Sunday 26 July 2020

The Ghost Who Walks Returns

Phans all over India are celebrating the return of Phantom comics to India. Kerala based Regal publishers is scheduled to print a fresh set of Phantom stories in English starting in August 2020.
Created by Lee Falk in 1936 (before Superman and Batman) Phantom is one of the longest running comic strips in the world and was hugely popular in India during the 70s & 80s when they were published by the Times of India group under the imprint Indrajal comics.
But will today's generation take a liking to Phantom or will the readership be limited to the older fans? We decided to talk to the publisher, Jacob Vargheese to understand this and more about their decision to publish Phantom comics in 2020.

Q 1. Tell us something about your publishing house. 

Ans: Regal Publishers was established in 1976. Regal Publishers published various world famous comics such as Phantom, Mandrake, Steel-Claw, James Bond, Modesty Blaze etc., and also novels such as Tarzan and Phantom during the 1980s and 1990s, the language being Malayalam. Although, there occurred some gap after that, Regal Publishers again started publishing Tarzan novels from 2010 onwards followed by Phantom comics. During those times the comics were published either in black and white or in two colours. Keeping in mind the taste of the new generation, from March 2019 onwards, Regal Publishers launched both Phantom and Mandrake Malayalam comics in multi colour. We also published various study related books at various points of time.
Q 2.  How did you think of printing Phantom comics?

Ans: We are aware that Phantom is an evergreen hero and has always been in demand as per our experience in 1990s. Also, in Kerala the number of comic books were considerably reduced. So we decided to publish Phantom and Mandrake which will be a new experience to new generation to get out from the clutches of television, computer and other social media.

Q 3. When did you think of printing Phantom comics in English?

Ans: When we launched Phantom and Mandrake in Malayalam in March 2019 and started marketing, we started getting inquiries on publishing the same in English not only from Kerala but from other states as well. We noticed another aspect - that parents want their children to read English comics not just for entertainment but for learning English as well. Hence, we have decided to try Phantom in English for the first time in our publishing history.

Q 4. How has been the response to the announcement of the Phantom comic in English?

Ans: We have got reasonably good response from Phantom comic lovers who used to read Phantom  comics during the 1970s and 1980s when they were children. Now it is time to see how the new generation responds to Phantom comics in English.

Q 5. How did you shortlist the stories for the launch?

Ans: We had selected stories after 1996 for printing Phantom comics in Malyalam. Now for this launch we have decided to publish the stories what we have received from King Features in English.

Q 6. Are you a Phantom fan yourself?

Ans: As we have been publishing Phantom comics since 1990s, I am a big fan of Phantom.

Q 7. What are your plans for the future?

Ans: At this juncture  we are waiting for  the feedback and responses  from our readers regarding the Phantom comics in English. If we get sufficient support from the readers (both old customers and the new generation), we will  go ahead with the publication of  both Phantom  comics in English.

Q 8. Can we expect Mandrake  (another famous character created by Lee Falk) comics also in English soon?

Ans: We are awaiting the feedback and responses of customers in this regard. If the customers support us by giving us more publicity and buying our comics, we will consider publishing Mandrake and any other comic characters in English.

Q 9. Tell us about the cover artist for the comics as the cover looks really attractive.

Ans: The cover artist for the first two Phantom comics in English is Vincent Moses Raja from Tamil Nadu. When we were in the process of deciding on the cover pages, he happened to contact us and we decided to have a try with his artistic skills. It has worked out. Many people have already appreciated his cover arts for the Phantom comics.

Q10. How are you going to distribute the comics?

Ans: We will be mainly doing direct sales at this stage due to the Corona issue which has caused a lot of problems in supplying to bookstalls in various parts of India as they are unable to run their business without interruption. However, we are already in the process of having tie ups with some bookstalls and online sellers.

Q 11.  From which states in India has the response been good? 

Ans: As of now we have got good responses from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (in addition to our own place, Kerala). We have also started getting more welcoming responses from Delhi and Karnataka. We hope that we will get more responses from the other states also in due course.

Phantom was last published in India in 2010 by Euro books. His return after a gap of 10 years is most welcome. Phantom is still very popular in Scandinavian countries and Australia, and fans in India had no option but to either buy from abroad or re-circulate earlier publications (Indrajal, Egmont, Euro etc)
Here's an opportunity to make a fresh beginning and hope a new readership develops around these new exciting stories to sustain the publication.

You can contact Regal publishers directly (94810 52592) and book your copy. Dispatches should start in the first week of August.


  1. Very nice. Good news. But that bright blue color of the costume won't do. Also selection of stories is important. It is no secret that the stories and the art went for a dive after the exit of Falk and Barry.

  2. Very nice. Good news. But that bright blue color of the costume won't do. Also selection of stories is important. It is no secret that the stories and the art went for a dive after the exit of Falk and Barry.

  3. Story selection is by KFS. Lets be hopeful :-)

  4. Got introduced to Phantom in early 60s in class 1 or 2 only just introduction when it was a series in some magazine. In class 5 got hooked to comics. Interestingly, Gold Key and others too were available in the market. But the forte was IJC.
    Phantom outlives everyone because he finished a job evertime but in between let's us know that there can be crook societies that make a come back in new avatar as per time and phantom is ready as per New age n times. Not entering into unnecessary crookedness of science fictionalities. He has a family and uprightness encompassing everyone. Mainly he is human not superhuman. Not grotesquely and viciously mascular. Has failures and gets hurt, falls sick and get killed too.
    His ways do not cause destruction of public properties. Destruction of public property causes most mental agony to a fan.
    Phantom may have quotes or sayings but he can talk smart too as negotiator.
    Jungle loves him because he is their friend in ways of life and encouragement as individuals and as societies. He is a friend and guide to his people and a problem solver if asked, without imposing or automatic.
    He knows his friends are all capable as himself (same as Mandrake and Flash Gordon). This is missing in all other super heroes.

  5. Long live the Phantom :-).....though we have to accept that it would be a challenge to attract the newer generation away from Marvel/DC universe

  6. It will be a yeoman service to all Indians if you can publish stories that were not yet published by IJC. A healthy mix will be of mixing with Mandrake and Flash Gordon, sometimes to check market acceptability.
    ' 👍💕 Awaiting eagerly.

    1. The stories being published have not been officially published earlier in India..hope you enjoy the new stories

  7. I would have kissed you , if I was with you now. What a gr8 news is this. I am 43 years old and Phantom was, is and will be my ultimate hero. Please publish all the originals sir, starting from the first issue. LOVE YOU ❤️