Frew #1394
by Hans Lindahl & Jim Shepherd
(this edition is the 1422nd actually printed)

Release Date: 3 Sep 2004

  • Pages: 36
  • Price: $2.20 inc. GST
  • Cover: Hans Lindahl & Jim Shepherd
  • No Phantom Forum in this issue

Fantomen Nr.14/1996
by Hans Lindahl

  • Johnny Hotwire
    • Script: Tony De Paul
    • Art: Hans Lindahl
    • First published in Fantomen Nr.14/1996 by Egmont, Scandinavia. Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Phantom Kingdom.
    • Parts of this story have been re-done for this printing to help it fit into the "Phantom Year One" series. Pages 3, 4, 5 (except last two panels), 32 (last panel only), 33, and 34 are all new.

  • Message from the Publisher:
    Now for something completely different! The new adventure in this edition continues our series on the development of the 21st Phantom and this time is set in the small American town where Kit Walker received part of his school education. Johnny Hotwire is the creation of American writer Tony De Paul and is wonderfully illustrated by Hans Lindahl. I've described the story as a "new adventure" because it has never been previously published by Frew, although it was previously released in Scandinavia. (A little bending of the truth there!). The Egmont company brought back the story because it fitted perfectly into the 21st Phantom series.
    Now, to pinpoint some curious contradictions, errors and oversights in Johnny Hotwire! Either writer De Paul or the Egmont editors slipped up early in the piece when Kit Walker visits his aunt and uncle - and refers to them as "Aunt Bessie" and "Uncle Sid". In the 1944-45 classic, The Childhood of The Phantom, Lee Falk gave both different names - Aunt Lucy and Uncle Jasper. Both aunt and uncle correctly call our hero "Kip", which is the name devised early in the piece by Lee Falk before he decided on a change to "Kit".
    By now, you can be excused for feeling a little confused! Just remember that Lee Falk changed many things over the years. In his very first Phantom story which appeared in 1936, Lee established that The Phantom descended from Sir Christopher Standish who was Englishborn. In later years, Lee completely changed history by having The Phantom descend from North American bloodlines!
    If you are something of a petrol head with a love of cars and motorcycles, you will quickly spot a number of irregularities linked to two and four wheel machinery in the story. Some of the American cars are a shade too modern for the time in which this story is set (and even that is vague) and while the motorcycles are identified as a Harley-Davidson make, there are a number of discrepancies, but none worth worrying about. The Chevrolet Corvette is passable, but not so the "Lotus racing car" which was supposed to have won "many races in Europe". The Lotus was the brainchild of English designer and racing team owner Colin Chapman. Artist Lindahl has injected many of his own design thoughts into his depiction of the "Lotus". Chapman never designed or constructed a "racing car" which looked quite like the one in the story! He did however, dabble with a number of front-engined designs with the driving cockpit positioned roughly in the centre of the body, but made his name - and had most major successes - with a range of rear-engined Formula racing cars which had great success, including the World Championship, in the hands of many drivers, but most notably, the great Jim Clark. Just thought I would point out some of the curiosities contained in the story, to save everybody rushing to their keyboards and swamping Frew's office with similar observations!
    One more: There is no evidence Kip Walker ever held an American driving or motorcycle licence, so I guess we must assume he travelled to the United States armed with two International licences. It would just not do for the 21st Phantom to be driving and riding motorcycles in the United States without a licence of some sort!
    The follow-up to this story is called Johnny Hotwire Rides Again which we will present in Frew #1395 which goes on sale throughout Australia on 17 September.

Jim Shepherd

Coming Soon:

Future issues planned as of 20 August 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 ...

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Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 29 August 2004