Have you listened to the Episode 121 of X-Band: The Phantom Podcast yet?
In our Sydney Supanova podcast special we have a chat with Sunday artist Jeff Weigel. Jeff is travelling to Australia for the Sydney and Perth Supanova comic conventions, as well as the Lee Falk Memorial Bengali Explorer's Club dinner.
In our chat, Jeff drops a huge bombshell regarding the next Sunday adventure, due to follow The Free Avar Front, which started on 19 May 2019.
The Phantom is a character that appeals to a lot of countries and cultures throughout the world. For various reasons many of them (predominantly Australia, India and the Scandinavian nations) claim him as "their" hero.
To that end, Egmont has commissioned many stories over the years that feature various generations of Phantom travelling to Scandinavia and broader Europe to help keep their audience interested. However it must be said that in all the hundreds and hundreds of published Phantom stories, he has only very rarely visited Australia.
That's soon to change with Jeff announcing casually in the Supanova Special X-Band: The Phantom Podcast that, for the first time ever in the Newspaper strip. a Phantom will be soon visiting Australia's shores!
We've contacted Jeff Weigel and Tony DePaul for further comment but they remain tight-lipped, keeping us in great anticipation over what will likely become one of the most read Phantom Sunday stories in Australia for a while. What we do know is:
The story will be the 189th Sunday
It will features a past Phantom and not the 21st
The story will be based on a friendship with an important figure in Australian history
The unique Sunday title image may be Australian themed (if Jeff takes up the suggestion of the Chronicle Chamber team!)
What makes this story so unique is that The Phantom has only visited Australia a handful of times before in any stories released by any publisher, including the following:
Two-part 1989 Team Fantomen story Wuluti's Secret and The Black Fire by Norman Worker and Carlos Cruz
The Kings Cross Connection from 1992 which was the third story to be produced by Frew. It was written by Jim Shepherd and drawn by Keith Chatto
Rise of the Red Dragon Part 1, a 2018 Frew story written by Dale Maccanti with art by Jason Paulos
It's also worth noting that the 24th Phantom visits Australia in the animated TV series Phantom 2040 in Season 1 Episode 9 Dark Orbit part 1 originally aired November 13, 1994.
Drawing a long bow, The Phantom has also visited New Zealand once in the 2017 Team Fantomen story Red Zone, written by David Bishop with art by Rafael Ruiz. David spoke about his long efforts to try and get the Phantom to visit our shores more often in X-Band: The Phantom Podcast #117.
What makes this news from the creative team so special is that none of these stories are Newspaper Stories. To many phans, the Newspaper stories are canon and an "official" visit by our hero to Australian shores is certainly worth celebrating.