The Phantom Blot is one of Mickey Mouse's arch enemies, mostly seen in comics. He first appeared in the Mickey Mouse comic strip adventure Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot by Floyd Gottfredson, which was published in the form of daily strips from May 20 to September 9, 1939.
In Mickey and the Color Caper, The Phantom Blot briefly talks about his time as a "little blot" to a framed photograph of his parents, to whom he refers as 'Mommy' and 'Daddy'. Both parents were seen wearing cloaks similar to the one the Phantom Blot is usually seen wearing, although they wore 'normal' clothes over them, and the Blot's mother had a white hairdo. He mentions that his parents forced him to wear his black cloak all his life, for which he resented them. This justifies the Blot's goal in the cartoon, which was to suck all the colors in the world to become the "Phantom Rainbow" instead because he was tired of having worn black all his life long. Another segment about the Blot's youth was included in the recent Italian Disney comic Paperino e Topolino in: la finale, finalmente (2011). He could be seen growing up in the huge, white mansion of his rich parents, who made him wear white clothes and punished him whenever his clothes got dirty. When he accidentally created mud stains, his parents ostracized him, leading to his iconic black outfit and ink blot signature.
The Blot is very vain and his desire for money and power is only surpassed by his desire to immortalize his name in "the annals of crime"; although he often desires wealth and power, his greatest lust is for fame. Some of his plans have no monetary gain for him, but their purpose is to spread fear of him to the public, adding to his reputation. He seems to do evil schemes simply to be evil, and to spread his reputation as a villain, much like Ratigan.
He is very cunning and can come up with hundreds of different plans, from stealing all of the money in the world, to murdering Mickey Mouse. He's even tried stealing all of the colors in the area to decorate his black garb with. In DuckTales, he tried to take over the world.
He can be vengeful, as he sometimes creates plans to destroy or otherwise harm Mickey Mouse because of all the times the mouse foiled his plans.
In European stories, he is often presented as a more dangerous figure than the American versions.
Despite his ruthlessness, he has been known to occasionally show a softer side. In his first appearance, he claims that the reason he left Mickey in traps to die instead of just killing him was because he can't stand to actually see someone die due to his soft heart. However, on Topolino's website, he is described as having a black heart, suggesting he may have changed since then, becoming a more hardened criminal.
He also was shown to care deeply for his daughter, receiving permission to explain to his daughter what happened to him his way (in a fairy tale where he's the good guy and Mickey is the bad guy) before being taken to jail, telling her after the story to dream of "happy endings".
In costume, the Phantom Blot wears dark clothes that make him resemble a living ink-blot, or a shadow, hence his name. His mask sometimes has a mouth.
Without his mask, he is a dog with a long black mustache and black slicked-back hair. His ears are the same color as his face, and he has a large black nose. On Topolino's webpage describing him, it is stated he is considered rather handsome, summing him up as:
- In short, smart, stylish, good-looking, Blot would seem the prince ... it's a shame that all this is accompanied by a heart as black as night!
He has a large array of abilities and skills that he uses.
- Disguise: He has quite a talent in acting, and often operates in disguise and has acted under various aliases and identities, adopting many different personalities to suit his parts. He has even disguised as Mickey's friends in some situations. Other times he takes advantage of the terrain or weather. In one issue where he is attempting a robbery on a winter night, he is seen in his normal black outfit. When he saw Goofy, who had taken a job as a night watchman, was patrolling the businesses, the Blot realized he must abort his plans, but then says "I always come prepared", and removes his black robes and replaces them with white ones, allowing himself to camouflage with the snowy streets.
- Escapology: He is a master of escape. Even if the police do manage to capture and imprison him, which rarely happens, he is soon out again.
- Hypnotism: He is a skillful hypnotist and occasionally uses this skill to force others to do his bidding. He has even ordered Mickey himself to act as a criminal in order to frame him.
- Manipulation: He is incredibly manipulative and seems to have ways to get information about everything that is going on in the city and even from the police headquarters. His ways of persuading others to follow him include using their own greed, promising them means of revenge or blackmailing them. He enjoys seducing citizens with no criminal records to act as his agents. He often uses their vanity to turn them into pawns. He has a fairly good knowledge of psychology and is very skilled in spreading fear to his victims, causing them to doubt their relationships and in some cases even their own sanity. In the House of Mouse episode "House of Crime", he even convinced everyone, including Mickey Mouse himself, that Mickey had "gone bad" and stole everyone and everything in the house.
- Scientific knowledge: He has some scientific knowledge, mainly in physics, mechanics, and biology, and has often used this in his plans. He has invented various devices he uses as weapons, some of which are most likely impossible in real life.
- Artistic sense: In addition to his intellect, the Phantom Blot claims to be an artist by nature and has considerable skill in painting, which he uses to create forgeries of famous works of art. He later proceeds in stealing the original and leaving his copy behind.
