Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Phantom Reunion

The Phantom comic strip runs parallel stories -- one for the daily (Monday-Saturday), and the second on Sundays only. Both sequences recently had an homage to the original creator -- Lee Falk

Lee Falk was a larger-than-life figure, as famous for his work in the theater as he was for the comics he created. And both those comics are still being published. Falk started Mandrake the Magician in 1934, and two years later created the Phantom.

Fred Fredericks is the current author/artist of Mandrake. I think his thick-lined style suffers quite a bit from the cramped space modern comics are forced into. (click on images to enlarge)

Terry Beatty, the artist for the Sunday continuities, seems to do a better job. (Although note how he tries to imitate Fredericks' chunky style when drawing Mandrake and Narda)

Tony DePaul, who writes the stories for both the dailies and the Sunday strips, does homage two ways. In the Sunday story, he's reuniting Falk's creations. And in the daily strip, he's referenced Lee Falk in passing -- by having a character be dropped off at Falk's old address in New York City. It's the kind of thing that doesn't necessarily add (or detract) from the story.

But for knowledgeable comic fans, it's a nice little extra.

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