Phil Sheldon was a reporter who witnessed a few of the biggest historic events in the Marvel Universe. As a young reporter he witnessed the first battle between the Human Torch and Namor in the 1940's. During this event he lost one of his eyes due to a stone brick hitting him in the head. After World War II Phil married his long-time girlfriend Doris and they had two children. After many years as a photographer and journalist, Phil losing his "Feel" and excitement that came with his work decided to retire, giving his camera to his assistant. He called out his wife and told his assistant to take a photo marking the occasion. Included by Phil's request a young paper boy known as Danny Ketch was included in the picture whom Phil described as a perfectly normal boy. Little did Phil know, Danny would soon grow up to become the anti-hero Ghost Rider.
Phil Sheldon was created by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross and first appeared in Marvels #1 (1994).
Major Story Arcs
Rise of the Marvels
Phil and his family first witnessed the rise of the mutants, and the fear and pannick it had on normal humans, when a young mutant girl named Maggie sought the help of the family. Although Phil was skeptical at first, his children showed him that, even though Maggie looked different, she was just a young frightened girl. Phil, Doris and the kids helped hide Maggie from an angry mob until she suddenly vanished. Leaving only a note saying thanks and her reason for leaving; her fear of getting the Sheldon family in trouble with the mob. Phil witnessed more historic events, like the coming of Galactus (witch seemed like the end of days to a lot of people) and the death of Gwen Stacy, the great love of Peter Parker, aka Spider-man.
To 'write off' all these amazing events he witnessed and photographed Phil and his publisher made a book starring his greatest photos in it, called "Marvels".
The enormous popularity of his book left Phil questioning what to do next. Both fans and his publisher where waiting for his next best thing. While Phil was struggling to find what to do next in life, disaster struck. He was diagnosed with cancer.
Eye of the Camera
A long and hard struggle followed. Phil tried to get everything in order before his end would come. This included making a new book, with the purpose of showing his audience that the marvels who where "bigger then life", actually where just as human as the everyday man in the street. While in the hospital Phil was visited by Maggie, the young mutant girl he helped hide from an angry mob so many years ago. Maggie told Phil what happened to her after she went away and how she found a purpose in life and how it was all thanks to Phil and his family. The conversation was interrupted when Doris and the kids walked into the room, surprised and happy to see Maggie again after all those years.
These event where on the same day as the televised seemingly death of the X-men (as seen in the Fall of the Mutants storyline). While watching these images on the television, Phil died, surrounded by his loving family. At the funeral, Phil's oldest daughter talked to Phil's publisher. She would help finish the new book her father had started.
Phil's stories can be read in Marvels, it's sequel Marvels: Eye Of The Camera and the alternate reality series Ruins.
An unofficial sequel to the method of story telling started in Marvels was the mini-series Code of Honor, in witch New York City cop Jeffrey Piper is witness to great Marvel events.