Mikael Lyck from Chronicle Chamber reviews the first two issues of the 2023 Fantomen comics which features the following stories:
Contents from Fantomen 1/2023:
"Crocco-migrationen" ("Crocco Island West") by Tony DePaul and Paul Ryan
"Slavhandlarna" ("The Slavers") by Janne Lundström and Özcan Eralp
Publishing schedule poster 2023 by Luca Erbetta
Contents from Fantomen 2-3/2023:
"Belle époque, del 1: På besök i helvetet" ("The Phantom Goes to Hell") by Pidde Andersson and Percy Ochoa
"Polymos hemlighet" ("The Secret of Polymos") by Donne Avenell and César Spadari
Cover in a painted style made by Rafael Ruiz which is very effective. Good to have him back doing artwork for Fantomen.
We get some information about what to expect in 2023, just as last year there will be a new Fantomen story in each issue, we got information about some of the side comics in the last issue, Team Fantomen celebrates 60 years this year. Another softcover book, Christmas Album and the reprinted hardcover yearbooks. Some uncertainties on if there will be a new big book as the "Heart of Darkness" book of 2022.
Good to hear that Fantomen will continue what in my mind is a good strategy, not any real news though.
In the "Crocco Island West" story, Tony DePaul revisits the Crocco creatures, Paul Ryan is the artist with previous stories drawn by César Spadari. I found it weird that it has not been published earlier in Sweden since we have had published many other stories featuring Savarna and the Crocco creatures.
The bonus is the cool poster with the year's issues schedule and a lot of the treasures of the Major Treasure Room in the Skull Cave.
We have a reprint story titled "Slavers", I wonder if this story is reprinted because of the peak of interest from Robert Aman's book? (X-Band: The Phantom Podcast Episode #235)
The comic also features an article titled "Phantom phact" which is a very interesting article by Andreas Eriksson about Özkan Eralp also sending Phantom scripts to Turkey. Some of them were the same as published in Sweden and some others were different and stand alone. Some phans will find this very interesting indeed and they may find their way into future Fantomen comics!
The Cover artist for Fantomen 2-3/2023 is by Sal Velluto & Eugenio Mattozzi based on the main story, the first part of 6 of the Frew created "Belle Epoque" stories by Pidde Andersson and Percy Ochoa. Note: these stories published by Fantomen are coloured.
I really enjoy Pidde Andersson's humour and the story is also good, looking forward to the next parts.
"Libertalia" by Fabienne Pigière, Rudi Miel, and Paolo Grella is a non-Phantom story and the second part of three. Maybe to be published together in a full album it will make it less confusing as there are a bit too many names in this story for me to keep track of everyone. Will be interesting how it ends, pretty nice that it is a three parter and then done.
"Polymos hemlighet" ("The Secret of Polymos") by Donne Avenell and César Spadari has not yet been published by Frew. This is a reprint in Black and White.
The story is heavy on supernatural elements, but it works for me this time, not sure why I think this supernatural story is good when I usually do not like them. It is also the first time we see the Jungle Patrol Monument, which is cool.
As per tradition the voting for best story comes in the second issue of the year. 2022 had a great variety of stories, new Team Fantomen stories, unpublished newspaper stories, Frew stories and reprints. For me I had a handful of stories that were better but no 1 clear winner. You can vote yourself here.
Next issue will contain a new Team Fantomen story called "Kit and Katya" by Philip Madden and Janusz Ordon. Madden's last story got a lot of publicity in Sweden with the Phantom hitting a bad guy with a rainbow flag, let's see if this also makes a splash.
We will also get the last Thorgal Kriss from Valnor album, a long time favourite side comic of Fantomen.
Until next time, Happy Phantoming!
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