By Jim Shepherd
By now, all sharp-eyed enthusiasts will have noticed a curious modification to pure Phantom history in Marabella. Author Claes Reimerthi describes Marabella as being the wife of the first Phantom! In the final panel of Captain Walker’s Log Book, Reimerthi also stated that Marabella married the first Phantom.
According to Phantom creator, Lee Falk, Marabella married the second Phantom and describes Marabella as being the granddaughter of Christopher Columbus, the sea captain/explorer credited with discovering America. This was outlined in Lee’s story, The Name, last presented by Frew in the 1000th Issue published in 1991. In the same story, Lee stated that the first Phantom married Christina, daughter of Scandinavian Eric the Rover.
In Captain Walker’s Log Book, the Phantom meets Marabella when he is rescued at sea by a Spanish ship on which Marabella is a passenger. That makes perfect sense. Even though Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, he became a resident of Portugal in 1470. In later years, he became convinced he could reach Asia by sailing west from Portugal across the Atlantic and after failing to obtain financial support from the Portuguese government, finally obtained backing from the Spanish government.
His first voyage to reach Asia was made in 1482 and although, for reasons we all know, he failed, he did reach Cuba and probably present-day Haiti. As a matter of fact, Columbus made four voyages and although he reached Dominica and South America and explored the Gulf of Mexico, it now seems at least a little doubtful that he set foot on the mainland of North America. The point remains that he sailed on Spanish ships on all four of his expeditions.
One could argue about Marabella being the daughter of Christopher Columbus. The general consensus of historians is that Columbus lived from either 1446 or 1451 to 1506. That makes it impossible to accept the year given (1544) in Captain Walker’s Log Book when the Phantom met Marabella because if Marabella has been born in the final year of Columbus’ life, she would have been aged 38! In our story, she appears to be in her very early twenties.
However, we’re talking about the wonderful world of comics in which history can be modified for special effect and years and ages are invariably invented.
The point remains, according to Lee Falk, Marabella, the daughter of Columbus, married the second Phantom. As I have written on many occasions, the official history of the Phantom must always be considered that recorded by creator, Lee Falk.
Whenever a contradiction to this history crops up in a non Lee Falk story we prefer, out of respect to various writers, not to amend their script.