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The Deep Woods Newsletter
24 February 2007
- Frew 's 1500th issue of The Phantom (#1472) due to go on sale 30th March (or maybe a week sooner), will include a special of comparable size to the traditional Annual Special and will be plastic sealed, because it will include a second issue. Jim Shepherd has now revealed that this second issue will be the world's first Phantom Encyclopaedia! It has been almost two years in the making and as the title suggests, will be a complete A to Z compilation of every major event and character ever to appear in Lee Falk's entire chronology of Phantom adventures! AWESOME!!! The Phantom Encyclopaedia will not be sold separately. The only way to obtain a copy will be to purchase the 1500th Issue.
- Fantomen.com has been completely redesigned and has a great new look. Check it out for yourself.
- Electric Tiki have started work on a Mandrake statue, click here for some early pics. Thanks to Will Dorrington for this news.
3 February 2007
- Former Phantom daily strip artist Keith Williams is having a 25% off sale on over 500 Phantom daily strips. See this link for details. The sale ends after this weekend.
28 January 2007
- My local newspaper, The Illawarra Mercury, recently featured a full-page article on The Phantom, including an interview with myself. Click HERE to see the article.
- Brazilian Phantom Phans can once again enjoy their hero in comic book form. The publisher Mythos Editora launched a new monthly series of Phantom comics this month, entitled Fantasma Mensal (The Phantom Monthly). The format of the comics is 180mm x 135mm, with black and white pages inside colour covers, and a price of R$4.90 (Aus$3). Issue #1 features the stories The Crime Apprentices (D215) by De Paul & Ryan and The Snake Goddess's Island (S157) by Reimerthi & Nolan.
- Mythos Editora has also published a special colour edition called Fantasma Especial. This book features the stories Queen Samaris XII (S59) by Falk & Lignante, The U-Boat Mystery (D213) by De Paul & Olesen/Williams/Ryan, and The Secret Temple on Eden (D214) by De Paul & Ryan.The format of this book is 275mm x 210mm, all in full colour, with a price of R$9.90 (Aus$6). Thanks to Jean Carlos Covezzi for this news.
2 December 2006
- Mallon Publishing have recently published The Phantom Diary 2007, with another great selection of rare and varied Phantom covers. The hard cover and spiro binding inside which first appeared with the 2005 Diary is repeated once again. Specification: 240mm x 190mm, 124 pages, full colour throughout. Publication: October 2006. RRP: Aus$24.95 inc GST. The Phantom Diary is now available from newsagents throughout Australia. You can also buy The Phantom Diary 2007 direct from the publisher by sending your name and address with a cheque or money order for Aus$24.95 plus postage and handling (Aus$8 within Australia, Aus$11 New Zealand, Aus$15 elsewhere), to Mallon Publishing, PO Box 375, Clifton Hill, VIC 3068, Australia.
18 November 2006
- After spending over six years working on The Phantom Sunday strip, Graham Nolan has decided to move on. He will continue to illustrate the present story until it ends, probably on 25th March 2007. Graham explained that King Features were keen to retain his services on The Phantom, but he felt the need for other more lucrative projects. Graham is currently developing two creator-owned projects with his old partner, Chuck Dixon, and a humour strip for potential newspaper syndication. He will continue to provide all the artwork for daily and Sunday versions of
Rex Morgan. The new Sunday artist will be Paul Ryan, who will then be responsible for the art on both daily and Sunday versions of The Phantom. Graham was keen to reassure Phans about the future of The Phantom: "I think Paul will do a fine job on the strip." Thanks to Graham Nolan for this news.
6 November 2006
- In 1992/93, Wolf Publishing in the UK published a series of nine Phantom comic books (click here for more information). All but the last issue contained colour prints of Fantomen stories. Now you can relive these comics with the Wolf Phantom Classic Comics Selection published by The Phantom Society and Ugly Duckling Press. This is a compilation book consisting of unsold copies of the comics, glued together with a new outside cover, and some extra editorial pages in a limited release of only 500 books (each issue is individually numbered). Each issue contains only six of the original nine comics. Due to the varying quantity of each number available for selection, contents may be different in some copies. Most seem to contain issues #1, #2, #3, #5, #6 and #9. The book is currently being sold via ebay for £10 (fixed price, no bidding). For more information contact email@example.com.Thanks to Bill Higgins and Andreas Eriksson for this news.
