"I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me".
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The Phantom is an American adventure comic strip created by Lee Falk, also creator of Mandrake the Magician. A popular feature adapted into many forms of media, including television and film, it stars a costumed crimefighter operating from the African jungle. The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, followed by a color Sunday strip on May 28, 1939; both are still running as of 2008.
In the jungles of the fictional African country of Bangalla, there is a myth featuring "The Ghost Who Walks", a powerful and indestructible guardian of the innocent. Because he seems to have existed for generations, some believe him to be immortal. In reality, the Phantom is descended from 20 previous generations of crime-fighters who all adopt the same persona. When a new Phantom takes the task from his dying father, he swears the Oath of the Skull: "I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, in all their forms, and my sons and their sons shall follow me". (The comic strip sometimes runs flashback adventures of previous Phantoms.)
The Phantom of 2008 is the 21st in the line. Unlike most costumed heroes, he has no superhuman powers, relying only on his wits, physical strength, skill with his weapons, and fearsome reputation to fight crime.
A signature of the character is his two rings. One has a pattern formed like four crossing sables, "The Good Mark", that he leaves on visitors whom he befriends, placing the person under his protection. The other, "The Evil Mark" or "Skull Mark" has a skull shape, which leaves a scar of the corresponding shape on the enemies he punches with it. He wears the Good mark on his left hand because it is closer to the heart, and the Evil Mark on his right hand.
His base is in the Deep Woods of Bengali (originally “Bengalla,” or “Bangalla” and renamed Denkali in the Indian edition), a fictional country initially said to be set in Asia, near India, but depicted as in Africa during and after the 1960s. The Phantom's base is the fabled Skull Cave, where all previous Phantoms are buried. For a period of time, he also lived with his family in a tree house built by the Rope People - a tribe he had assisted. The Phantom has an Isle of Eden in which he has trained animals that are natural enemies to live in harmony, a Mesa in America called Walker's Table and a castle in the Old World.