If you saw the live-action film starring Billy Zane, or the Syfy mini-series, or the futuristic cartoon, you have an idea about the over-all character. The mantle gets passed from father to son, much like Zorro. In fact, Lee Falk has said often that he was fascinated by the Hispanic crusader. And I, for one, could see why. I was fascinated when I was first introduced to the character via the cartoon, and when I researched more about him, the more involved I became.
I think something about the character is innately compelling–a man raises his son, from birth, trained to use his wits before fists, his fists if he must, to defend the defenseless. He wears no special armor (well, by the year 2040, that changes…), has no special weapons, doesn’t have a ton of money to throw at a problem–he has the image of the Phantom and his own brain. That’s it. All to help the helpless. There’s something there, I think, that more people could get into. Though Zorro also inspired DC’s Batman, and in his way the Phantom inspired Marvel’s Daredevil–there’s a special, unique place for Christopher “Kit” Walker.
For a young boy who, like most people, had a harsh life–I really gravitated to that. And on CaveMUSH, where RedWolf made clear that (within certain ethical constraints) one has free reign to create anything their heart desires–I almost couldn’t help but build an homage, of sorts, to a franchise that says we can, each of us, be more than who we are. We don’t need to have a near-infinite amount of money, nor be able to build a nuclear reactor in a cave with a box of scraps–we just have to give a damn. That’s it. We just have to give enough of a damn to get off our tuchus and do something. Anything. Give a guy the time of day. Hand him some change, or better yet an actual meal–and ask how he’s doing. Even better, after doing that, get involved. Help people you’ve never known. Some things you might have to risk your own safety–but isn’t it worth it to help others? A lot of people, of any age, need help but don’t get it. Each of us can help. We just have to care.