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Fantomah - Jungle Comics - Daughter pharaohs version - 1940s - wisdom header 2

Fantomah, daughter of the pharaohs

("W.B. Hovious" version) (part 2/2)


This is the second half of our profile for the “W.B. Hovious”, 1942/44 version of Fantomah.

So you should read first, efendi.


History (continued)

Hassim later managed to capture Horus and Fury. From there the bandit king forced Fantomah to surrender, lest he massacres exposed Khefran and allied troops.

Fantomah nearly escaped, but was recaptured. However, this allowed Horus and Fury to break free. They rescued Fantomah before a scared horse could drag her to death, and she killed the fleeing Hassim with a splendtacular dagger throw.

Berber king Ibn Raj from “Berbery” then sent raiders to pillage Khefran villages. Fantomah led two Khefran boats in confronting Ibn Raj, but he captured them. As Fantomah refused to surrender her kingdom, successful Berber attacks on Khefra mounted.

But Fury raided Berber back ranks, freeing prisoners. These came in as Fantomah was pitted against lions in a makeshift arena. Seizing the element of surprise, Fantomah killed Ibn Raj and the Berbers were routed.

(This draws from the Barbary Wars of the early 1800s  . American naval campaigns against Northern African pirates were played up for nationalism in the recently-independent US, and to counter isolationism. References to it as a righteous triumph of American strength continued up to WW2.)

If they move too quick, they’re falling down like a domino

Fantomah and Horus then visit the Watussi, renowned cattle herders and “the tallest people in Africa”. These peaceful folks are being raided by Swazi hordes, but Khefrans reinforcements fight these raiders off.

(“Watusi” or “Watussi” once designated the Tutsi people of Rwanda  , due to a misunderstood plural. Here, they likely are conflated with the Maasai folks  , who tend to be tall and herd cattle.)

(Both these cultures raise a distinctive breed of cattle. Which is also called “Watussi” as a shorthand for “the kind of cows raised by ’em Tutsi guys”. “The watusi” also was a 1960s US dance craze, multi-referenced in the Batman TV show of yore.)

Fantomah then clashes with a (counts on fingers) evil, Muslim, swarthy, Indian rajah. He’s after cursed Khefran gems, which had already led to a war against Indian princes 500 years prior.

But Fantomah narrowly prevails, and makes sure that the greed-inspiring gems remain buried and hidden.

Fantomah - Jungle Comics - Daughter pharaohs version - 1940s - women amazon knife fight panther pyramid castle

My Sheri amour

An Arab adventuress named Sheri then convinces some locals that she’s the rightful ruler of Khefra. She leverages that in an attempt to steal from a Khefran pyramid, and kill Fury. But she is defeated and forced to flee.

Sheri attempts to have her revenge. She and Arab raiders kidnap Fantomah and Horus while they are capturing pretty birds in the forest.

But as Sheri leaves the pair to be killed by leopards, Fury intervenes. He kills the beasts and Sheri.

Fantomah then passes herself for Sheri. She joins the raiders as they are storming Khefra, and falsely warns them of incoming reinforcements. The raiders flee, which saves Khefra.

All the bazaar men by the Nile, they got the money on a bet

A scorpion cult then attempts to overthrow Fantomah. They use scorpion-based terrorism, and assassins with poison weapons. But they are defeated.

Disgraced royal architect Hal then returns, disguised as the “Fakir of Hedjaz”. He incites Khefrans to revolt, and uses his insider knowledge of the city’s architecture and infrastructure to perform “miracles”.

He even briefly defeats and captures the queen. But she escapes with Fury’s help – and exposes the “Fakir”.

Khefra then annexes bountiful lands which, CONVENIENTLY ENOUGH, are only populated by evil cannibals. But pirate captain Sheb also comes in, staking a claim to this land. Fantomah is captured, but poisons Sheb with her trick ring.

After cannibals attack the pirates, Fantomah enlists the survivors and their ship into her navy.

Fantomah and Horus then go on a hunt to capture a gorilla. But renegade animal tamer turned bandit, Ras Re-Hü, attacks them with his hunting leopards. He’s defeated, then killed by gorillas (?).

Fantomah decides to adopt the surviving leopards.

Fantomah - Jungle Comics - Daughter pharaohs version - 1940s - more middle eastern dagger no background

The clearest shot in the early stories happens to come from one stray issue where somebody decided she should look more Middle-Eastern.

Gold crocodiles they snap their teeth, on your cigarette

The vengeful wife of a criminal condemned by Fantomah then seeks revenge. She locks the queen and Horus within a pyramid, then rallies prisoners to attempt a coup.

