In the jungles of Bengalla, criminals quake in fear of The Ghost Who Walks — the masked crime-fighter known as The Phantom, who has patrolled newspaper comics sections since 1936.
Terry Beatty, a Kansas City area cartoonist, will be the new artist of the Sunday editions of the The Phantom comic strip. Beatty’s first strip will appear January 29th in newspapers around the world.
Beatty’s previous work includes comic books featuring Batman, Ms. Tree, Wild Dog, and Mike Danger. Recently he illustrated the graphic novel Return to Perdition, a sequel to Road to Perdition, which inspired the hit 2002 movie starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.
Beatty originally accepted the assignment on a temporary basis due to the ill health of artist Eduardo Barreto. Sadly, Barreto died in December at age 57, making it necessary for King Features Syndicate to find a replacement artist on a permanent basis.
“Eduardo was a terrific guy,” Beatty said. “I was shaken by his death at such an early age. Originally, I was hesitant to go after this assignment because it somehow seemed disrespectful to him. In the end, I decided that someone would need to take the job and that I could do it in a way that respects Eduardo and the other tremendous illustrators who’ve drawn the strip.”
The Phantom was created by writer Lee Falk, who continued to work on the strip until his death in 1999. Over the years it has been drawn by a cadre of respected illustrators including Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy, Sy Barry, Fred Fredericks, Graham Nolan, Paul Ryan, and Barreto, among others.
Beatty’s first strips were needed quickly, so he produced them entirely in digital form. “I can work quickly in an all-digital format,” Beatty said, “but I prefer a combination of digital and traditional techniques. Now that we’re in a better shape on deadlines, I’ve switched to the combination approach.”
Beatty begins the strip digitally, adding panel borders, lettering, and basic pre-drawing. He then prints the digital effort on illustration board and finishes the drawings using brushes and black India ink. The strip is then colored by artist Tom Smith.
Beatty, who moved to the Kansas City area in 2011, will be a guest at Planet Comicon on March 24th and 25th in Overland Park. You can learn more about Terry Beatty on his blog, terrybeatty.blogspot.com.