Frew #1378
by Antonio Lemos
(this edition is the 1406th actually printed)

Release Date: 5 March 2004

  • Pages: 100
  • Price: $5.50 inc. GST
  • Cover: Antonio Lemos
  • No Phantom Forum in this issue
  • Did You Know? - more fascinating Phantom facts from the Frew archives (page 96)
  • Behind the Scenes - some background info on the stories that appear in this edition (pages 97-98)

Fantomen Nr.1/2004
by Rolf Gohs

  • The Elixir of Life
    • Script: Terrence Longstreet
    • Art: Dick Giordano
    • First published with the title The Alchemist in Fantomen Nr.1/2004 by Egmont, Scandinavia (30 Dec 2003). Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Brian Jensen.

  • Danglor, International Bank Thief
    • Script: Lee Falk
    • Art: Wilson McCoy
    • 47th Sunday newspaper story; 20 Jan - 7 Apr 1957.
    • Previous Frew appearances: #974 (1991).

  • The Escaped Convicts
    • Script: Lee Falk
    • Art: Sy Barry
    • 127th Sunday newspaper story; 7 Sep - 21 Dec 1986.
    • Previous Frew appearances: #880A (1987).

  • The Connoisseurs
    • Script: Claes Reimerthi
    • Art: George Olesen (pencils) & Keith Williams (inks)
    • 209th daily newspaper story; 1 Sep - 27 Dec 2003.
    • First Frew appearance

  • Message from the Publisher:
    This is our first 100-page special for 2004, containing two new stories and two selections from our "most requested" back list. The two new adventures are The Elixir of Life written by Terrence Longstreet and illustrated by Dick Giordano and The Connoisseurs, drawn by George Olesen and Keith Williams from a Graham Nolan script.
    [Comment from Guran: Jim is mistaken - the writer of The Connoisseurs was Claes Reimerthi not Graham Nolan]
    The two golden oldies are Danglor, International Bank Thief by Lee Falk and Wilson McCoy and The Escaped Convicts by Lee and Sy Barry. About the older stories firstly: Danglor appeared as a Sunday in early 1957, but for some reason did not appear in a Frew edition until 1991 (in edition #974). We have had a steady stream of requests for a reprint, because that issue sold out so quickly. Note that this presentation of Danglor is different to the last printing in Frew #974, published in 1991. Nothing has been deleted from the art. The assembly man who worked on issue #974 thought it was impossible to achieve a square balance without including a lot of panels which introduced each Sunday newspaper appearance. We looked at it again and found a way to eliminate the unnecessary opening title panels without losing any story continuity. We have also removed all the confusing panel numbers which appeared each Sunday. I think you will agree that this new presentation of the complete story is vastly superior to the previous effort.
    [Comment from Guran: Jim is a bit confused again. In #974, the Frew editor squeezed the 12 page Sunday story down into only 11 pages by skipping several of the "title" panels -- the ones that say The Phantom by Lee Falk and Wilson McCoy -- and cropped some panels to a smaller size. This new printing runs for 12 pages and includes all of these titles panels. So really, Jim should have said that he "returned the missing intro panels"! As for the "panel numbers" what Jim means is that in the original Sunday version of the story, every panel in each Sunday page was numbered in the bottom right corner, from 1 to 7. The only exception was the first Sunday on 20 Jan 1957, for reasons unknown. The panel numbers were there in #974, but have been blanked out for #1378. The absence of this panel numbering hides a small blunder in #1378 -- on page 48, panels 6 and 7 are actually in reverse of the order they should be. Ooops!]
    The second vintage story, The Escaped Convicts originally appeared as a Sunday in 1986, first appeared in Frew #880A in 1987 and never reprinted until now.
    Both stories are of exceptional quality and I feel sure all enthusiasts will enjoy reading again. After all, The Escaped Convicts has been out of print for some sixteen years and Danglor for about twelve years! The two new adventures could not be more different. Elixir is set back in time and placed in Egypt and Connoisseurs all happens in the deep jungle and in modern times.
    All the stories contain some interesting angles, but The Escaped Convicts is possibly the most interesting. Early in this adventure, Lee Falk and Sy Barry slipped in a plug for Defenders of the Earth, a mid-1980s animated TV series with a number of print media spin-offs. A "commercial plug" is the only way to describe this part of The Escaped Convicts story, because it had nothing whatsoever to do with The Phantom's Sunday adventure! In hindsight, it was a clever piece of scripting by Lee. Rather than work the "plug" into the story in a too-blatant sense, he injected it in the form of a dream the 21st Phantom had and which he explained to Diana and his family. It was quite an inventive dream! "Commercials" like this were rarely seen in Lee's daily and Sunday strips. About the only exception to the rule was occasional crossovers involving his other creation, Mandrake the Magician. Curiously, the 21st Phantom described Mandrake and Lothar as "complete strangers". He had invited both to attend his wedding to Diana almost ten years earlier! The 21st Phantom also refers - for the first and only time - to the "27th Phantom", who did indeed appear in Defenders of the Earth.

Jim Shepherd

Coming Soon:

Future issues planned as of 29 February 2004 (subject to change without notice):

Check the New@Egmont, Frew Reprint Schedule, and The Missing Semic Stories pages for details of other upcoming stories.

My thanks to the staff of Frew Publications for providing this information.

More Frew stuff ...

Return to the Deep Woods

Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 29 February 2004