Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo
God jul och gott nytt år
God jul og godt nytt år
Hyvää joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta
¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!
Feliz Natal e próspero ano novo
Schöni Wienachte und e guets neus Jahr
Joyeux Noël et bonne année

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday "Pistol" Pete!

This Sunday (December 20) is "Pistol" Pete Klaus' birthday!
For the few of you who don't know Pete, I need to clarify that he is one of the world's greatest Phantom fans and collectors, as well as the co-founder of the Friends of the Phantom club. (You can read a nice article about Pete Klaus' collection by clicking here)
I have the privilege of having known Pete for a few years, during which he helped me getting better acquainted with the world of The Phantom and with the great family of Phantom Phriends, scattered around the world.

Pete has a positive and upbeat personality which helps him and others to make it through the trials of life, big or small as they might be. Just a few days ago, following a huge rainstorm which hit Maryland, Pete's basement was flooded and he lost about 900 issues of Fantomen (from the 1950s on up) and other Phantom memorabilia. When he told me what happened, over the phone, he didn't express any regrets for the loss; instead, he went on enumerating all the good things he and his family had been blessed with.

I'd like to invite all of you (even if you don't know Pete) to wish him a happy birthday, by adding a comment below this post. (I will then send him an email with a link to this post)

I'm not going to say how old Pete is, but I will give you a hint by dedicating to him the following video (He he he ;-)

Today, (December 19) I also received the following from fellow-artist Eugenio Mattozzi. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Arrivederci Phantom! (Part 2)

(English version, below)
Vorrei segnalare ai lettori italiani di questo Blog un bell'articolo pubblicato recentemente sulla rubrica Cartoonist Globale di Luca Boschi. L'articolo discute l'ultimo numero della miniserie Phantom:L'Uomo Mascherato edito dalla Eura e presenta alcuni retroscena sulla produzione originale della Egmont.
A questo articolo, lo stesso Boschi ha fatto seguire un poscritto dedicato ad alcuni miei commenti, che potrete trovare cliccando qui.

To the Italian readers of this blog I'd like to mention an outstanding article, recently published on Cartoonist Globale by Luca Boschi. The article discusses the last issue of the miniseries Phantom:L'Uomo Mascherato published by Eura and presents some behind-the-scenes on the original production by Egmont.
Mr. Boschi  has also created a post-script to the same article in which he spotlights some of my comments. The latter can be found by clicking here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Today, as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I'd like to express my gratitude for all the people who contributed in making The Phantom such an icon of popular culture.
My thanks go, not only, to the generations of writers, artists and publishers who have worked on this character for more than seven decades, but to the generations of fans, readers and collectors who have kept the flame burning and have given value and meaning to the efforts of all the creators.
In this occasion, I'd like to share with you a little slide show of Phantom cover images. The artwork comes mostly from Italian artists (Romano Felmang, Germano Ferri, etc.) but I see it as a representation of the passion which is characteristic of the great Phantom family worldwide. THANK YOU!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Johnny Hotwire Returns!

Here's a sneak peek at an illustration from the story I'm currently working on. What do you think?
(Click on the picture to enlarge)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

May there be more TREATS than TRICKS in your jungle... and remember to stay out of The Deep Woods!
(From a greeting card I received from Friends of the Phantom's co-founder, "Pistol"Pete Klaus)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Antonio Lemos

Here's a beautiful illustration of The Phantom painted by Frew's cover artist Antonio Lemos.
Antonio just e-mailed it to me, along with some images of his other works.
Antonio's  talents as a portrait artist and cartoonist are excellent. However, his control of the acrylic medium, in my opinion, is one of his strongest points.
I hope I'll be able to collaborate with this great artist, in the near future.
For more information on Antonio Lemos, I would suggest reading an interview published (at this link) by the Chronicle Chamber website.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day

Today is the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the new world.
While there are many opinions of Columbus in history today, there is still ample reason to recognize his courage, persistence, and unshakable convictions as well as his legacy as an explorer.
In celebrating Columbus Day in America, we honor how incredibly brave it was, for a man of the XV Century, to climb aboard a very small caravel and sail into the great unknown.
Above is the first page of a story on Christopher Columbus I drew back in 1990. The story was supposed to be published two years later, (1992) to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Marvel Super Hero Team-up

