A million years ago I read somewhere that the Italian Phantom was colored red because purple was considered the color of mourning and thus an unpleasant choice for a costume. However I haven't found any evidence to back that up. I think it's a myth. Here's a web article [http://www.deepwoods.org/purple.html] demonstrating that the Phantom's costume was originally intended to be gray, and author Lee Falk continued to call it gray well into the 1950s.I'm not sure Italy was the first European country to reprint the Phantom in album form, but I do know the first Italian comic, with first a red/orange/green, then a red, costume, appeared in 1937--two years before the US color Sunday page began. This suggests the publisher had no official color guide and simply pulled a color out of the air.