This essay argues that although The Phantom is an American comic about a superhero of British heritage set in a fictional African country filled with colonial nostalgia, it is also, within Sweden, a leading example of antiracist politics and anti-apartheid protest literature. Since 1972 the Swedish-based scriptwriters of "Team Fantomen" have regularly supplied officially licensed 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: the Swedish creators added social commentary and political thought to the storylines, as the Phantom was redefined in line with New Left ideology. Southern Africa, with societies affected by institutionalized racism, is inscribed into the plots, which function to inform the reader about the righteousness and validity of the dominant Swedish foreign-policy doctrine of the time. This essay contends that The Phantom played an important part in shaping Swedish public discourse on apartheid, while also helping to establish Sweden as a leading international antiracist voice.


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pp. 288-311
Launched on MUSE
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