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PHANTOM BULLET

Real Name: Allan Lewis

Identity/Class: Human (1940s)

Occupation: Costumed adventurer, reporter for the Daily Bulletin/Daily Bugle (see comments)

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Angel (Thomas Halloway), Rafael Case, Gloria Francis, Nelson Glaven, old inventor

Enemies: Benny, head hunters, Major Albrecht Kerfoot, Alveroz Monez, Nazis

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Phantom, "The Great Lewis", "Scoop", "Mr. Star Reporter", "Mr Genius" (nicknames)

Base of Operations: New York City, New York;
   Wilmington, Delaware (Place of Birth)

First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 (February, 1940)

Powers/Abilities: The Phantom Bullet possessed no known superhuman powers. He was exceptionally athletic and agile, a skilled brawler and an excellent shot. Possessing a quick thinking, keen investigative mind, he was both a talent reporter and a capable makeup artist. His specialized gun fired ice bullets that melted upon impact, leaving minimal evidence.

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond

History:

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 - BTS) - The wealthy Allan Lewis was considered to be the star reporter of the Daily Bulletin. At the paper, his talent allowed him to get away with tardy and crude behavior.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Lewis got so drunk at Charlie's Bar that he fell asleep in one of the merry-go-round carts, once again failing to show up for work.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 - BTS) - The editor of the Daily Bulletin sent one of his reporters to find Lewis, upset that the "wealthy screwball" was never around when a big story broke.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2) - The Bulletin reporter discovered the still napping Lewis inside the cart and quickly told him another murder had been committed and that he had been put on the case. Lewis set out to find the murder scene and was informed by the police a millionaire had been strangled to death while safely locked away in his room. The millionaire's suite was twenty stories up and ten stories from the roof making it somewhat impossible for anybody to enter through the roof. Once Lewis gained access to the victim's body he discovered a "brilliantly" colored feather clutched in the victim's hands. Before the investigators discovered it, Lewis quickly pocketed the feather. The local investigator then told Lewis this was the third inexplicable death this week and that they'd found fingerprints from hands with seven fingers. Lewis decided to return to the Daily Bulletin's office, wondering if the killer could've been a bird he realized the apartment had an unopened safe. Figuring the killer would surely return for the safe he returned to the murder scene. Not daring to be seen going up the elevator, Lewis leaped to the building from a nearby roof making his way into the apartment. Crouched behind a chimney, Lewis waited for what felt like hours until the killer returned. Just as Lewis was about to confront the killer he was attacked from behind by several creatures, striking with claw-like hands and knocking him out.

   Hours later, Lewis woke in the empty suite, with only another feather to show for his troubles. When he returned to the Daily Bulletin empty-handed, his editor was so fed up with his perceived lack of initiative that he punished him by covering minor news stories. One of them was a piece on "some screwy inventor" who was claiming he'd perfected a new type of gun. Lewis went to see the man who explained his weapon fired bullets made of hard ice which would melt away after inflicting mortal injuries. Afraid unscrupulous people were out to get him, he handed Lewis both the gun and blueprints. Still thinking the man was nuts, Lewis nonetheless accepted the paraphernalia and returned to the paper.

   Back at his office at the Daily Bulletin the editor ran into Lewis' office to tell him the old inventor had just been murdered, his lab ransacked. Lewis wondered if there was some truth to the man's stories and returned to his "swanky" apartment. While home Lewis tested the gun and realized the scientist was right. Shocked by the implications, he figured he could be judge and jury and decided to take matters into his own hands. Lewis created his own costume and applied makeup to his face so people wouldn't recognize him, even as he chose the codename the Phantom.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Lewis learned wealthy broker Rafael Case received a warning note and decided to investigate as the Phantom.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2) - Eluding the police surrounding Case's home the Phantom entered through the window, the Phantom quickly explained he wasn't the killer but had arrived to keep Case safe. Case revealed the warning note he'd received demanded half a million dollars to help create a new government in the United States and would be killed if he refused. Mere moments later the lights were cut. Realizing the killers had arrived, the Phantom hid behind the curtain and recognized the same murderer he'd seen before climbing through the window. The Phantom leaped towards the fiend but was once again attacked from behind by several creatures with razor-sharp claws, during the struggle the Phantom managed to shoot the first assailant with his new gun, killing him. Despite this minor victory, he was unable to stop the other creatures from picking up the money and vanishing in the trees.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 - BTS) - Having heard the ruckus, the police burst into Case's home to find the dead assailant. Still shocked by the event, Case explained the fiend had been shot by the Phantom. Inspecting the corpse, the police officer could find no sign of the bullet, only a gaping wound and a small puddle of water, leading to the incredulous conclusion it must have been a "phantom bullet" that killed the man. This gained Lewis the codename the Phantom Bullet.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Lewis wrote a piece about Case's robbery, handing it in at the Daily Bulletin.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2) - The next day at the Bulletin, Lewis' editor was happy he'd beaten the other newspapers to Case's robbery story and handed him a new assignment. Oil magnate Nelson Glaven had also received a warning note, the man hadn't informed the police because he planned to simply pay the ransom money to save his life. Lewis set out to see Glaven who wasn't interested in talking to any reporters or policemen. As the door was shut on him Lewis decided he would rush back to his apartment to change into the Phantom and investigate. As the Phantom, he scouted out a nearby rooftop, waiting for the messenger to show. After some time he saw a mysterious man who'd accepted Glaven's money and followed him back to his apartment. Now he had the man cornered he recognized him as Benny the beggar. Benny explained he had no idea who he was working for and would only pick up the money and send it in separate envelopes to an address someone had handed him. Believing the beggar, Phantom wrote down the address and decided to leave him be. Having gained the final clue, Phantom made his way over to the address, arriving at a graveyard. Unsure what to do next the Phantom returned home.

