Overcome by a wave of nostalgia, I recently walked into a decrepit little comic bookstore. I had heard, in passing, of Superman's demise, and for all I know The Caped Crusader isn't doing too well either. Indeed, there was nary a Superman or Batman comic to be had. The Fantastic Four, at least, are still being pushed by Marvel, partly thanks to the success of the recent movie with Jessica Alba. But what of the others? It appears that Aquaman has sunk, the Green Lantern has dimmed and Ultraboy discovered his vulnerability to alcohol. Thor has dropped his hammer for the last time and Dr. Strange has lost his magic.

I mourn the loss of my childhood heroes.

Undaunted, I kept looking. There was one that gripped my fancy for several months on end, and I'd swapped with everyone to add to my collection. I asked the shopkeeper about him.

"The hero I'm thinking of is dead, sort of - a ghost. He lived on an island in the sea but was also often seen in America. He wore a purple outfit with a cape. But I can't think of his name. Was it the Silver Surfer, maybe?"

"Oh no, that's not the Silver Surfer. What you've given me is... a Phantom reference!"

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