The Phantom Blot, or simply "The Blot", made his first appearance in Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot. In this story, Chief O'Hara hires Mickey to capture this new criminal who calls himself The Blot. According to O'Hara, he is the smartest thief they've ever met. Detective Casey, however, calls this new criminal a looney. The only thing he steals is cameras of a special type and he smashes them open on the spot. In the end, Blot is captured and unmasked. Most later stories featuring the villain don't unmask him, in order to give him a more mysterious character.
Many artists and writers have furthered the Phantom Blot throughout the years. The first re-appearance was in the Italian story Topolino e il doppio segreto di Macchia Nera, written by Guido Martina and drawn by Romano Scarpa, published in 1955 in issues 116-119 of Topolino (magazine), the main Italian Disney magazine. In the United States, after a long absence, he was revived in the serial "The Return of The Phantom Blot" (drawn by Paul Murry) that ran in issues 284-287 (May–August 1964) of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories. This was followed by a comic book series of seven issues (1964 to 1966) devoted to the Blot and his crimes. He next turned up in the mid-1970s in two issues of Super Goof written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Roger Armstrong. Comic book historian Joe Torcivia notes Armstrong was the first to draw the character with a mouth, making him look like a shadow instead of someone under a black cloak. This convention has since been followed by many artists, including Murry.
The Phantom Blot was unmasked at the end of Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot.
Phantom Blot Comics
Along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, Super Goof, Eega Beeva, Minnie Mouse, and Chief O'Hara have all encountered the Blot, and thus successfully tried to stop him. The Blot sometimes teams up with other bad guys like the Beagle Boys and Mad Madam Mim, who is madly in love with him; while he considers her a lunatic. At the height of the villain's popularity, he was given his own comic book, which ran for two years, and was comprised of seven issues.
In a comic strip, the Phantom has captured Minnie, and if Mickey doesn't give better advice to him, she will be given for the hungry piranhas.
The readers of the comics were gradually introduced to the Blot's family. His triplet nephews visited the Phantom Blot in a 1975 Brazillian comic and reappeared afterward. The Blot's honest brother (who looks identical to him except that he wears a white mask) was shown to own a restaurant in the comic A Tainted Image (1997). Rufus, the Blot's other honest brother, owns a laundromat in Duckburg, as shown in the Italian comic 'Topolino e il segreto della Pecora Bianca. At some point, he was shown to have a daughter.
Appearances in animation
The Phantom Blot's first appearance in animation was in the DuckTales episode "All Ducks on Deck", voiced by Frank Welker. His physical appearance is very different from other incarnations of the character, having red eyes and a gray coat instead of all black. In that episode, he steals a secret bomber from the Navy aircraft carrier on which Donald Duck serves, using help from "Agent X" and plans to use it to make more to take over the world.
The Phantom Blot later appeared in a short featured on Mickey Mouse Works, titled "Mickey Foils the Phantom Blot" and originally broadcast on November 7, 1999. In this short, he steals a "radium card" from Ludwig Von Drake and uses it to rob every bank in the world. As the title suggests, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy manage to foil his plans. The short was double the length of most of the shorts featured on the series and is considered by many fans to be the best of the Mickey Mouse Works shorts.
The Blot soon reappeared in another Mouse Works short titled "Mickey and the Color Caper", this one featured in the House of Mouse episode "Where's Minnie?" In this short, the Blot is now stealing colors from everything in the world, including Minnie Mouse, simply because he's bored with his inky black cloth and plans to become, "The Phantom Rainbow!" Again, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy show up to foil his plans, in a rather colorful battle. The Blot also appeared in the House segment of the episode in a cameo as one of the House of Mouse patrons where he is given an inkwell with a straw.
The Blot later made an appearance in the House of Mouse episode "House of Crime", which was wrapped around his first Mouse Works short. Here, he is stealing things from all over the house and then kidnapping characters both good and evil. Unbeknownst to everyone, the Blot hides in a device that Ludwig Von Drake has invented to give out clues to find the criminal, so he continually makes the machine give out misleading clues (although all the clues are technically true). After everybody but him disappears, Mickey at first believes he is the one doing the crimes (as some of the clues indicated him), but soon figures out that the Blot is behind this and corners him. In his attempt to escape on his newly-repaired blimp from his first Mickey Mouse Works appearance (shown as the featured cartoon earlier), it pops and the Blot is foiled once again.
In "Campaign Carnage", the Phantom Blot appears unmasked and uses the alias of "Bob" while pretending to be a campaign manager for Constance A. Dention and helping Darkwing and Launchpad McQuack with their campaigns. After Constance is unmasked as the villainess Suff-Rage, the Phantom Blot turns out to be the one behind the ink that gave One-Shot, Cat-Tankerous, and Suff-Rage their powers. He then forms an alliance with Magica De Spell for a new scheme involving the ink.
During the events of "Dangerous Currency", it is revealed that Magica used some of the ink to make the Phantom Blot work with her. Eventually, the Blot and the rest of the villains merge together into a giant ink monster. After that, all of them are banished to another plane of existence by Morgana McCawber. However, this story was never approved by The Walt Disney Company and has been said not to be considered canon.
