I swore an oath on the skull of my father's murderer." Thus begins the
first chronicle, with an entry dated February 17, 1536. The First Phantom was
20 years old. "I swear to devote my life to the destruction of piracy,
greed, cruelty and injustice, and my sons and their sons shall follow
His father, Christopher Walker (known as Kit), had been a great sea captain
in the Age of Exploration. As a young man, Walker had actually sailed as cabin
boy for Christopher Columbus on the Santa Maria. Bright and fearless, young
Kit soon proved himself trustworthy and useful. When Columbus returned to
Spain, Kit and his Indian friend Caribo remained behind in the New World to
explore and continue to search for the fabled golden cities. Later, when he
became captain himself, and he and Caribo sailed the orient for years,
gathering great wealth.
In time, Captain Walker had a son, also named Kit, who sailed with his
father, delighting in his shipboard life and in the stories of past adventures
told to him by his father and other crew members.
It all came to an end suddenly when Captain Walker's merchant ship was
attacked in the Bay of Bengalla by vicious pirates of the Sengh Brotherhood.
Almost before the captain knew what was happening, the ship had been boarded
and the crew were being slaughtered by the bloodthirsty pirates. Before young
Kit's horrified eyes, his father was cut down by a pirate sword, and he knew
that he would be the next to die. Frantically, he hurled himself overboard,
the laughter of his father's murderer ringing in his ears.
Somehow he managed to survive the cold water and the sharks and eventually
found himself washed up on a sandy beach, half-alive. In the distance he could
see the last of his father's ship as it sank, flaming, into the sea.
Members of a native tribe found Kit on the beach and took him back to their
village. They took him into their midst, allowed him to observe their most
sacred rituals, and showed him their most secret treasure -- the Skulls Of
Touganda, three intricate carvings in a primitive skull-shape, one of gold,
one of silver and one of jade. The tribal shaman painted his own body with a
vivid purple paint for the macabre ceremony. He gave the awestruck boy an
ancient ring with a skull symbol on it, which he would wear all his life.
They raised him to young manhood, teaching him the lore of the jungle. When
he was 20 years old, Kit discovered the body of a Sengh pirate washed up on
the beach. The dead pirate was wearing his father's clothes. Kit realized that
this was the man who had killed his father.
Taking the pirate's skull, Kit swore a solemn oath by firelight, as the
natives watched. "I swear on the skull of my father's murderer to devote
my life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice, and my
sons and their sons shall follow me."
In the forest known as the Deep Woods, Kit discovered a huge cave. Its
gaping entrance and general configuration reminded him of a gigantic skull. He
thought of the three skulls of Touganda, the skull ring, the skull of his
father's killer... Kit realized that the skull had become the strongest symbol
in his life. It stood for everything that had happened to him and everything
he hoped to accomplish. It could well serve to inspire a certain awe and fear
in those he had pledged himself to oppose, a useful advantage for a lone
crusader. He carved the rock to enhance its skull-like appearance. The Skull
Cave would become his home in the Deep Woods, and the home of all those of his
line who were to follow his lead.
Inspired by the vivid, frightening paint worn by the shaman, Kit fashioned
a skin-tight purple costume that left only his face visible. To this he added
a black mask. Now a strapping, 6-foot, 6-inch youth in superb physical
condition, he would become a figure of awe and mystery. Thus, the First
Phantom was born.
When, on that night in 1536, the First began to chronicle his acts as a
defender of justice, he began a story that has continued to be written,
unbroken, for four hundred years. Every Phantom has recorded his deeds with
his own hand, so that one generation may speak to the others and link them all
in the same struggle. Along with the two rings, it is probably the most
valuable legacy that any Phantom can leave to his son, for it is by reading
the chronicles that a Phantom learns to be the Phantom.
The Phantom brought peace and justice to warring tribes of the jungle. He
established the Jungle Olympics in an attempt to get the various tribes to
stop fighting one another and engage in healthy competition. This event proved
popular and has been continued, though in virtual secrecy, down the centuries
to the present day.
Eventually the First Phantom married and had a son, whom he named Kit, born
in 1555. He would become the Second Phantom, instructed by his father in the
secrets of the Phantom's world and dedicated to his father's goals and ideals.