Keeping the home fires burning


FIRST DECENT SNOW of the season got here last night, so I’m on shovel duty, no scribbling today. Except for this. I just came indoors to get a mug of hot tea going and thaw my feet by the wood stove.

This was around 6:30 this morning.


The ’49 truck didn’t see snow until 1995. Or not much. Maybe it snows on occasion in Alabama. She’s seen plenty in New England in the last 22 years.


That’s the aft end of the DR650 piglet and the front wheel of the mighty iron piggy. I rebuilt the carburetor on the piglet last week. It was gunked up after sitting idle for a year.


Trans-Labrador Highway dust in the fuel bowl.


Mike Manley’s doing a brilliant job on the art for the Phantom daily yarns published in newspapers around the world. I need to get down to Pennsylvania to meet him in person one of these weeks soon. Good excuse for an iron piggy ride if I can find a hole in the weather.

As far as the criminal population knows, the same immortal Phantom has been whupping their kind since 1536. Readers know it’s been 21 Phantoms down through time, the job passes from father to son. He’s an ordinary man, no powers, he just has a clever immortality myth going for him.

Here he is at a criminal lair in the jungle, out to retrieve a kidnapping victim. He announces himself by blasting the generator to pieces.

Mike is squared away for copy through next autumn, so is Terry Beatty, the artist on the Sunday narrative.

Starting Monday I’m going to get busy on a movie script rewrite.  A director you may know suggested a simple change that really turns the whole story on its head. At first I thought it wasn’t possible to do what she suggested, it becomes a completely different movie. And then I thought of a way to do it and… hmm… it just might be a superior version to the one I’ve been shopping for nine years now.

Fresh eyes on the work are always a good thing! Come Monday, here goes nothing.

Tony DePaul, February 10, 2017, Cranston, Rhode Island, USA


About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 63, father, grandfather, husband, freelance writer in many forms, ex-journalist, long-distance motorcycle rider, motorcycle wrecker, motorcycle rebuilder, collector of surgical hardware, blue routes wanderer, outdoorsman, topo map bushwhacker, handy with a wrench, hammer, chainsaw, rifle, former photographer, printer, logger, truck driver, truck mechanic, jet fueler… blah blah...
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10 Responses to Keeping the home fires burning

  1. Bill says:

    White like it is around here. It’s been cold, around -25C as a daily high, but a Chinook rolled in overnight and now the temperature is up to 3C! Feels like summer, which it isn’t yet. Good to hear what’s been keeping you busy!


  2. Ryan says:

    What has really impressed me with Mike Manley is that his style is subtlety different from his own work on Judge Parker. The Phantom doesn’t look like Sam Driver in a mask.

    • Tony says:

      The story I just sent him will get some notice. Readers who’ve been following the strip for 40, 50, 60 years will be on edge at the approach of the unthinkable.

  3. Laura DePaul says:

    Love reading these posts so much, Dad. Keep on keepin’ on!

  4. CCjon says:

    Seeing all that white stuff makes me remember what growing up was like in northern Ohio.
    Blizzards are still rare down south, so why the windshield wipers standing at attention? Don’t remember seeing that growing up.

    Having a director on your side who can visualize what it could be on the big screen, is a real coup for you, congrats!

    • Tony says:

      Sometimes that’s how you find your car, Tex! Stand up the windshield wipers so you know where to start digging. Actually what it does is keeps ’em from freezing to the windshield. But I did find a snowed-in car of mine once by looking for the radio antenna. It was a ’65 Impala, Boston, Blizzard of ’78. I got stuck there on a ride from Aroostook County, Maine, to Philadelphia. I was out hunting for my first newspaper job, hitting every little paper for the whole 800 miles, and wearing a suit worth more than my car. It wasn’t a very expensive suit.

  5. Tom B says:

    I was curious whether hardcover anthologies of Phantom have been published, and the going prices. shows many in $50 range, some priced near $500. I suppose some of the individual comic books from the 1930s are even more expensive if pristine.

    • Tony says:

      It’s a funny thing, Tom, newspaper comics are such a different animal than comic book comics. The Phantom has never been a hit in the U.S. in comic book form, that was always much bigger in Scandinavia, Australia and elsewhere. Lee Falk wrote a series of Phantom novels that did ok here in the 30s and 40s, and again in the 70s, but it’s uncertain how many he wrote in the latter series, at least some of them were ghosted. The anniversary of the daily newspaper strip is coming up, it first appeared on February 17, 1936.

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