Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Norm DiPluhm: D. J. Arneson

After the nom de plume "Norm DiPluhm" at Charlton was attributed by fans to Steve Skeates, he spent years explaining that it wasn't him.

Rip Jagger's recent post on his blog about DiPluhm's Phantom stories reminded me of who the writer really is—the splash page to "Skyjack" that Rip uses as his illustration has the Ghost Who Walks saying "Great Scot" with one "t" rather than the more common "Great Scott." That and other markers unlike Skeates' identify the writer as D. J. Arneson. (He also wrote as DiPluhm for Go-Go and Abbott and Costello, two titles Skeates worked on, which may help explain those fans' thought processes). This example is from "The Giant Ape of Thawth."

Phantom 34 'Great Scot!'

Phantom stories written by D. J. Arneson
* = credited (as "Norm DiPluhm")

Aug/69 33  The Phantom's Death
Oct/     34  The Cliff Kingdom *

The Giant Ape of Tawth
Feb/70 36  The River That Never Ends *

Very Special Timber *
Apr/     37  Bandar Betrayers *

Skyjack *

Disband the Patrol! *
Jun/     38  The Dying Ground *

The Phantom's New Faith

 The Trap

That's the entirety of Arneson's Phantom stories. On Ghostly Tales here are the stories that jumped out at me in flipping through the entire run for my own indexing; there may be a few more.

Ghostly Tales by Arneson
* = credited (as "DiPluhm")

Oct/67 63  Up on the Mountain
Feb/68 65  The Phantom Crew *
May/     66  Water, Water, Everywhere *
Sept/     68  Yo Ho Ho and a Dead Man's Jest
Nov/     70  Pop Goes Popolos


  1. Fantastic! By Jove I think you have it sir.

    Rip Off

  2. The identity of Norm Diphlum finally revealed! Great detective work, Martin!

  3. Billy the Kid # 73 also has a DiPluhm script "The Hunter..Hunted"

  4. Thanks, Rip and Nick. Charlton at that period is still a fallow field for investigating.

  5. Can you confirm the writing on the Boyette Phantoms as by Joe Gill?

  6. After looking at a few yesterday, I'd have to say at this point: no, I can't. I looked at the two Boyette issues before the first Gill credit--#39 and 40--and figured them as written by Boyette himself when some things in them seemed to match up with his credited writer-artist mystery stories elsewhere. But then I looked at some of the stories in the following issues, credited to Gill or not, and they seemed to match up with these ones. So the subject needs a look in more depth.