In a rather interesting turn of events it seems that Australia may not be getting the upcoming Hermes Press Phantom mini series. The reason for this? Frew Publications.
It seems that when the series was originally announced Frew made some kind of complaint to King Features, the licence holders of the Phantom character, that Frew has exclusive rights to publish/sell Phantom comics in Australia thus Hermes should not be allowed to sell their comic in Australian stores. This has resulted in orders for issue #1 of the series, which is due out next month, to Australian stores to be cancelled.
ChronicleChamber contacted Kings Comics, one of Australia’s most prominent comic stores, about this and they confirmed that their orders have indeed been cancelled. “When we initially ordered the new Phantom mini from Hermes Press there were no restrictions placed on the series,” said a Kings Comics representative. “Two weeks later we find out there are now international restrictions in place for the entire mini-series.”
The fact that Kings Comics’ orders have been cancelled is not insignificant. The store has been awarded the Spirit of Comics Retailer Award by the Eisner Awards, one of only two Australian stores to have been bestowed the honour. The fact that the cancellations reach to such a well respected store and not just the smaller comic stores that dot the country (which does sometimes happen) illustrates how serious this is. It also begs the question as to why Frew didn’t seem to be concerned about Moonstone or Dynamite Entertainment’s Phantom series.
We will of course keep you posted on how this evolves. Several stores and retailers have said they will try all they can to get the series regardless of the restrictions as they know the demand for it is high. If anyone does manage to get around the international restrictions you’ll hear about it here first. Otherwise, Australian phans may have to look on-line to buy their issues.