But Fantomah escapes and quashes the (uniformly Black) criminals, to the relief of the (uniformly White) populace.

The jealous King of nearby Ar then visits. He’s looking for an angle to annex larger, wealthier Khefra. An opportunity arises when the queen invites him to race her with horse-drawn chariots.

During the race, the King produces his infamous nail-studded whip, to drive his horses then kill Fantomah. But Fury rushes in in time, and it’s the King who dies in a crash.

Warriors from Vixa then besiege Khefra. The situation seems desperate. But Fantomah and erratic inventor Raa come up with a plan. Raa pretends to defect to Vixa, and shows them how to build wings.

Thinking that these will allow for bypassing Khefra’s wall, Vixan warriors don wings and try to fly. But they all crash, creating an opening for a successful Kheran sortieAn attack made by troops coming out from a position of defense..

Fading out

Fantomah then deals with Ali and his lioness. The depraved bandit murders lone travellers at a critical oasis – an unthinkable crime. Ali is eventually killed by Fury.

Fantomah, Horus and Fury then investigate the sinister Cliffs Of Doom. They discover a ghastly world of man-capturing plants, troglodyte cavemen, and dinosaurs – then escape.

Fantomah’s aged court physician, Shep-Hut, then seemingly dies. But this is all part of a relentless plot by his designated successor, Laän, and his wife. They also try to kill Fantomah to take over Khefra, but fail.

Last adventure

A faux-Chinese merchant named Wang then comes to Khefra.

He was a friend of Fantomah’s father, who saved his life twice. But as his people had revolted against Khefran imperialism, Wang was unable to travel to Khefra for decades.

Wang gives Fantomah a serpent bracelet, which El Hamid once told him held clues to a great treasure. Though Wang is killed in a cannibal attack, his gift allows Fantomah to find the cache.

Once she defeats its guardian, a giant hooded cobra, she finds the great riches her dad had hidden.

While a caption assures us that Fantomah will return in the next issue, she never does. Dang captions.


Fantomah is all model-like and light-skinned.

Early on, even her hair is stark white. It’s magic that turns it red once she dons her Egyptian garb.

In later strips, Fantomah sometimes has black hair. Perhaps there’s some sort of magical/divine significance/cycle about this. Sometimes they’re magenta, but it’s presumably an artefact of red ink having aged badly.

(As a pharaonic type she could be wearing wigs, but that’s not the vibe from the story.)

She sometimes talks in pop pseudo-Shakespearean English, as the Ancient Egyptians no doubt did. Much like Marvel’s Thor. But this isn’t consistent.

Fantomah bears a sculpted asp head on her tiara. This is indeed a pharaonic symbol. I’d imagine that it was drawn from period art of Ramses II (XIXth Dynasty), since the authors are working with 1930s Egyptology.

(The Khefran flag is also a stylized sun with a rising asp head on each side, over a black background).

Celebrity skin

Ancient Egyptians leaders depicted as fair-skinned Europeans has been… A Thing™ for quite a while. It was still being done in 2010s Hollywood movies about Ancient Egypt.

Ain’t gonna write an essay about it here. But Ancient Egypt appears to have been quite mixed – and this take merrily reproduces Victorian racism. Where Egyptians are lily-white when they build impressive stuff, and much swarthier when they don’t.

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Bland, ladylike, scrupulously law-abiding, customs-abiding and altruistic.

Since this is pulp fiction, Fantomah constantly investigates danger, goes on patrol, etc. on her own. Or, at best, with Fury and guard captain Horus.

She is confident in her spells. Fantomah knows that she can just walk into the most desperate situations then *bam* turn everything around with a magic incantation.

In fact it’s best for her to ensure that her position is as bad as it gets, then cast her spell when all her enemies are nearby and overconfident.

There’s a *vague* implication that Fantomah and Horus, the captain of the guard, are an item. But the stories have no romantic elements.

She likes having pets. Beyond Fury, Fantomah has a collection of tropical birds in her palace. And a stable of racing horses.

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“Ammon(sic) ! Ra ! Osiris ! Gods of Egypt, aid me now !”

“O ancient gods of Egypt, visit thy wrath upon these fiends ! As mummies they slew – as mummies let them die !”

“Killing me gets you nowhere ! My people will avenge me !”

Other Universes History

This version of Fantomah works weirdly well with the Serious Sam setting.

Early on she is also comparable to Isis — the Filmation version, played by Joanna Cameron.

In the DCU, I reckon you could do the obvious and have her and Horus be a previous incarnation of the Hawks.

