Frew Publications No.1


Released in Australia on the 9th of September, 1948 by Frew Publications, titled “Enter The Phantom”, containing the story “The Slave Traders”.

Two versions were released, with and without a bullet hole in the skull. It’s believed that the skull bullet version was the first print run however reviewed in the second print run due to censorship.

You’ll also notice that a comic number does not appear, numbering appeared on Phantom comic covers commencing number 3.


In 1991, Frew Publications released a replica of this comic with their 1000th Special Issue, number 972, which came sealed in clear plastic.

Frew Publications did an amazing job with the replica edition, with only a few minor indicators separating it from the original.

Visually, the original and replica edition are easily identified, with the original cover print not as vibrant as the replica. Also, holding the two version, the paper quality is easily identifiable, with the original being more fragile, especially considering it was printed over 70 years ago.

Lastly, the best indicator to distinguish between the two, is the inside front cover. The original is printed with an address (Printed by ROTARY COLORPRINT CO. PTY. LTD., 15 Hamilton St., Sydney, for the publishers, FREW PUBLICATIONS, 39 Martin Place, Sydney), with the replica version having this line omitted.

Blueline – Replica Printers Proof

A blueline comic is a proof made by a commercial printer and presented to a client for the purposes of checking the elements of a printing job that has been photographed, stripped up, and imaged. The negatives from which the plates for the press will be made are imaged onto thin blue light-sensitive paper. The text and images all appear in dark blue on the light blue paper, hence the proof’s name.

Bluelines are useful to confirm that the fonts have not defaulted to other less-desireable fonts, that the page numbers of a book or newsletter fall in the correct order and that the elements of a print project all seem to be positioned correctly. 

The paper that bluelines are made on can be imaged on both sides and then trimmed and folded to show that each page is backed up to the correct page, that all the pages fall in order and that each page is centered or otherwise positioned as intended by the client. A blueline also shows any scratches or defect in the negatives.

When a client approves a blueline proof, the printing plates are then exposed from the same negatives that were used to make the blueline.

The blueline proof used for the replica edition in 1991 can be viewed below. This blueline proof was originally scanned from an original number 1. Interestingly, the inside cover shows the address line, which was omitted from the final print of the replica version released to the market.


The release of the original Phantom comic number 1 in 1948 was advertised on the back cover of various other Frew Publication’s comics, including Pop-Eye and The Phantom Ranger.

Lee Falk Signed Replica

Halo Certified replica signed by Lee Falk.