Thursday, December 11, 2014


Mandrake the Magician was created by Lee Falk prior to his creating The Phantom


Mandrake the Magician's work is based on an unusually fast hypnotic technique. As noted in captions, when he "gestures hypnotically", his subjects see illusions, and he uses this technique against a variety of villains including gangsters, mad scientists, extraterrestrials and characters from other dimensions. 

Mandrake also possesses psychic and telekinetic powers, can turn invisible, shapeshift, and teleport periodically. His hat, cloak and wand, passed down from his father Theron, possess great magical properties which in time Mandrake learns how to use.

Lothar is Mandrake's best friend and crimefighting companion. Xanadu, Mandrake's high-tech residence (seen on the cover of Mandrake the Magician #10) includes closed circuit TV, a sectional road which divides in half and vertical iron gates.

King Features' Mandrake the Magician comic book ran 10 issues. Written by Dick (Girl from U.N.C.L.E.) Wood with art by Don (Avengers) Heck, Andre (Plastic Man, Spirit) LeBlanc, Ray (Undersea Agent) Bailey & Fred (Mandrake comic strips) Fredericks, Werner (X-Men) Roth. The comic included The Phantom by Bill (Girl from U.N.C.L.E.) Lignante, Brick Bradford by Paul (Aquaman) Norris & one Rip Kirby by writer Fred Dickenson & artist Alex (Flash Gordon) Raymond back-up features. Mandrake the Magician #8 featured a back-up story with art by a young Jeff Jones!

Mandrake the Magician #1  Mandrake's Hypnotic Magic Fights the Weird Devices of The Toymaker!
"Menace of the City Jungle" 
Reprinted in Flash Gordon #1 & The Phantom #21.
"SOS Phantom"
The Phantom feature.
Lee Falk text biography feature

"The Flying Phantom"

Mandrake the Magician #2  His Magic is Powerless to save Mandrake as he Plunges Toward Certain Death!
"The Spectre from Space"
Adaptation of newpaper strip stories.
"The Pirate Raiders"
The Phantom feature. 

"The Phantom Casino"

Mandrake the Magician #3  Hypnotic Magic is Powerless Against the Terror of the Haunted Desert!
"The Doomsday Man"
"The Magic Ivory Cage"

The Phantom feature. 
"The Terror of the Haunted Desert"

Mandrake the Magician #4  Mandrake Betrays Old Friends to Uncover the Secret of THE BLACK WIZARD!"The Black Wizard"
"The Girl Phantom"

The Phantom feature. 
"The Frame Up"

Mandrake the Magician #5
"Cape Cod Caper" 
Mandrake captures a group of pirates using an old PT boat to rob other vessels.
"Flash Gordon Limited Collector's Edition"
 Advertisement for a book of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon strip reprints, by Nostalgia Press.
"The Fear Mongers"
Mandrake and Lothar stop an alien invasion of a small European country.
One of my favorite covers, think it was one of my first Mandrake comics purchased. 

Mandrake the Magician #6
"The Incredible Space Menace"
Using hurricanes as a cover for their landings, four aliens come to Earth and infiltrate humanity. One alien -- who has befriended Mandrake -- realizes their conquest plans will succeed only if the magician is eliminated. They trick Mandrake into using his powers on himself, paralyzing him. Narda and Lothar manage to free the magician. Then Mandrake and Lothar defeat the aliens, making them forget their alien past.
"Meet the Man-Lee Falk"
A brief text biography on Lee Falk, creator of Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom.
"Brick and Saturn Have Taken Wealthy..."
Brick Bradford and Sadie take Mark to various time periods in the Time Top, where he films history as it happens. 
Brick Bradford feature. 

Mandrake the Magician #7
"Jungle Drums, Pt 1"
When Lothar hears drums only he can hear, Mandrake tells Narda the story of how Lothar became king of the Wambesi tribe after defeating an evil witch doctor.
"Brick Bradford"
Brick and company defeat giant, electrical cephalopods.
"Return of King Lothar, Pt 2" 
Zamba, a boyhood friend of Lothar's, summoned the King via the drums. The Wambesi have been given a memory altering drug by a fake doctor wanting to loot the tribe. Lothar fights for his people's freedom -- with a little help from Mandrake. 

Mandrake the Magician #8 Jeff Jones art
Mandrake the Magician #8
"The Telltale Doll"
Reprinted from Mandrake-Bat Star #85 (Fratelli Spada Publishing.)
Written by Giovanni Fiorentini with art by Salvatore Stizza (as S. Totty.)   

"Pharsalus The Triumph of Caesar"

Great Battles of History feature with art by a young Jeff Jones. 

Mandrake the Magician #9
"Terror From Outer Space"
Reprinted from Mandrake-Bat Star #90 (Fratelli Spada Publishing.)
Written by Giovanni Fiorentini with art by Salvatore Stizza (as S. Totty.) 
"Brick Bradford"
Brick Bradford feature. 

Mandrake the Magician #10
"The Haunting from Hawk Inn"
"Brain Storm"
Brick Bradford feature.
"Object: Matri-Money"
Rip Kirby feature.
Reprinted from Rip Kirby daily 1950.03.28 - 1950.05.10. Dialogues have been altered heavily. Kirby's girlfriend Honey Dorian is called Ann here. The two crooks, originally named Sleepy and Julie, were turned into Fats and Margie, respectively.

Tempo Books came out with one Mandrake the Magician by Lee Falk paperback, reprinting cartoon adventures (comic strips from 2/16/76 thru 9/18/76) of the renowned master of illusion.  
"The Evil Twin"
"Narda and the Sheik" 

Marvel Comics released a Mandrake mini-series in 1995, written by Mike W. Barr with painted art by Rob Ortaleza. Only two of three planned issues were published.

The Mandrake the Magician comic books have not been reprinted. A shame! 

The Phantom back-up stories in Mandrake the Magician #1-#4 were reprinted in Hermes Press The Phantom: The Complete Series: The King Years

Mandrake the Magician appears briefly in the Beatles film Yellow Submarine and in Lethal Weapon 2, after a suspect escapes police capture by seemingly vanishing into thin air, Detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) exclaims "This guy is Mandrake!"

Live Large My Friends!

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