Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Phantom: Generations #11

The following piece is written in Italian and was sent to me by Giovanni Timpano, illustrator of The Phantom: Generations #11. (Published by Moonstone Books - on sale February 18th) Please use the Google Translator on top of this page to read this post in English or several other languages.

La serie The Phantom: Generations è composta da 21 numeri e presenta una storia per ogni Phantom del passato, il mio appunto è l’undicesimo eroe.
I team son sempre rotativi, il mio scrittore è stato Tony Bedard, che ha collaborato (e lo fa tutt’ora) con Marvel e DC su testate come Exiles e Rebels.
Il formato della serie è molto particolare, in una pagina solo testo in quella accanto splash page.
Spesso la Moonstone crea questi ibridi tra fumetti e novelle, cercando di dare un impronta “pulp” in vecchio stile basato su quei vecchi piccoli romanzi illustrati di personaggi come The Spider ecc.
Per quanto riguarda la storia Tony Bedard è riuscito a intrecciare diversi eventi storici e personaggi.
Lo scenario è quello della guerra d’indipendenza americana e The Phantom si ritroverà in mezzo alla lotta tra due famosi personaggi di questo conflitto, Francis Marion (“Swamp Fox” in una famosa serie televisiva con Liesle Nielsen) e il generale Tarleton.
In più come guest star ci sarà anche il famoso capo Zulu Shaka, un apparizione molto particolare.
So che suona un po strano ma Tony è riuscito a ben intrecciare questi eventi, senza risultare “irreale”.
Spero che i lettori gradiranno.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Preview: Fantomen 7-2010

In a previous post, I've shown a preview of  some of the interior art from "Johnny Hotwire: The Outlaw Days." (Fantomen n. 7 - 2010)  Today, I'm sharing with you a sneak-peek at the cover illustration of the same issue.
"The Outlaw Days" is the second installment of a 3 part story-arc, written by Tony DePaul and illustrated (in order) by César Spadari, myself, and Kari Leppänen.
The protagonist of these stories is not necessarily The Phantom riding his white stallion Hero, but Johnny Hotwire ( an alias of  Kit Walker ) riding his classic Harley-Davidson Knucklehead motorcycle across the USA.
The character of Johnny Hotwire, made his debut in the story "Johnny Hotwire Rides Again," which was voted Best Story of 1996,  by the readers of Fantomet, in Norway.
Writer Tony DePaul, who is himself a great motorcycle aficionado, scripted this latest story-arc, in August 2009, while riding his Harley, coast-to-coast. You can read a road report on this cross-country trek by clicking here. Below are two photos of Tony and his Iron Piggy during this epic road trip. You can read an interview with Tony DePaul by clicking here.
(Photo Courtesy of Tony DePaul - Click to enlarge)

An interesting follow-up to this entry has been posted by Swedish journalist Pidde  Andersson on his blog "Toppraffel." You can read it (in English, through the embedded translator) by clicking here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My First Phantom [1]

 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.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Evolution of a Cover [3 of 4]

Here is the color sketch for our cover.  It has been painted on a smaller scale, therefore it lacks all the detailed work that will be shown in the final. As you can see, this cover will be hand painted, unlike all my previous ones, which were computer colored. Can you guess the artist, now? Hint: all the guesses, so far, have been incorrect. Keep the feedback rolling!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Evolution of a Cover [2 of 4]

Working on a light table, I "traced" my preliminary sketch, very tightly in pencil, over a a piece of art stock. (2ply Strathmore "Smooth finish") Then, I inked the whole thing using only Pigma Micron markers. The size of this illustration is the same of the actual comic book size, and fits on an A4 format (8.5 x 11 inches) piece of art stock.
Coming up next: A color sketch by a famous Phantom cover artist... (Any guesses?) Keep those comments coming!

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Evolution of a Cover [1 of 4]

Here's the preliminary sketch of a future cover for Fantomen. The image, when it comes to The Phantom, is as iconographic as it could be. I hope you like it.
In the next few days, I'll post the following stages of the creation of this cover. There will also be a surprise as per the artist who is going to render it in color. Your comments, as always. are welcome.

(Click on the image to enlarge)