Las Grandes Aventuras: Merlin el Mago Moderno

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Las Grandes Aventuras
LGA El-Mar-Tenebrosa.jpg
First issue
Country/language: Mini spain.gif Spain / Spanish
Publishing company: Hispano Americana
Publishing years: 1935-1953
Issues: 325 +
Format: 21x32 cm, b/w

In 1941 "Hispano Americana" started a new series under the generic title "Las Grandes Aventuras (The Great Adventures)". More then 325 issues were released without any numbering or publishing date on the covers or inside.

Issue overview

Regular series

The "Las Grandes Aventuras" series is usually categorized as several sub-series as: "Agente Secreto X-9 (Secret Agent X-9)", "El Hombre Enmascarado (The Phantom)", "Flas Gordon (Flash Gordon)", "Merlin el Mago Moderno (Mandrake the Magician)", "Tarzan" and on.

The series has price tag 1.5 ptas which increases to 2 ptas in 1948. In the beginning there are also issues with price tag 2.5 ptas, known as "número extraordinario", which follows the regular publication rate. Interesting, due to reprinting of issues in 1946, there exists some covers with two different price tags: "Flas Gordon" issues 1 to 4 (2.5 ptas / 2 ptas) and "El Hombre Enmascarado" issues 46-48 (1.5 ptas / 2 ptas).

Information for the next issue and a back issue list was printed on the back cover for many years.

In 1942 the back covers also printed various small stickers which could be collected into different sticker albums (Albumes Centella). The stickers were categorized into 24 different categories such as: Spanish football team, American movie stars, marvells of the word and on. Next the back covers have a comic strip of "Las Lecciones del Jefe Piloto", about how to fly a plane. The last sticker series on the back covers was devoted to Spanish football players. To collect all the sticker one also had to buy the various issues of the similar "Los Albumes Preferidos por la Juventud" series. There exists issues with different variants of the back cover due to later reprints.

Merlin el Mago Moderno

Note: Almost all issues are censored version. Someone has added extra ink to the femals for covering their shoulders, back and knees so the girls appears more decent dressed. Joaquín Esteve edited in collaboration with "Club Amigos de la Historieta" a facsimile reprint of the collection in 1983.

Extra series

In the years 1942-1945 there are issues with price tag 2.5 ptas, mentioned on the back covers as "número extraordinario". These issues differ in that they had more pages than in the regular series. Today, twelve of these are considered a separate series. But when they were released they followed the regular release.

  • "Flas Gordon": 1. El Rayo Celeste, 2. La Ciudad de los Hombres Halcones, 3. El Torneo de la Muerte!, 4. La Sombra Vengadora, 5. Contra el Imperio de Ming, 6. El Mar del Misterio, 7. Los Hombres Selváticos, 8. El Reino de la Selva. The last Flas Gordon issue, La Legion del Desierto, stand out as the price is 2 ptas.
  • Extra series: 1. El Desierto Blanco, 2. El Cruzado Negro, 3. "Merlín el Mago Moderno" - La Clave del Tesoro Oculto, 4. En el Corazón de la Selva, 5. "Jorge y Fernando" - Contra los Halcones, 6. El Loto Rojo, 7. El Rubí de Fuego, 8. "Jorge y Fernando" - El Reino del Pasado, 9. La Pluma Verde, 10. Los Dramas del Olimpa, 11. "Carlos el Intrépido" - En el Celeste Imperio, 12. "El Agente Secreto X-9" - La Mascota de la Cuadrilla.

There is one more extra issue: "El Hombre Enmascarado" Extraordinario de Reyes. This issue, with price tag 2 ptas., is mentioned on the back covers of "El Hombre Enmascarado" Justicia en la Selva and "Carlos el Intrepido" Perdidos en el Atlántico. Looking at the "Albumes Preferidos Juventud" series the "Juan Centilla" en los Mares del Sur has a text ad for the annual album 1945, so this "Juan Centilla" was on sale in December 1944. Then follows the "El Sheriff Thompson" en Poder de los Indios and then "Carlos el Intrepido" Perdidos en el Atlántico. Since this Extraordinario de Reyes issue was sold in December 1944 it is more like an annual album, but without a calendar for the following year - as was usual in the other annual albums.


The first time albums in this series are mentioned is on the back cover of the second issue with "Juan y Lois", "Juramento Cumplido". This issue has a text advertisement for the 1943 annual albums with "Jorge y Fernando" and "Juan Centella", so it must have been released in late November or early December 1942. The albums mentioned are the first two with "El Hombre Enmascarado (The Phantom)". The cover of these had a red border and this characteristic has given the name to the series: Album Rojo (the red albums).

The second time albums are mentioned in this series is in the seventh issue with "Juan y Lois", "El Lago de los Caimanes". It must have been released in late November or early December 1943, since it has an text ad for the 1944 annual albums with "Jorge y Fernando", "Juan Centella", "Yumbo" and "Merlín. The albums mentioned are: "El Hombre Enmascarado" (1-3), "Tarzán" (1-2), "Flas Gordon" (1-2) and "Merlín" (1). On the back cover of the annual album with "Jorge y Fernando" these albums are pictured. Like the first two albums with "El Hombre Enmascarado", the third album also has the characteristic red frame.

The other albums do not have a cover printed in color but are printed in black on a green cardboard, which has given these the name Album Verde (the green albums).

On the back cover of the annual album 1945 with "Jorge y Fernando" more of these albums are pictured: ("Juan Centella" (1-4), "Jorge y Fernando" (1, 3-4),) "El Hombre Enmascarado" (2, 4), "Tarzán" (1-3), "Flas Gordon" (1-2), "Merlín" (1-2) and "Agente Secreto X-9" (1). All having the characteristic red frame. Most of these issues are reprint from the previous year but where the green covers are replaced with color illustrationes.

From the back covers of the "Las Grandes Aventuras" series, it appears that the fifth "El Hombre Enmascarado" issues was released just before the summer, and the third "Merlín" issue around December 1945. All the "Album Rojo" issues are regularly mentioned on the back covers in 1945 so they existed as back issues and were possibly reprinted regularly.

The issues Tarzan #4, "El Hombre Enmascarado" #8 and "Merlín" #4 seems to have been released in late spring 1946 and the two last issues with "El Hombre Enmascarado" around December 1946. At the end of the year, the price was also increased from the previous 7 pesetas to 10 pesetas.

Almanaque series

In December of each year, "Hispano Americana" released annual albums containing a few pages of comics. The name of these Almanaques reflected the main stories inside. With the exception of the first two albums below, the annual albums were mentioned in short text advertisements on the back cover of publications from Hispano Americana. Only two of these albums contain Mandrake stories.

The "Juan Centella" and "Jorge y Fernando" album from December 1946 is a double album.

  • Facsimiles editions of these issues have also been published in 1995.

See also