Sunday, 3 January 2021
Saturday, 31 October 2020
Q & A with the cover artist of Phantom comics published by Regal publishers in India
Q1. Tell us briefly about your background. Are you a professional artist? Where exactly do you stay? Where did you study? etc
I'm a professional Italian comic book artist and illustrator, and I'm currently living in France.
I've done this job for the last 19 years, mostly for French publishers, but also for US, Swedish and Australian publisher.
Q2. Who were your inspirations? Did you get inspired by any particular artist?
I have many inspirations, from US, Italians, Argentinian and French comics. Joe Kubert, Alan Davis, Ralph Meyer, Hermann, Domingo Mandrafina...The list is too long to do it! I also love looking at some classic painters and illustrators, like Zorn, Sorolla, Mort Kunstler, Dean Cornwell...
Q3. Are you a Phantom fan yourself? When were you introduced to Phantom?
Yes! I don't remember exactly when I've started to read the Phantom. I was probably around twenty-five, but immediately loved the character, and the Idea of a Phantom dynasty.
Q.4 Tell us a bit about Phantom comics publishing in Italy. is Phantom still popular there?
Phantom has been quite popular in Italy in the sixties. He was known as "L'uomo mascherato" (the masked man). It has been published until the nineties, then it has almost disappeared, and now it's just a thing for nostalgic fans.
Q5. How did you get to draw Phantom covers for Fantomen?
Thanks to a friend, I've discovered that the Phantom was still be published in Sweden, were they produced new stories and also plenty of new covers.
I've sent a portfolio to the editor. He liked it and he proposed me to do some covers.
Q6. Who is your
favourite Phantom artist ? Why ?
From the past, Sy Berry, of course. From the actual artists, Henrik Sahlstrom. His covers are amazing. Very powerful and effective!!!
Q7. How do the current Phantom artists compare with the classic ones like McCoy/Sy Barry?
Personally, It's hard. But I understood that I can't do what they did, and that I have to find a way to b get "my" Phantom.
Q8. How did you decide to get to draw the cover for the Phantom comics by Regal?
My dream is to do at least one Phantom cover for each country where is published. So, I've contacted Regal and asked them if they were interested.
Q9. Did you receive any guidelines from King Features to draw the cover?
No. I never have any guidelines from KF. Just from the local editors. In this case, from Regal. They just asked me to do a "Phantom in the jungle". So ,that's what I did! 😊
Q10. Were you able to read the stories before you drew the cover ?
No. That almost never happens.
Q.11 Do you draw digitally now or the traditional way using paper and pencil?
I use both. The Phantom cover I did for Regal was done in ink on paper, then colored in Photoshop.
Q12. Have you also drawn Mandrake the magician ? (other popular character created by Lee Falk)?
No, never. But I love magicians, and it would be fun, someday!
Q13. What has been the feedback so far on your cover art for the Phantom comic?
Astonishingly good! It can happen that sometimes, someone doesn't like a particular cover, but generally I have very, very good feedback!
Q.14 Would you like to do a complete Phantom story someday?
Yes. But I would do it only if all the conditions are good (time, money, and a
very good story) So, for the moment, I can't. But we will never know.
Q.15 Do you accept commissions and how can people contact you for the same?
Yes. But, I'm just very busy, so, even if I have very few requests, if someone asks me, it must be veeery, patient. 😊
If you want to follow me online, you can go to my Instagram page:
and subscribe for my newsletter at: www.lucaerbettaart.com
Contact Regal publishers for the comics @ 94810 52592 (India)
Also available with Frew in Australia
Saturday, 15 August 2020
Q&A with the cover artist of new Phantom comics - Vincent M Raja
Q1. Tell us briefly about your background. Are you a professional
Ans. Yes, I am a professional artist.
I am a native of Tamil Nadu (a state in India) and settled down in Chennai.
Started my career in 1982 and have worked with many publishing houses
am also a comics creator for children and adults. Creating puzzles and DIY
paper models are my other jobs.
Q2. Are you a Phantom fan yourself? When were you introduced to Phantom?
