Albi grandi avventure - Mandrake

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From 1936 to 1941, following the success of the weekly magazine "L'Avventuroso", Mario Nerbini published a series of separate comics-books, entirely devoted to Mandrake, which were presented as "Albi supplemento a L'Avventuroso" ("Extra issues Albums of L'Avventuroso"). The series received the title of "Albi Grandi Avventure" ("Albums Great Adventures").

Issue overview

Original series (1936-1941)

The original series was released in an oblong size of 31.5 x 22.6 cm, a kind of presentation known as the "Italian format. Logically, the inside stories were the first daily strips created by Lee Falk and Phil Davis but, with the breakdown of the relations between the Italian and the American regimes, some of the final part of the series, published in 1941, was Italian creation and the series stopped at the entering of the United States in the war.

During the years 1939-1941 "Nerbini" made random reprints of the various issues from their series, often without even modfiy the cover date. For the Mandrake issues there are no significant variations between subsequent prints of the original titles, with the exception of the first number.

Reprint series

In 1975-1976, the whole 14 issues was reprinted under an identical repeating format. In addition to the 14 issues four other albums were released in the reprint series with stories taken from the "L'Avventuroso" series.

  • Narda is named Daran pre 1941.
  • Mandrake is named Mandrache on the post 1940 covers.

Post-War series (1946-1948)

At the end of the war, Nerbini was able to renew his editing activities and the "Albi grandi Avventure" were back again in the newsstands, still in an oblong format but with a little bit smaller size of 27,5 x 19,5 cm. In 1945, an initial series of 4 unnumbered issues was published, followed from 1946 to 1948 by another series of 31 numbered issues. Even if other comics heroes were also represented in this latter series, 31 issues were exclusively consacred to Mandrake, an achievement that clearly demonstrated the continuing popularity of the Lee Falk's character in the readers' favours.

The "Albi Grandi Avventure" (before as well as after the World War II) have always been very researched by collectors as they were adorned with attractive colored covers, even if the inside strips were printed in black and white.

First series

Second series

Collana Albi grandi avventure - Ristampe di grande successo (1949-1950)

The "Collana Albi grandi avventure - Ristampe di grande successo" series from 1949-1950 reprinted 39 issues of the Post-War series, with 21 Mandrake issues and 18 The Phantom issues. The series had a dual numbering with "Collana Albi grandi avventure" numbering on the back cover and "Ristampe di grande successo" on the front cover. The first three issues printed parts of the first "The Phantom" daily (The Singh Brotherhood) and the fourth issue was part of the first Mandrake daily (The Cobra). The series was published weekly (July 10, 17, 24 and 31) but then there was a break of 5 weeks before the next issue was published on 4th of September. There are also some breaks later in the weekly schedule.

Regular series
Mandrake and L'uomo mascherato series

The series restarted splitting the series into numbering the Mandrake and the Phantom issues separately. The second Mandrake issue then became "Ristampe di grande successo" #2 - Mandrake, while the fourth Phantom issue became "Ristampe di grande successo" #4 - L'uomo mascherato

A bit confusing is that with the fifth issue the "Ristampe di grande successo" numbering started to follow the Mandrake and The Phantom issues. So there are three different issues with N. 4 Ristampe di grande successo printed on top of the cover: