Tuesday, May 11, 2010

the Ghost who walks.

For my friend in Italy, the Phantom.

Lee Falk, created two great heroes, the Phantom and Mandrake the magician. When I was growing up in Cuba, there was no such thing as Marvel comics and DC comics, but I did read Popeye, the Phantom, Superman and Mandrake in the papers. So for me those characters have a special place, I thought about traveling to the Skull cave, looking at the great book that held the stories of the past Phantoms, and riding off to fight the pirates that threaten the security of my jungle... well lots of things have changed since those days, the land I used to know is gone in many ways, but the memories that those characters gave me, the ability to open up my imagination and take me to a new world, well that is something that can't be put into words.

I would rediscover the Phantom like a lost friend, or rather he would discover me, his strange eyes would be looking at me while I walked through a newspaper store looking for comics. This was before the day of the speciality comic book store, and comics shared their space with magazines and newspapers which made the store smell great. And it gave the act of buying a comics the gentle feel of an adult nature to a young kid.

So there he was, looking at me.. no eyeballs.. no white.. just flesh.. flesh through the mask.. The Ghost who walks...The Phantom.
I brought the comic book and me without even knowing how to read English at the time. It did not matter the images of the Skull cave were a familiar home to a boy in a strange land.

Excuse the scans, I went and varnish the paintings in the sketch book, forgetting that I should scan them first. So they reflect a bit more light than they should..
Best to all of you and as always thank you.


  1. Nice words to go with the wonderful illustrations.

    It's funny, but all that you said about the Phantom being a familiar friend, that's how it felt when I picked up ROCKETO Vol 2. I really felt like I would belong on that ship with that crew.

    I'd love to see your take on Popeye, if you are going to dig back to your earliest exposure to comics.

  2. These are great. I really love the last one. Abstract yet so evocative. Fabulous stuff.

  3. I'm going to agree with Kyle here, I'd love to see your take on Popeye, Frank.

    I love the wide-eyed mask of that first Phantom sketch.