The new story in this issue will probably strike you initially as yet another fast-moving, slightly improbable (and thus, enjoyable) Phantom adventure.
Well, this small revelation may surprise! Some elements of U-118 are based on fact!
A German U-Boat (‘U’ stands for underwater) of the U-118 class, was indeed washed up on a British beach at the end of the 1914-18 World War!
And on the same Hastings beach depicted by artist Kari Leppanen!
There’s an interesting twist to Kari’s research for this story….When he received Falco Pellerin’s script, he dug into his extensive ‘morgue’ (the term all artists use for personal pictorial reference libraries) and came across a reproduced photograph of the stranded U-Boat, taken in 1919!
The photograph shows the U-Boat sitting high on the beach at Hastings, surrounded by a curious group of men and women all wearing their Sunday finery—just as Kari depicts in his story art.
When we commissioned regular Frew cover creator, Antonio Lemos to render the cover art for the issue, Antonio, unaware that Kari had come across an actual photograph, recalled (and for a special reason explained a little further on) that his own morgue contained pictorial reference to the incident.
Antonio went straight to the correct file and located the very same reproduced photograph—a remarkable co-incidence involving two artists working independently of each other and many thousands of miles apart (in Scandinavia and Sydney, Australia!).
Antonio probably had one advantage. He served in the Uruguayan Navy as a Petty Officer before becoming a fulltime commercial artist and has never lost his love for the sea and everything to do with the maritime world.
The name of the writer of U-118 will be new to the vast majority of Frew readers.
Falco Pellerin (a pen name for Terje Nordberg) is a Scandinavian originally from Norway whose association with comic books and The Phantom in particular, dates back to the 1980s when he worked as an editor with the same company which still publishes the title in Scandinavia.