Interview: Alex Ross & Scott Beatty on Dynamite Entertainment’s The Last Phantom

The Last Phantom #1 Cover A

The Last Phantom #1 Cover A

Comic fans know and love the artwork and storytelling of Alex Ross from such books as DC’s Kingdom Come, Marvel’s The Torch, Dynamite’s Black Terror, and many, many more books. Scott Beatty is the writer of such popular books as DC’s Joker: Last Laugh and Countdown, Dynamite’s Buck Rogers, and more as well. Together, they are two of the creators behind Dynamite Entertainment’s The Last Phantom. Westfield’s Roger Ash recently contacted these two creators to learn more about the book.

Westfield: What is the appeal of The Phantom for you?

Alex Ross: The appeal of The Phantom is that I’ve always thought he was cool. You don’t get many Purple clad superheroes, least of all one who is the precursor to all superheroes.

Scott Beatty: In simplest terms, The Phantom is a comic book icon. He’s one of the first and most important comic book heroes and everything about him – from the domino mask to his costume and signet rings – has enduring appeal. It’s no wonder that The Ghost Who Walks is more popular in other countries than some of his four-color contemporaries. The Phantom is the original square-jawed, no-nonsense do-gooder, and that NEVER goes out of style.

The Last Phantom #1 Cover B

The Last Phantom #1 Cover B

Westfield: Alex, could you take us through your process when updating a character such as this?

Ross: Mostly you just go with your gut based upon what your feelings are about that character that you have always had and sometimes what you’ve questioned and wanted to augment or, dare I say, maybe even improve.

Westfield: How closely do the two of you work together on the story?

Ross: Basically Scott got my general ideas from early communication of what it meant for the look of the character now effecting his new journey and evolution in the story and that put specific marks in where the adventure would have to develop. We did a little bit of back and forth on the story outline and mostly at this stage he’s entrusted to go forward as we get a chance to review scripts often with just praise.

Beatty: Alex and I, as well as everyone at Dynamite, have been intimately involved from the very start in charting the course of the latest (and LAST) Phantom. From conference calls to late-night emails, we’re working closely every step of the way in chronicling what we think will be Kit Walker’s greatest adventures yet.

The Last Phantom #2

The Last Phantom #2

Westfield: Scott, what can you tell us about the story and the characters involved?

Beatty: I’m reluctant to reveal too much that isn’t already in the solicits. I think of it the same way I do when I see every “money shot” from the next blockbuster film shoehorned into a two-minute trailer. Without being coy or obtuse, we’ve titled this The Last Phantom by direct design. This is not the Kit Walker you’ve known before. But if you know and love The Phantom, then you can expect certain “constants” in terms of supporting characters and motifs. The Phantom’s legacy is a long and unbroken chain (and I mean that last word quite specifically)… until NOW.

Westfield: Eduardo Ferigato is drawing the book. What can you say about his contribution to The Last Phantom?

Beatty: Eduardo exceeds my expectations with every page he draws. Dynamite Editor Joe Rybandt can vouch for my high praise each time I see new art. I couldn’t be happier collaborating with Alex and Eduardo. From front to back and everything in the middle, this book looks fantastic.

Westfield: Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to mention?

Ross: The next one is the big Kirby project that I’ll be working on with Dynamite, so stay tuned for details on that.

The Last Phantom #3

The Last Phantom #3

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Ross: Please buy The Phantom, check it out. It’s won’t be your grandfather’s Phantom.

Beatty: Just this… everyone involved knows how important The Phantom is. This character’s fans are among the most loyal and dogged in their defense of The Ghost Who Walks. And Nick Barrucci, Alex, Eduardo, Joe, and myself want the Jungle Patrol to know that Kit is in good hands… despite what happens to him in the first issue.

We LOVE The Phantom, and we’ve all signed on to make some really memorable stories.

That and I have my own Skull Ring. It comes in just ONE color: POW!

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