Friday, April 20, 2012
The Ghost Of Pat Boyette!
When Charlton took on the King Features characters, they developed comics for Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, and of course Lee Falk's The Phantom. The former two lasted briefly, but The Phantom found real success in the market. The early issues of Charlton's Phantom are very well regarded as Jim Aparo was brought aboard to draw the character and he gave the world a Phantom they'd never seen before, sleek and sophisticated and which ran for eight issues.
But like both Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, the artist who eventually got the nod to draw the strip was Pat Boyette, and fans still dispute how effective his take on The Ghost Who Walks was. I personally like it, but then I like most of the stuff Boyette did. In some ways, Boyette's Phantom is a glimpse of what it might have looked like if Milt Caniff had drawn character, though of course Boyette had his own distinctive style which departed from his clear inspiration.
Whatever the case, King Features was not happy ultimately with the choice and in fact in at least one interview Boyette has said he wouldn't have selected him for the job, as he considered his style to idiosyncratic. As a result of the displeasure, a youngster named Don Newton was given the nod to draw the Phantom which he did for seven issues.
Boyette drew the most issues of any artist at Charlton, but sadly his work is overshadowed by both Newton and Aparo. But for three years, from 1970 to 1973 for twenty-one consecutive issues, it was Pat Boyette's Phantom who walked across the newsstands. Like Aparo, Boyette did the full artwork and the lettering too, so it creates a specific atmosphere for each comic unlike anything else on the stands by any other artist. You are all in with Boyette, either you like or you don't.
Here's a glimpse at the covers Boyette did for the character.
Here are a few Boyette Phantom splash pages.
And here is the first page of a Phantom story. Here is a link to the full feature.