The Phantom was introduced to an unsuspecting newspaper reeading public in February, 1936. He was the first comic superhero to feature a skin-tight costume and a mask that does not show eye pupils. His origins are arcane and difficult to understand.
His parents were murdered right in front of him and he develops a fierce desire to fight evil dressed as a bat. No? He was bitten by a radioactive spider. No? How about this - he is the decendant of a 16th century sea captain who was murdered by pirates, and his birthright is to retain the tradition of emulating an African god that strikes fear into the hearts of the unrighteous with his pistols, his pet wolf, and rings he uses either to scar his victims or mark his friends as a warning to those who would harm them.
No, he has no powers, but intellect, cunning and - what? No, no one killed his parents in front of him, his 19xGreat-Grandfather was killed by pirates and - what? No, he is American, sort of, but he lives in Africa in Skull Cave and - what? Yes, I said a wolf. He also has a horse. And an elephant.
Yeah, there was a movie starring Billy Zane, this was before Titanic.
Apparently there was some controversy regarding the color of his costume, which everyone knows is purple. Except it was in black and white until 1939, and even then different countries gave him different colors. His outfit was even described as gray in the text on numerous occasions.