Golden Age Hero ‘Bob Phantom’ Returns This November In A Shadowy Noir Reboot
by Brendan M. Allen
Archie Comics is bringing the classic superhero Bob Phantom out of the Golden Age vault and into the modern era in an all-new one-shot comic book hitting stores in November.
Writer James III and artist Richard Ortiz set their mind-bending noir-tinged adventure in the shadowy alleyways of New York City’s theater district, with a hero who may be the story’s villain, as well.
Bob Phantom was one of Archie’s earliest superhero characters, introduced in 1939’s Blue Ribbon Comics #2 in a story drawn by comics legend Irv Novick. Boasting a multitude of superpowers and talents, he fought crime by night and worked as theater critic and gossip columnist Walt Whitney by day, often antagonizing police. In the new version, James III explores the possibility that Walt’s anti-authoritarian streak may run deeper than the surface as he creates news in order to report it.
James said, “With Bob Phantom, I wanted to explore what it means to write news today when everyone gets their news from the headlines on their Twitter feed without reading the articles, and you can’t tell what’s legitimate and what’s fake. (To use loaded terminology.) This might make you question your validity as a journalist and your worth as a person in society. I was heavily inspired by crime stories with news elements like Road to Perdition and Nightcrawler. What brings a person to snap pictures first and provide assistance later or not at all?”
Bob Phantom’s fanciful powers may be too fanciful to be true, as well, as the new story takes a surreal turn into Walt’s dreams. Jamie added, “We’ll see glimpses of the cold realities of the real world alongside dreamscapes of the imagination. The juxtaposition of the two takes this from a standard superhero story to something that deftly blends surrealism with noir. There’s a lot going on in this story, and a lot that can be carried over into more in the future!”
Bob Phantom releases November 16 in comic shops and is available for pre-order now. It will feature a cover by Tim Seeley and Matt Herms as well as an open-to-order variant cover by Jamal Igle.