Phantom Blot

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The Phantom Blot (aka The Shadow Blot)
PhantomBlot.gif
First appearance Mickey Mouse daily comic strip, storyline Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot, 1939
Created by Floyd Gottfredson with Merrill De Maris, Bill Wright and Ted Thwaites
Voiced by Frank Welker, John O'Hurley

The Phantom Blot is a fictional character featured in various media by The Walt Disney Company. He is an enemy of Mickey Mouse. He first appeared in the Mickey Mouse comic strip adventure Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot by Floyd Gottfredson, which was published in the form of daily strips from May 20 to September 9, 1939.[1] An altered version of the character, the Shadow Blot, appeared as the primary antagonist of the 2010 video game, Epic Mickey.

History[edit]

The Phantom Blot, or simply "The Blot", made his first appearance in Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot. In this story, Chief O'Hara hires Mickey to capture this new criminal who calls himself The Blot. According to O'Hara, he is the smartest thief they've ever met. Detective Casey, however, calls this new criminal a looney. The only thing he steals is cameras of a special type and he smashes them open on the spot.[2] The strange crime and the motive behind it resembles closely the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons. In the end, Blot is captured and unmasked. The Phantom Blot's gaunt face and thin mustaches were sometimes rumored to be based on the features of Walt Disney.[3] Most later stories featuring the villain don't unmask him, in order to give him a more mysterious character.

Many artists and writers have furthered the Phantom Blot throughout the years. The first re-appearance was in the Italian story Topolino e il doppio segreto di Macchia Nera, written by Guido Martina and drawn by Romano Scarpa, published in 1955 in issues 116-119 of Topolino, the main Italian Disney magazine. In the United States, after a long absence, he was revived in the serial "The Return of The Phantom Blot" (drawn by Paul Murry) that ran in issues 284-287 (May–August 1964) of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories.[4] This was followed by a comic book series of seven issues (1964 to 1966) devoted to the Blot and his crimes. He next turned up in the mid-1970s in two issues of Super Goof written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Roger Armstrong. Comic book historian Joe Torcivia notes Armstrong was the first to draw the character with a mouth, making him look like a shadow instead of someone under a black cloak. This convention has since been followed by many artists, including Murry.

While still being a criminal, he usually operates as the mastermind behind gangs rather than as a common crook. He prefers pulling strings rather than being directly involved.

During his career, he steals large amounts of money and invests them in business. His relative wealth allows him to finance his ambitious plans.

He is a skillful hypnotist, and occasionally uses this skill to force others to do his bidding. He has even ordered Mickey himself to act as a criminal in order to frame him. He has quite a talent in acting. The Blot often operates in disguise and has acted under various aliases and identities, adopting many different personalities to suit his parts. He has some scientific knowledge (mainly in physics, mechanics and biology), and has often used this in his plans. He has invented various devices he uses as weapons. He claims to have an artistic nature and has considerable skill in painting, which he uses to create forgeries of famous works of art. He later proceeds in stealing the original and leaving his copy behind.

He seems to have ways to get information about everything that is going on in the city and even from the police headquarters. His ways of persuading others to follow him include using their own greed, promising them means of revenge or blackmailing them. He enjoys seducing citizens with no criminal records to act as his agents. He has a fairly good knowledge of psychology and is very skilled in spreading fear to his victims, causing them to doubt their relationships and (in some cases) even their own sanity. He often uses their vanity to turn them into pawns.

He is a master of escape. Even if the police do manage to capture and imprison him (which rarely happens), he is soon out again. Other times, he takes advantage of the terrain or weather. In one issue, where he is attempting a robbery on a winter night, he is seen in his normal black outfit. Goofy, who has taken a job as a night watchman, is patrolling the businesses when the Blot realizes he must abort his plans and says "I always come prepared", where he removes his black robes and replaces them with white ones, allowing himself to camouflage with the snowy streets. Though he desires money and power, his greatest lust is for fame. Some of his plans have no monetary gain for him, but their purpose is to spread fear to the public, adding to his reputation. The Blot is, himself, very vain and his desire for money and power is only surpassed by his desire to immortalize his name in "the annals of crime".