30 October 2006
- The Brazilian publisher Opera Graphica Editora recently published a deluxe edition of Phantom stories. Entitled Fantasma: Sempre aos Domingos (The Phantom: Always to the Sundays), the book reprinted the first seven Phantom Sunday stories by Lee Falk and Ray Moore (1939-42): The League of Lost Men, The Precious Cargo of Colonel Winn, The Fire Goddess, The Beachcomber, The Saboteurs, The Return of the Sky Band, and The Impostor. The book measures 275mm x 360mm, contains 96 pages in black and white, is hard bound with cover art by Daniel Ching, and includes a few editorial features. The cover price is R$69.90 (Aus$42.50). Thanks to Jean Charles Covezzi for this news.
- Egmont Serieforlaget in Norway have published two hardcover books of interest to Phantom Phans. Lee Falk - Ray Moore Fantomet 1936-1939 reprints the Falk/Moore dailies The Singh Brotherhood (D1), The Sky Band (D2), Adventure in Algiers (D6), and The Mysterious Girl (D10). Lee Falk - Wilson McCoy Fantomet 1943-1959 reprints the Falk/McCoy dailies Bent Beak Broder (D17), High Seas Hijacker (The Governor and Suzie) (D19), The Crooner (D21), The Governor's Family (D43), The Professor (D44), and The Swamp Rats (D74). Each book measures 220mm x 280mm, includes editorials by Haakon W. Isachsen, and is priced at NOK 329 (Aus$65.50). They can be purchased from Tronsmo Bookshop. Thanks to Simon Treschow for this news.
21 October 2006
- The State Library of Victoria has launched an exhibition called Heroes & Villains: Australian Comics and their Creators. The guest curator is Kevin Patrick, who was the publisher of The Panther comics a few years ago. The good news is that The Phantom has been included in the show because he's regarded as an "honorary aussie" comic book hero. There will be examples of the locally-drawn Phantom stories, plus heaps of old Frew comic book titles from the 1940s-1960s, such as The Phantom Ranger, The Shadow, Catman, Sir Falcon, etc. The exhibition was opened yesterday and runs until 25 February 2007. For details of the various activities and guided audio tours, visit the exhibition website.
2 October 2006
- The third edition of Johnson's Official Phantom Price Guide has finally been published. This is the first up-to-date edition since 1996, and it includes a CD with over 2000 colour pictures. The Guide is priced at Aus$16.50 and is available from many comic dealers. A signed copy can be purchased directly from the author's website for $20 including postage (within Australia). For more information, see the advertisement on page 3 of Frew #1458 or contact Nigel Johnson.
25 September 2006
- A French magazine called Dax Comics Flash has produced a special issue dedicated to The Phantom (No.3, Sept 2006, 58 colour pages, price €4.10). The magazine features a cover by Franck Cissokho, a detailed biography of Lee Falk, brief backgrounds for the artists Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy and Sy Barry, an introduction to various elements of Phantom lore, a publishing guide to The Phantom in the USA and France, and reviews of The Phantom Serial (1943) and Movie (1996). There's even a cheese-cake pin-up of Diana Palmer! Those interested in buying a copy of the magazine can email the publisher, or visit their subscriptions website. The magazine can also be purchased from Le portail de la BD.com or Journaux.fr.
9 September 2006
- The Phantom has made another special guest appearance in the Mandrake the Magician daily strip this week. In the current story, Mandrake is in a coma caused by poison from the deadly accuna plant which is the same plant used by the Bandar for their poison arrows. Lothar flew to Bangalla in search of an antidote and Old Mozz told him the secret remedy "three white bell-flowers". Phans of The Phantom should recall this theme from the 1941/42 daily story The Phantom's Treasure (Frew #1436), and it's great to see Fred Fredericks diving into the Phantom chronicles for his inspiration. Now this week Lothar has received help from The Phantom himself.
