by Hans Lindahl
- The Witches in Carpatia
- Script: Donne Avenell
- Art: Carlos Cruz
- First published in Fantomen Nr.11/1989 by Egmont, Scandinavia. Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Phantom Kingdom.
- This story is the 10th in a new series of previously unpublished Semic Classics. For others see #1339, #1341, #1342, #1344, #1345, #1348, #1351, #1355, #1359.
- Message from the Publisher:
A most unusual adventure in this edition! The Witches of Carpatia, written by the late Donne Avenell of England and illustrated by Spaniard Carlos Cruz, touches on some old history, but is essentially set in the present with some vague overtones of Lee Falk's famous female Sky Band gang.
As you will discover, the female, villains in this story, use modern ultralight aircraft to confuse and terrify some villagers in a remote part of Carpatia in Europe. That's a nice touch by writer Avenell, but whether the camouflage used would be sufficient to render the fuselage of the ultra lights almost invisible is open to some doubt! Put that question to one side however and the adventure is intriguing.
More intriguing is the actual location of a place or area known as "Carpatia". The closest I can come is the area known as the Carpatii Mountains in Romania in Eastern Europe. One part of the Carpatii mountain range is located in what is still referred to as Transylvania. Now that makes sense! Transylvania is famous, in the fictional sense at least, for its monsters, human vampires and witchcraft! Even in these enlightened times, many remote parts of Europe contain village communities where old beliefs - witchcraft included - are still followed and practised!
[Comment from Guran: To add to the confusion, the town of "Zug" is located about 20km south of Zürich in Switzerland, but in this story it is said to be in Carpatia.]
The Witches of Carpatia was first published in Scandinavia in late 1989 and is one of many from the archives of the Swedish publishing company Egmont, which Frew has obtained to publish in Australia. Old the story may be, but this is the first time it has appeared in a Frew edition.
Our next issue (#1365) will go on sale on 3 October and will be a 100-page special. Contrary to what I expected, the current Sunday story appearing in the United States, will now finish outside our deadline date and will be held over, possibly for this year's Christmas Special.
The story - Terror in Mawitaan is easily the best yet created by new Sunday artist Graham Nolan and it is a pity we cannot include it in #1365.
There will still be plenty of excitement, because to back up the now completed American daily, The Hit Men, will be three Lee Falk classics, The Goggle-Eye Pirates, with art by Wilson McCoy and The Mystery of Wamba Falls Inn and The Man-Thing by the great Sy Barry.
All the classics have been out of print for some 15-16 years and it is high time we brought them back in their original entirety. The Goggle-Eye Pirates is a special favourite of mine and and a fine example of Wilson McCoy's Sunday art when he was at the peak of his powers.
[Comment from Guran: Jim seems to have forgotten that Frew reprinted The Goggle-Eye Pirates in complete form in #1280 only 3 years ago.]
The two Sy Barry stories are especially interesting, because Wamba Falls was drawn in 1965 and Man-Thing in 1988. You will find it fascinating to compare Sy's work on the two stories, because in the 23odd years which separated the two stories, Sy's style changed quite remarkably. I lean more towards his 1988 approach, because by then he had perfected The Phantom as a man of mystery and had emerged as one of the finest jungle scene illustrators in the comic world.
Sy took over the responsibility for The Phantom in 1961 and when he retired in 1994, had posted a remarkable association of 33 years with Lee Falk and The Ghost Who Walks.