I am pleased to present a series of short stories describing the first time we read The Phantom.
This first installment has been written by Pidde Andersson. If you want to share the memories of your "First Phantom" with the readers of this blog, please contact me.
Here is a cover illustrated by Jaime Vallvé for Fantomen n.18, 1976. This was the VERY FIRST ISSUE of Fantomen I bought! I had an old Christmas Album, but no issues of the regular comic book. I was eight years old and remember seeing it in the comics rack at EPE Livs, a grocery store where I leafed through comics while my mother was shopping. That issue looked sooo cool. Look at that flaming background with the "V" and the spikes in the pit! And The Phantom's facial expression! It screamed "BUY ME!" and I managed to have my reluctant mom buying it for me. I may be wrong, but I think the cover was voted Best Fantomen Cover of '76 and that I had the poster on my wall. The contents impressed me as well. "Vultures over Vacul" was Norman Worker's first Phantom story, and he wrote as J. Bull. Vallvé's art was moody, atmospheric, a bit spooky - and I had been in Transylvania the year before, so I was into stories like this.
I re-read this issue last summer. I bought a "new" (used) copy of it. The first one fell apart, the cover fell off, and I had cut the coupon for The Phantom Club out. (Yes, I became a member right away!) I bought a second copy in the 90s, which somehow disappeared.
I understand why this episode made me hooked on The Phantom. The story is rather simple and banal, but as I wrote above, it's all about atmosphere, and back in the 70s Vallvé was amazing at historical adventures. And I found The Phantom a fascinating character.
The issue also contained Bernard Prince, which I thought was cool, and a really silly episode of Mandrake. Plus The Phantom's Fishing School!!!
Pidde Andersson is a freelance movie journalist/ critic/ columnist since 1993, but also a screenwriter, and to make matters worse, he writes scripts for comic books. As a matter of fact, he's a member of the Swedish Academy of Comic Art. You can read Pidde's Blog, TOPPRAFFEL! by clicking here.