- The Australian comic strip Beyond the Black Stump recently featured a daily strip with a reference to The Phantom. Check it out HERE, it's great stuff. You can even buy a colour A4 signed print of this strip for only Aus$55. See the link for details. Thanks to Paul Andinach for this news.
20 July 2006
- The results are now in for the annual "Best Cover" reader poll in the Fantomen comic. A total of 400 votes were received and the best with 96 votes was Nr.14/2005 by Hans Lindahl.
- There is a new Phantom game for your mobile phone! It can be purchased from NineMSN in Australia for $6.60, or in the UK from Game Mobile for £3.99. Thanks to Mark Firth for this news.
- The new Phantom statue by Electric Tiki is available for pre-order from SideshowCollectibles. The statue is available with either purple or blue costume. Retail price is US$150 plus shipping. Thanks to Will Dorrington for this news.
- Moonstone published the overhyped The Phantom: Legacy in May. Despite all the hype, Legacy is supremely disappointing due mainly to writer Ben Raab's insistence on stamping his mark on the Phantom origin story at the expense of being true to Lee Falk's legacy. Mr Raab deserves a skull mark for this dire effort!
Thankfully, Legacy only sold 1754 issues via Diamond (at US$12.95 each!) which suggests that relatively few Phans were stung by this atrocity. The Phantom #11, published earlier this month, didn't do much better selling only 2426 issues via Diamond, which is the lowest yet for Moonstone's comic series (27% less than the previous low). Moonstone have had much better luck with their first issue of Buckaroo Banzai (7262 issues via Diamond), so hopefully they'll soon give up on polluting the world with their pathetic excuse for The Phantom. Or better still, they could learn to listen to feedback, produce comics that Phans genuinely want to read, and then perhaps enjoy a sales growth for a change. Now there's a thought!
13 May 2006
- Shocker Toys have announced that they plan to produce a series of 6" poseable action figures with 20+ points of articulation ... one of the figures will be The Phantom. It's very early days yet, but let's hope that Shocker Toys have more success than Flatt World Figures whose promised Phantom figure never eventuated. Thanks to Paul Andreas Jonassen for this news.
- A very rare complete set of the five Phantom comics published by the Australian Womans Mirror (1938-40) will be auctioned in New Zealand in June. Details and photos can be found at Trevor & Pam Plumbly.
- The results are now in for the annual "Best Story" reader poll in the Fantomen comic. A total of 333 votes were received and the top 10 stories amongst Swedish readers were (the letter "b" after the issue number indicates that the story was a "back-up" feature):
Nr. Story Title Writer & Artist Votes 14b Battle on Malta Worker & Leppänen 56 12 The King of Norway Nordberg & Lindahl 32 3 Harvest of the Grim Reaper Reimerthi & Ryan 29 22b Tale of Rex Falk & Barry 18 4 Annihilate All Singh Reimerthi & Boix 17 25 Jonathan Wild Pt.1 King of Thieves Reimerthi & Leppänen 17 13 Necklace of Skulls Bishop & Spadari 16 20 The Redeemer Pt.2: The Farm Reimerthi & Lindahl 15 7 In the Shadow of Death Reimerthi & Lindahl 14 10 In the Grip of the Plague Bishop & Leppänen 13
1 May 2006
- Pete Klaus from Friends of the Phantom has written a detailed article of the history on Phantom rings. Click here to read it.
- The Friends of the Phantom website has been recently moved to a new address and features several updates. It now appears that Ed Rhoades has formally announced that no more newsletters will be issued by this US-based Phantom fan club.
22 April 2006
- The latest edition of Comics Revue features a great Phantom cover by Romano Felmang. Click here to preview the cover. For orders of this magazine, visit the Comics Revue website. Thanks to Bob Griffin for this news.
7 April 2006
- Wednesday's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald featured an article on collecting Phantom comics in the Money section. Click here to see the article. I've applied a lot of JPG compression to make this file reasonably small (153KB), but it is still fairly readable.
