Real Name: Richard Curtis Van Loan
Identity/Class: Normal human
Occupation: Adventurer, playboy, former soldier
Affiliations: Frank Havens (New York Clarion publisher, friend), Steve Huston (reporter), Chip Doren, Muriel Van Loan,
Enemies: Emperor of Crime, Fu Kee, Clifford Boniface
Known Relatives: Muriel (sister)
Base of Operations: Crime laboratory
First Appearance: The Phantom Detective: The Emperor of Crime (Phantom Detective Publishing, February 1933)
Powers/Abilities: Good fighter, highly skilled detective.
History: Playboy Richard Curtis Van Loan found post-war life boring after facing action during the Great War, until his publisher friend Frank Havens challenged him to solve a mystery which had stumped the authorities. After succeeding, Richard realised he revelled in the challenge, and began intensive studies into criminal psychology, detective work, hand to hand combat, and disguise, then set out to solve more crimes as the mysterious Phantom, operating out of a hidden crime laboratory. It wasn't long before the police were approaching him for assistance, usually through Frank, who would summon the Phantom using a red beacon located atop the newspaper building.
Comments: Created by D.L. Champion.
Despite the magazine title, Van Loan was only ever referred to as the Phantom within his stories, never the Phantom Detective (that was purely the magazine title); his title moved from Phantom Detective Publishing to Better Publications after about the first year. The Phantom has a number of pulp distinctions: he premiered a month before Doc Savage, his magazine ran for 170 issues, giving him the third longest hero pulp run after the Shadow (who amassed 325 stories) and Doc Savage (who managed 181, before his more recent revival), and though he didn't garner as many issues, his title outlasted both those worthies, ending in Fall 1953, more than 20 years after he had premiered.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
The Phantom, cloaked reporter from Pow Annual 1972
Phantom, The Ghost who Walks, a dynasty of heroes created by Lee Falk - this is the 21st, the star of the newspaper strips
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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