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Remembering Jaime Vallvé

This is in part what I wrote 20 years ago when Jaime Vallvé had passed away and originally appeared in Fantomen 10/2001. Today we remember Jaime 20 years on.

Jaime Vallvé was a great artist and comics creator who put aside his ink pen and brush permanently and left us. On October 15 2000 Jaime Peralta Vallvé passed away in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was 72 years old.

Jaime was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1928 and as a teenager he started to draw comics to be able to pay for his studies to study as an artist. In the late 1940’s he move to Paris, France where for 8 years he studied fine art, engraving and architecture. In Paris he met Birthe a Danish girl and his wife to be. They moved to Denmark in the early 1960’s.

Jaime started in the Scandinavian market by drawing for Danish Syndicate PIB (Presse Illustrations Bureau) the daily strip series ”Eddie” based on the French movies with actor Eddie Constantine playing the private detective Lemmy Caution.

In the early 1970’s Jaime was contacted by Semic Press to draw the Phantom, a comic character which he loved and suited his style very well. His style was a very strong personal style with broad brush strokes and his layouts brimmed with action. He developed the Scandinavian Phantom strip into an expressive concept and gave new life to the character.

Jaime Vallvé quickly became the main artist on the Scandinavian Phantom strip, a position he held for almost 20 years. He sat an example and his style inspired many of the Phantom artists after him - even today.

The 'Team Fantomen' team grew around him and todays Team Fantomen is what it is largely because of him. He showed the way, he was a pathfinder. In all Jaime Vallvé drew 116 Phantom adventures, close to 4000 pages of artwork on the Phantom, and painted around 70 cover illustrations.

My first meeting with Jaime Vallvé took place in the Spring of 1973. I was a young and a new appointed editor on the Phantom. He was already well known and an exciting artist who had already started working on the Phantom for the previous editor.

He lived with his family – wife and three daughters – in Bullerup, a small hamlet on the Danish island of Fyn. His working place was a former stable which he had turned into a studio (Jaime was also a very dexterous person) and behind the stable turned studio he also ran an old derelict railroad. It was all very rural and wonderful.

Our first visit started off with an extravagant Danish smorgasbord with Danish aquavit. I remember how we all, Jaime, his wife Birthe, my boss and myself, after this luxurious dinner took a stroll along the old railroad and Jaime expressed his delight to have been entrusted with drawing the Phantom. Then he unexpectedly broke out in different opera arias! He loved opera – just like Lee Falk did – and he had a pleasant light voice.

It was indeed an enchanted evening. We were treated like kings and it was the start of a warm friendship which has lasted all these years. The once off visit soon became a tradition where I would visit Jaime and his family once or twice a year for decades.

Now the tragic message of his passing has put an end to this wonderful tradition.

In memory you will live, Jaime, not just with me, but in memory with all who have admired your artistic skills and your Phantom adventures.

Rest in peace now, my dear friend.

Ulf Granberg


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