    The next day at the Daily Bulletin Lewis learned wealthy heiress Gloria Francis had been kidnapped by the same gang with half a million ransom on her head. Lewis quickly made his way over to the Francis family meeting with the girl's mother who was afraid her daughter would be murdered. Since the police had no leads to go on, Lewis decided to take matters in his own hands.

   That night the Phantom returned to Bennie's place to take another look at the envelopes. Once he held one of them over a lightbulb, he noticed the writing was fading only for the actual address to show. He went there and found the home of the African explorer Alveroz Monez. The Phantom discovered an underground cavern-system underneath the abode and while exploring it he realized Monez was the one holding Gloria Francis prisoner. Even though the girl's mother had paid the ransom, Monez was still ready to shoot the girl because it was too risky to let her go. The Phantom rescued Francis just in time. He then disarmed Monez only to be cornered by the group of mysterious creatures who'd killed all of the wealthy men and the old inventor. The group of mysterious creatures were in fact African head hunters, half human half apes with razor-sharp claws and feathery headdress. The Phantom realized the feathers had him fooled. He then spotted their seven toes, which allowed the creatures to scale buildings. But before he could act Monez ordered the creatures to kill the Phantom. Determined to stop the head hunters once and for all, Phantom declared he would jump out of a window unto the trees, fleeing from the cavern-system upwards the tower. He indeed jumped from the window but held on at the last moment to catch his fall. The creatures failed to realize there were no trees in sight before jumping out after him and falling to their deaths. Moments later Monez himself showed, ready to kill the Phantom himself however the Phantom managed to shoot him with one of his phantom bullets.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 - BTS) - The same night, Lewis wrote a piece about the events and handed it in at the Daily Bulletin.

(Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2) - The next day at the Daily Bulletin the editor congratulated Lewis with his amazing scoop. He then told the star reporter that police were now on the lookout for the "phantom person", eager to bring him in for questioning. The editor then tasked Lewis to see what he could dig up on the Phantom Bullet. Leaning back in his chair and smoking a cigar, Lewis casually informed his boss that he would do so after taking the day off.

(Marvels Project#2 (fb) - BTS) - Lewis wrote several articles for the Daily Bulletin amongst them the hunt for the Human Torch (Jim Hammond).

(Marvels Project#2) - Lewis was present during the public debut of the Angel (Thomas Halloway), he quickly asked the masked man what to call him as he answered the Angel. Lewis took his photograph and wrote the story which was published in the Daily Bugle.

(Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary - Fiery Mask/Mister E profiles) - Lewis covered the first exploits of vigilante crimefighters Fiery Mask and Mister E.

(Marvels Project#2) - In 1941 the Phantom Bullet was deemed part of the first wave of American super heroes sweeping the nation remaining active for a few months.

(Marvels Project#2 (fb) - BTS / Marvels Project#3 (fb) - BTS) - The Phantom Bullet broke up a smuggling operation at the docks of New York. Learning of this, Major Kerfoot, a mighty Nazi major ordered his men to find and kill the Phantom Bullet since the Fifth Columnist used the docks to smuggle Nazi spies into the country.

(Marvels Project#2) - The Phantom Bullet was slain by the Nazis and left in an alley where the cops found him, debating he'd "found a bullet that was no phantom". The officer then unmasked him to discover his true identity. The Angel watched on from the rooftops enraged at what had happened, hurt like he'd lost a brother. In his civilian identity, Angel attended Lewis' funeral and vowed to bring his killer to justice.

(Marvels Project#3 - BTS) - The Angel investigated Lewis' death which led him to discover the Nazi spy ring active in the city.

Comments: Created by Joe Simon (writer, pencils).

