Charlton VS Mighty MLJ

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Fiends: Is It Hair-Club-For-Men or Evil-Heir-Club-For-Mad-Men?

While not "in-continuity" established heroes of Charlton and Mighty Comics, their respective licensed legends the Phantom and the Shadow each had title runs published by them. And each featured a principal antagonist, one who appeared repeatedly and one only twice, yet each channeled their own inner "Luthor" as bald bad guys with a serious mental malevolence against our boys. Did they have the "stuff" to be worthy foes?
Strangol was a typical Phantom adversary, a pirate, yet with a twist. Seems his grandpop also had a run-in with Kit Walker's granddad, an earlier Phantom. And Grandpa Strangol lived up to his name's billing...he ended up strangled. So the present Strangol sought revenge on the masked man's grandson by plundering the Walker family fortune in Skull Cave. You can check out their first battle reviewed by the Ghost Who Blogs. Today we check out their second scrimmage in Phantom #62! And look... he has his own jumpsuit and half a mask.. or rather a stereotypical eye patch.

Shiwan Khan appeared several years before Strangol's 1974 debut, as Shiwan first appeared in 1939's Golden Master pulp novel. As you would expect, he was the descendant of the more famous Khan, Genghis, and just thirsty for power. He was a recurring nemesis of the Shadow in issues 1-7 of his Mighty title. He is the tiny dude getting smacked upside the head by Lamont Cranston's purple and green clad alter ego. He regularly employed of villains clad a bit more garishly than he to defeat his foe. And get short changed every single time. This guy never learns!

Strangol escapes prison, and enlists his gal Linda (whom Phantom doesn't recognize despite meeting her two issues ago) kidnaps Diane Palmer. The Ghost Who Walks must save her!

Seems Margo Lane herself is also caught in a web of not just Shiwan, but another descendant of a dictator Attila the Hun! Now she is the object of three men's affections! Will Shadow beat his rivals suitors?

Phantom is left to be killed by some hired goons. He and Diane escape and end up in a car chase with the pirate, who shows off his a helicopter-car. Beaten Strangol swares revenge. An untold story?

Back to the duel of demented dictators, turns out the Shadow that jumped into the fray was a fake. The real one escaped later, however Margo kept her wits and left old Shiwan scratching his head.

Appraising these twin terrors, Strangol had the inventive genius from his two outings and used clever tactics at times, although they proved utterly futile. Khiwan was displayed as an incompetent that still seemed to have the resources and where-with-all to continuously plague the free world...and to escape to return another day. Neither was infamous enough earn name recognition, certainly none to match the legends that tormented them...the licensed legends: The Shadow and the Phantom.

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