Even though "Dangerous Currency" is non-canon, the revision of "Campaign Carnage" found in Darkwing Duck: The Definitively Dangerous Edition still features the Phantom Blot and has him being the man behind the ink that gives One-Shot, Cat-Tankerous, and Suff-Rage their powers. The revised story also keeps the Blot's planned alliance with Magica De Spell. The Joe Books continuation of the comic shows him secretly delivering the ink to a comic book artist (a caricature of James Silvani) at the end of the fourth issue, setting up the plot of the sixth issue. The outcome of the Phantom Blot's plans are currently a mystery.
His depiction in Disney comics has varied with the artists using him: in stories published by Egmont Publishing, as well as French stories, he is always shown wearing his hood, while in Italian ones, he frequently appears unmasked, sometimes not wearing his cloak at all. In these, he wears everyday clothes and is unmasked, though he is still up to criminal schemes ranging from robbery and smuggling to espionage, sabotage, and extortion.
French translators often took liberties with Italian material and apparently decided that the Phantom Blot's appearances without his cloak and mask should be classified as depicting a completely different character. In the French translations of the Italian stories where the Blot appeared unmasked, he was frequently given the name Jo Crisse (a term usually used as a form of insult), while he retained his Italian name Macchia Nera in the original Italian versions (which literally means Black Blot), but used more as a name (the characters would call him "Macchia Nera", as if it was really his name, instead of "il Macchia Nera", with a pronoun like in "the Phantom Blot").
In European stories he is often presented as a more dangerous figure than the American version (in which he has also frequently clashed with Super Goof, whose comical stories progressively made him less scary); while still trying to kill Mickey and his allies he has other agendas as well, and often sets up for the conquest of the world.
The Blot appeared as the main villain in the Italian comic book series, Wizards of Mickey, unmasked, though he still operates by pulling strings. Depicted as a powerful evil sorcerer, the Phantom Blot seeks the powers of the Diamagics to become Sorcerer Supreme, having Pete and the Beagle Boys employed as a team to help him get it. At the end of the first arc in a battle with Mickey Mouse, he is defeated and trapped in a shadowy form resembling an inky version of his cloaked appearance. In the second arc, "The Dark Ages", he succeeds in manipulating Mickey into dabbling more in dark magic and also manages to bring Minnie Mouse under his control leading to a battle between the two.
In the Italian comic series Darkenblot, he and Mickey are put into a futuristic world, where he is given a slightly altered design.
- Main article: The Shadow Blot
The Phantom Blot was originally going to be in Epic Mickey. He would start out as a weird glob and later turn into a monster. Instead, a revamped Phantom Blot is the main antagonist of the video game Epic Mickey, under the name of the Shadow Blot. In his role, he is the main villain, having been accidentally created by Mickey, who then attacks a world of forgotten Disney characters created by Yen Sid, and ruled by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He proceeded to corrupt the world into a Wasteland, force Oswald out of power, and ally with the Mad Doctor.
Besides conquering Wasteland, he's set his focus on becoming a cartoon star in his own right by any means, the knowledge of him being a mistake being his primary drive.In this incarnation, he resembles a living ink-monster, rather than someone in a costume.
It is revealed in a cutscene that while being pulled into the world, Mickey had merged with the Blot causing Mickey to ooze ink throughout the game. It is later revealed late in the game that the Blot Mickey has been fighting was just a dripping of the real Blot who has been trapped in a glass bottle on top of Mickeyjunk Mountain before Oswald loses his temper and accidentally releases him. The real Blot takes more of a Chernabog appearance, but much more savage and vicious and will stop at nothing to get rid of Mickey. The Blot is a terror to any cartoon in Wasteland, not just in size or appearance, but also that he can basically suck the life and paint out of them by touch, making him a very threatening foe, even by Disney standards.
- The strange crime in Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot and the motive behind it resembles closely the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Six Napoleons.
- The Phantom Blot's gaunt face and thin mustache, as revealed at the end of Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot, were reportedly based on the features of Walt Disney himself.
- Even though Epic Mickey is known for making a version of him where he is made of ink, House of Mouse already hinted at him being made of ink, as ink blots followed him wherever he went.
- He has a few similarities with Evil Manta, as both are purely evil normally but can be nice with their respective children.
- He is also similar to Ratigan in the sense that both commit their crimes in part in order to achieve fame.
- Despite being a dognose, he has a facial structure that is very similar to a realistic human face. He has a dognose but does not possess any muzzle.
- In House of Mouse and Mickey Mouse Works, he leaves inkblots wherever he goes, and any ink that spills in an area he is occupying resembles his trademark inkblot.
- In Where's Minnie?, he seems to be able to drink ink, but only as a gag.
- In Ultraheroes, he can turn himself into a liquid, thanks to a technological device he wears on his belt.
- Disney's HooZoo - The Phantom Blot
- Topolino article on The Phantom Blot (Italian)
- Topolino article: Darkenblot (translated)
- Paperpedia (translated)