With June 17th rapidly approaching, the special guest speaker for the 2017 Lee Falk Memorial Bengalla Explorers Club dinner has been announced, and it marks something of a change in direction for the long-time Phantom appreciation group.
Dr Paul Mason, artist of Frew's newly-minted Kid Phantom series, is confirmed as appearing to speak to the group, and will contribute artwork and sketches to the fundraiser for the Westmead Children's Hospital.
In his email announcing Paul's appearance, organiser Richard Fry acknowledges the reservations that some regular Dinner guests might have about the ground-breaking artist:
"Dr Paul Mason, the newly appointed artist for Frew’s new Kid Phantom Series [will] make a great Guest Speaker.
"The Phantom phan base is aging. Most of our generation of comic readers was brought up on a huge choice of comics (looked in at the local newsagent lately?) but times have changed.
"Today’s kids all have smartphones, play video games, are more exposed to the world around them (whether for good or otherwise) and much of their social interaction is via social media. Even the 21st Phantom has moved with the times and is connected to the World Wide Web. I applaud Frew’s decision to start recruiting a new generation of Phantom Phans.
"Dr Paul Mason is not a newcomer to the world of comics. He is a Doctor of Visual Arts, cartoonist, writer, lecturer at Griffiths University in Queensland, a convener at the Queensland College of Art, a familiar figure at comic conventions and has been published nationally and internationally. He is a Phantom Phan who has spoken often of our Purple Clad Hero and who references him in his work. And he can draw!"
For his part Paul is both excited and nervous about speaking at the dinner, admitting as much during his recent conversation with the ChronicleChamber team in Episode 62 of X-Band: The Phantom Podcast. On his Facebook page earlier this week, Paul wrote:
"I'm extremely honoured to have been invited to be Guest Speaker at the annual Lee Falk Memorial Bengalla Explorers Club (LFMBEC) Charity Dinner in June, bringing "phans" from all around AUS, NZ and beyond, to chat all things Phantom, and bid for Auction items, raising money for the Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney.
"Given the previous speakers, live scribblers and art donations from the likes of Folks I admire such as Terry Beatty, Dave Gibbons, Alex Saviuk, Glenn Ford, Paul Ryan, and many others in comics that have touched on 'The Phantom', (and I believe my friend Bruce Mutard was a previous speaker), I'm very humbled, and hoping very much not to disappoint."
It is with great excitement that ChronicleChamber looks forward to the annual event, and as always we will provide you with as much information and as many images from the night as we can!
Anyone wishing to join the LFMBEC email mailing list should contact Richard Fry via this link.