ChronicleChamber is very grateful to renowned Phantom artist Sal Velluto for this contribution.
In 2007, when I was hired by Egmont to draw Fantomen, I had very little knowledge of the history and lore of “The Ghost Who Walks.” I purchased a 50 issue, complete set of “L’Uomo Masherato – Phantom” published by Italy’s Comic Art and gathered as much reference on line, as possible. It was then, that I came across a series of three long articles on “The style of The Phantom” written in 1996 by Giuseppe Lippi for the Italian magazine “Orient Express”.
[Editors note: This article will be made available on our Phantom Preservation Project to ensure it is available for future phans].
Because of those beautifully crafted articles I got better acquainted with The Phantom and, most importantly, became aware of the passion and dedication Giuseppe Lippi had for his phriend, “L’Uomo Mascherato”
Giuseppe had both the know-how and the talent to write about Falk, Moore and McCoy just as easily as he wrote about Asimov, Lovecraft and Clarke. During his 28 plus years as editor and curator of Italian Sci-fi magazines such as Urania and Robot, he introduced generations of readers to generations of authors and masterpieces of the science-fiction genre. Giuseppe was also a writer, journalist, translator, and co-organizer of cultural events, the last of which was held in Trieste, Italy, this past November, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
About five years ago, Giuseppe and I started corresponding about our common passion for The Phantom. With the tone of a loving older brother (he was only 3 years older than me, but he made it count) Giuseppe told me I shouldn’t make The Phantom look too angry. In his mind the Phantom was a tough but benevolent character, which I presumed was a reflection of Giuseppe’s own character.
We often joked about him writing (and me illustrating) a Phantom story set in his native Naples, depicting pizza and other Neapolitan goodies. He even created a meme for this story (see below), which he shared with me, along with other Phantom related pictures of his studio / library of Vigevano, Italy.
A couple of years ago, with the mediation of our good friend “Pistol” Pete Klaus (X-Band Podcast Episode 88), I put Giuseppe in touch with the great Sy Barry (X-Band Podcast Episode 53). Giuseppe recorded a long phone interview , which he planned to transcribe and publish in the near future. [Editors note: No word if this was completed]
Early this past November, I learned through Facebook that Giuseppe had been hospitalized in Pavia with a bad case of pneumonia. He posted that he was feeling very weak. I posted on his FB page an “Old Jungle Saying” which read “Giuseppe Lippi has the strength of 100 tigers!” He replied with one of his classic quick quips.
Giuseppe passed away unexpectedly, on December 15 at the age of 65 . He’s journeying now between immensity and infinity, straight towards eternity.
Godspeed, Phantom Phriend!
Giuseppe in front and of his vast comic library, which included many Phantom magazines.