The Phantoms Costume

As part of the official uniform, the Phantom wears a black mask and a purple skintight bodysuit, and carries two .45 pistols in a special belt with a skull-buckle.

While there had been masked crime fighters like the costumed Zorro or the business-suited The Clock, the Phantom was the first fictional character to wear the skintight costume that has become a trademark of superheroes.

Lee Falk has been quoted as saying that he had envisioned a grey costume and even considered naming his creation “The Gray Ghost”. The Phantom’s costume was referenced to as grey in early stories like “The Singh Brotherhood” and “Fishers of Pearls”, but when the Phantom Sunday strip debuted in 1939, the costume was colored purple.

Lee Falk, however, continued to refer to the costume as grey in the text of the strip on several occasions afterwards (for example in “The Seahorse”, “The Mermaids of Melo Straits”, “The Devil Road” and “The Matchmaker), but finally in the 1956 daily story “The Heavyweight Champion” the costume was mentioned as purple.

In the Sunday story “The First Phantom”, it was shown that the first Phantom chose the costume based on the appearance of the Demon Idol feared by the Wasaka Giants. The Phantom dyed a piece of cloth his pygmy friends found with non-poisonous purple berries from the jungle, then convinced the pygmies to follow him with their weapons made of poisonous berries to defeat the Wasakas.

Over the years, the Phantom’s costume has been published in an array of colors:

Purple in USA, Australia, Canada, Egypt, etc
Blue in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, etc
Red in France, Italy, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Lebanon, etc
Brown in New Zealand
Green sometimes in Yugoslavia
And then there are times The Phantom walks the streets as an ordinary man.