Sunday artist Jeff Weigel has begun a new tradition for the newspaper strip: a brand new title panel unique to each individual story.
ChronicleChamber was lucky enough to speak to Jeff not long after he started on the strip, in Episode #70 of X-Band: The Phantom Podcast. In that chat he revealed that he was never quite satisfied with the title panel and was constantly making refinements. We chronicled his week-by-week changes over the first two months in the video below:
Cut to 18 months and a full story (Sunday #186 The Rat Must Die) later, and Jeff has taken his changes to the title panel to the next level with a completely new take in the story that started today, Sunday #187 The Little Detective Who Disappeared. He has announced that this will be a new habit of his, with a new title panel to accompany each new story during his time with the strip.
Jeff tells us: "I decided to change the title panel with each storyline for a couple reasons: just for the fun of it; so I could let the title panel accurately reflect my evolving notions of how the character looks as I get more familiar with The Ghost Who Walks. I don't regard it as a lot of extra work to do a new title panel or two every year or so. Also. I figured the hardcore fans would just get a kick out of it."
The two panels are here for comparison - the new one is on the right:
Author Tony DePaul, a man of few words (except perhaps when it comes to podcast interviews!), has endorsed Jeff's idea: "I’ve seen it on the proofs, It’s nicely done."
From a phan's point of view - we like it. For a start, it is cool to see Devil appear in the title panel. The concept of changing title panels for each new story will help mix up the comic and keep it fresh, and it will certainly help each story have its own identity within the overall continuity.
While previous newspaper strip artists have changed the title panel over time during their period in the role, we're not aware of it ever being as formal or planned as 'new story = new panel'. We commend Jeff for the concept and in typical eager (impatient) fashion, are already looking forward to seeing what the next one looks like!