Just out from Marvel Comics: Marvel Super Hero Team-up, a new trade-paperback (TPB) which reprints, among others, one of my stories from Black Panther # 25 (published in December 2000) . The story, entitled "Passage" was written by Christopher Priest, inked by Bob Almond, colored by Steve Oliff and edited by Tom Brevoort. Marvel Super Hero Team-up can be purchased for US$ 18.99 on

Monday, October 5, 2009

Frew 1552

I have just received my advance-copy of The Phantom #1552, published by Frew , which features part 1 of 2 of "Hooded Justice".
Above is the cover image which was taken from page 33, panel 3. I regret I wasn't able to provide more "cover worthy" images on the inside pages of this issue, as I did in the past. This was one of those stories where "iconic" images of The Phantom were really few and far between.
I appreciated the nice comments written by Publisher Jim Shepherd in his editorial message. (Thank you, Jim!)  However, I'd like to take this opportunity to straighten up a few biographical details written in the editorial as follows:  I was born in Taranto, which is located in the Apulia (not Sicily) region of Italy. I also grew up and completed my academic studies in Italy (not in the United States) before moving to the U.S.
I hope the readers enjoy this issue as well as the following one, which will conclude, for a while, our expedition in the legendary world of  Robin Hood.
The original art of "Hooded Justice" part 1 is available for sale. For more details, please, visit my Art for Sale page.

The Phantom Miniseries Trailer

RHI Entertainment’s 21st century version of The Phantom is coming to the SyFy Channel as a mini-series, sometime in 2010.
The series will be starring Ryan Carnes, (as The Phantom) as well as Cas Anvar, Isabella Rossellini, Sandrine Holt , Cameron Goodman, Trevor Hayes, Robert Crooks, Ellen David, and will be directed by Paolo Barzman.
Following is the movie's first trailer, which was releases just a few days ago. Feel free to post your comments about this trailer, on this blog, since you won't be able to do so on RHI's YouTube  Channel.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Phantom's Sketch Card

Later this year, 5Finity Productions is releasing Moonstone Maximum, a sketch card series featuring most of the iconic characters from the Moonstone Books library of titles, including The Phantom, Sherlock Holmes, and Zorro.
Above, is my one-of-a-kind, hand drawn, autographed Phantom card.
My 2.5”x 3.5” card will be one of about twenty Maximum Rare Artist cards, preserved in a special sleeve with a hologram sticker, to be included in the 2,199 individually numbered packs.
The suggested retail price of each pack is $24.95.
The packs will be for sale via the 5Finity and Moonstone websites as well as the various retailers associated with Moonstone and/or its distributors.
Proceeds from this series will go to The March of Dimes Foundation.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Magazine Illustrations

This month's issues of  The New Era and Liahona magazines include two illustrations drawn by myself and colored by Travis Walton.
Both magazines are published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The New Era is a monthly magazine for youth, and is published in English only.
The Liahona is published in 51 different languages from one to twelve times per year, depending on the language. The Liahona consists of articles for children, youth and adults, all of which are published concurrently in the church's Ensign, New Era, and Friend magazines.
Both magazines can be viewed (in PDF format) for free, on-line.
Click here to read The New Era. (In English only)
Click here to read Liahona . (Choose among 17 languages)
Again, my illustrations can be found in the September 2009 issues.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Batman: Knightquest in Italian

This week, issues 5 and 6 of my old series Justice League Task Force (published by DC Comics, in 1993) have been reprinted in Italy by Planeta DeAgostini Comics, as part of Batman: La Leggenda n.58 -  Alla ricerca del crociato. Included in this collection are also Detective Comics 675 and Shadow of the Bat 21-23, 28. The volume is priced at € 9,80 and can be purchased online, here.