Along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, Super Goof, Eega Beeva, Minnie Mouse, and Chief O'Hara have all encountered the Blot, and thus successfully tried to stop him. The Blot sometimes teams up with other bad guys like the Beagle Boys and Mad Madam Mim, who is madly in love with him (while he considers her a lunatic). At the height of the villain's popularity, he was given his own comic book, The New Adventures of the Phantom Blot, which lasted for seven issues.[1]

Recently, the Phantom Blot has appeared as a major antagonist in the Ducktales and Darkwing Duck comics published by Boom! Studios, uniting various villains from both series.

The Blot's daughter[edit]

The Blot has a daughter: she appeared for the first time in the last panel of "The Big Fall" in Mickey Mouse Adventures #7, and then soon after in "A Phantom Blot Bedtime Story" in #8.[3] Apparently, there was a plan to make her a regular character, but that never happened. She was called "Phantom Brat" in the editorial page of issue 8, although with quotation marks around her name, so it is unclear whether that was her actual name.

In Europe[edit]

His depiction in Disney comics has varied with the artists using him: in stories published by Egmont, as well as French stories, he is always shown wearing his hood, while in Italian ones, he frequently appears unmasked, sometimes not wearing his cloak at all. In these, he wears everyday clothes and is unmasked, though he is still up to criminal schemes ranging from robbery and smuggling to espionage, sabotage and extortion.

French translators often took liberties with Italian material and apparently decided that the Phantom Blot's appearances without his cloak and mask should be classified as depicting a completely different character. In the French translations of the Italian stories where the Blot appeared unmasked, he was frequently given the name Jo Crisse (a term usually used as a form of insult), while he retained his Italian name Macchia Nera in the original Italian versions.

In European stories, he is often presented as a more dangerous figure than the American version. While still trying to kill Mickey and his allies, he has other agendas as well. He has also frequently clashed with Super Goof.

The Blot is the main antagonist of the Italian comic saga Wizards of Mickey.[5]

Animation[edit]

The Phantom Blot's first appearance in animation was in the DuckTales episode "All Ducks on Deck", voiced by Frank Welker. In that episode, he steals a secret bomber (which can turn invisible) from the Navy aircraft carrier on which Donald Duck serves, planning to make more invisible planes so that he can take over the world.[3]

The Phantom Blot later appeared in a short featured on Mickey Mouse Works, based on the comic strips in which he first appeared in, titled "Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot" and originally broadcast on November 7, 1999. In this short, he steals a "radium card" from Ludwig Von Drake and uses it to rob every bank in the world. As the title suggests, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy manage to foil his plans. The short was double the length of most of the shorts featured on the series and is considered by many Disney fans to be the best of the Mickey Mouse Works shorts.

The Blot soon reappeared in another Mouse Works short titled "Mickey and the Color Caper", this one featured in the Disney's House of Mouse episode "Where's Minnie?" In this short, the Blot is now stealing colors from everything in the world, including Minnie Mouse, simply because he's bored with his inky black cloth and plans to become The Phantom Rainbow. Again, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy show up to foil his plans.

The Blot made one more appearance so far in the House of Mouse episode "House of Crime", which was wrapped around his first Mouseworks short. Here, he is stealing things from all over the house and then kidnapping characters both good and evil. Unbeknownst to everyone, the Blot is hiding in a device that Ludwig Von Drake has invented to give out clues to find the criminal, so he continually makes the machine give out clues that don't lead the good guys anywhere, but eventually make it seem like they lead to Mickey himself. After everybody but him disappears, Mickey at first believes he may have somehow "gone bad" and was unknowingly stealing when the lights went out, but soon figures out that the Blot is behind this and corners him. In his attempt to escape on his newly repaired blimp from his first Mickey Mouse Works appearance (shown as the featured cartoon earlier), it pops and the Blot is foiled once again.

