The Phantom (in the stories, no one ever called him the Phantom Detective) was wealthy playboy Richard Curtis Van Loan. Having experienced action and adventure in the big war (WW I) he became bored. Frank Havens, the publisher of the New York Clarion challenged his young friend to solve a case the police couldn't.
He did, of course. Having gotten the bug, Richard learned everything he could about crime detection, makeup and disguise, and the psychology of criminals. Eventually he started solving crimes the police couldn't and was eventually called upon by the police to help them. Often, the police would approach Havens about contacting The Phantom. Eventually Havens put a crimson colored beacon on the roof of the paper and turned it on whenever The Phantom was needed (holy Bat Signal!!).
And so it went for 170 issues, the third longest run for a hero pulp character, after the Shadow (325) and Doc Savage (181).
The Phantom was also the second such pulp character to appear, coming in February 1933, a month before Doc Savage.
And the Phantom Detective was the longest running pulp hero character in terms of time, starting in February 1933 and ending in the Fall 1953 issue: over 20 years!
Check out the Phantom Detective Index and Cover gallery.
I'm also a collector of pulps, the Phantom Detective in particular. I have all 170 issues, but I'm looking to upgrade parts of the set so, if you have any issues of the Phantom Detective you'd like to sell or trade, contact me at:firstname.lastname@example.org
----The Phantom Speaks ----
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