Forged in war, The Phantom Detective wages a one-man battle on crime! Solving impossible mysteries and delivering his own justice, he is the underworld’s masked nightmare!
Crimson poppies of doom mark the lurid trail of a dread chameleon of crime! Follow the Phantom on his pursuit of this sinister figure whose grim deeds are shrouded in mystery!
Although the magazine was titled The Phantom Detective, the character in the lead story actually went by two different names in each issue. Born Richard Curtis Van Loan, he was a child of wealth. Orphaned at an early age, Van Loan found a father figure of sorts in newspaper publisher Frank Havens, a relationship that would have a direct impact on his future as The Phantom, what the character was called in the series, never The Phantom Detective.
Not only did Van Loan share his playboy status with characters both before his creation and after it, he also had something in common with many other Pulp heroes, having served in World War One, specifically as a pilot. Returning from the war and struggling to find his purpose, he accepted a challenge from Frank Havens to solve a crime that law enforcement could not. Succeeding at this, the haggard war veteran and millionaire found his purpose, not something born out of personal tragedy, but out of a need to do good, to help others. Having been the epitome of a playboy prior to the war, Van Loan recognized he would need certain skills to follow his new mission. To this end, he taught himself to be a master at disguise, an escape artist, a fighter of multiple styles, and most importantly, an expert in detection and criminology. Once believing himself suitably ready, he donned a domino mask, not the top hat so famously depicted on each of the magazine’s covers and became The Phantom Detective.
‘Specter of Death’ was originally published in the August 1936 issue of The Phantom Detective Magazine and is read with pulse pounding intensity by award winning voice actor Milton Bagby.