Phantom Lady

Sandra Knight created by Arthur Peddy

Phantom Lady I

NAME + ALIASES:
Sandra Knight

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Harold Henry Knight (father, deceased), Arnold “Iron” Munro (ex-husband), unnamed son (deceased), Walter Pratt (son, deceased), Katherine Spencer (Manhunter VII, granddaughter), Ramsey Robinson (great-grandson), Priscilla (aunt), Ted Knight (Starman I, cousin, deceased), Jack Knight (cousin, Starman VI)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron, Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Police Comics #1 (August 1941)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Squadron #2-4, 25 41, 44
  • All-Star 80-Page Giant #1
  • Birds of Prey vol. 2 #14-15
  • Damage #6, 11, 12
  • Feature Comics #69-71
  • Freedom Fighters #1-15
  • Justice League of America #107-108
  • Police Comics #1-23 (August 1941–Oct. 1943)
  • Starman v.2 #44, 73

Fox:

  • All Top Comics #8-17 (November 1947–May 1949)
  • Phantom Lady #13-23 (August 1947–April 1949)

Ajax:

  • Phantom Lady #1-4 (December 1954–June 1955)

Phantom Lady II

NAME + ALIASES:
Delilah "Dee" Tyler

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Albert A. Tyler (father), Diana (deceased), Beau Tyler (uncle)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Action Comics Weekly #636 (January 1989)

APPEARANCES:

  • Action Comics Weekly #636-641
  • Damage #6, 11
  • Infinite Crisis #1
  • Starman v.2 #47, 61-63, 67, 69–73

Phantom Lady III

NAME + ALIASES:
Stormy Knight

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Senator Henry Knight (father, deceased), unnamed mother

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
S.H.A.D.E., Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #2 (Late July 2006)

APPEARANCES:

  • Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #2-6
  • DCU: Brave New World #1
  • Freedom Fighters v.2 #1-9
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.1, #1-8
  • Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters v.2, #1-8

SEE ALSO:

History

Above: Phantom Lady uses her black light gauntlet, from Police Comics #7 (1942); art by Arthur Peddy.
Her briefly-worn mask, from Police #15 (1943); artist uncertain.
The Raven and Phantom Lady. From Feature Comics #70 (1942)
Delilah Tyler makes her public debut. From Action Comics #637 (1989). Art by Chuck Austen.
Stormy Knight battles Lady Liberty, from Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters vol. 1 #5 (2007); art by Daniel Acuña.

Given her historical popularity, it’s surprising to find that Phantom Lady’s early appearances in Police Comics suffered from rather poor scripts and characterization (but rather nice artwork by Arthur Peddy). Frank Borth drew her adventures beginning with Police #17, and he added the famous split-top to her costume. (Her Quality contemporary, Wildfire, wore a much skimpier top!) Borth also engineered P.L.’s crossover with his other creations, Spider Widow and the Raven. This crossover is one of the few examples of such in Quality Comics. Both of Borth’s features ended around the same time, which undoubtedly coincided with his enlistment in the army.


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

The Borth Era

When Frank Borth took the helm on Phantom Lady’s adventures, he dispensed with Sandra’s new mask, but a domino mask appeared in Police #18, and was gone again the next issue. He also began a multipart adventure that crossed over with his other Quality feature, the Spider Widow. That case began with a series of attacks by an unseen mob boss on the life of Sandra’s father, at a party in the Senator’s home. (#17) Another spy attacked the Senator while dressed as the Easter bunny. (#18) After the next attack, it became clear to Sandra that she’d have to be more proactive in finding the man behind these attacks. They struck again while she was boating with her friends Jake (a comic strip artist) and Heidi on Lake Erie. Sandra took to the aquaplane (a platform for waterskiing) and was overtaken by men bent on revenge against her father. She stealthily donned her costume and commandeered another boat to round them up. (#19)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Phantom Ladies at Infinite Publishers

In 1947—four years after exiting Quality Comics, and just as long after the decline of the super-hero— Jerry Iger resurrected “Phantom Lady” for Fox Features Syndicate. There’s sufficient evidence to place Phantom Lady’s creation within Iger’s shop. By the time Police #1 was launched, he had separated from Will Eisner. Both her Quality artists, Arthur Peddy and Frank Borth, are known Iger employees at that time. What is less clear is whether Phantom Lady was produced by Iger for Quality directly, or whether she was part of the package that Will Eisner subcontracted to Iger after their partnership ended (which Eisner admitted to doing). This begs the question: who owned Phantom Lady? Was the character owned by Quality under the assumption of work-for-hire? If so, why was Iger allowed to republish her? The simplest conclusion is that, regardless of copyright, Quality’s publisher, Busy Arnold, didn’t care. By 1947, Quality had moved away from super-heroes.


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC

Phantom Lady appeared at DC Comics in 1973’s Justice League of America #107-108. Sandra was reintroduced to readers wearing her original Quality uniform along with other former Quality heroes, as the Freedom Fighters. This story and the successive Freedom Fighters series are no longer in DC continuity.


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Delilah Tyler, Phantom Lady II

Sandra Knight’s star pupil at the Université Notre Dame des Ombres was Delilah “Dee” Tyler, whom she awarded Phantom Lady’s costume and equipment. (Action Comics Weekly #636) The equipment was upgraded to include a wrist-mounted laser blaster, and a holographic projector that could be used to create convincing illusions. The projector was worn like an amulet at the convergence of her cape. Dee was also an expert in the martial art called “savate” (French kickboxing).


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Stormy Knight, Phantom Lady III

Not long after Dee Tyler’s death, her successor emerged as a member of Father Time’s covert ops organization, S.H.A.D.E. The third Phantom Lady was Stormy Knight, daughter of another Senator Henry Knight. Stormy’s public image as a party girl (her dual identity is publicly known) belies the fact that she holds a degree in quantum physics. Her moral compass was always true. In one mission, she did not hesitate to express her distaste for “collateral damage” on S.H.A.D.E. missions. (Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven #2)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

+ Powers

Sandra Knight originally had no innate superhuman abilities, but practiced martial arts such as jujutsu. She was also nimble as an acrobat. She relied on her original “black-out” wristbands which created a field of darkness. The bands were eventually altered to also render her invisible under normal light. She later developed goggles that allowed her to see amidst her black-out rays.

Dee Tyler was an Olympic level athlete trained by Sandra Knight, and used the latest upgrades to Phantom Lady’s technology. Dee’s costume sported a medallion that could cast an endless varieties of illusions. She also wore night vision goggles.

Stormy Knight employs advanced technology. She holds degrees in quantum physics, and her wristbands can warp time and space itself. Like her predecessor’s, the bands can also create total darkness, but her most formidable ability is teleportation. There appears to be no limit to the size or distance she can manipulate with this technology..