The Phantom Cancelled in Italy

Italian website Comicus has just announced the imminent cancellation of the brand new monthly series "The Phantom: L'Uomo Mascherato,"published by Eura Editoriale.
The decision to cancel the series was apparently the result of low sales.
Issue #6 (on sale October 25, 2009) should be the last of this series.
I'd like to read some of your comments on these sad news. I will add mine, afterwards.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Preview: Fantomen 25-26/09

Here's my prototype for the cover of Fantomen 25-26/ 2009.
The illustration depicts a symbolic image of the Celtic gladiator Cernwulf .
Keep following this blog for more sneak previews and announcements of sales before the art is auctioned on eBay.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friends of the Phantom

Well folks, it's official: I have been formally accepted into The Ancient and Mysterious Order of The Friends of the Phantom Society and I have the certificate to prove it! J

The certificate was just mailed to me by collector extraordinaire and Friends of the Phantom co-founder "Pistol" Pete Klaus. Together with Phantom historian and co-founder Ed Rhoades, Pistol Pete has been responsible for preserving the legacy of The Ghost Who Walks among fans for a long, long time.
Through the years, the Friends of the Phantom Society (FOTP) has sponsored numerous charitable initiatives along with a traditional annual luncheon at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City. Among the special guests of this luncheon there have been several fans as well as big names of The Phantom' s worldwide creative community, including the great Lee Falk himself and legendary artist Sy Barry.
You can see some of the luncheon's photos on Ed Rhoades' website.
In a future post, I will show and tell you a little more about a special initiative the FOTP took to celebrate Sy Barry's 80th birthday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering September 11, 2001

Comic book universes are populated by colorful characters that possess fantastic powers.
But on September 11th, 2001, an untold number of real men and women amazed the world with their phenomenal acts of bravery. When others ran away, they charged forward. When others reached out for safety, they offered a helping hand. When others cried out, they responded with a soothing voice. And, tragically, many of them died... but in doing so taught us all how to live.
They can't stick
to walls. They can't summon thunder. They can't fly. They're just HEROES.
(From "Heroes: The World's Greatest Superhero Creators Honor The World's Greatest Heroes - 9/11/2001"

Today, I would like to share with you an illustration I did (along with inker Bob Almond and colorist Chris Dickey), eight years ago, to honor the Heroes of September 11.
I was working for Marvel Comics at that time, and was privileged to be one of the contributors to "HEROES: The World's Greatest Superhero Creators Honor The World's Greatest Heroes - 9/11/2001."
Heroes was a magazine published, by Marvel, as a benefit for the Twin Towers Fund, providing financial aid to the families of firefighters, police officers and other uniformed personnel who died during the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
After publication, several original illustrations from the interior pages were auctioned off to raise more funds. My illustration was purchased by Nanci Quesada (Wife of Marvel's EIC Joe Quesada) and subsequently donated to the family of a fallen firefighter.
The sacrifice of all the people who gave their lives at a time of such great crisis, should not be forgotten.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Benefit Fundraiser - Spread the Word!

On Saturday, September 12, 2009 I will participate to a benefit fundraiser, to be held from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Dragon's Keep, a comics and games shop located on 260 North University Avenue, Provo, Utah- (801) 373-3482.
Along with several other comic book professionals I'll be drawing sketches, selling original art and signing autographs to benefit
Jake Black, a fellow professional (writer of Smallville, Ben 10: Alien Force, Chaotic, Legion of Super-heroes, TMNT and more) in his battle against Hodgkin’s Disease.
100 % of the money from my sketches and original art sold at the store, on Saturday September 12, will go to this fundraiser. I will also donate 50 % of the money from the first ten sketches I will be commissioned, via e-mail and internet, between September 5 and September 11 2009.
For more information on the event, please click here.
For more information on my commission rates, please click here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jungle Drums From Italy