- The Phantom has made yet another cameo appearance in another comic strip. The strip Gasoline Alley has been carrying a storyline in which Slim's mom faked her death to get away from the mob to whom she owed money, which led to the November 18, 2005 strip. Thanks to Ed Rhoades for this news.
18 March 2006
- The miniature statue of the Phantom from Electric Tiki is getting closer to completion. The painted prototype is shown here. Thanks to Ken Todd and Will Dorrington for this news.
- Ed Rhoades recently wrote an article celebrating the 70th Birthday of The Phantom. Read it here.
17 February 2006
- Happy 70th Birthday to the Phantom!!! Frew have marked the occasion in style with the publication of a special edition of the Phantom comic (#1438) which includes a bonus 36 page book detailing the life and times of Lee Falk. Check out this page for a preview. One of the most remarkable facts revealed by author Jim Shepherd, is that Lee Falk's original name was Leon Harrison Gross, and he changed his name to Falk sometime after leaving college but prior to starting the Mandrake the Magician daily strip. Incredibly, this news has remained unknown to Phans until this day. This issue is an absolute must for Phans of Lee Falk's work. Highly recommended.
- It was also revealed in the Tribute to Lee Falk that he had a half-brother named Leslie Falk (he changed his surname from Epstein at about the same time as Lee). Leslie Falk was quite a remarkable man in his own right, and he died on 28 November 2004 ... remarkably, the same day that my son Alexander was born! For a fascinating obituary for Leslie Falk, visit the Association of American Rhodes Scholars website. (thanks to Andreas Eriksson for this link)
21 January 2006
- Finally, the complete series of the Defenders of the Earth cartoon has been released in a DVD boxset by Force Entertainment of Australia. The 6 disc set features all 65 episodes in PAL format with Region 4 encoding (ie. Australia, New Zealand, Latin America excluding Mexico). The total running time is an incredible 1255 minutes ... almost 21 hours! The menu system is very basic, merely providing chapter access but this is well designed with short animations for each episode. The audio track is only available in English (no subtitles or alternate audio language). The recommended retail price for the boxset is Aus$49.95 and is available from Sanity for $45.62 (inc GST) plus postage. This set is highly recommended for fans of the Phantom and Mandrake, not so much because it was a great series (certainly not!), but simply because it features the rare team-up of both Lee Falk's famous creations in a rare TV appearance.
- The city of St Louis, Missouri was the birthplace of Lee Falk and yet he does not yet have his own star on the St Louis Walk of Fame, which showcases the city's cultural heritage. Apparently Lee Falk has already been nominated for a star, but each year has not received enough votes. In an effort to rectify this situation, an on-line petition has been started and I strongly urge everyone to express their support by signing it. Click here to visit the petition.
- Yet another miniature statue of the Phantom is in the works. This time around, the American company called Electric Tiki are working on their own version. A few pictures of the unpainted prototype are available on their website. Thanks to Ken Todd for this news. Expect it to be quite expensive (~US$150-180) so start saving your sheckles.
12 January 2006
- Mallon Publishing have recently published The Phantom Diary 2006, with another great selection of rare and varied Phantom covers. The hard cover and spiro binding inside which first appeared with the 2005 Diary is repeated once again. Specification: 240mm x 190mm, 124 pages, full colour throughout. Publication: October 2005. RRP: Aus$24.95 inc GST. The Phantom Diary is now available from newsagents throughout Australia via NDD (Ph. 02 9353 9911), and retail outlets via Bookwise International (Ph. 08 8268 8222). You can also buy The Phantom Diary 2006 direct from the publisher by sending your name and address with a cheque or money order for Aus$24.95 plus postage and handling (Aus$8 within Australia, Aus$11 New Zealand, Aus$15 elsewhere), to Mallon Publishing, PO Box 375, Clifton Hill, VIC 3068, Australia.
- Moonstone have two new trade paperbacks on the stands in US comic stores. See the preview at New@Moonstone.