|Born:||August 9, 1929|
|Occupation:||Artist, Cover artist, Writers|
Harold "Fred" Fredericks Jr. (born August 9, 1929) is an American cartoonist born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, who has drawn the "Mandrake the Magician" comic strip for over 40 years, taking over for the late Phil Davis.
Fredericks sold his first cartoon at the age of 18, and in the late 1940's he worked for The Press of Atlantic City. In 1950 he joined the marine corps and served in the Korean War. After ending his military career in 1953 he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City. At the same time he began to create historical comics aswell as commercial illustrations. Several of his historical comics were syndicated in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
In 1964, Fredericks created the comic strip "Rebel" which was published in Scholastic Scope, a magazine distributed to schools in USA. Fredericks produced the strip for over 30 years and it has also been reprinted in collections.
Mandrake the Magician
Fredericks became in April 1965 the new artist on the "Mandrake the Magician" newspaper strip, after Phil Davis had passed away. Creator Lee Falk modernized the comic when Fredericks took over the strip, making it more reality-based by focusing less on science fiction and fantasy, and making Mandrake operate more like a secret agent, often helping out the police with cases they could not solve.
Working on Mandrake (1972)
If in a story Lee wants someone to look a certain way he'll tell me the way to depict him; otherwise I can do it my own way.
I do my own lettering and decide where the word baloons are going to be. Then I try to vary my shots, almost like a movie. You have a long shot, then a close up, then a medium shot. Yoy try to keep the camera moving, just like in a film.
Five weeks (advance) for the daily strip and ten for the Sunday page.
I use an Esterbrook #22 pen point, with which I get a good thick and thin line. After I ink the figures with a pen, I put in the blacks with a #3 Windsor-Newton brush and always keep the white paint handy in case of mistakes!
Fredericks was also a film collector, and his interests included movie serials; "Red Barry", "Dick Tracy", "The Clutching Hand", "Daredevils of the Red Circle"... He also had a copy of the TV pilot of Mandrake from 1954.
Fredericks returned to comic books in the late 1980's, first as inker on the Defenders of the Earth comic book where he and penciller Alex Saviuk got the chance to draw Mandrake, the Phantom and Flash Gordon. After that, Fredericks remained as a productive inker until the mid-1990's on several comic books for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, for example The Punisher War Journal, Nth Man: the Ultimate Ninja, Daredevil, G.I. Joe and Ren & Stimpy.
He is also well known for inking "The Phantom" Sunday strips from 1995 to 2000, after which Graham Nolan took over the Sundays. He also inked one week of Phantom daily strips in 1996 that was published in American newspapers the same week that the Phantom movie premiered.
Writer and Artist of Mandrake the Magician
After creator Lee Falk died in 1999, Fredericks has also been responsible for writing the scripts for the Mandrake strip by himself. He retired from the Sunday strip in 2002, but continues to produce new daily strip stories as of 2008, often with guest appearances or cameos by The Phantom or other characters from the Phantom strip.
- King Features Syndicat (??), Fred Fredericks,
- ?? (1969). Film Fan Fredericks Is a Man of Pictures, Film Collectors Registry, Janyary-February 1969, 1-2
- Greim, Martin L (1972). Mandrake's Magic Maker, Comic Crusader, 14, 11-16