No doubt there's going to be a lot of news and images come out of the Phantom Mecca weekend in Sydney over the next few days, and the first of it from us is the exciting innovation at Frew's Supanova Booth - blank sketch covers.
For those who came in late, Frew Publications produced a special Supanova edition for the 2017 convention, featuring the classic 1964 Lee Falk / Sy Barry Daily story The Drummer of Timpenni, partnered with the 1967 Bill Harris / Bill Lignante collaboration The Big Fight.
Even these great stories played second fiddle though, to easily the blandest cover of the new Frew era! Why?
Because phans could choose from no fewer than seven different artists (and one game author!) to fill in the blank and create a unique, one-of-a-kind, Supanova souvenir.
Virtually the entire Frew stable of Australian artists were present throughout the day: Jeremy Macpherson, Antonio Lemos, Chewie Chan, Jamie Johnson, Jason Paulos, Shane Foley, Paul Mason, and of course the godfather of them all, Glenn Ford. In fact, even Christopher Sequeria, writer of the Phantom by Gaslight series and really there to sign posters and comics, was drawn into the excitement and ended up inking a number of covers himself!
The excitement generated by so much creative energy and productivity at the booth was palpable, as crowds of phans, old and new, gathered to watch the covers take shape; there were regularly people two or three deep around the booth.
Some of the work produced was simply sensational, with not one artist prepared to simply "knock one up" - the care and precision taken with the images was impressive.
Of particular note was at least a couple of covers drawn by the team of Glenn Ford and Jamie Johnson - quite literally godfather and godson. We are reliably informed that these pieces are to be referred to as Johnson/Ford artwork, because you always put the shorter surname second!
Below we've started a Gallery of some of the covers produced on the day. Over the coming days we'll be adding more as phans return home, unpack and send in photos of their original art.
We'd love to compile as many as we possibly can on this page, so if YOU were at Supanova and have a cover or two to add to the collection, please send it in via this email link.
We know of quite a few phans who purchased multiple blanks, intent of posting them around Australia and the world to commission other artists not lucky enough to be at the Sydney convention, so hopefully we will be seeing additions to the gallery for weeks and months to come!
The blank sketch covers were sold at Supanova for $5 each, with the artists typically charging $20 for a sketch. This is also what you will be charged if you buy them now through Frew's website here. There are a small number of covers with artwork available, and you can request your favourite artist.