The ChronicleChamber forum was created because Douglas felt that the forum which he was visiting to discuss the Phantom and the various comics the character appeared in was too overrun by disrespectful posters. Other members agreed with Douglas and mentioned they would prefer a more respectable environment to discuss their hero. Douglas decided to take matters into his own hands and created the ChronicleChamber forums on April 4, 2006. Douglas made it clear that the forum was for peaceful discussion and any member found acting inappropriately toward other members would be promptly banned. Douglas also strived to have the forums be a welcoming and inviting place for readers new to the Phantom who may not know much about the hero. For the most part this has worked well and the forum has been fairly free of flame wars.
A few months after the forums opened Douglas decided to create an actual web site. The reason for this was firstly to house the forums but also because Douglas noticed that the most popular Phantom site at the time did not record all Phantom news. Douglas felt there should be a web site that provided news for all Phantom fans and for all aspects of the Phantom franchise.
Site Version #1
The ChronicleChamber.com site opened in June 5th of 2006. The first version of the site had a colour pallet of purple, grey and black and was somewhat difficult to navigate. After a few months Douglas closed the site for a few days leaving simply a “holder” page with a link to the forums at the http://www.chroniclechamber.com URL.
Site Version #2
Soon the site was re-opened with a black and white palette and layout. Navigation was much improved and the look of the site was not as jarring to visitors. Douglas continued to make a number of small alterations to improve navigation. It was also during this version of the site that articles, interviews and reviews began to appear more regularly. These where hosted on the site with links to discussion threads on the ChronicleChamber.com forums. Later on reference information such as character and creator biographies where also added along with cover galleries for the main three Phantom publishers, Frew, Egmont and Moonstone as well as a “Various” cover gallery for other publishers. Much more reference material was added during this version of the site (see Content).
Site Version #3
Since the original version of the site Douglas had been using Yahoo! SiteBuilder to create the ChronicleChamber.com web site as well as Yahoo!’s web hosting service to host the site. Douglas reported in an entry on ChronicleChamber.com that he’d experienced a lot of trouble with the SiteBuilder program, reporting that it would constantly crash. Also, the cost of hosting the site was beginning to become too expensive. Due to this Douglas cancelled his web hosting service with Yahoo! but kept the http://www.chroniclechamber.com domain name. Douglas decided to instead use the free blogging site Blogger to host the site.
The site is now a series of several blogs interlinked to one another. There are separate blogs for issue listings, articles and so forth. The http://www.chroniclechamber.com URL now redirects visitors to the main ChronicleChamber.com blog which features new and links to all the connected blogs. The actual URL for the main ChronicleChamber.com blog is http://latestphantomnews.blogspot.com.
Using Blogger to host the web site has not only made the financial aspects of running ChronicleChamber.com more viable for Douglas but it has also made the site less time consuming to produce and improved the ease of posting news and articles. During the version one and two stages of the site ChronicleChamber.com was up-dated on a weekly basis due to the time it took to up-load data to Yahoo!’s web hosting service. Now with the site on Blogger it is up-dated several times a week, often daily. The move to Blogger has also allowed Douglas to give access to others to help keep the site uo-to-date. The people who work on the main site are collectively known as Team CC.
Since the move to Blogger visitors to the site have commented on the improvement over past versions to the site. However the move to Blogger meant that a lot of the downloadable content was removed however that Wallpapers section still remains. Douglas said that if there is enough demand from visitors he will find a way to return this content.
At the time ChronicleChamber.com was opened the most popular Phantom site was mainly a site of reference. Douglas felt that this site was a very good source for Phantom reference so there was no point trying to emulate what was already a very good job. Instead Douglas decided his site would be a true fan site rather than a reference site so reviews, interviews and articles became common parts of the site. The first of these appeared in the now defunct e-newsletter The X-Band. When the site changed to version two the articles, reviews and interviews were hosted on the site itself. Articles and reviews on ChronicleChamber.com are open to fan submission, as are many other aspects of the site. If a fan wishes to write a review or article and have it feature on the site all they need do is e-mail it to ChronicleChamber.com
Reviews that appear on ChronicleChamber.com are all written by fans of the comics. Douglas himself has written a number as have regular forum posters such as Paul Andreas Jonassen. Issues are reviewed and given a score out of five.
One thing Douglas was surprised by was that there were no interviews with Phantom creators on Phantom fan sites. Douglas decided to try and get interviews with some creators to feature on ChronicleChamber.com. The first of these was with Moonstone cover artist Doug Klauba. The interview was well received and many more such interviews have appeared on the site. Interviews with creators such a Mike Bullock and Cleas Remirthi have appeared on the site as well as interviews with many other people well known to Phantom readers
Talking Drums articles on ChronicleChamber.com are “general interest” articles. They cover many aspects of the Phantom’s world and phandom such as collecting Phantom merchandise, the Phantom 1996 film and conjecture articles as well as other topics.
During the second version of the site reference information began to be added. This information was not intended to be in-depth but rather accessible to both long time Phantom readers and also new fans. The Heroes and Villains section of the site housed character biographies listing information such as first appearances, notable appearances and so forth. Douglas took an interesting path in contracting the character biographies in that rather than using a single source as the main source for information, he chose to use many, combining cannon from Lee Falk, Egmont, Moonstone other publishers stories.
ChronicleChamber.com also had music, the Phantom 2040 video game, images and so on for download as well as short biographies on Phantom creators and the various publishers who have released Phantom comics in the past and present and a section on the various TV and film appearances of the Phantom. These where removed with the move to Blogger.
Early in its history ChronicleChamber.com was criticized for having too much content focusing on the American Phantom publisher Moonstone and Joe Douglas himself was accused of being pro-Moonstone and ignoring the other publishers. Douglas defended the site and said the reasons for the amount of Moonstone content was that Moonstone released more information on their products than any of the other Phantom publishers. Also Douglas said that the artists and writers who worked on the Moonstone comics were a lot easier to approach than creators from other publishers in regards to interviews. Douglas defended himself by saying that while he enjoys the Moonstone stories he does not prefer one publisher over another and judges each story, regardless of publisher, on its own merits. He points to his review of Moonstone Phantom issue #13 as an example of this as he scored the issue only 1.5 out of 5.
In recent times these complaints seem to have subsided and there is much content form all publishers on the site.
The ChronicleChamber.com site is supported by the Collectorz.com company and previously by the Spider-Man fan podcast The Amazing Spider-Cast. Douglas has used the Collectorz.com Comic Collector data base program for a number of years and has submitted many Phantom issues to them for inclusion to their on-line comic database.