Seymour 'Sy' Barry (born March 12, 1928) is an American comic-book and comic-strip artist, best known for his work on the strip The Phantom, which he drew for more than three decades.
The brother of comics artist Dan Barry, who drew the Flash Gordon comic strip, Sy Barry attended high school at the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan, New York City. After graduation, he studied at the Art Students League. Barry began his professional career as his brother's art assistant, and by the late 1940s was working as a freelance comic-book artist, primarily as an inker for publishers including Lev Gleason; the Marvel Comics precursor, Timely Comics; and the DC Comics precursor National Comics. At National, he worked on features including Johnny Peril and The Phantom Stranger.
Barry went on to do assistant work on the King Features Syndicate comic strips Tarzan and Flash Gordon. Upon the 1961 death of The Phantom artist Wilson McCoy, who had succeeded creator Lee Falk and subsequent artist Ray Moore, King Features hired Barry to take over that strip. Barry remained on it for more than 30 years until his retirement in 1995.
Barry frequently used pencil artists on the strip, working primarily as an inker, though he often drew entire stories when time permitted. Pencillers included George Olesen, Joe Giella, Bob Forgione, André LeBlanc and Carmine Infantino.
The Phantom is a long-running American adventure comic strip, first published by Mandrake the Magician creator Lee Falk in February 1936, now primarily published internationally by Frew Publications. The main character, the Phantom, is a fictional costumed crime-fighter who operates from the fictional African country of Bangalla. The character has been adapted for television, film and video games.
The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, followed by a color Sunday strip on May 28, 1939; both are still running as of 2016. In 1966, King Features stated that The Phantom was being published in 583 newspapers worldwide. At its peak, the strip was read by over 100 million people daily.
Falk worked on The Phantom until his death in 1999; from then until the present, the comic strip has been written by Tony DePaul and drawn by Paul Ryan, Monday-Saturday, and Terry Beatty on Sundays. Previous artists on the newspaper strip include Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy, Bill Lignante, Sy Barry, George Olesen, Keith Williams, Fred Fredericks, Graham Nolan and Eduardo Barreto. In the strip, the Phantom was 21st in a line of crime-fighters which began in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed during a pirate attack. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father's murderer to fight evil, Christopher began a legacy of the Phantom which would pass from father to son. Nicknames for the Phantom include 'The Ghost Who Walks', 'Guardian of the Eastern Dark' and 'The Man Who Cannot Die'.
Unlike other fictional costumed heroes, the Phantom relies on his strength, intelligence and reputed immortality to defeat his foes. The 21st Phantom is married to Diana Palmer; they met while he studied in the United States and have two children, Kit and Heloise. He has a trained wolf, Devil, and a horse named Hero. Like the previous Phantoms, he lives in the ancient Skull Cave.
The Phantom was the first fictional hero to wear the skintight costume which has become a hallmark of comic-book superheroes and was the first shown in a mask with no visible pupils, another superhero standard). Comics historian Peter Coogan has described the Phantom as a 'transitional' figure, since the Phantom has some of the characteristics of pulp magazine heroes like The Shadow and the Spider, as well as anticipating the features of comic book heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Captain America.