Frew issue 1877 is an 84 page issue which features the classic daily newspaper story "The Adventures of Lucy Cary" by Lee Falk and Sy Barry. It also features a new story titled "The Outlaws" which is a follow on story with the 19th Phantom, his wife Jane / Janie and his brother in law Dr Bart Cary. This is a new story by Swedish writer Pidde Andersson and Brazilian artist Rafael Dantas.
Pidde is not new to Frew readers but Rafael is. In the comic, he was incorrectly given credit as Rafael Lopez but we can confirm it is Rafael Dantas.
We are lucky enough to have spent some time with Rafael and now you can to. Introducing Rafael Dantas...
Chronicle Chamber: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What country and region are you from?
Rafael Dantas: Hello everyone, well I am Brazilian, I was born in Ceará, a state in the northeast of Brazil.
I have been working for almost 15 years with comics, I was an assistant to a great artist called Al Rio, who gave me the first opportunities, since then I have worked in some small publishers and with advertising hype and I was part of the Instituto dos Quadrinhos agency. I am also a author and creator of stories with a Brazilian theme, I am the author of "Mandacru Vermelho" and the designer of "Lâmina Azulada" (this is a current success in Brazil) as well as "Cavaleiro Avante", a comic that I drew with characters created by my son.
3 years ago I updated my line of work to a more classic style and since then I have achieved great projects in the market, I designed Dr. Who for Titan Comics, Black Betty for Action Lab Comics and several independent works that are about to come out on the market until I arrive to The Phantom.
CC: Did you study art and if yes, where did you study?
RD: I didn't have the opportunity to study art in big centers or colleges, but I did excellent courses with great local artists who worked and work for the international market. I took courses in the studio Daniel Brandão, a great artist and teacher in my region, a course with the late Al Rio and recently the artist Rafael Tavares, a great illustrator.
CC: Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you and influenced your work?
RD: Yes, I was very influenced by the way of looking at the art of my former teacher and master Al Rio.
And recently some artists have directly influenced my art, Alex Toth, Corrado Mastantuono, Chris Samnee and Moebius, after I met these artists and started to study them my work took new directions.
CC: What made you want to be an artist?
RD: That feeling started early, very young with my first Daredevil magazine, I fell in love with comics and when I started reading X-Men at the stage of Chris Claremont and Jim Lee I was sure it was what I wanted.
CC: How would you describe your style?
RD: Well, I believe that readers can evaluate it better, I confess that I still feel in the search to find my identity, I study a lot today designers like Alex Toth, Jean Giroud and Corrado Mastantuono, I believe it is a more classic line that I'm looking for, I hope this is reflected in the public.
CC: Do you like working on the Phantom? Did you know of the Phantom before you started work on those stories? Did you ever read the character?
RD: Yes, I already knew Phantom, when I started collecting comics in my childhood, Phantom was published in Brazil, I read a lot and he ended up becoming my favorite character.
Do I love Phantom? Drawing Phantom is a dream come true, I say without fear that the character I always dreamed of working with.
CC: How did you get the role of the Phantom for Frew Publishing?
RD: It was a big surprise.
Phantom was not published in Brazil in a long time, except for some special editions. I didn't know Frew and thought Phantom didn't have any more publications until I saw a friend's Facebook post talking about an Frew edition.
I quickly ran to research and to my surprise found that Phantom was a success in Australia. I sent my portfolio and a few days later Mr. Dudley Hogarth responded by offering me a job. Wow, it was a great moment. Incredible moment.
CC: Your first Frew story has just been published (Frew 1877) and you also had a card design for the (Australian) Frew Gallery trading card series. Do you like working on interior comics?
RD: Yes, I do, I really love drawing comics and I intend to do that until my last days.
CC: Do you have any other Frew / Phantom work in the pipeline?
RD: Yes, I still can't say much, but I am very pleased to announce that I am working on a new Phantom magazine.
CC: How Exciting!
With "The Outlaws" Frew story, did you use any references for the time period of the story and for the known characters like Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid?
RD: Yes, for sure, the adventure takes place in a past century, everything was researched, from photos and references of cities, towns, trains, cars to the characters with their clothes and costumes. I consider this fundamental to the final quality of a good story.
CC: How was it working with Pidde Andersson and Glenn Ford from Frew Publishing?
RD: Pidde is a lot of fun, a very friendly guy and with sensational responses hahaha, I hope to work with him again, always accessible, a great writer.
Mr Glenn is a great editor, always attentive, patient, I just have words to thank for the opportunity to draw Phantom.
CC: Do you work traditionally using pencils, inks on paper or do you prefer working on the computer? What is your process?
RD: Nowadays I work digitally, using an Ipad Pro.
But the Phantom's work was all done in the traditional way, with paper and inks. I confess that I have preferred to work in digital, but Phantom is a job that deserves a more traditional look. Digitally work in layers using two programs, Procreate and Clip Studio Paint.
In the Traditional way, I make small thumbnails on offset paper, then reproduce the layout on the appropriate paper using pencil and mechanical pencil, finally comes the artwork with Uni-Pin pens and brushes.
CC: You are currently doing some ‘Inktober’ Phantom pieces, will they be for sale?
RD: Yes, I will soon put them on sale, I am still not sure if on eBay or on the Phantom fan pages, I will soon decide that.
CC: Before we go we must ask, do you accept commissions and how can they contact you? Also do you have a place where phans can see your work?
RD: Yes of course, even since the announcement of being a Phantom artist I have already received orders. You can contact me via social media. I will leave the contacts below.
CC: Do you have a place where phans can see your work?