Just a few days ago, I was contacted by Giovanni P. Timpano, a fellow comic book artist from Rosignano, Italy. Giovanni is currently working on the eleventh issue of "The Phantom: Generations" for Moonstone Books. With his permission, I am posting below a sneak preview of pages 7 and 13 from that upcoming issue."The Phantom: Generations" # 11 will be on sale in January 2010.
Please, visit Gio's Corner for the latest news on all of Giovanni P. Timpano's current and upcoming projects.
P.S.: You might be interested in reading the follow-up comment to this post. In it, Mr. Timpano tells us a little more about the issue he's currently working on, and how he felt when he was asked to draw The Phantom.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Phantom Podcast (In Italian)

I've just discovered a very interesting Italian radio broadcast, (and PodCast) dedicated to the recent re-launch of The Phantom: L'Uomo Mascherato, published by Eura Editoriale. The broadcast aired on June 1st, 2009 on RadioStreet- Messina on the morning show "La Trasmissione di Morelli." In this program, conductor Dario Morelli interviews Lorenzo Bartoli, representative of Eura and writer of the acclaimed series "John Doe".
Overall, Mr. Bartoli does a good job explaining the great appeal of this new series as well as the relevance of The Phantom (a charachter created in 1936) in today's comic book market.
You can listen to the Podcast of the entire program, by clicking on the player below.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New, From Marvel Comics!

Marvel Comics has recently reprinted one of my old Black Panther stories ( "Stürm und Drang: A Story of Love and War," Black Panther # 26, January 2001) as part of the "X-MEN: WORLDS APART" hardcover edition. The volume also collects the mini-series "X-Men: Worlds Apart"#1-4 and "Marvel Team-up" #100.

The chapter I illustrated was written by Christopher Priest, with inks by Bob Almond and colors by Steve Oliff. The story narrates the beginnings of the epic romance between Black Panther and Storm which later culminates in their Royal wedding.

This same story had been previously reprinted in Marvel Milestones: Black Panther, Storm & Ka-zar," July 2006 as well as on the "Panthère Noire "Seduction de l'Innocent" Trade Paperback, published in 2004 by Marvel France.

X-MEN: WORLDS APART (HC ) can be ordered for US $ 15.59 on Amazon. The paperback edition will be released soon, and can be pre-ordered for US$ 10.87 on Amazon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Covers, Skulls and Sabre Swords

Two of my covers, (with colors by Eugenio Mattozzi) are about to be published on upcoming issues of Fantomen, Fantomet and Mustanaamio.
Both covers deal with The Phantom’s Skull Mark and Good Mark.

The first one (Fantomen 19-20/ 2009) is composed by two vertical panels, depicting the legendary Phantom rings. This cover is all about CONTRAST and BALANCE between the different body language, the cold and warm colors, the right and left hand, the Skull and the Good Mark. All these elements symbolize not just the simple idea of PUNISHMENT and REWARD invested in The Guardian of the Deep Woods, but the higher ideals of JUSTICE and MERCY which coexist and balance each other within a true ethical hero such as The Phantom.

The second cover (Fantomen 21/2009) shows in the background, what appears to be a pirate flag. The symbols on the flag however, are not those of a classic Jolly Roger but represent The Phantom’s Skull Mark and Good Mark. The latter is shown as four crossed sabre swords which is what the four crossed letters “P” more commonly represent. As far as I know, this is the first time the Good Mark has been depicted this way.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Congratulations to Eugenio!

Since my debut with Team Fantomen in 2007, Eugenio Mattozzi has been the color artist of all my Phantom covers. Thanks to Eugenio's talent and experience our covers have really come to life and have earned us the Best Fantomen Cover title in 2007 and 2008.
This month, (August 2009) Eugenio makes his first "Solo" appearance as the cover artist of The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #4, published by Moonstone Books.
The cover illustration is one of two proposals, originally submitted by Eugenio, to a contest organized by Moonstone.
The second illustration should be appearing on another cover of the same series, in the near future.
Beside his work in comic books, Eugenio Mattozzi has been teaching Art in Jr. High School. He and his wife Kusum, and their two children live nearby Naples, Italy.