Allan Lewis never actually called himself "Phantom Bullet". He'd picked "Phantom", but the police officer who inspected the corpse of one of his victims coined the new codename first. It then made its way to a police report which came in the hands of a Daily Bulletin's editor who suggested it to Lewis.

Joe Simon sure gave the Phantom Bullet an interesting origin, conveniently leaving out just why a seemingly independently wealthy dandy like Allan Lewis would even want to wallow away as a lowly NYC beat reporter, especially since he doesn't appear to care too much about the job anyway.

Having Lewis report on the activities of the Phantom (Bullet) was hardly a novel idea at the time, it was essentially lifted from Superman's origin story published two years earlier in 1938. Stan Lee would continue the tradition with Peter Parker photographing Spider-Man for the Daily Bugle in the modern era.

Even though the Angel (Thomas Halloway) specifically stated Lewis wrote for the Daily Bulletin in Marvel Projects#2 the newspaper shown was from the Daily Bugle. Though he could have sold the photos to any newspaper, I think it's safe to assume the Daily Bulletin and the Daily Bugle are in fact the same outlet, perhaps due to some as yet undisclosed corporate merger.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the ice bullet gun basically offered Lewis a license to kill. A free pass to murder anyone, anywhere for any (perceived) crime. That's a lot of power in the hands of a reporter who regularly blows off work to take a booze soaked nap in a carnival attraction. Guess vigilante morality was different in the 1940s.

The Phantom Bullet received profiles in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z HC#14 and Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary.

Profile by MarvellousLuke

CLARIFICATIONS:
Phantom Bullet has no known connections to


old inventor

The old inventor had created a gun that shot bullets of hard ice that could inflict mortal wounds before melting away. Afraid he was in danger because unscrupulous persons would take his secrets, he decided to go public and contacted the Daily Bulletin to tell his story. When he was visited by star reporter Allan Lewis he explained his invention after which he handed the gun and blueprints over to him. Lewis thought the man was crazy, but accepted it anyway. Shortly after the interview, the old inventor was murdered by Monez's gang of African head hunters who ransacked the place looking for the gun. Lewis would later use the gun to become the Phantom Bullet and ultimately used the weapon to avenge its creator's death.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2






Rafael Case

Rafael Case was a wealthy broker targeted by Alveroz Monez, who demanded half a million dollars to help create a new government in the United States. Case informed the police who surrounded his house, he was eventually rescued by the Phantom who killed one of Monez' gang.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2







Nelson Glaven

Nelson Glaven was a rich oil magnate targeted by Alveroz Monez, who demanded half a million dollars to help create a new government in the United States. Afraid of dying, he accepted and handed over the money to Monez's messenger Benny the beggar.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2








Benny the Beggar

Benny was a well-known beggar and lowlife who was hired by Alveroz Monez as a go-between. He was tasked with picking up the money from people Monez had threatened to kill. Benny himself was unaware of Monez's true identity. When Benny was interrogated by the Phantom he revealed all he knew, which wasn't much.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2






Gloria Francis

Gloria Francis was a rich heiress who'd been kidnapped by Monez's African head hunters. Even though her mother had transferred the half a million ransom. Monez still wanted to kill the girl, because she already knew too much. Francis was saved just in time by the Phantom.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2









Alveroz Monez

Alveroz Monez was a well-known African explorer who encountered a group of head hunters who appeared to be half-man, half-ape. They possessed razor-sharp claws and seven toes which allowed them to easily scale steep heights. Monez was able to bring six of the creatures back to the United States where he used them in a plot to extort several millionaires. Monez was eventually killed by the Phantom Bullet.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2










head hunters

While exploring Africa, Monez found a group of head hunters who appeared to be half-man, half-ape. They possessed razor-sharp claws and seven toes which allowed them to easily scale steep heights. Monez was able to bring six of the creatures back to the United States where he used them in a plot to extort several millionaires. The head hunters eventually met their demise unthinkingly chasing the Phantom Bullet out of a window, plunging to their deaths.

--Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2





images: (without ads)
Marvels Project#2, p10, pan2 (main image)
Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary, p55, pan1 (Handbook image)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p15, pan1 (title)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p21, pan3 (name explained)
Marvels Project#2, p9, pan4,5 (photographing Angel's debut)
Marvels Project#2, p17, pan2 (death)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p18, pan5 (old inventor)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p20, pan2 (Rafael Case)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p21, pan6 (Nelson Glaven)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p22, pan5 (Benny the Beggar)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p23, pan9 (Gloria Francis)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p24, pan2 (Alveroz Money)
Daring Mystery Comics I#2, p24, pan1 (head hunters)


Appearances:
Daring Mystery Comics I#2/2 (February, 1940) - Joe Simon (writer, pencils)
Marvels Project#2 (November, 2009) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve Epting (pencils, inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 04/07/17

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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