Fantomah transforming. From Jungle Comics #15 (March 1941). Art by Fletcher Hanks.
|First appearance||Jungle Comics #2 (Feb. 1940)|
|Created by||Fletcher Hanks (as "Barclay Flagg")|
|Abilities||Superstrength, flight, other unspecified powers|
Fantomah is a fictional character, best known as the first comic-book superheroine. Created by Fletcher Hanks, the character first appeared in Jungle Comics #2 (cover-dated Feb. 1940), published by Fiction House.
Fantomah, "Mystery Woman of the Jungle", is the first female comic-book superhero. Created by writer-artist Fletcher Hanks, under the pseudonym Barclay Flagg, she debuted in a namesake backup feature in Jungle Comics #2 (Feb. 1940), and continued as a backup feature until her final appearance in issue #51 (March 1944). Beginning with issue #16 (April 1941), Hanks was succeeded by an unknown writer under the pseudonym H.B Hovious, with art tentatively credited to Robert Pious. This version of Fantomah abandoned the trappings of a superheroine and was portrayed as a typical jungle girl.
Fiction House reprinted at least one Fantomah adventures in Ka'a'nga Comics #10 (Winter 1951-52), as the feature "Jungle Girl", and later in A.C.E. Comics' Fantastic Adventures #1 (July 1987) and AC Comics' Golden Age Greats #14 (March 1999) and Men of Mystery Comics #85 ( [April] 2011).
Being in the public domain, Fantomah has been used by various modern publications, including appearances in Devil's Due Publishing's Hack/Slash: The Series #29-32 (Dec. 2009 - March 2010), and in issue #5 (June 2011) of the sequel series, titled simply Hack/Slash.
Fictional character biography
The original Fantomah is a mysterious woman who protects the jungle with her many supernatural powers. She loved her jungle and its people and animals, and would often inflict cruel punishment on anyone who threatened any of them. When Fantomah uses her powers, her normally beautiful face turns into a blue skull (though her curly blonde hair remains unchanged).
Powers and abilities
The original Fantomah exhibited a large number of magical abilities, generally as required by the story's plot. Among others, she demonstrated the ability to fly, transform objects into different objects, levitate other objects, cause humans to mutate into other forms, and so on. Generally, whenever Fantomah used her powers, she would change her face from a normal human woman to a blue-skinned skull-like visage.
- Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on January 29, 2015.
- Jungle Comics #2 at the Grand Comics Database.
- Jungle Comics #51 at the Grand Comics Database.
- Jungle Comics #16 at the Grand Comics Database.
- Jungle Comics #27 at the Grand Comics Database.
- Fantomah at the Grand Comics Database.
- Morris, Jon (2015). The League of Regrettable Superheroes. Philadelphia: Quirk Books. pp. 50–51. ISBN 9781594747632.
- Jungle Comics #15 (March 1941)
- Jungle Comics #10 (Oct. 1940)
- Jungle Comics #9 (September 1940)