Monday, March 17, 2008

Why We Love the Phantom Stranger Some More

Well, the Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger Volume 2 came out, and you know what that means: more lessons on Why We Love the Phantom Stranger.

Really, there are few characters odder than old PS. He should be called the Phantom StrangEST. No real name, no origin (and,
no, the "unfallen angel" story does not count), no consistent powers, no clear guidelines as to when he will or will not appear and/or act. In other characters, these would be flaws; in the Phantom Stranger, they are strengths. Along with the outfit. And "Rod Serling on 'shrooms" way of speaking.

Speaking of shrooms, one of the reasons we love the Phantom Stranger is that, well... you never quite know
what he's going to do. Maybe he's about to disappear or let loose with the cosmic zippity-zap; maybe he's just going to bitch-slap somebody across the room or start making out with some endangered hippy-chippy. Or maybe he's going to do....


THIS
What a joker! Last Halloween he came over and pulled this trick on some kids who rang my doorbell for treats. Nearly wet myself laughing. Then he ruined it all with some meandering series of bromides about "life not being what it seems" and "fraught with dangers for the unwary" and how that's "a lesson that may serve such youngsters well for they need to beware of ... strangers." Sigh. Of course.

See, just when you think you know him, he turns out to be... a stranger. Still, you know he totally had this poster in his college dorm room:

Can't you just see him, in the turtleneck and medallion, staring at the poster and practicing the Face-Melting Trick? All the while telling his roommate he's preparing "not to fear the face of Evil, but to teach it to fear the Face of Him", when really he's just doing it to get hippy chicks...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Face-Melting Trick? BEST.PICK-UP LINE.EVER!

Anthony Strand said...

Awww. I like the four contradictory origins in that one issue of Secret Origins.

Anonymous said...

The correct origin is clearly the one where he's a mortal who is promoted to supernatural status for daring to debate morality with an angel and winning. None of the other potential origins manage to capture his essential awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Where was that one? It's not one of the four, as i recall...

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

The face melting schtick may be good for getting the hippy chicks, but I don't know how good it would be at keeping them.

I suppose that's moot because he's got a whole cache of groovy lingo to keep 'em hooked.

Anonymous said...

The one where the mortal pre-Phantom Stranger debates the angel is the one with the Sodom / Gomorrah town and he's the only man still faithful to JHVH. The angel offers to take him to safety, but he refuses to leave, and insists that it is better for evil to be turned to good even if it takes until the end of time. And the angel didn't have a counter-argument, only the insistence that God's patience was at an end.

Man, I don't swing that way, but the Phantom Stranger is enough to make me consider changing teams.

Fishcakes said...

Wow. I think that version of his origin is the closest to capturing The Essence of Total Awesometude that radiates from the Spooky Fedora. It should be declared canon. In my silly opinion, anyway.