Kristian Hellesund works both as a comics journalist and comics lecturer in Norway. Among other things he writes a weekly comics column in the Sydvesten newspaper. Where he writes reviews, comments on current affairs and report from events and comics conventions.
This week’s column is about The Phantom coming back to Norway after a horrible 2018 which saw the Egmont Fantomet Magazine along with the Aftenposten newspaper all being cancelled. The good news is that a new Phantom softcover album (or TPB) will be out in Norway in July.
Below is a wrap up version of the original article by Kristian, which you can see below. A Hi Res scan will be made available for the Phantom Preservation Project later.
The Norwegian Fantomet magazine folded last year. Since then, the national Aftenposten daily newspaper stopped publishing Phantom strips last week. Aftenposten has been important for The Ghost Who Walks in Norway, introducing the character nearly eighty years ago.
(Editors Note: You can read about the history here in our article on the Aftenposten newspaper)
One could believe that The Phantom has a losing streak in this Scandinavian country at the moment, but right now there are some good news for local phans.
As reported in my story in the Sydvesten newspaper in this week, Egmont Norway will publish a new Phantom softcover album in July. This has been since followed up with a Facebook post (Left).
Editor Hege Høiby is quoted that the anthology will include four Phantom stories. We conclude that one of them will be "The Masks of the Phantom" (Read Chronicle Chambers review here), that was originally published by the Irish publishers Lightning Strike Comics a few months ago.
The story is set in Norway and has artwork by Mike Collins. Collins penciled a Phantom story for Moonstone, and the British artist has also worked on Doctor Who, Judge Dredd and various Marvel and DC superhero comics. The script was made by Arild Wærness with assistance from fellow Norwegian Knut Robert Knutsen.
According to the Facebook post, the rest of the contents are two new stories from Team Fantomen in Sweden and a recent American newspaper story. Perhaps the best thing about this new series is that the Fantomet editorial team gets to choose the stories that will appear in their TPBs rather than having to follow the Egmont Sweden Magazine like previously.
Something interesting about "The Masks of the Phantom", is that it features a team-up between The Phantom and the local Norwegian detective Varg Veum in the coastal city of Bergen. Veum is created by the Bergen based author Gunnar Staalesen, and some of his Varg Veum novels have been released in English. Staalesen has also cooperated with Arild Wærness and Mike Collins on several Varg Veum graphic novels. In the Lightning Strike comic the detective is called Gunnar Wulff, but in the upcoming Norwegian anthology the detective will have his original name.
Above a scene from The Phantom Strikes #2. This scene is set at the BarBarista pub in Bergen, Norway. BarBarista is owned by Arild Wærness' partner May. Arild Wærness himself has a cameo in this drawing.
After the Sydvesten newspaper story was printed, Egmont Norway has published three images as clues about the contents of the first book on the Fantomet Facebook page.
One image is from the Sunday Newspaper story "The Rat Must Die" by Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel.
The artwork from the front page of the Swedish Fantomen issue 21/2017 (Frew #1805) was also included, suggesting that the story "Fjärilsmannen" ("Butterfly Man") by Claes Reimerthi and César Spadari.
The third image is the title page from "Hämndens ängel" ("The Angel of Retribution"), which was made by Claes Reimerthi (script) and Joan Boix (artwork). The story was originally published in Fantomen issue 4/2019 and Frew #1836.
Arild Wærness has also posted an image from "The Masks of the Phantom" on the Facebook page The Phantom The Ghost Who Walks Scandinavian Group. From the post it looks like the story will be re-coloured by Mike Collins for Egmont.
(Editors Note: Original and re-coloured below)
Hege Høiby states in the Sydvesten newspaper that Egmont Norway will publish a new Phantom TPB in October. According to the editor, an Australian Frew originated Phantom story is being considered for that publication. Høiby does not disclose which story Egmont is interested in.
We thank you Kristian for your input in the latest happenings from Fantomet Norway and we will continue to report the latest news, previews of covers, contents for future TPBs and do our best to do reviews of these books as they come out.