Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Mandrake's Bon Voyage" begins

Yes, that is Mandrake the Magician! It's fitting that he's guest-starring in the strip today, as it is the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Phantom and Mandrake creator, Lee Falk.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New adventure, new logo, old friend!

I've been hinting that this Sunday's strip would contain a few surprises-- and here we are -- a new logo panel -- and a guest star!  First things first-- yes, that's Mandrake the Magician and Narda riding into the Deep Woods. 

When I first started drawing the Sunday Phantom strip, writer Tony DePaul asked me if there was anything I'd particularly like to see in upcoming stories, and the first thing that popped into my head was a Mandrake cross-over. Lee Falk's two classic comic strip heroes had appeared together before.  Mandrake showed up as a guest at the Phantom's wedding -- and Phantom has made multiple appearances in the Mandrake strip (see here for a full list). The heroes also teamed up with fellow King Features star, Flash Gordon, for the TV cartoon series, Defenders of the Earth -- as well as a comic book adaptation of same.  But there's never been (as far as I know) a full length crossover adventure in the Phantom strip. Until now. Thanks to Tony for asking, and our editor at King for giving us the go-ahead! 

Here are Mandrake and the Phantom pictured together on the cover of a vintage record album -- I'm uncertain, but I suspect their adventures on the LP are separate, and not a team-up. Art by long-time Mandrake and Phantom artists Fred Fredericks and Sy Barry.  This copy seems to be autographed by the writer/creator Lee Falk!  Image found on the web.

The final Mandrake Sunday continuity was a team-up adventure. Here's the beginning of Shadows on Devil Road.  The Mandrake daily strip still runs -- written and drawn by Fred Fredericks.

Marvel Comics published a comic book version of Defenders of the Earth as part of their Star Comics line.

 There have been many different logo panels for the Sunday strip over the decades.  Here are several of them, starting with two by Ray Moore.

Wilson McCoy.

A classic Sy Barry logo panel.

 Paul Ryan's logo panel that was appearing when I landed the Sunday strip assignment. Still following the arms-folded looming over the jungle concept of the Barry logo.

 I don't know if too many people noticed -- but the version of Paul's logo panel that has appeared on my Sundays was (digitally) re-inked by me.  The copy of the panel I was  given to work with wasn't vary sharp -- so I redid it in Manga Studio to have a cleaner version.  It proved a nice warm-up to inking the first Sunday.

I always liked the Phantom logo that appeared on the King and Charlton comic books -- the inset skull being my favorite element.

My new logo panel maintains the classic arms folded pose, but places the figure in front of a jungle background, rather than looming over it.  The figure is based on one from an early Sunday in the Power House Gang story -- but the image flopped -- and the Phantom's smile changed to a more serious expression.

The previous logo lettering is replaced by a redrawn version of the comic book logo. I kept a similar color scheme to the previous version of the logo panel so the change wouldn't be too big a shock for the readers. I'm quite pleased with the end results -- and am amused that, maybe because of using the vintage comic book logo, the whole thing looks to me like a title card from a never-produced '60s Phantom TV cartoon!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back in the cave / RIP Jim Shepherd

"Revenge in Rhodia" comes to an end. Next week -- a new adventure begins, with a couple of surprises. I'm looking forward to hearing our readers' reactions to the next Sunday strip!

I must note here the passing of Jim Shepherd, owner of Frew Publications -- the publisher of the long-running Australian Phantom comic book (ongoing since '48, with well over 1600 issues!).  Jim had been very kind to me, both privately (sending me copies of the issues that reprinted my work) and publicly (very enthusiastic comments in his editorials introducing me to the readers). As with super-Phantom-fan Ed Rhoades, who passed not long ago, I regret that I'll not be able to meet him and thank him for his support. Phantom fans worldwide owe Jim thanks for helping keep the character and the comic strip in the public eye. The Phantom has lost a great friend.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Phantom heads home

One more week to go in the current storyline -- then some fun surprises in a new adventure.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Planet ComiCon April 6 & 7!

I'll be one of the comics guests at Planet ComiCon in Kansas City this weekend. Here's a link to the official website for details on the show. I'll be at table 1047 in Artists' Alley -- and will be on a panel Sunday at 1:00PM. Comics guests include Neal Adams, Howard Chaykin, Brian Azzarello, Peter Bagge, Dave Johnson, Ande Parks, Eric Shanower, Tony Moore, and my old Batman Adventures pal, Rick Burchett -- and many more! The flyer below plugs mostly the media guests -- but don't let that fool you -- there will be a lot of comics stuff at this bigger-than-ever show. If you're in the KC area, do not miss it!

I'm sorting through stacks of books, comics, art and prints to decide what to bring to the show.  Look for my Phantom banner!

Another double dose of The Phantom

Catching up on my blog posts. Here are the Phantom strips from the past couple weeks. The Phantom survives -- but he's going to need a new shirt.