I got a really pleasant surprise today. Little or nothing to do with the issues that normally concern all of us on this blog, but it’s always great when an old long-lost friend shows up. I refer in this instance to The Phantom, who, I just found out, is still going strong. As a child I followed his daring exploits as he brought villains to justice week after week. I was his ultimate fan (Phan?) and admirer. But he was a strange guy. Born to castaways in the Congo, he nonetheless – somehow – acquired a university education in America. At which point he returned to the Congo. And I suppose if bringing villains to book is your job, there’s no better place than that dystopian hell-hole.
He certainly wasn’t afraid to make a sartorial statement, wearing a skin-tight one-piece suit, made of a lycra-like material. Given the oppressive heat and humidity of the Congo, can you just imagine the pong when he took if off at home after another busy day fighting evil in the jungle? No wonder his dog (Satan, I think) always looked so savage. I remember wondering (kids do ponder such things) how he managed to relieve himself, because getting those combinations off would have been some job. Never found out, but maybe that’s why he, like Superman, wore his underpants on the outside. And why did he wear a tiny eye mask? It wasn't as if there were that many lycra-clad white men wearing their underpants on the outside roaming the Congolese jungles.
Anyway, the point of this post is to record my astonishment to find that The Phantom is still with us, still fighting crime. I saw him – you won’t believe this - in a Swedish newspaper! The very same guy. He’s still bringing criminals to justice and looks great. And to think that he must be approaching his nineties by now.
What an inspiration.