FANTOMAH: JUNGLE GODDESS OF THE WORLDSCAPE
Of all the amazing characters I get to work with in Pathfinder Worldscape, the one I'm most excited about is Fantomah. In a team that includes Red Sonja and John Carter, Fantomah is probably the least well-known superstar in the series. That's a pity, as she's one of the most original characters of the golden age of comics.
At Dragon Con last week, I asked a crowd of about 80 Pathfinder RPG fans gathered at the Paizo panel if they'd ever heard of Fantomah, and only about two people raised their hands. Even from the stage I could see their smiles, though. If you've read any of Fantomah's bizarre Jungle Stories adventures, specifically those written and drawn by literally insane visionary/outsider artist Fletcher Hanks, you'll never forget her.
When Dynamite challenged me to include some cool fantasy characters from the public domain, I immediately thought of Fantomah and started imagining how to incorporate her into my developing story. As a result I've worked up a whole mythology about the jungle culture of the Worldscape, as well as details on how heroes like Frank Frazetta's Thun'da and Tarzan fit in. I'd love the chance to do a whole spin-off series featuring Thun'da, Pha, Cave Girl, Tabu, Wambi, and King Rex. But of all those cool jungle fantasy characters, Fantomah is the most enchanting, and—believe it or not—the most pivotal to the plot of Pathfinder Worldscape!
Do you know Fantomah? If not, check out some of her original adventures below:
That last story features Fantomah telling an enemy "you will die by your own evil creation," a typically grandiose pronouncement for a Fletcher Hanks character. The phrase is also the title of three gorgeous modern collections of Hanks's work edited by Paul Karasik and published by Fantagraphics Books. As it turns out, Fletcher Hanks was an eccentric alcoholic who treated his family like garbage. Karasik's books contain accounts from Fletcher's son, Fletcher Hanks, Jr., that paint Fantomah's creator as a deeply troubled and self-absorbed individual. To me, the portrait of Hanks in these books adds greater depth to his weird characters, and I'm honored to include perhaps his greatest creation in Pathfinder Worldscape.
Support Fletcher Hanks, Jr. and Paul Karasik by picking up the Fantagraphics collections below: