phantom could appear and vanish into the fog - this was eventually revealed to be his knowledge of the secret tunnels under the cit y. He harnessed electricity using a series of wires hidden under his bulletproof coat, giving him enough control to burn glowing letters into stone or to stun attackers, and which surrounded him in an unearthly glow.
History: Many years ago Newgate Prison was one of the most feared places of incarceration in the British Islands, and Judge Jefferson, the infamously cruel 'Red Judge' of Newgate, was one of the most feared men associated with that place. Many men were brought before him accused of crimes, and all (guilty or innocent) knew that this would invariably mean a long jail term.
But after years of his reign of terror a nemesis arose. From nearby Cursitor Marsh the legendary Phantom arose, seeking justice against the tyranny of the Red Judge. Riding on a gigantic horse, both rider and steed glowing with eldritch power, able to appear and vanish apparently at will, the Phantom would ride out of the fog to bedevil the Judge and his men, laugh at musket shot, direct unearthly fire from his fingers to stun his opponents or burn eerie warnings into stone, and then disappear without a trace.
The Judge, desperate to find any way to stop the spectre who haunted him, forced young Jim Wayburn to hunt the Phantom, using the promise of releasing his wrongly imprisoned father as leverage. And after many months of hunting, eventually the Phantom revealed his secrets to Jim. He was Jim's trusted friend, 'Honest' John Goodfellow
Some twenty years ago John and his young brother Joseph watched as Jefferson unjustly sent their father to Newgate, leaving his children to fend for themselves on the rough streets of London. It wasn't long before Joseph died of starvation and exposure; John's father meanwhile died in jail. John vowed revenge for this injustice. He managed to secure an apprenticeship with a chemist, and eventually discovered how to harness electricity (then an unknown science). Two years back he learned of an ancient maze of Roman tunnels beneath the city, allowing him to travel unnoticed. Using all this knowledge he had created the identity of the Phantom and set about destroying his enemy. Now, having successfully stripped the Red Judge of his ill-gotten gains, the Phantom delivered enough evidence to the authorities to have the judge himself tried and sent to Newgate. The Red Judge no longer had the money to prevent a fair trial, and screamed for mercy as sentence was pronounced. The evidence also caused many of his victims released, Jim's father among them. With his goal achieved, the Phantom retired, never to be seen again.
Comments: An interesting strip that ran briefly in Hurricane. The exact date of the story is never given, but at a guess I think it's set in the late 1700's / early 1800's. The identity of the Phantom, and whether he was of supernatural origins, was kept hidden until the very last installment. All in all, a very effective story in my opinion.
To the left is a picture of the Phantom's enemy, Judge Jefferson, the "Red Judge".
Ben Weaver has informed me that Alfred Edgar published a series of stories about the Phantom of Cursitor Fields in Bullseye, starting in 1931. While these appear to be text stories (at least one was reprinted in Supernatural Stories for Boys, an anthology of junior horror stories, in 1969), the names are so similar I doubt they are coincidental; at a guess, I'd think the text stories probably inspired the strip in Hurricane.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
any other Phantoms
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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