Claes Reimerthi – RIP

The Phantom comic book and comic strip writer Claes Reimerthi has passed away.

Claes Göran Reimerthi
January 12, 1955 – July 23, 2021


The news from the Chronicle Chamber.

Claes Reimerthi, giant of the Swedish comics community and one of the most important individuals in The Phantom history, passed away over the weekend.

Claes Reimerthi’s first published Phantom story appeared in Fantomen #22 of 1984 under the pseudonym Michael Tierres, an anagram of his own name.

The emerging author was credited in 61 issues as Michael Tierres over 9 years before giving up the pseudonym. He would go on to be the credited writer in a further 218 issues of Fantomen, for a total of 279 total.

However, Claes Reimerthi is not remembered simply for the volume of stories he wrote, but also for the enormous quality and talent he brought to the page. His stories include some of the most popular with Phantom readers and have consistently been voted highly by readers in Best Story awards, topping the count eight times in Sweden between 1984 and 2018, a further six times in Norway (1998-2009) and once in Finland (1986).

Claes retired early this year and as mentioned then he provided the transition scripts from when The Phantom creator Lee Falk died in 1999 and current writer Tony De Paul taking on the plotting and scripting chores permanently.

Claes was an influential figure in Tony’s development as a Phantom author and appointment, having been his colleague at Team Fantomen for a number of years through the 1990s. There are phans who would argue that without the assistance of Team Fantomen and Claes Reimerthi in particular, The Phantom newspaper strip may not have survived the immediate post-Falk period.

More from the Chronicle Chamber:

Talented and popular, Claes was one of a small group of influential creators summoned into “the Brain Trust” of Team Fantomen by editor Ulf Granberg in 1992. This core group participated in annual seminars to discuss the Swedish team’s development of The Phantom and determine the direction of their own ongoing continuities and story arcs.

He was particularly active in historical stories about previous generations of the character, from the 1984 Best Story winner The First Phantom to the popular The Triads and Nat Turner’s Spirit sagas.

One of Claes’ last undertakings as a writer was to begin a process that few authors would dare – shifting The Phantom from the 21st to the 22nd generation, not as a “what if” scenario, but as an extension of Phantom canon according to Team Fantomen. 2016’s The 22nd Phantom saga has established a succession path for the character and opened the door for another writer to move Team Fantomen’s Phantom into the next iteration. It remains to be seen if the current editorial team, and indeed the powers that be at King Features, are keen to continue the move in this direction.

More on Claes’ career and a bibliography of his work on The Phantom at the Phantom Wiki.

The Phantom © King Features Syndicate

Outside the world of The Phantom, Claes was also very active in the Swedish comics community, writing a variety of titles including for Kerry Drake and The Gauntlet of Fate. He contributed to the comedy strips 91:an, Lilla Fridolf and Sputnik, the children’s comic Bamse and the historical graphic novel series Gustaf Vasa about the Swedish king of the same name.

In his spare time, Claes was a comics scholar who produced several books, articles and reviews of comics and comics creators. He received The Adamson Statuette (Sweden’s finest comics award, presented to an acclaimed comics creator) in 2001, and The Unghunden Award in 2015 (for his contributions to comics for children and youth).

One thought on “Claes Reimerthi – RIP

  1. Oh my. This is sad. I remember reading his Phantom Sundays he did with Nolan after Lee Falk was no more. His Sunday stories were the only ones in the Phantom strip that stayed close to Lee Falk’s canons. As an original Phantom Phan who has read Falk’s comics for decades, I’ll say the ones by Claes Reimerthi were the only good ones after Lee Falk. Tony DePaul hasn’t lived up to Falk’s legacy and has ruined the comic. I haven’t read any of his stories in other publications as Scandinavian comics aren’t easy to find in India. From the Sundays he did that I have read, I’ll say he stayed true to Falk’s legacy and canons.

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