|In a cartoon world filled with slick, assembly line superheroes and one-dimensional villains, Phantom 2040 provided its audience with expansive, complex characters and intelligent storylines. Based on Lee Falk's long-running (since 1936) "The Phantom" comic strip, the series sent the "Ghost Who Walks" into the not-too-distant future.
In the year 2040, environmental disasters and the economic Resource Wars of the early 21st century had decimated the fragile ecological balance of an Earth once teeming with life. Everywhere, the privileged and wealthy continued to thrive in expensive real estate that towered above the suffering masses. The victims of Earth’s misfortune had been forced to survive on scavenged refuse from the past on the mangled streets of forlorn city-states.
In Metropia, the largest and most powerful of the city-states, the powerful corporation Maximum Inc. had commandeered armies of robotic Biots to create a cold, steely urban center, consisting of huge, residential towers intertwined with TubeTrain tunnels. Maximum had plans to build Cyberville-an immense survival shelter where only the wealthiest and most elite humans would retreat to when Earth finally succumbed to its slowly deteriorating state.
The only hope for the survival of humanity was the Ghost Jungle-thousands of square miles of mutated vegetation that could be the planet's salvation. This secret source of life was submerged beneath Metropia where no one could find it, but fortunately, college student Kit Walker Jr. had been chosen by fate to save the world, donning the black mask and purple suit of his people’s savior, the 24th Phantom.
The Phantom’s origins began in the late 1500's when a merchant vessel was attacked by Singh pirates in the Bay of Bengalla. All crew and passengers were killed except for a boy who was rescued by the Bandar tribe, taught their secret ways, and who swore an oath on the skull of his father's killer to fight injustice wherever it might be found. Since this time, the role of the Phantom had been passed on from father to son, leading the world to believe that the Phantom was a single being. Kit, the 24th in the line, was young, unsure, and inexperienced, but he found within him the courage and might to battle the evil that threatened to destroy the Earth.
Phantom 2040 debuted in 1994 to rave reviews, though it survived only 33 episodes before it was relegated to weekend repeats in 1996. The show was intelligent and surprisingly educational, winning praise for its subtle, effective teaching of such values as individuality, freedom, and the volatility of humanity.
It was this combination of entertainment, sophisticated writing, and educational values that made Phantom 2040 a rarity among television cartoons. Meanwhile, the "Ghost Who Walks" continues his daily newspaper adventures, still being penned by Lee Falk after more than six decades.