Well, this stunning-looking comic gets its public launch tomorrow (Saturday 3rd June) at the Filmbase Temple Bar in Dublin – with a small Gallery Exhibition of some of the artwork behind the book on display.
The comic features a new and original story of Lee Falk’s classic hero written by New York Times Best Seller and Half Past Danger creator Stephen Mooney, with art by Millarworld Talent Search winner Robert Carey and colours by the critically acclaimed Tríona Farrell and lettering by Robin Jones.
Lightning Strike Comics have previously released a special 60th anniversary Phantom tribute last year, working in partnership with the character’s US owners, King Features, but Scarlet Sapphire cranks up that relationship in style.
Not only are we offered a multi-layered plot that centres on The Phantom’s investigation of a mysterious and possibly deadly mine, its shadowy owner’s modus operandi in question. The story also raises many contemporary issues facing African nations as they modernise, challenging in part the relevance of The Phantom in the 21st Century; and while The Ghost Who Walks proves as adept as ever in dealing with a problem, you can’t help but think the victory may yet be hollow, the hero and the villain both part of a wider problem for a continent that is still exploited by largely outside agents.
Robert Carey’s art is perfectly suited to the tale, handling both the action scenes and the Scarlet Sapphire’s quieter scenes with equal aplomb. Beautifully coloured, too, this is an independent title well worth tracking down and a worthy addition to the Phantom legend.
• Follow Stephen Mooney on Twitter @stephen_mooney
The Phantom © King Features