It’s been a tense few months as phans eagerly awaited an announcement from Frew in regards to the future of the company after the stepping down of Judith Shepherd. However, moments ago Frew announced on several Phantom Facebook groups that everything is in full swing and we can expect the next issue as early as February 25th!
The new owners of Frew are Australian Phantom artist Glenn Ford and long-time Phantom phan Rene White. Rather than bore you with our rambling, we’ll simply share the message Glenn posted on behalf of Frew below.
I can FINALLY announce that Rene White and I are the new owners of Frew.
Our apologies to everyone who has been ‘curious’ about the state of the company and thank you all for your patience. The last month has been quite a ‘journey’.
By way of a quick explanation, I can say the following: As I’m sure most of you are aware, the business of printing the Frew Phantom comic involves two things, there’s the business owned by Frew, the company, and there is the Phantom licence, granted by King Features Syndicate. One is not much good without the other.
We were approached last year, by Frew’s proprietor and asked if we were interested in buying the business and taking over the licence. There were other interested parties, but we threw our collective hat into the ring, as well. Unfortunately for us, early last December, we were told that one of the other interested parties had been granted the licence. We were disappointed, of course, but went on with our lives.
We were then contacted by KFS in mid-January and asked if we were still interested as the other party had changed his mind and had backed out. We then went into negotiations with KFS, who wanted the contract revised. This took a month of to-ing and fro-ing, but we have all reached an agreement. We are all happy and the licence is now signed.
We were not able to make an announcement of any sort, until after we had successfully completed negotiations with KFS, as well as the proprietor of Frew.
Dudley’s original message still applies: Issue #1745 will be available on February 25. We have just pushed the GO button at the printer’s. The printing will be finished this Wednesday. The pick-up and delivery by Gordon and Gotch, however, takes a week. It is taken to a central warehouse and then distributed, from there, throughout Australia and New Zealand.
The 2016 Annual (issue #1746) will follow pretty quickly – and yes, there will be an 80th Anniversary Special. We are working on this now and we are hoping to knock your socks off with it! Other announcements and publishing schedule information will be made available as soon as it’s confirmed.
Now to the ‘punchline’: We are delighted that Dudley is staying. Between the three of us, we are confident that we can not only maintain the quality that Jim and Judith Shepherd established, many years ago, but also continue the legacy for many, many years to come. We have a lot of ideas, some of which, we hope, will surprise you and some we feel are expected and perhaps long overdue.
The most important aspect of all of this, though, is that YOU now have an opportunity to get your voice heard. If we are to grow this business, we need to hear from you. To this end, we intend to make our website and Facebook page a bit more reactive and responsive. Letters, emails, faxes, smoke signals, etc, are not only welcome but encouraged – we need the feedback. Do we need a forum – and if so, in what form? This may even lead to polls, surveys, competitions – anything which will give us an idea of what you want – and constructive contributions will be rewarded with prizes. We are still formulating a lot of this – it’s early days – but we are excited.
It’s going to be a good year for the Phantom!!!