by Hans Lindahl
- Devil - The Wolf Who Cannot Die
- Message from the Publisher:
Hans Lindahl has created a near masterpiece with the incredible new adventure we present in this issue! Devil - The Wolf Who Cannot Die is one of the most remarkable Phantom stories to appear in decades and it is a wonder another creator had never thought of the idea.
Even Lee Falk, who introduced us to Devil in his very first Phantom adventure in 1936, never delved too far into Devil's origins, although in later years, he went to some trouble to reveal how the current Phantom obtained Hero. Remember - Lindahl not only wrote the script, but illustrated the entire story. He has managed to keep the suspense from the very beginning to the almost heart-rending conclusion and it is easy to imagine him at the drawing board, modifying scenes from his own script to inject just the right amount of jungle action and perhaps extending some of his first ideas to keep the continuity flowing.
What a story, what creation of an adventure that takes us back to the glory days of American and British jungle and action movie blockbusters! Virtually anything is possible to depict in comic stories, but some masters of the medium - like Hans Lindahl - know better than others how to project their scripting and artistic skills onto the printed page in such a way that readers become totally involved.
If you have the copy in your files, it will be well worthwhile going back to the story Tale of Devil which originally appeared in Frew #1013 in 1992 under the title, The Story of Devil. (It has since been reprinted in Frew #1030 and #1125). That story (of Scandinavian origin, by the way) explains how The Phantom and Devil came together and some of the background is contained in the adventure you are about to read. Hans Lindahl has obviously studied the original story very closely and has gone to great lengths to attempt to explain the unique bond which exists between The Ghost Who Walks and his famous mountain wolf.
(Comment from Guran: Jim seems to be a little confused here. Tale of Devil is the 1951/52 Sunday story by Falk & McCoy, and has been published in #123, #225, #356, #514, #693 and #1030. The story has nothing to do with Devil's origins - it's about a mountain prince who captures Devil and puts him to work fighting in his arena against other animals. Devil's Story, or The Story of Devil as it has also been called, is the 1979 Semic story by Avenell & Bess, and was published in #1013 and #1125. Jim does correctly state that this Semic story is about the origins of Devil and how he came to be the Phantom's companion.)
Because Lee Falk introduced Devil in his very first story (that's almost 68 years ago!). I seriously doubt if any other continuing adventure strip in the world history of comics can boast such a long-running partnership between a character based on a human being and his faithful animal companion. Perhaps Sandy the dog who starred for so many years in the longrunning Little Orphan Annie comes close, but that newspaper strip, which was launched in 1924, began as a series of single Sunday newspaper features before evolving into a long series of sometimes marathon stories which cannot be seriously described as adventures. When author-artist Harold Gray died in 1968, his famous creation was taken over by a succession of scripters and artists who rapidly lost the plot and in 1974, the syndicators wrongly decided to change the Annie character into a modern young Miss - a decision which flopped so miserably, the strip only survived by the re-issuing of old stories dating back to 1936. Which was when The Phantom began its unbroken run in newspapers and comic books!
It is hardly surprising that after all those years, Devil has a much stronger fan following than The Phantom's more glamorous white stallion, Hero!
Our next edition will go on sale on February 20 and we will present another new adventure - The Vanishing Lake, written by Claes Reimerthi and illustrated by Dick Giordano.