I’m tepid about all of those, since the Hovious version of Fantomah, in my eyes, dilutes the mystique of the original Fantomah. But this downside could be avoided with a good story about how the “W.B. Hovious” Fantomah was a different person, named after the original.


DC Heroes RPG

Fantomah (Daughter of the Pharaohs version)

Dex: 05 Str: 02 Bod: 04
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 07
Inf: 07 Aur: 06 Spi: 08
Init: 020 HP: 050


Comprehend languages: 12, Sorcery: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Comprehend Languages also affects anybody who can see or hear Fantomah.
  • Sorcery is Seriously Marginal.
  • Sorcery doesn’t inflict Mystical Damage when used.
  • Sorcery must respect the law of sympathy.
  • If Sorcery cannot be rationalised as the intervention of an Ancient Egyptian god, its OV/RVs are raised by one CS.


Acrobatics (Climbing): 03, Animals handling (Horses, Big cats): 05, Martial Artist*: 05, Military science (Field command, Tracking): 04, Thief (Stealth): 04, Weaponry (Melee, Missile): 06


Credentials (Khefra, High), Expertise (Ancient Egyptian gods, Khefran history), Iron Nerves, Languages (Ancient Khefran script), Rank (Captain), Schtick (Fast-draw (Dagger)), Sidekicks (Fury, Horus), Misc.: It’s A Trap! (below).


M’Zili tribals (Low), Congo Mazaans (High), Lal Maraj the “Hindoo chief” (Low)


None demonstrated.


Lawful Good.


Hands-on Queen.




  • Dagger [BODY 04, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 06), Descriptor: Piercing].
  • Fantomah’s heavy bracelets have been useful in sawing through ropes when captured.
  • Fantomah’s ring holds a dose of soluble poison [BODY 02, Poison touch: 07, Grenade Drawback, Limitation: Poison touch attacks BODY/BODY with is APs/APs, but must be drunk to take effect].

Design notes

Early on, Fantomah’s abilities are lower. In particular, her Martial Artist only subs for EV (and only when she’s armed), her DEX is 04 and her BODY is 03.

Once Character Advancement has allowed her to raise her stats enough to muscle through her adventures, she stops using her Sorcery. The Marginal Limitation means that it’s a significant HP expense, and she doesn’t need it anymore.

(It’s a loose, semi-perfunctory bit of modelisation to explain in-universe why she stops using Sorcery. There are other possible No-Prize HypothesisA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole., such as the gods deciding that she no longer needed their help to run this show.)

Ideally, the Sorcery Fantomah of the earliest issues would have a separate entry from the Action Leader Fantomah that appears later on. But there’s too little material, and it’s too vague, to support that. Hence the hack with Marginal.

Other design notes

One obstacle for benchmarking is that most data is about Fantomah fighting animals. But how dangerous large animals are just varies too much in fiction. Sometimes a lion is a major threat, sometimes you can beat one back using a spatula.

With her Hero Points, Fantomah can afford doing Criticals, especially when fighting animals (who tend not to have a huge DEX, or HPs to LDD). This is efficient, as it often allows her to win a fight with but one dagger to the heart.

It’s A Trap!

Fantomah Daughter of the Pharaohs gains a 10 Hero Points Award whenever she walks into a situation that is obviously a trap, or a setup for an ambush or assassination attempt.

Sometimes she does so out of amazing naïveté, sometimes she does so by rigidly following social norms, sometimes it seems that it’s a planned counter-ambush.

But in any case she gets her HPs. Which is particularly useful during the era when she uses her Marginal Sorcery.

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Fury the black panther

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 02
Inf: 03 Aur: 00 Spi: 03
Init: 012 HP: 010


Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 04, Claws: 06, Directional Hearing: 05, Extended Hearing: 03, Jumping: 01, Running: 04, Super Hearing: 03, Swimming: 03, Ultra Vision: 04


Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Military Science (Camouflage): 03, Thief (Stealth): 04


Lightning Reflexes.


Serve Fantomah.


Professional leopard.

Fantomah - Jungle Comics - Daughter pharaohs version - 1940s - women amazon knife fight panther jungle

Horus the captain of the guard

He’s exceptionally bland. Go with shock trooper stock stats, but with a STR of 03 and a broadsword.

Writeups.org writer avatar Sébastien Andrivet

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: 1940s Jungle Comics issues (#28-51) from Fiction House.

Helper(s): Quiof Thrul, Darci. And as always, a big thanks to those scanning public domain comic books such as Jungle Comics – it’s a lot of work.

Writeup completed on the 10th of October, 2021.