Wednesday, March 23, 2016
New Artist In The Skull Cave
The news has finally broken about King Features hiring me officially as the new artist on The Phantom, picking up from Paul Ryan who passed away suddenly two weeks ago. I was just as shocked as everyone else to read about Paul's sudden and truly sad passing at only 66 years old. I didn't know him well, but had met him a few times at cons over the years back in the 90's, and I followed him at Marvel on Quasar, my first regular book in my career as a penciler.
Ryan was a sold artist, in there delivery strong drawing and great storytelling and he excelled at doing those group books like the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, etc. Those books are a lot of hard work, much harder than most fans realize. When times and styles changed in the 90's it was great to hear and see he landed doing The Phantom. Paul was a great fit for the character, did great work and I hope to follow him and fit in too. My dad was probably the most excited about the news as he was a huge Phantom fan as a kid.
Brendan Burford and the folks at King Features have been great and very helpful, but Tony DePaul the long time Phantom writer has really been fantastic as well as my fellow Skull Cave artist Terry Beatty who does the Sunday Phantom Strip.
The announcement on social media has also been great, I don't think I have ever had news of me working on a character better received. Hundreds and hundreds of comments and "likes" as well as overseas fans from around the world flooded my inbox.
No one likes to take over a gig this way, due to a death or tragedy, yet this is exactly how I inherited the Judge when previous artist Eduardo Barreto passed away back in 2010.
If I passed away suddenly, the same thing would happen and the syndicate would be forced to hopefully find a worthy successor for me on the strips as well, its the nature of he business. Luckily Tony and Paul were months ahead on the strip so I had a bit of cushion, but I will be burning a lot of coal to do both strips as I will continue to do The Judge and The Phantom. My first strips on the Phantom won't appear till the end of May-first week of June.