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Paul Ryan

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Paul Ryan
Biographical information
Born: September 23, 1949
Died: March 7, 2016
Nationality: Mini usa.gif American
Occupation: Artist, Cover artist
Website: Paul Ryan's Official Site
Winner.jpg Best Story (Sweden) Winner.jpg

2002: "The Long Bow of Little John"
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2001: "The Invisible Phantom"
2016: "John X" & "Patrolman X"
Winner.jpg Best Fantomen cover Winner.jpg

Paul Ryan was an American comic book and comic strip artist who worked on "The Phantom" from 2001 until he passed away in 2016.


Early Years

Paul Ryan was born September 23, 1949 in Somerville, Massachusetts. He attended St. Polycarp Grammar School (Somerville) and graduated from St. Mary of the Annunciation High School in 1967. He graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1971 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design. After graduation Ryan enlisted in the United States National Guard and was shipped to Fort Dix, NJ for Basic Training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) in automotive mechanics. He later attended Massachusetts Military Academy in Wakefield, Massachusetts for officer training.

During this period Ryan landed a job in the Graphics Department of Metcalf & Eddy Engineering in Boston, where he worked for 11 years.

First Steps in Comic Career

An article in the Boston Globe reports that "Ryan began his training as a child, growing up in Somerville. He'd park himself in front of the television each night to watch George Reeves in the Adventures of Superman[1] He has said that as a young comics fan and aspiring artist in the Silver Age of Comic Books, he was influenced by the work of Wayne Boring and Curt Swan on Superman. [2] In 1961, Ryan also became a big fan of the Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, having "bought the first issue at the tender age of 11."[3] It was not until 1983, however, that circumstances and opportunity prompted him to write and draw his first comics story, which he titled BREED. This comic was done in response to a general "open audition" offer from Charlton Comics. Charlton had recently instituted a program whereby they would publish the best of the work submitted by aspiring comic book artists in Charlton Bullseye. There was no money involved but Charlton would give the artist 50 copies of the printed piece. The artist would then have published work to show Marvel Comics or DC Comics in the hopes of landing a job with the Big Two. Charlton accepted Ryan's story but unfortunately the title was cancelled before BREED saw print.

The remaining stories from Bullseye ended up in the hands of Bill Black of Americomics in Florida, and Black published BREED. This brought Ryan to the attention of comic book stores in the Boston area. When Marvel Artist, Bob Layton, moved to Boston and needed an assistant, the employees at these stores recommended Paul Ryan to Layton. Ryan worked for Layton for a year doing his backgrounds, and through him met the editors and staff at Marvel. By this time Ryan, having taken a circuitous route toward a career in comic art, was in his early 30s.

Established at Marvel Comics

Soon, Ryan was getting assignments of his own, starting with inking (The Thing #27 and #29) and then moving on to penciling (Iron Man #202, Squadron Supreme #6, 9, 10, 11, 12 , Eternals #12, and a Thor Graphic Novel).

In 1986, writer Mark Gruenwald and Ryan co-created DP7 for Marvel's New Universe imprint; this comic book series about "Displaced Paranormals" has much in common with the TV series Heroes, which first aired two decades after DP7.

Ryan penciled the first six issues of Quasar followed by work on Avengers, Avengers West Coast, Iron Man, Fantastic Four (a notably long run on Marvel's flagship title, behind only Jack Kirby and John Byrne in total number of issues drawn; his first issue was #356, and his last #414) and Ravage 2099 (a character which he co-created with Stan Lee). In all, Ryan would rack up eleven years of comic book art exclusivity with Marvel Comics.

In 1992 Stan Lee asked Ryan to take over the penciling (with Joe Sinnott inking) on the Amazing Spider-Man Sunday comic strip distributed by King Features. He drew that popular feature for just over three years.

The Move to DC Comics and Beyond

In 1996, Ryan's run on 'Fantastic Four was derailed by the ill-fated Heroes Reborn event. Shortly after, Paul Ryan left Marvel to work for DC Comics. He penciled a Superman Annual, Legends of the Dead Earth, the Flash series, Batman and many other titles. He also regularly pencilled Superman, Man of Tomorrow as well as several fill-in assignments on other Superman titles.

