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Superheroes On World Screens$
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Rayna Denison and Rachel Mizsei-Ward

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781628462340

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628462340.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

The Transplanted Superhero

The Transplanted Superhero

The Phantom Franchise and Australian Popular Culture

(p.19) The Transplanted Superhero
Superheroes On World Screens

Kevin Patrick

University Press of Mississippi

The Phantom (1996) was a feature-film adaptation of the American comic strip character today regarded as a forerunner of the superhero. However, The Phantom film was an American box-office failure and is routinely overlooked in academic studies of the ‘comic-book movie’. By contrast, The Phantom was a commercial success in Australia, ranking amongst the Top-5 films upon its cinema release and, therefore, this chapter investigates The Phantom’s localized success. The Phantom film provides the basis of a broader inquiry into the global circulation of the superhero phenomenon beyond its American ‘homeland’ by examining the film’s industrial production and cultural reception in Australia, the where character has paradoxically become an ‘indigenous’ superhero. Moreover, it explores how The Phantom’s embodiment of ‘old-fashioned’ heroism – cited as a key reason for the film’s domestic US failure – resonated with Australian audiences, who embraced The Phantom precisely because it was the antithesis of the American superhero archetype.

Keywords:   The Phantom, Australia, Indigenous superhero, Local production, Fandom

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