Mandrake the Magician
This article is about the comic strip "Mandrake the Magician". For other uses, see Mandrake the Magician (disambiguation).
Mandrake the Magician is an American adventure comic strip created by Lee Falk, also creator of The Phantom. A popular feature adapted into many forms of media, including television and film. The series began with a daily newspaper strip on June 11, 1934, followed by a color Sunday strip in February 1935; the Sunday strip ended in 2002 but the daily newspaper strip are still running.
After Lee Falk's death in 1999 the comic strip have been produced by writer and artist Fred Fredericks.
Mandrake stories have also been created for comic books in different parts of the world, among them by;
- Nerbini and Fratelli Spada in Italy,
- RGE in Brazil,
- Dell Publishing, King Comics and Marvel Comics in U.S.
Some people say Mandrake the Magician was the first superhero of the comics.
Mandrake the Magician started as a daily strip on June 11 1934, with the story "The Cobra", written by Falk.
A mystery are who made the art for the two first weeks of Mandrake the Magician. In several interviews Phil Davis said he did the two first weeks. In interviews after 1964 Lee Falk said it was he himself who did the two first weeks, and that he hired Phil Davis to do Mandrake , after Falk had sold the serie to KFS. Perhaps both were right, Lee Falk could have done some pencil work on the first 2 weeks, and then Phil Davis made the ink.
To make it a bit more complicated, Al Parker claimed that Lee Falk first offered Mandrake the Magician to him. But since he alredy was a dedicated illustrator he could not and then Lee Falk asked Phil Davis to do the strip.
When the Sunday Mandrake the Magician strip was added February 03 1935, Ray S. Moore became an assistant on the Mandrake strips. He helped Phil Davis with the ink, until the creation of The Phantom in 1936.
During World War II, Falk joined the Office of War Information, where he became chief of his radio foreign language division. Davis also served in the war, during which he left some of the work for the strip to his wife and assistant Martha Davis.
Davis died suddenly in 1964. Martha Davis filled in before a successor was found in Fred Fredericks. During Fredericks' early years, he and Falk modernized the strip, and laid the foundation for what is considered the modern look of Mandrake the Magician.
After Falk's passing the artist Fred Fredericks also became the writer.
Mandrake the Magician is one of few adventure comic strips still published.