The Phantom Returns to Italy

In May 2009 The Phantom has returned on the Italian newsstands thanks to Eura Editoriale, one of the largest comic-book publishers in Italy.
L'Uomo Mascherato has had a long and illustrious publishing history in Italy, however, this is the first time stories produced by Semic Press -Egmont are published on the Italian market.
Even though my stories won't be appearing soon on this new series, I have released an interview and contributed a cover for issue # 172 (June 2009) of Fumo di China, Italy's foremost magazine of comic book culture. An interview with "Gammelredax" Ulf Granberg and other interesting Phantom-related features are also part of this outstanding issue.
The cover art for Fumo di China # 172 is a coloring variation of what I had previously drawn for Fantomen 8/2007. (Also: Fantomet 7/2007, Mustanaamio 8/2007)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Who's "The Real" Robin Hood?

Last month, I finished illustrating “Hooded Justice-Part 1,” a nice adventure which brings The Phantom back in the world of Robin Hood.
This story, superbly written by David Bishop, is the sequel to my previous story, "The Witch Hunt," (Fantomen 6/2009; Fantomet 5/2009; Mustanaamio 6/2009; Frew #1534) and makes some reference to "The Long Bow of Little John." (Fantomen 15/2002; Fantomet 15/2002; Mustanaamio 15/2002; Frew #1329)
You can take a sneak-peek at the artwork from “Hooded Justice-Part 1” on my website (click here) and, perhaps, figure out the secret this story will be revealing. (Feel free to post your comments here)
For this story, I worked in tandem with my colleague César Spadari, who illustrated
"Hooded Justice-Part 2." Working with César (who lives in Argentina, while I reside in the USA) has given me the opportunity to exchange valuable opinions, visual references, preliminary drawing and improve a little bit on my Spanish.
The cover of this issue shows the famous statue of Robin Hood located in front of Nottingham Castle. In the background, The Phantom is posed exactly as the statue to symbolize the "secret connection" between the hero of The Deep Woods and the hero of Sherwood Forest.
"Hooded Justice -Part 1" will appear on Fantomen 23/2009; Fantomet 22/2009 and Mustanaamio 23/2009.(I'm not sure about the version from
Frew) Release date is October 29, 2009.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Phantom Original Art For Sale

The original art from five complete issues of The Phantom is now for sale on my website's Art for Sale page.
The artwork of each issue is sold all together, as a "Complete Package" and includes all the story pages, the cover, all preparatory sketches and page layouts as well as a color print of the cover and a copy of the script.
Some of the pages are only drawn in tight pencil form, (see lists) and reveal a quality of draftsmanship and attention to details which often doesn't transpire on the published product.
The Best Fantomen Cover of 2008 and corresponding story are also part of these special offers.
Phantom Phans, comic art collectors and artists alike would enjoy owning these pieces of comic book history.
Even if you are not interested in purchasing these collector's items, please feel free to visit my
Art for Sale page to take a good look at the nice large images.
The price of each Complete Package is comparable to what a collector would usually pay for just the cover and 5-6 pages of interior art.
You can visit my
Art for Sale page by clicking on this link.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Best Fantomen Cover 2008

What a pleasant surprise! For the second year in a row, Swedish readers have voted one of my covers as Bästa Fantomenomslag (Best Fantomen Cover) of the year.
The voting results were just published on Fantomen 15/2009. (July 9, 2009)
The 2008 winning cover was published on Fantomen 9/2008 (April 17, 2008) for the story
Skuggornas armé (The Phantom Army).
The story, written by David Bishop, is set against the backdrop of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France. Because of that I used the Cathedral's famous Rose Window as the background for our hero, The Phantom.
As for all my other covers, this illustration was colored by Eugenio Mattozzi, with whom I share the credit for this recognition. (Now, if we could only get a free T-shirt like some readers do...;-)
The original art of this issue (including the original of the winning cover) can viewed and purchased on my website. (Click here)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Welcome To My Blog!

This is the place where you will periodically find a variety of news, artwork previews, and commentary pertaining my work on Lee Falk's "The Phantom." (Currently published by Egmont in Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as Frew in Australia)
Other projects will also be spotlighted whenever they become news-worthy.
Feel free to subscribe to this blog, write comments and offer suggestions.
Come back soon!

Sal Velluto
"The Ghost Who Draws"