By Jim Beard
Who's the Blonde Phantom? Only the loveliest gun-toting, two-fisted Marvel heroine of them all, that's who!
Dancing out of the Golden Age and into the present, the Blonde Phantom receives her very own limelight on July 15 in the ALL SELECT COMICS 70th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL. She's also pampered with some special attention from writer Marc Guggenheim, who's crafted a story that not only looks back on the Phantom's past, but allows her another chance to knock 'em dead in the present.
"She's nostalgic for [her past career]," Guggenheim notes of the story. "She got to put on a costume and kick ass. Who wouldn't miss it? The Blonde Phantom identity represents her youth and vitality, things she associates with better days and simpler times. She's a tough woman, something that
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was incredibly rare in the 40's and, sadly, not all that less rare in modern times."
The ALL SELECT COMICS 70th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL marks the first of Marvel's celebratory one-shots to present a modern day tale of a former Golden Age crimebuster. With a nod to other creators who've utilized the Blonde Phantom since her 1940's heyday, this set-up appeals to Guggenheim's vision of the character.
"We went back and forth on which time period to set the story in, actually," explains the writer. "Ultimately, I wanted the story to include an element of someone who's, for all intents and purposes, 'retired' being pressed back into service one more time. That's an old noir trope and I wanted it to be part of the story.
"I wanted the story to have a noir feel from the outset. That infuses [everything from] the writing to the art to the coloring and even down to the lettering. I don't think it's necessarily integral to the character, per se, but it's integral to honoring the character's
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origins and heritage."
The Blonde Phantom debuted in 1946's ALL SELECT COMICS #11 as Louise Grant, a secretary who donned a fire engine red evening gown and domino mask to take an extra-special bite out of crime. And she really got around: the Blonde Phantom took her bows in eight different titles throughout her 1940's career.
With a cover by the legendary Russ Heath and interior art by Javier Pulido, the Blonde Phantom's never looked better. Guggenheim stresses the importance of Pulido's contributions to the book.
"Javier's the guy who has to stick the landing," he says. "It's one thing for me to say, 'Let's tell this story in a noir style,' and it's another thing for me to write it with noir-style narration, but at the end of the day, it's up to Javier to sell it visually. He not only embraced this approach whole-heartedly, he came up with—all on his own—a really cool layout style that evokes the feel of crime comics of the 40s. He knocked it out of the park."
The ALL SELECT COMICS 70th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL also includes a brand-new tale of Marvex the Super-Robot by writer/artist Michael Kupperman, which you can read more about today right here on Marvel.com!
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