(I was accidentally witnessed of this conversation am going to describe here.....during my usual early-morning jog in a park of rare n beautiful flowers....it was a cold n breezy sunday morning ... .Being an ardent nature-lover i was almost lost in those colorful-beauties until heard a familiar voice....wow! i know them,they are.....ohh no,better you all read it and find out by yourself !)
Barry:Hello Mr.Fredricks,i don't expect you here so early!
Fredricks(was surprised) :oh you! no no....nothing special,just feel for an early-morning walk ....how r u...it's since years we last met!
By:yeah!but am more or less regularly visit this place....a beautiful site indeed!
Fr:wow! you are lucky mister! am rarely get some free-times....u know am still continuing the illustration of Mandrake strips with scripting as well since Mr.Falk passed away....it's really hectic schedule,specially in this....
By(interrupted him):I know, i know...but don't u wanna relax and have fun as well?
Fr(with smile):what's fun? my work in my fun,my relaxation....yes,time to time me too feel bored or stressed,but then these things are part n parcel of our profession...ain't?
By(paused for a while): may be...but then, everything has an end...one can't continue one thing for life long,u may know i got that illustration job in sixties (failed to remember exact year),from then i did the Phantom illustration for so long times,it was around three decades.It was a glorious experience indeed....even we spend nights by discussions over the scripts,panels,coloring .....u know Mr.Falk was so perfectionist!
Fr:(nodding his head positively):yes! he was one of those most perfectionist i had seen my life....you know,when i took the illustration job of Mandrake strips,i think it was 1967, he was already a famous comic-writer,but still very open to take new things and willing to listen some one's point-of-view.....though final call always from his side....only sometimes when the syndicate persons..
By (interrupted Fr again ):i know ,i know....u talking about those idiots in King Features...who, have no sense in these remarkable art-works,only think about business?? (seems to be little annoyed)
Fr(defensively):err...may be, but one has to cope in this competitive world and for that you have to be patient,ain't?
By(tried to smile): hmm....may be
Fr: By the way,after retirement,what's up now days ?
By (rather relax this time):oh nothing! just enjoying my free-time ,which was almost non-existing thing until i quited the scripting.....also my wife Simmy is a great company back home.
Fr: i see! do u stopped suddenly or pre-planned it??
By:Neither actually! while i decide my mind to call it quit and expressed the same to those KFS guys ,but they requested me to continue for few more months....finally in 1994 one fine morning i felt that it's over and simply told them.....since then i never accept any offer ....now days it's my amateur painting that keeps me busy.
Fr: Almost same here! only that my love towards this particular strip of Mandrake helped me to survive till now ...(paused for few moments ) though i left the Sunday strips in '02 as the pressure was unbearable.You may know i also illustrated some Phantom dailies after your retirement until 2000...frankly, i truly enjoy my works even at this age!
By: you seems to be...actually except those stressful deadlines , me too enjoyed that job with the superb scripts that i had to follow.
Fr:You should enjoyed it! after all it was you who gave the Phantom the modern look and giving all respects to Moore and McCoy i must say initially which was a more caricature-thing than reality....ain't?
By(completely blushed): haha....but they were the pioneers man!
Fr (little serious this time): who denied that? but you have to modernise things with time,see in my field Phil Davis was the pioneer of Mandrake strips, but i always willing to give this entire series a new n modern look from the very beginning .... i'm lucky that Mr.Falk always gave the freedom of experiments.
By:Very true! sometimes me also feel that i should continue for more years,specially after seeing those illustrations recently...those were petty ordinary!
Fr :Yeah!I must confess ,though i love my work, these day i can't maintain the same illustration-level that i once maintained in Mr.Falk's time!!...hope i'll give more time to this strip ...
By:My friend ,don't bother so much!think in this way that if you stop it,there'll be no Mandrake strip....so just keep it up! also i felt that you done a great job by re-telling those early stories of Mandrake in your scripting .....it's really gives the essence of Mr.Falk even if in his absence!
Fr(visually stunned):Thanks for this compliment my old friend!But it's really amazing that you take so much interest in current strips!! Thanks again....just worrying about one thing,what'll happen to Mandrake strips after me??
By:Yeah,sometimes i check those strips...don worry man,just keep it up! and if you'll be not there, Mandrake wouldn't be either!!
Fr: You just made my day,hope we will meet more often!
They shaked each other hands cheerfully...
(ohh....Somebody was shaking me as well....no,not my hand but my shoulder.....eh! it was my little bro,trying to wake me up! it was damn 7 o'clock and me was lying on my bed..... sooooo,it was a dream!!!!! gosh...i just dreamt all those conversations!!!! ....can't believe it....OR was that real????
However friend,am confused....so don ask me any question regarding this conversation, even if you have one! may be it was just a dream, so am not responsible for any loop-hole...samjha?)