April 8, 2018


The great French character Fantomas, an archetypal villain and master of disguise from the cliffhanger serials by Feuillade, was the object of fascination by a number of avant-garde artists and writers in the early part of the 20th Century. The original pre-WWI films, along with the director's Judex and Les Vampires, established the template for future cinematic diabolical masterminds and espionage/crime thrillers. Fantomas was resurrected a number of times over the decades, through literature, film, and comics. Spy Vibers may best remember the character from the trilogy of French crime comedies in the 1960s starring Jean Marais. Artist Rene Magritte often drew on images of the character in his work, which I find to be a fascinating connection. My friend, cartoonist Richard Sala, put this first image on my radar (see below). I love how the the piece celebrates and plays with the costume design of the mysterious figure in black. You can just about hear an evil laugh worthy of John Phillip Law's Diabolik. Also below are a few additional Magritte/Fantomas images that pay homage to film scenes and the original novel cover design. It's notable that Fantomas holds a flower in his hand in the artist's rendition, rather than a dagger. Magritte infused the villain with a sense of poetry? Enjoy! Haven't see the original films? Kino Lorber has remastered Feuillade's Fantomas on Blu-ray (as well as Les Vampires). Highly recommended! Related Spy Vibe posts: Fantomas DesignFlying Citroen DSFantomas comics 1Fantomas comics 2Fantomas Kindle CollectionDiabolikal Villain ArchiveFantomas Blu-rayPrada VillainsCatsuitsLes Vampires Blu-rayFantomas KindleLes VampiresMacabre Mystery WeekRichard Sala.

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