Frew #1381
by Antonio Lemos
(this edition is the 1409th actually printed)

Release Date: 16 April 2004

  • Pages: 36
  • Price: $2.20 inc. GST
  • Cover: Antonio Lemos
  • No Phantom Forum in this issue

Fantomen Nr.7/2004
by Peter Friman (outside) & Hans Lindahl (inside)

  • The Deadly Masquerade
    • Script: David Bishop
    • Art: Kari Leppänen
    • First published in Fantomen Nr.7/2004 by Egmont, Scandinavia (25 Mar 2004). Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Brian Jensen.

  • Message from the Publisher:
    The new adventure in this issue might well rank as one of the strangest stories in the long history of The Phantom!
    The Deadly Masquerade certainly is the most unusual story ever scripted by David Bishop and as you are about to discover, posed an incredible series of challenges for artist Kari Leppänen. It is a pure Who-Done-It mystery stacked with unexpected killings and true to the tradition of writers like Agatha Christie who specialised in such stories.
    Take your time! I'm sure you will be in a hurry to get to the climax and discover the identity of the murderer and his or her fate, but best you concentrate on the unfolding of the plot.
    In the very early days of murder mystery novel and play writing, the culprit was invariably the butler. This time, try not to make an instant judgement, because this plot may not be quite like you may imagine! There are quite a few characters and to get the most out of the story, it will be to your advantage to ensure you can remember exactly who they are!
    In the long history of The Phantom (1936 - 2004 for Those Who Came In Late), there have been precious few stories like this one! Lee Falk tried his hand with a few plots which included fancy dress balls and masked parties, (The Golden Circle in 1939-40 is a classic example) but usually only ever used the idea as a stepping stone to the major theme of the story.
    I'm tipping David Bishop's inspired story will rank very highly in our reader poll of the most popular adventures for 2004 and will look forward to your comments. The really refreshing thing about The Deadly Masquerade is that it is so completely different. It is so easy for creators of Phantom adventures to fall into something of a rut and persevere with stories revolving around The Ghost Who Walks battling evil doers in the Deep Woods. What is not so easy is developing a story line in which The Phantom is placed outside the jungle and forced to use his superior powers of observation and deduction. Which is precisely what happens in this story! With few clues to go on, The Phantom has to take his time trying to unravel everything - and because he cannot be too sure who is guilty and who is innocent, daren't take the easy route and resort to his handguns and powerful fists. Try your hand at playing detective and see if you can solve everything ahead of The Phantom. I'll guarantee that even if you go very close, the chances are you will never guess the surprise ending! I steeled myself to avoid jumping to the last frames (and suggest all readers try their hardest!), managed to spot one tell-tale sign, but never went close to guessing what is ultimately revealed!
    Author David Bishop has excelled himself and so has artist Kari Leppänen. Count the characters and the clothing and costumes they wear, not to mention the exquisite detail he had to incorporate to project the atmosphere of the up-state country mansion! In this story he is correct with all the detail, including the Amtrak train. Brilliant work from both creators!
    Frew's next issue, featuring yet another new adventure, will be on sale on 30 April.

Jim Shepherd

Coming Soon:

Future issues planned as of 26 March 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 13 April 2004