Toys / Comics to Toys / DCDirect

Phantom Lady

By Hervé St-Louis
March 19, 2005 - 09:02

Quality Comics first published the Phantom Lady in Police Comics #1 in 1941. Fox Features Syndicate took over her feature in 1947 where she became the epitome of the scantily clad heroine of the 1940s. Purchased from Quality Comics in 1956 by DC Comics, the publisher introduced the character to the DC Universe in Justice League # 107 in 1973. For a while AC Comics published a version of the Phantom Lady it had purchased from Charlton Comics, who had themselves gotten the rights from Fox Syndicate.


Being published by several publishers complicated the Phantom Lady's wardrobe. The action figure is based on the design DC Comics adopted when they reintroduced the character in 1973. That costume is an amalgamation of Matt Baker, whose Good Girl art made the Phantom Lady such a success. Instead of being green and yellow, it is red and blue. Baker's character has no high heels. The goggles are a modern addition.

The action figure is less voluptuous and appealing than the way illustrators draw the character. When looking at her, although all the details are right about her, it doesn't feel like we're looking at a bombshell that makes men's mouths water. Next to the Hard Travelling Heroes whose character is as enticing, the Phantom Lady looks like a plain Jane.


Another Tim Bruckner sculpt, Phantom Lady's costume doesn't look practical in 3D. One wonders how anyone sane could go out and fight crime half naked and with no powers. Nevertheless, the character still looks sexy with her petite cast. Unfortunately, her right fist doesn't look right when one poses her in a shooting. Her goggles make her look liken she's wearing thick eye wear. Her sculpt looks a lot like Super Woman's.


Her paint application is simple. Except her hair, there are no toning or highlights anywhere on her. It has dark blue highlights. She does have pink eye shadow, but it's difficult to perceive behind her yellow goggles. The green of her cape looks off compared with that of her wrist shooter and her boots. As her entire skin is a painted coating, it gathers dust easily and darkens the figure with time.


Phantom Lady looks great next to the other figures from her wave such as Blue Beetle and the Question. Next to JSA action figures like her cousin the Golden Age Starman, the Golden Age Flash, the Golden Age Hourman, she looks great. She really is in the early DCDirect Silver Age scale. She is too small next to similar characters like the Hard Travelling Heroes Black Canary. However, with the Birds of Prey set, the Modern Super Girl, Power Girl, there are no problems.


Phantom Lady is stable enough on her own, but is not very solid because of her high heels. Putting her on her action figure stand is best. It's a modified Zatanna stand with two peg holes. It is the best way to pose the figure and believe me, in three years, she has not fallen once. Unlike many DCDirect action figures, she has two peg holes in her feet, keeping her on feet continually. DCDirect should drill two holes in all figures' feet.


Phantom Lady has nine articulations at the neck, the shoulders, the elbows, the and the hips. Her long hair limits the neck articulation. The hip articulations are in a v-shape. That means her legs rotate up and down not in an angle from their socket. This is impractical for serious posing and detracts from the beauty of the figure as parts are stretching out. T-shaped articulations are always better.


Phantom Lady is in PVC, like all DCDirect action figures. Her stock is sturdier than newer figures, like those from the Teen Titans' wave. Her cape is in similar stock. A soft rubber cape would have been better, but at the time, DCDirect didn't use them. Her goggles in clear translucent plastic. Considering her light weight, and many summers with weather variations, Phantom Lady is very resistant and her shape has not bended. This is great.


Except her action figure stand, Phantom Lady doesn't come with any props. Some ropes, like those displayed in her many adventures would have been a bonus, as they would have added to the background of and frequent sexual themes of the characters.


Phantom Lady came in a card with a clear plastic bubble. The card featured artwork of figures from the other Classic Heroes on the back.


Phantom Lady costs anywhere from $12 to $25 depending on the retailer. DCDirect does not suggest any prices for its action figures to encourage retailers from ordering. They can thus set their own prices. Competition continues in the marketplace as some retailers were willing to take lower margins for this figure compared with others. Sometimes, retailers even adjust prices according to figures' popularity.


This figure was produced back in the days when DCDirect was willing to take risks with minor characters. Her quality and articulation make her worthy of being collected alone. There has never been a Phantom Lady action figure before and I doubt there will be one ever again. The character is not even a regular in current comic books and only enjoys popularity thanks to her sex symbol origins and reprints by other publishers of stories in the public domain. If you are a fan of the character, get the figure now as initial orders might have been very low.

Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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