The Phantom’s Wedding
Diana Palmer and the Phantom had known each other since childhood, so it was only a matter of time before we saw them marry each other in the comic strip’s.
The proposal came in the form of a note in 1971, with the marriage ceremony story going to print in 1977, when the comic strip turned 4 years old.
The ceremony was attended by all of the Phantom’s best friends, including Colonel Worobu of the Jungle Patrol, Doctor Axel, the chiefs of many tribes, Eastern princes, Hzz, the man- monster, and in a rare crossover from Lee Falk’s other great strip, Mandrake the Magician.
It was a civil marriage, presided over by the leaders of the two neighboring emerging African nations: President Goranda of Ivory-Lana, and President Luaga of Bangalla.
For a wedding ring, The Phantom presented Diana with one carved out of a single huge diamond, one that previously had been worn by the bride of Roman emperor, Augustus.
Lee Falk himself was married earlier that year to Elizabeth Moxley, and that’s what inspired the plunge for Mr. Walker.
In 1975, on the retirement of Hal Foster from PRINCE VALIANT, King Features Syndicate released a special commemorative poster. There were two versions: a regular poster, and the more expensive one, which was autographed by Hal Foster and numbered (similar to art prints).
The idea worked out well, so the same thing was tried with the Phantom wedding poster, with or without signatures of Lee Falk and cartoonist Sy Barry. A campaign for the poster was devised by the Bridgewater, New Jersey firm, “Advertising Sciences, Inc.”
The original materials for the ads were saved and can be seen below.
This is the concept art, made by the agency’s staff. It was created with felt tip pens and drafting tools. The greasy smears are from the glue that held it on a piece of art board.
A picture of the black and white line art of the poster and the close-up of the signatures were made on “Velox,” an inexpensive, quick drying photostat stock, and cut to size in this mock-up. The type was printed on coated stock, and all arranged to suit the ad, much similar in look to the concept. The colors and production notations are actually on tracing paper, known as a color indication sheet, taped on one side, to protect the original. The Velox, typically, has turned dark and greenish. It was only intended to last as long as the project.
Ahead of the print date (11 December 1977), newspaper printers were sent slick paper proofs of the ad, consisting of two pages for the colors to be used, and one was just the black line art and type. This was known in the vernacular as a “mechanical”, with the small registration marks to line up on all sheets to keep the colors perfectly aligned. This was intended for the newspaper publisher comic section, at 1/3 Standard page size, but at least two other sizes were issued.
Below you can see the pitch letter to notify the Phantom newspaper publishers to participate in the poster event. This was King Features Syndicate stock letterhead in 1977, showing some of the star characters of that era.
Some of the one and two column ads (“teasers”) that a newspaper publisher would use in the week before and on the day of the wedding can be seen below.
The Wedding Poster
Fantomen Wedding Poster
Comic Images Trading Card
Text Credit: comicskingdom.com