When the phantom became an anticolonialist: Socialist ideology, Swedish exceptionalism and the embodiment of foreign policy

Aman, R. (2018) When the phantom became an anticolonialist: Socialist ideology, Swedish exceptionalism and the embodiment of foreign policy. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 9(4), pp. 391-408. (doi:10.1080/21504857.2017.1403334)

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Abstract

The Phantom, an American comic about a superhero of British heritage set in a fictional African country, is held in high esteem elsewhere, regarded as a national institution in Australia, New Zealand and much of Scandinavia. Since the early 1960s, officially licensed scripts have been produced by the Swedish-based scriptwriters of ‘Team Fantomen’ who today remain the major suppliers of adventures to the Phantom comics around the world. This essay suggests that this shift in the scripts’ geographical origin also altered the politics of the comic: in the hands of Team Fantomen, the masked hero is instilled with political doctrines reflected in Swedish foreign policy during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This ideological shift means that the masked hero moves away from the role of colonialist fantasy prevalent in the American scripts to become a supporter of decolonisation, social justice and equality. The Phantom becomes an avatar of democratic socialist ideology, the episodes offering a direct commentary on Sweden’s perception of its own role in the world as a leading proponent of international solidarity.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Aman, Dr Robert
Authors: Aman, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Robert Owen Centre
Journal Name:Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:2150-4857
ISSN (Online):2150-4865
Published Online:04 April 2018

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