Paul Ryan became the only artist to have contributed to the wedding issues of both Spider-Man (Peter Parker marrying Mary Jane Watson in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21, 1987), and Superman (Clark Kent marrying Lois Lane in Superman: The Wedding Album, published in 1996).

He was a contributing artist on the NASCAR/Superman custom comic and on Celebrating the Century, a stamp collecting book that DC produced for the United States Postal Service.

Ryan briefly returned to Marvel in 1999, teaming with writer Tom DeFalco on the Fantastic Five. The turn of the Millenium found Ryan working with Wildstorm, penciling one of the Left Behind Graphic Novels, and working with Crossgen as a regular fill-in artist on such titles as Ruse and Crux. Starting in 2001, Ryan also became a regular contibutor to Fantomen comic books published by Swedish company Egmont (a job which would position him well for his next major assignment).

Taking on the Duties of the Phantom

In 2005, then current penciller George Olesen announced that he was going to retire from "The Phantom" daily strip. Jay Kennedy at King Features Syndicate asked Paul Ryan to assume the artist's role on the daily strips and Ryan agreed. Then in October of 2006 Graham Nolan, artist on "The Phantom" Sunday strip, announced his intended departure from the series. Once again Kennedy called, and Ryan agreed to add the Sunday strip to his duties for King Features, with his first Sunday appearing in newspapers on April 1, 2007. It was the first time since 1994 (when Sy Barry left the strip) that only one artist is responsible for both dailies and Sundays. That lasted until 2011 when Ryan retired from the Sunday stories, however, he made a short revisit in 2012, when his succesor Eduardo Barreto died until Terry Beatty was recruited as new regular artist.

Paul Ryan passed away suddenly on March 7, 2016. He had recently finished a new Phantom story for Team Fantomen, and had only one week of strips left of what became his final daily strip story, "The Baronkhan Sedition".

Artist at Work

When asked how long it takes to produce his daily comic strip, Ryan estimated "four hours to pencil a strip and three hours to ink it in, crafting lighting and shadows." [4] Ryan's art is characterized by a strong story-telling sense, careful attention to design and perspective, and solid knowledge of anatomy-- on a strip that appears 365 days a year.

On "The Phantom", Ryan begins with penciling only the line work. "I work out the lighting, shadows and texture in the inking stage. I go in with the brush first and hit all the shadows and large dark areas. This helps define the page. Then I go in with a finer brush or pen to add details, texture or contour lines." [5]

While Ryan keeps reference books handy, he gives more credit to observation and an artist's eye for his knowledge of human anatomy as well as the structure of the world around us. "Whenever I'm in any situation, I'll constantly try to memorize things. I'll memorize a face, a room, and actually mentally outline everything." [6]

Ryan confesses to having run around his neighborhood as a youngster with a make-shift Superman cape tied around his neck ("I got beat up a lot," he jokes), [7] and his emotional identification with comic characters has continued into his professional years: "I find that while I'm illustrating a story I become so focused that I feel as if I'm [actually] in the story, taking the part of each of the characters as I draw them," Ryan says.[8]

Phantom work by Paul Ryan


Team Fantomen stories

# Title Writer Artist
1 "The Invisible Phantom" Raab Ryan
2 "The Long Bow of Little John" Bishop Ryan
3 "The Highland Murders" Bishop Ryan
4 "Return of the Halloween Gang" Reimerthi Ryan
5 "Nebuchadnezzar's Ring" DePaul Ryan
6 "Secret of the Skulls, Part 3" Reimerthi Ryan
7 "Dogai Singh's Treasure" Reimerthi Ryan
8 "The 21st Phantom" Reimerthi Ryan
9 "Molok" Reimerthi Ryan
10 "The Black Widow" Reimerthi Ryan
11 "The Grim Reaper" Reimerthi Ryan
12 "Diana's Crisis, Part 2: Diana Disappears" Reimerthi Ryan, McLeod
13 "Temple of the Gods, Part 3: The Secret Sect" DePaul Ryan
14 "Temple of the Gods, Part 4: Servant of Evil" Bishop, Lindahl Ryan
15 "The 22nd Phantom, Part 1: The Empty Throne" Reimerthi Ryan

