In news sure to gladden the hearts of most Phantom collectors, Frew co-owner Rene White has announced that the Australian company is seeking to reproduce a popular publication from the 1950s and 60's: the Giant Size comics. *
In a late night Facebook post, Rene White wrote:
Frew is looking at starting to produce the giant size Phantom subject to King Features approval and require scanned copies or photocopies of Phantom Ranger No 1 and Sir Falcon No 1 if anyone has any of these comics, please contact me on (phone number) . Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all.
For those who came in late, the Giant Size Phantom comics were originally published by Frew from April 1957 to April 1961. They were a 92-page soft cover book and released bi-monthly. While the first two issues went unnumbered, the rest of the 26 were numbered.
Each comic book contained four or five stories. The Phantom appeared in most issues, as well as a supporting cast including Sir Falcon, The Phantom Ranger, Kalor the Caveman and The Shadow.
Interestingly, only the first five issues were attributed to Frew, with a publisher called Tricho Publications credited with issues #6 - #26. One wonders if Frew will be able to publish all 26 issues in the run, or will be limited only to the first five.
According to Nigel Johnson's Johnson's Official Phantom Price Guide original copies of these comics, even in fair condition, are valued from $70-$100 and so outside the range of many collectors. It would be wonderful to see these comics re-produced at affordable prices for all phans to access these stories.
White's request for copies and scans of these old comics also raises the question: might Frew also be considering reprinting some of their other older publications, like the Super Yank Comic series (1950-1952) or The Phantom Adventures prose books (1955-1956)? We can only hope!
Even phans who usually do not enjoy seeing Frew reprint old stories would surely be delighted at this development. Possibly only collectors who already own copies of these rare publications would be annoyed at the news. Hopefully, they will be more inclined to contact Frew and allow their copies to be scanned and utilised to be shared more widely, and presumably they would be credited in any printing.
More detailed information about the Giant Size comics can be found on Bryan Shedden's excellent Deep Woods website.
*On 3rd January 2017, Rene White posted the following clarification:
With regards to the Giantsize Phantom, still subject to King Features approval, we intend to start a new series, with new covers and stories not published in the first series.
ChronicleChamber apologises for any disappointment caused by our misinterpretation of White's initial 21st December post.