In both Mickey Mouse Works and House of Mouse, the Blot was voiced by John O'Hurley.

Legacy[edit]

The character (known as Mancha Negra in Disney's Brazilian comics - Portuguese for Black Stain) is used as a symbol by various Brazilian associations of soccer fans (or torcidas organizadas), in order to feature their team colors, like Palmeiras' Mancha Alviverde (one of most famous Brazilian fans' associations, that features a totally green Phantom Blot[6]), Cruzeiro's Mancha Azul (a blue one) and Vasco da Gama's Mancha Negra (where Phantom Blot keeps his original black color). There's also a samba school named "Mancha Verde", also associated with Palmeiras, that uses also a Green Phantom Blot as its symbol.[7]

An altered version of the Phantom Blot appears in the video game Epic Mickey as the primary villain, known as the "Shadow Blot". In the game, the Shadow Blot is inadvertently created after Mickey stumbles into Yen Sid's magical laboratory and begins playing with the paint Yen Sid used to create the world of Wasteland for forgotten cartoon characters. He creates the Blot, but it ends up growing into a monstrous form that he attempts to erase using magical paint thinner. Unfortunately, this results in thinner spilling onto the portal to Wasteland, ravaging the world and allowing the Blot to enter it. Upon arriving, the Blot begins terrorizing the inhabitants of Wasteland and continues to ravage it by creating an army of minions known as Blotlings. However, it is eventually trapped in the Jug-the bottle of thinner that Mickey knocked into the portal-by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, though his wife Ortensia is rendered an inert statue as a result of the battle. Afterwards, an extremely powerful Blotling comes to be mistaken for the true Shadow Blot, and forms an alliance with the Mad Doctor.

This false Blot travels to the cartoon world and captures Mickey, and attempts to remove his Heart, which all inhabitants of Wasteland lack due to being forgotten. Mickey manages to escape, and after a series of adventures confronts the false Blot and defeats it, either destroying it with thinner or redeeming it with paint (depending on the player's decisions). However, he then learns from Oswald of the true Shadow Blot, and is moved to confess his role in Wasteland's devastation to the Lucky Rabbit. An enraged Oswald inadvertently breaks the cork sealing the Jug, allowing the true Shadow Blot to make its escape. It then forces Mickey to surrender his Heart by capturing Oswald and Gremlin Gus, and starts draining all the paint out of Wasteland. By traveling to various locations, Mickey is able to halt the process, and then attempts to defeat the Blot by attacking it with a rocket, accompanied by Gus and Oswald. The Blot stops this effort, and also manages to capture Oswald and Gus again after he trio of heroes set up a massive array of fireworks with the intent of destroying it. Fortunately, Mickey is able to free his heart and Oswald, who then activates the fireworks, which destroy the Shadow Blot. The resulting explosion rains paint down on Wasteland, restoring all the damage done by the Blot and reviving the various characters left lifeless by its efforts.

In Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, it is revealed that the Shadow Blot's destruction also resulted in the creation of more Blotlings, which are exploited by the Mad Doctor in his efforts to create a new army. However, the Blot itself has apparently been defeated for good.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Don Markstein's Toonopedia". Don Markstein. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mickey Mouse and the Phantom Blot". Scoop - Where the Magic of Collecting Comes Alive!. 2003-01-25. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "D23: The Official Disney Fan Club". David Gerstein. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  4. ^ von Wowern, Germund (1997). "The classic Mickey Mouse of Paul Murry". The Art Bin. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mickey Mouse and Friends #298 (Cover A)". BOOM Kids! - Catalog. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "TORCIDA MANCHA ALVI VERDE - NADA TEM O SEU PODER". Retrieved June 14, 2011.  (Portuguese)
  7. ^ "Mancha Verde". Retrieved June 14, 2011.  (Portuguese)

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