Re: Tim Boyle's The Phantom
Actually, that's not quite right. Falk's original intention was that the Phantom's alias would be that of wealthy, "lazy" playboy Jimmy Wells (VERY Bruce Wayne-like), but he never actually went out and revealed this to his readers. Thus, when Falk came up with an idea he liked even better, the jungle setting and the whole legacy aspect, he decided to make this the way the Phantom should be midway in his first story, The Singh Brotherhood, from 1936 (Batman was created in 1939, or am I wrong?). Wells now vanished out of the story (though he appeared in the Zane movie), and it was revealed the Phantom had only been in NY for some months (if I remember correctly), but actually lived in the deep jungles of Bengalla and fought crime all over the world.
BTW, that's some interesting info about Batman's look. I never knew this, although it was always obviously where the tights and white eyes were lifted from... In that way, pretty much every superhero has copied the Phantom.
I think Falk must have been a bit inspired by the Shadow too... The guns, the whole "mysterious, scary crimefighter" angle. And he probably got the idea of the skull mark from the Spider. I even read Falk wrote Shadow radio plays long before he created the Phantom, but I'm not sure how true that is.
And yeah, Falk expressed he felt that most costume heroes that came after his creations owed him big time, and though he never said it in a way that could be perceived as arrogant or something (he had no reason to complain, as the character made him a very rich man), he did talk about how the Phantom (and even Mandrake) had influenced the superheroes in an interview published in Comic Book Marketplace.
Another influence the Phantom can have had on Batman, besides the things mentioned by Rogue Trooper, is the way their origin stories starts (the murder of their parents basically f**s them both up, and they compensate their loss by trying to make sure nobody will experience the same thing ever again by dressing up in weird uniforms and fighting bad guys).