For those who came in late, FREW is the longest running comics magazine in Australia, started in 1948 by four gentlemen whose first letters formed the brand imprint. FREW is now owned by the fantastic pair of Rene White and Glenn Ford and the Publishing Editor is the redoubtable Dudley Hogarth, who pens all the required details about the story and the creators behind every story in the editorial section of the book.
There are certain books and stories which look good only in colour, but The Phantom is a comics series which surpasses the medium. FREW publishes a 36-page regular magazine twice in month to go along with the occasional special editions.
For the uninitiated, The Phantom is the first ever masked hero of US comics, who has been in circulation since 1936. A nemesis of evil and wrong doers, he’s a a true hero who resides in the deep jungle of Bengali. The Phantom strip is distributed by the King Features syndicate with daily and Sunday strips getting published across the world by various newspapers. Currently, the strip is published regularly in English FREW Comics in Australia and Comics Revue in the United States, and there is much other publishing in other languages, too.
The Story: Doctor T’uande leads an archaeological expedition near Morristown, the imaginary town near the Phantom’s jungle home. They unearth a centuries old statue which is believed to be cursed by the sorcerer Chumar. At night, a dramatic attempt is made by a thief to steal the statue and unforeseen events lead to chaos and uncertainty in the camp. The soldiers from the Jungle Patrol (a police squad formed by the Phantom in his role as the “Unknown Commander”) report this to their head office.
Doctor T’uande showcases the statue in the Museum and suddenly the lights go off and darkness prevails, physically and for those present whose fates are now in danger. Fortunately, the Phantom is present in the museum and he faces one of the toughest battles against a force that is quite tough to understand, let alone battle. What happens next forms the rest of the story.
The Review: Claes Reimerthi is a veteran in writing The Phantom stories, with over a hundred such stories under his belt for the Phantom’s Swedish publisher, Egmont. “Nat Turner’s Sprit”, the recent story arc published in FREW, is a classic example of his work.. However, this story, penned in Nov 1985, is, sort of average-ish in terms of story and narration, but saved by the brilliant penciling by the talented French artist Georges Bess.
Verdict: Recommendated, 3 Bullets (3/6)
Review by King Viswa – TCU Syndicate | TamilComicsUlagamATgmail.com
• You can but Phantom comics from FREW here: www.phantomcomic.com.au