How  I became a Phantom artist? It happened this way... I had worked for Swedish Semic Press drawing riding-series for a magazine called "MIN HÄST" -

( My Horse ) since 1973 and drawing horses,  little girls and stables for five years was a bit boring.  I wished to have  my own comic serie  to be published and

made a few pages of an adventurous space-opera and showed it to my boss. Of course the riding-magazine couldn`t take it, but I hoped that in so big publishing

house than the multinational Semic with so many comic magazines, I would have a change.  My adventurous pages disappeared inside Semic`s mouth of Molok

for weeks and I started to believe that they were totally forgotten.   But then I was envited to another department of the house.  It was the department that took

hand of Fantomen ( the Swedish name for The Phantom ).  Ulf Granberg,  the managing editor of  the Phantom magazine,  had seen my adventurous pages and

thought that my style would be suitable for Phantom.  I was asked to make a couple of  example-pages and those were accepted.  I had my first real Phantom-

script in my hands and started to turn it into pictures as soon as I could.

    Here is the  first  page of  my  1st Phantomwork:


   Since the "False Prince", which has been printed also in english by Australian FREW PUBLICATIONS, I have finished some 90 Phantom adventures ( date

October 20th 2008 ) and to knowledge many of them has been  published outside Scandinavia,  mainly in Australia,  but also in countries  like West Germany,

Brazil  and  England.  The working with Phantom scripts has been interesting and  full of challenges.   Personally my favorites are the historical stories, and they

give me best satisfaction while I work.  My  first success was  "The Siege of Malta"-story,  which was a 3rd  part of  Norman Worker`s  trilogy of  St. John`s

Order in 16th Century.  I worked with  it while I was living  in Tenerife,  Canary Islands  where it was hard  to find enough  referencies  to  illustrate  authentic

events  of  the history. Norman  Worker helped  me  by  digging  up plenty of useful  pictures, even  from British  Museum.  




   Since that  inspiring story I  have manufactured  many other  historical Phantom  adventures  during  my  Phantom  years  and  it  took  many  years  until  there

was  next  work  that  inspired  me  as much.   It  was  rather  recently  published  trilogy  of  "The Phantom  Crusader",   written  by  very  talented  Claes  Rei-

merthi.  The  entire  story  was  even  more  exciting  than  Norman  Worker`s  script.   This  time  I  had reference  material  more  than  enough, because  the

recent  movie   of  Ridley  Scott  had  caused  a boom  of  facta-books  about  crusaders  to  be  handy.  When  I heard  that  readers  had  liked  this  pre-Phan-

tom  story,   where The  Phantom  even didn`t  presented   himself  except  in  the  first  two  pages,   I  was  very  pleased.  I  put  every  skill  I  had  into  that

Phantom  work.




   Usually in syndicate work the text and picture is made by two different people, and that´s the method with Phantom too. Lately only few artists had made 

their own Phantom-stories with both the script and illustration. On of these is Hans Lindahl, very talented Phantom artist. another one is, I regret to say, my-

self, Kari T. Leppänen.  I had thought a long time to make my own Phantom-story and finally I picked an idea of The Thirty Years War in Europe during

17th Century.  I made it for two parts and gave it a name  "THE RING OF DEATH".



         Below the same story published by Australian Frew Publications  in enlish in two issues.



      The Ring of Death was of course the Skull Ring of the Phantom. I choose it to have more strenght to my story and because the origin of the ring was then

    handled only by Ulf Granberg, who told in his story "The Ring" that Paracelsus, the famous alchemist in 16th Century, gave it to the 1st Phantom. So I in-

    vented my own story for the origin of the ring. In my story it had been made from the nails used in Christ´s crucifixion. That´s why it possessed strong divi-

    ne powers, at least in the minds of jesuits, who ordered a priest to use it to kill the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus. During the Thirty Years War the

   papists thought that the king was an Antichrist from  the North.  A priest called Pater Capistrano stole the ring from the Phantom and did it twice in my sto-

   ry.  Of course he didn´t succeed to kill Gustavus Adolphus while trying to do so in the heat of Breitenfeld Battle.


         I borroved the type for pater Capistrano from an old story written in the first decade of 19th Century. Finnish story-teller Zacharias Tope-

         lius wrote a historical story called "Välskärin kertomuksia" (Surgeons Tales) where the arch-villain was a jesuit by name of Hieronymus.

         The book was illustrated by famous swedish artist Carl Larsson, and his picture of Hieronymus is abobe on the right.  Some sources, after

         seeing my illustrations, have thought that my example was Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon, but that´s not true. However, I must ad-

         mit that Capistrano resembles very much that vicked person in Alex Raymond´s Flash Gordon.


                                                                                                        Ming the Merciless



                                                                 ILLICIT  USE OF MY ARTWORK:

      A couple of years ago I happened to look inside a Finnish magazine called "Seura". It has been publishing american Phantoms for many years and I was

     somehow curious to find out who was making the Sunday-pages recently.  When I came to the Phantom-page I felt stunned. because the Phantom loo-

    ked so familiar, familiar but in a rough way.  By the second glance I recoqnized the familiarity.  It was one of my Phantom-illustrations re-drawn. The same

   story, but different artist has imitated my pictures.  Sketching was made by George Olesen and inking by  the long-time Mandrake-artist  Fred Fredericks.

   The pictures were so closely drawn after the originals that it looked a bit ridiculous, but I didn´t feel humorous.  It was pure plagiarism.

   If you are interested to see the result, click...          plagiarism 

I am still working with Phantom and will do as long as possible.  Recently I have been illustrating mostly only historic stories of our hero.

Those have been very workable because I had tried to concentrated to authentic details of  the period of history in every story. Below is

a skull that will lead you to the story which I´m presently working with...

                                                                                                 click for the coming phantom story


     GO:      ACHILLES WIGGEN          XELLANA        JOHN CARTER          OTHER COMICS          SCIFI

                                                                                         GALLERY                            other  LINKS

                                                                                                        back to phantom links