Phantom's World #4 is now out at newsagents throughout Australia, has been sent to Frew subscribers, and phans like myself are now devouring (or have already devoured) the stories.
This issue is the first in what Frew are calling their Artist Showcase series, and it features Italian artist Angelo Todaro.
While we have seen Angelo's work before in Frew #1761, this is the first time we get a really good look with almost 100 pages of his detailed amazing artwork. We can also read the work of scriptwriter Pidde Andersson for the first time.
After admiring the artwork the first reflection I had after reading was just how detailed the stories are about the Chinese, Tibetan and Buddhism Cultures. Hats off to both Todaro who wrote the first story and Andersson who wrote the Shangri-La storyline.
Publisher Dudley Hogarth goes into some detail about behind the scenes of the two stories in his Message from the Publisher but here at ChronicleChamber we demand greater detail! So let's go into even more depth and have a sneak peak behind the curtain...
The second story Shangri-La is based on the 1937 movie Lost Horizon (obviously before my time and the majority of people who will read this). In the words of Pidde...
By the end of the 1970s, when I was ten to eleven years, I saw Frank Capra's classic Lost Horizon on television. I thought it was an amazingly exciting and fascinating movie. It was not until I was 35-40 years [old] before I had the opportunity to see the film [again]. Then it turned out that it was not at all as I remembered it. So I wrote an adventure that I thought Lost Horizon was - fast with the Fantasy in the lead role. I also included much more jokes and series references than other Fantasy writers usually do.
Pidde has been working with Egmont for many years, but due to circumstances was never able to write a story for Team Fantomen. However with the new Frew Crew hiring artists and writers to expand on the Phantom universe (or as some are calling it, The Frewniverse), Pidde was soon writing stories including one in the upcoming Frew 70th birthday TPB and many more.
After reading the one story, I can see why Frew are keeping Pidde busy using his talents.
Angelo Todaro is more known for his artistic talents but with Hong Long and The Stubborn Sorcerer stories featuring in a Frew comic he is obviously far more than an artist.
From what I can tell from my own research, talking with Angelo, Felmang and other sources, some of these stories where already completed and waiting for someone to publish them. In the case of "Expedition in the Jungle" it was created by Felmang back in 2002.
Cue Frew Crew to the rescue!
While some stories like Lou Manna's Full Circle which went unpublished by USA Moonstone failed to excite many phans, the current crop of Felmang's has been more widely accepted by phans in the Phantom's World series. Even if some were created 5, or 10+ years ago, a lot of phans seem to be using the art as the measuring stick if these stories receive a pass mark or not.
Some clever editing and planning on behalf of the Frew Crew has seen these two separate but based-in-the-same-region stories magically get joined for us to enjoy!