Monday, April 14, 2008

Why We Love the Phantom Stranger Some More 4

One of the best reasons to love the Phantom Stranger? The Phantom Stranger's Hat.

I bet you're thinking, "Yeah, it's so cool how his hat always stays on his head, except for that one time in got knocked off in Hell in that big Swamp Thing story!"

But you're wrong.

The Phantom Stranger's hat, you see, is not a mere object he wears at will. It's some kind of semi-sentient, quasi-independent entity, that simply chooses to stay with him most of the time. Kind of like my dog.

Sometimes, however, it simply goes walkabout.

In this panel, for example, the Phantom Stranger puts his hat on, which has been noticeably absent for most of the action in the story.

"Even I..."
Modest, isn't he?

Where was it? How did he get it back? Even I do not understand all the workings of the Phantom Stranger's hat. But you know all those times the Phantom Stranger mysteriously disappears? It's not him; it's the hat, and it simply takes PS along for the ride. Kind of like walking my dog.

Here's another one from the Archives of the Phantom Stranger's Naked Head:

Phantom Stranger, corporate consultant.

This is one of those stories where the hat is absent. UNTIL... the Epilogue.

All the Phantom Stranger does in this epilogue is put his hat on. Yes, really.

What the heck is PS's hat doing lying in a previously unseen alley? Rumor has it, the hat sometimes goes off tomcatting with its alley-buds.. You know....Sargon's turban, the Helm of Fate, Eclipo's Phyrgian cap. Sometimes they get in fights and beat up Felix Faust's desert-hat-thingie or the Matter Master's dunce-cap. Other times, they meet up with Zatanna's Red Caterpillar Hat, and... well, you know.

And what's the meaning of juxtaposing the Phantom Stranger putting on his hat with some guy shooting a security guard? What does "meaning' mean in a Phantom Stranger story...?!

Sometimes, the hat gets feisty and decides to chase cars...
"Bad hat! Come back here this instant!"

or just start howling at people it doesn't like.

Oh, yeah. My dog makes THAT noise, alright.

The Phantom Stranger's hat deserves its own Who's Who page, a Heroclix pog, and an indy band named after it.


totaltoyz said...

Of course, we all know the greatest, most mysterious power of the Phantom Stranger's hat: to keep his eyes in shadow, no matter what the lighting conditions or from what angle his face is seen. Creepy.

Robert said...

I would have figured Phantom Stranger's hat to be more of a Zatanna's top-hat hat, myself.

At least it wasn't out with Zatanna's ponytail holder.

Citizen Scribbler said...

Just imagine what the Mad Hatter could do with that little piece of cosmic haberdashery. It would launch him to villany's top tier!

-Citizen Scribbler

totaltoyz said...

I think Citizen Scribbler just wrote next year's Brave and the Bold Annual.

Nick said... love for JSA Sandman?

Anonymous said...

The one with the hat chasing the car is adorable. You can almost hear the hat yipping like mad.

Scipio said...

What's the JSA Sandman got to do with it?

acespot said...

I don't know about a band, but there's a song about it: "Hat Back Boogie" by Lee Press-On and The Nails, sung from the point of view of the Phantom Stranger, who constantly proclaims that he just wants his hat back.

totaltoyz said...

What's the JSA Sandman got to do with it?

The hat.

Citizen Scribbler said...

I have an old Brave & The Bold with Batman and The Phantom Stranger- it's awesome. They fight a voodoo guy who's got a zombie heavy of varying skin color (he's black on the cover, but unconvincingly white inside the book).

And yes, The Phantom Stranger's hat gets knocked off in the fight. I'll send some choice scans if Scipio wants em' for research...

-Citizen Scribbler

Scipio said...

The Sandman's hat is not a mystic hat, like the others; they would not hang out with it.

totaltoyz said...

Are you sure? Wesley Dodds was the receptacle of a portion of the power of Morpheus, Lord of Dream, for decades; who's to say his hat (worn closest to the brain) didn't absorb some of that Endless funkiness?

Citizen Scribbler said...

You know the helm worn by The Silver Sorceress had to be full of magic. NO-ONE would wear that thing unless it at least contained the power to render you invisible.

-Citizen Scribbler

Hoosier X said...

I'm voting for mystic powers for Wes Dodds' hat.

Accursed Interloper said...

" love for JSA Sandman?"

Somebody's got no love for him, that's for sure. He's been missing for, like, the whole current run of JSA. What ever did happen to him?

"The Sandman's hat is not a mystic hat"

but... but... but it turns into sand and travels thru the lithosphere along w/ Sandman. Which if it ain't mystical magic, it's some pretty damn weird science. Like, even weirder than the toon-physics that allows Sandy himself to do those things.

Fishcakes said...

Resolution: If I ever start a band, it shall be called The Phantom Stranger's Hat, in honor of this entry. And we shall all wear silly hats.