On December 13 2020, Fantomen editor Mikael Sol announced that he will soon step down from the role and away from Egmont altogether.
In a post on his personal Facebook page he announced that he will be leaving in March 2021. His message is:
The contracts are signed and mailed to both parties now.
Therefore I can announce that in the beginning of March I am starting as publishing editor at Tukan Förlag! A really fun employment with focus on children books, something I have wanted to work with for a long time.
It will be 10 years and 5 days at Egmont, which feels kind of cool and at the same time epic! Hadn't really read Fantomen before, so there was a lot to get into. I spent many hours after work plowing through different volumes about the Ghost Who Walks to extend my knowledge.
It has been 10 intense years with the move from Stockholm to Malmö, made many new friends, worked with a lot of legends in the comic book industry, met a girl in Norrköping, we moved in together, had a child, moved to Halland, started commuting to Malmö, got married, the pandemic happened etc.
There have been many seminal moments in Fantomen publishing with Mikael at the helm over the last decade. Many phans might regard the 2018 publication of what came to be a controversial story,'Philip Madden and Alex Saviuk's "Den gyllene örnen'' ("The Golden Eagle'") as his biggest moment. This issue featured a provocative cover by Henrik Salhstrom depicting the Phantom hitting a right wing roughneck with a rainbow flag, an image that caused a major storm around the world.
However, this is just one example of many editorial decisions that Mikael has made over the years that have pushed the limits of what we have traditionally expected from our Phantom comic books. Another, also from 2018, was the publication of "Blodregn" ("Blood Rain"), the world's first Phantom 'jam' story with no fewer than eight artists (Sal Velluto, Heiner Bade, Alex Saviuk, Joan Boix, Kari Leppänen, Carlos Pedrazzini, César Spadari, and Rafael Ruiz) bringing Andreas Erikkson's script to life.
To complement his talents as an editor, Mikael also got the absolute most out of his ever-shrinking budget by writing his own stories, touching on formerly taboo subjects like depression, suicide and LGBTQI+ rights. He also conceived and created The World of the Phantom series (2014) as well as Fantomen Kids (2015), aimed at appealing to a younger audience.
Perhaps proving himself to be a true triple-threat, Mikael also illustrated several of The World of the Phantom stories under the pseudonym Alan Sonne, as well as generously contributing a striking submission for our Chronicle Chamber Bushfire Phundraiser Book at the start of 2020.
As a champion for the Phantom in Scandinavia, and someone who has worked closely with the legendary Claes Reimerthi on the overall story arc of Fantomen stories (including the controversial Sandal Singh saga), Mikael is leaving mighty big shoes for the next editor to fill. If the handover is not done properly it could cause concerns for the Fantomen magazine as Mikael has gone over and beyond to stretch the budget and fight for the magazine.
We wish Mikael Sol all the best with his new venture and we thank him for everything he has done as editor, writer and artist.
To learn more about Mikael Sol from the man himself is the podcast interview we conducted with him which for X-Band: The Phantom Podcast #116 - listen here!