Standing in line, I did a quick retrospective of what I had learned about Tony’s writing career. For 26 years, he was a newspaper reporter, first for the Bangor Daily News (1980 through the fall of 1986) and then for The Providence Journal (1986 to April 2006). For 26 years he ground out articles for these two New England newspapers. That’s a longtime witness to humanity, particularly to culture, crime, chicanery and corruption. I am positive that he caught an amazing glimpse into all kinds of foibles and follies people commit and/or omit, as well as writing and being exposed to powerful human interest stories.
I wanted to be sure to talk with him about his experiences in writing comics and his take on storytelling.
Tony explains this Phantom “encounter” as follows (“That’s it for me and the Phantom,” May 31, 2017).
“It all started circa 1959, when America liked Ike. I was vaguely aware of his mug on the front page, but the Phantom, way inside the paper, was the one and only reason this grubby little street kid snatched the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin off the front steps. What great fun, in that concrete–and–asphalt world, to spread out the paper on the living room floor and imagine adventures in a jungle over the far horizon.”
I think it is fascinating that an experienced newspaper reporter turned his hand to writing comics as it seems on the outset to be such a wide disparity of venues. Yet, listening to Tony talk about his experiences in writing, his wide–ranging interests and motorcycle journeys on the Iron Piggy, his love of family, carpentry skills, and his innate sense and consummate ability to fix all things mechanical, I truly began to sense that here was someone with a keen appetite for investigating what scholars call the human question.12
After all, I asked myself, doesn’t Tony’s triple literary threats—a natural literary giftedness, a creative, inquisitive spirit, and over two–and–a–half decades of newspaper reporting—provide an excellent grounding for writing stories for the comics, especially for the Phantom? 13
“He’s a pure archetype, the selfless hero who braves any danger to do right, and never resorts to doing wrong as a means to accomplish an objective. That’s awfully old–fashioned today, but I like it. What makes the Phantom notable, of course, is the immortality myth. If Lee Falk hadn’t hit on that angle, the Phantom might have faded into obscurity in the 1940s.”14
• Featured photo taken by A. Keith Carreiro (28 January 2019).
• For your listening pleasure, please check out this podcast < “X-Band: The Phantom Podcast – Episode 95: Interview with Tony DePaul” >. It is about a two–hour, 24 minutes interview and covers a lot of territory. Thanks to the folks at chroniclechamber.com for permission to post this podcast on my weblog.
• Please take a look at artist Mike Manley’s web links listed below:
The Philadelphia Bulletin was a daily evening newspaper published from 1847 to 1982 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the largest circulation newspaper in Philadelphia for 76 years and was once the largest evening newspaper in the United States. Its widely known slogan was: “In Philadelphia, nearly everybody reads The Bulletin.”
7https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Falk See also, http://thephantomcomics.com/lee-falk/
See also, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Phantom-comic-book-character
9https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearst_Communications See also, https://www.hearst.com/
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. As the sole author of the Penitent – Part I, and the Penitent – Part II, and as the sole proprietor of Copper Beech Press, I have a material connection to these books, as well as to the publishing press, I have just listed. Other than my previously stated novels and publishing press, I have no material connection to the brands, products or services that I have mentioned here. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
© 12 March 2019 by A. Keith Carreiro
For information about my series, The Immortality Wars, please go to my home page: https://immortalitywars.com/