In his Message from the Publisher in Frew #1806, publisher Dudley Hogarth relayed some fascinating information about the 'new' cover artist featured on that issue. However, space constraints prevented him from telling the full fascinating story of Jonny Nordlund, so Andreas Erikkson has kindly allowed us to share the tale with you here.
Frew readers with a keen eye may have taken a look at issue #1806 and thought that a new cover artist was making his debut. But they would be wrong, because the artist Jonny Nordlund has already created a Frew cover... all the way back in 1988!
The cover of Frew #911 from 1988 is based on a drawing by Nordlund, which was first published in the reader pages of Fantomen 3/1985, when Jonny was only 17 years old!
Apparently, someone at Frew also spotted Nordlund's talent and a slightly modified tracing of his fanart drawing from 1985 became a Frew cover in 1988!
(Fanart by Jonny Nordlund, images from http://www.seriesjoberg.se/11757848)i
Amazingly, this was not even his first published Phantom drawing; a piece he drew in 1983 appeared in Fantomen 7/1984.
With such a display of talent, he was quickly scooped up by Semic Press and became a professional comic artist, but not for their Fantomen magazine. Instead, Nordlund has worked only on Semic's (and later Egmont's) humor comics.
At the tender age of 17, Jonny was hired to work on the long-running military humor comic 91:an, which he continues to do to this day. He's also one of the artists on another long-running comedy strip called Åsa-Nisse. Both comics are occasionally written by Pidde Andersson, one of Frew's latest Phantom scriptwriters.
Self-portrait by a teenage Nordlund shorty after he became a professional comic artist. Image from http://seriewikin.serieframjandet.se/index.php/Jonny_Nordlund
Both Jonny and Pidde have inserted Phantom references in their comedy stories when possible. Two examples drawn by Jonny can be seen below, the first example from 91:an where the primary antagonist is visited by The Phantom in a dream sequence. Second, from Åsa-Nisse where the title character in a delirious state imitates the Phantom's quest for justice in a home-made crime-fighting suit.
Images from www.harnby.com/Seriesida/Fantomen/parodier.htm
Nordlund has also created comics of his own, and although he has developed a cartoonish and comedic style over the years, one episode in particular of his comic Spurt showed that he still has a talent for realistic artwork - set in Africa, no less!
Panels from "Spurt" by Jonny Nordlund, published in Seriemix #4.
For a time, Jonny assisted the American comic artist Bud Grace by inking his syndicated comic strip Ernie (aka The Piranha Club), which was syndicated by King Features.
Nordlund rekindled his Phantom interest in the tribute book Från lila vålnad till blågul hjälte (From purple ghost to blue-yellow hero), published in 2010. There, he detailed his interest in the Phantom and contributed a drawing specially made for the book.
Until last year, Nordlund himself was unaware that his fanart drawing had been used by Frew in 1988. It's only fitting that Nordlund now, 30 years later after his first uncredited Frew contribution, returns as an official and credited cover artist at Frew.