Ans. Yes, I am a big fan of the Phantom.
I was introduced to the Phantom when I was 3 or 4 years old! My father used to buy Indrajal comics and the colourful frames must have attracted me to the books, and I got hooked to them. I didn't know the names of the Phantom or the book, but it was only 'mukamoodi pusthakam' (the masked man's book) for me! As I was interested in drawing, my chalk drawings changed from a man or car or bus to the 'mukamoodi, and our house floors were filled with masked man stick figures!
I learned my art from Indrajal comics. The Phantom became my reference for anatomy study!
Q3. Have you drawn Phantom earlier as well?
Ans. Not professionally, except for an article in the Hindu's 'Young World' supplement once. And also for a contribution to the Phantom Phundraiser book for the Australian Bushfire relief.
Q4. Who is your favourite Phantom artist? Why?
Ans. My favourite is Jim Aparo.
I like his frame cuts, action sequences and the different angles he (and we) views the actions from! Every frame brims with life. 'The Phantom of Shangri-La' and 'The Pharaoh Phantom' are good examples.
Q5. How do the current Phantom artists compare with the classic ones like McCoy/Sy Barry?
This comparison can be done only by peers. I am just a novice in Phantom art
and nobody to compare the professional Phantom illustrators to the great
Q6. What do you think is the reason for Phantom's popularity in India?
Because, I think, the Phantom IS the original and natural superhero and also
came to India earlier than the others.
The reason for my liking him is, he is a normal person like you and me, with only more power in his muscles! He is quick to think and act which is not abnormal, but a slight exaggeration!
He can't fly; he can't do magic; he cannot vanish into thin air; he is just a fellow human being, who is a little more powerful than us.
If I can fly, or disappear into thin air, or swing on a thin wire from building to building, I too can become a superhero! What is so great about it?!
The simplicity and down-to-earth nature of the Phantom character must be the cause for his popularity here, in India.
Q7. How did you decide to get to draw the cover for the Phantom comics by Regal?
Ans. Well, the Phantom cover was not the subject I discussed with them first! It was something else, but comics related, of course.
Then while chatting I sent them the Phantom illustration, I did for the Australian bushfire relief book. Seeing that they wanted to try me for one of their covers, and I did the first one. They were happy and asked for the second cover also.
Q8.Did you receive any guidelines from King Features to draw the cover?
Ans. No. No guidelines from King Features.
Q9. Were you able to read the stories before you drew the cover?
Ans. Again, no.
Q11.What has been the feedback so far on your cover art for the Phantom comic?
Ans. Till now I have seen only positive comments for my work, except one which said the costume colours were not right! But the pictures in the ads are not the right colours.
Also, the Phantom's costume comes in different colours in different countries! I have seen purple, red and blue. But now a sculpture has come out in green costume!
Q.12 Would you like to do a complete Phantom story someday?
Ans. That's my dream! Hope it will come true soon!
Note: The comics have been published by Regal Press based out of Kerala
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Sunday, 26 July 2020
Phans all over India are celebrating the return of Phantom comics to India. Kerala based Regal publishers is scheduled to print a fresh set of Phantom stories in English starting in August 2020.
Created by Lee Falk in 1936 (before Superman and Batman) Phantom is one of the longest running comic strips in the world and was hugely popular in India during the 70s & 80s when they were published by the Times of India group under the imprint Indrajal comics.
But will today's generation take a liking to Phantom or will the readership be limited to the older fans? We decided to talk to the publisher, Jacob Vargheese to understand this and more about their decision to publish Phantom comics in 2020.
Phantom was last published in India in 2010 by Euro books. His return after a gap of 10 years is most welcome. Phantom is still very popular in Scandinavian countries and Australia, and fans in India had no option but to either buy from abroad or re-circulate earlier publications (Indrajal, Egmont, Euro etc)
Here's an opportunity to make a fresh beginning and hope a new readership develops around these new exciting stories to sustain the publication.
You can contact Regal publishers directly (94810 52592) and book your copy. Dispatches should start in the first week of August.