Daily stories

# Title Writer Artist Start End
1 "Temple of the Gods, Part 1: The U-Boat Mystery" DePaul Olesen, Williams, Ryan 3 Jan 2005 14 May 2005
2 "Temple of the Gods, Part 2: Return to Eden" DePaul Ryan 16 May 2005 17 Sep 2005
3 "The Crime Apprentices" DePaul Ryan 19 Sep 2005 14 Jan 2006
4 "The Jungle Trek" DePaul Ryan 16 Jan 2006 13 May 2006
5 "The Return of Chatu" DePaul Ryan 15 May 2006 2 Sep 2006
6 "The Doorman" DePaul Ryan 4 Sep 2006 30 Dec 2006
7 "The Mozznappers" DePaul Ryan 1 Jan 2007 28 Apr 2007
8 "The Voyaging Canoe" DePaul Ryan 30 Apr 2007 25 Aug 2007
9 "Graffiti Phantom" DePaul Ryan 27 Aug 2007 5 Jan 2008
10 "The Patrolwomen" DePaul Ryan 7 Jan 2008 3 May 2008
11 "The Drill Boss" DePaul Ryan 5 May 2008 30 Aug 2008
12 "Justice for the Python" DePaul Ryan 1 Sep 2008 27 Dec 2008
13 "Crocco Island West" DePaul Ryan 29 Dec 2008 25 Apr 2009
14 "The Hunt for the Unknown Commander" DePaul Ryan 27 Apr 2009 22 Aug 2009
15 "The Death of Diana Palmer Walker" DePaul Ryan 24 Aug 2009 19 Dec 2009
16 "The Phantom at Sea" DePaul Ryan 21 Dec 2009 17 Apr 2010
17 "Terror Cells of New York" DePaul Ryan 19 Apr 2010 14 Aug 2010
18 "The Trail to Gravelines Prison" DePaul Ryan 16 Aug 2010 11 Dec 2010
19 "Chatu's Fate‎" DePaul Ryan 13 Dec 2010 5 May 2011
20 "The College Kid" DePaul Ryan 9 May 2011 13 Aug 2011
21 "A Detente with Crime" DePaul Ryan 15 Aug 2011 10 Dec 2011
22 "The Den of Tigers" DePaul Ryan 12 Dec 2011 7 Apr 2012
23 "Mexico's Phantom" DePaul Ryan 9 Apr 2012 18 Aug 2012
24 "The Phantom Lion" DePaul Ryan 20 Aug 2012 30 Mar 2013
25 "The Aeronaut" DePaul Ryan 1 Apr 2013 30 Nov 2013
26 "The Scoundrel" DePaul Ryan 2 Dec 2013 19 Apr 2014
27 "Terror's Mutiny" DePaul Ryan 21 Apr 2014 23 Aug 2014
28 "John X" DePaul Ryan 25 Aug 2014 27 Dec 2014
29 "Patrolman X" DePaul Ryan 29 Dec 2014 9 May 2015
30 "The Challenge" DePaul Ryan 11 May 2015 12 Sep 2015
31 "The Twins' Futures" DePaul Ryan 14 Sep 2015 30 Jan 2016
32 "The Baronkhan Sedition" DePaul Ryan, Manley 1 Feb 2016 4 Jun 2016

Sunday stories

# Title Writer Artist Start End
1 "The Ossuary" DePaul Ryan 1 Apr 2007 23 Sep 2007
2 "Plutonium Pirates" DePaul Ryan 30 Sep 2007 23 Mar 2008
3 "The Accursed Land" DePaul Ryan 30 Mar 2008 21 Sep 2008
4 "The Jungle Lesson" DePaul Ryan 28 Sep 2008 22 Mar 2009
5 "The Love Triangle" DePaul Ryan 29 Mar 2009 20 Sep 2009
6 "The Lost Kingdom of Avaria" DePaul Ryan 27 Sep 2009 21 Mar 2010
7 "The Dirty Half-Dozen" DePaul Ryan 28 Mar 2010 19 Sep 2010
8 "The Return of Colonel Weeks" DePaul Ryan 26 Sep 2010 20 Mar 2011
9 "The Nomad" DePaul Ryan, Barreto 27 Mar 2011 18 Sep 2011
10 "The Shadows of Rune Noble" DePaul Barreto, Ryan, Beatty 25 Sep 2011 1 Apr 2012



External links

Wikipedia-logo.png This article, in the version of October 12, 2007, includes information from Wikipedia: Paul Ryan (comics).