Today we would've probably all seen the sad news that Terry Beatty has drawn his last Sunday strip, ending a five-year reign with the character we have an unhealthy addiction to: The Phantom, the Ghost Who Walks and the Guardian of the Eastern Dark.
The Sunday page in newspapers today (below) is his final contribution to the strip.
You can read Terry's official statement on his Facebook page, and with his permission we have reposted it here:
Are you sitting down? This will come as quite a surprise to my friends and fans -- but this Sunday page is my final PHANTOM. What!?! Really!?! Yep. No kiddin'. I resigned from the strip about two months back, and this Sunday marks the end of my five year run on the strip.
Why did I step down? The answer is simple. Writing and drawing the REX MORGAN feature (daily and Sunday) and drawing the Sunday PHANTOM had turned into a seven days a week gig. And after a year of that, I simply couldn't do it any more. I wasn't gaining any time on the schedule -- and both strips needed to be a few weeks ahead of where they were (at least) -- and the grind was doing me in. I had no time for my family or myself and it was taking a toll.
So, something had to go -- and as cool as the PHANTOM gig is, REX is the bigger part of my income -- and with me writing REX now, I'm more invested in that feature, no matter how much I may dig The Ghost Who Walks.
I'm grateful to editor Brendan Burford, for bringing me to King Features and trusting me with these strips. A tip of my hat also to the late Paul Ryan for his help in the early days. My thanks to Tom Smith for his colors on the early Sundays in my run and (along with a couple others behind the scenes) for encouraging me to go after the gig. Thanks to fellow PHANTOM artists Mike Manley and Graham Nolan for their support and advice along the way. Thanks to my artist pals who helped out on a few Sundays -- Rick Burchett, Alex Saviuk and Brandon McKinney. And a big thanks to Tony DePaul for giving me so much fun stuff to draw!
The strip led to many wonderful opportunities -- visiting Australia -- connecting with many great PHANTOM fans -- and landing the REX MORGAN assignment. Hey -- I even got to draw MANDRAKE! I'm proud to have been an official PHANTOM artist -- and part of the rather exclusive BATMAN/PHANTOM artist club, too!
Who takes over next Sunday? Not my place to announce -- but I will say I suggested a good sized list of possible successors, and King made, in my estimation, a mighty good choice. I'll be wishing the new guy good luck next week!
So -- I've already packed my bags and moved out of the Skull Cave, taking up long term residence in Glenwood. See you all there.
Personally, I enjoyed Terry's reign as the artist behind our phavourite Ghost. My phavourite stories and highlights were the cross overs with Mandrake, Death Stalks the 5th Phantom and the story ending the ongoing saga with Savarna. I feel every good and great The Phantom artist leaves a mark on my life. I grew up and became hooked on Sy Barry, Graham Nolan made me love the newspaper stories again with his short reign and Paul Ryan made me appreciate the medium and set a high almost impossible standard to follow. Terry Beatty left his mark on me with his breaking of tradition with the layout on the Sundays, which may have been hell for Frew as they try and fit it into a comic book format.
I was lucky enough to meet Terry Beatty when he came to Australia as part of Supanova and the LFMBEC dinner. He was an interesting person and some could say a historian in the art field going back to the glory days. It's a pity we see him go but nothing tends to last for ever. We at the ChronicleChamber say thank you to Terry, and good luck with your future ventures.