Frantic phans might feel like it's been a long time coming, but finally there is word of Frew's 80th Anniversary Special!
On their Facebook profile tonight, Frew nonchalantly released the author, artist and cover artist details of issues 1758-1764. Tucked away somewhere in the middle is #1763, the long awaited 80th Anniversary Special.
In their words:
Contrary to popular belief we have been working very hard on the 80th Anniversary Special. We thought it was about time that we stopped goofing off and started actually doing some work - so here it is. 212 pages, with stories from all over the world that have never been published in English before, including some in colour! Plus an 80-year retrospective from Phantom historian, Barry Stubbersfield, a short prose piece from Brazil, a new colouring competition from Frew, a new competition from Merchantwise, with Phantom prizes valued at over $800 and a Phantom Gallery Series 2 promo card. Cover by Glenn Ford.
Stop goofing off and actually start doing some work? Nice touch, Frew Crew.
The ChronicleChamber team could not be more excited about the prospect of these international stories, steeped in tradition but brand new to English speaking readers. Indeed, given the range of countries/languages represented it seems unlikely that there would be many phans in the world who have read all of these stories before.
At first glance the cover looks very impressive (certainly knocking the ultimately disappointing 70th Birthday cover out of the park).
While Glenn Ford has employed a reasonably simple design, the way that shadow has been used - is that embossing we see? - the tip of the hat to Phantom's legendary marksmanship, and the sheer strength of the character, this looks like an instantly classic cover.
Special features of the issue:
8 stories, only one of which has ever been publi Frew before (Kings Cross Connection)
Colour in a Frew for only the second time ever (following the Paul Ryan tribute issue earlier this year)
A prose story (only words no pictures for the uninitiated ... does this even belong in a comic book?)
A colouring competition - should bring in the youngsters, or at least convince Dads to buy an extra book!
Seemingly a seperate competition for adults, from Merchantwise, with some serious prizes
A trading card is included? Gallery Series 2 promo? Surely this must mean... finally?!!
An introduction from Egmont editor Andreas Eriksson which looks like a lovely way for the two major publishers of The Phantom to reach out to each other in for the celebration of his 80 years as an international comic strip character
One point of note must be that there is no Lee Falk story, which to many will be a large omission. How can you celebrate 80 years of The Phantom without mentioning Lee Falk? Falkists will be hoping that Barry Stubbersfield's feature fills this role, but may well still be left a little disappointed.
At $20 cover price, this will comfortably be the most expensive Frew ever to hit the news-stands. However, it looks like it will be worth it.
Either way, this is bound to be one of the highest selling Frew issues of 2016. Timing the release of the comic around Father's Day is potentially a masterstroke, with Dads around Australia certain to be flicking through this as they wait for their breakfast in bed.
Well done Frew Crew - we can't wait to read it!