Mandrake - Il Vascello
Mandrake - Il Vascello was the regular series of Mandrake comic books published by the Italian publisher Fratelli Spada. Being the direct continuation of a similar series previously released by the La Freccia publications, with a total of 474 issues released from 1962 to 1980. Although it was essentially the same publication for the entire run, it was relaunched with restarted numbering several times, dividing the run into four distinctive series.
First series (1962-1967)
The first issue is dated January 5, 1962 and the last (#140) February 19, 1967. The format was 15 × 21.5 cm for generally 32 pages but some issues had 80 pages.
Mandrake being written predominantly as the main title but the numbering are for the subtitle Il Vascello. The with a new layout for the covers for issue 27 the sub-title changed to Albi de Il Vascello. The layout for the covers changes once more from issue 129, but the sub-tile was still Albi de Il Vascello.
The "Mandrake" material was mainly composed of stories drawn by Italian artists but American reprinted material was also published.
As back-up stories the series started to print "Bat Star" (Brick Bradford) by William Ritt and Clarence Gray from issue 84. #102 presents "Judd Saxon" by Ken Bald and #103 present "Juliet Jones" by Stan Drake. The series also printed various series as: "Sub Agent"; "Cheenne Kid" and war stories from Charlton.
In addition there are several one page comic in issues 80 to 90: "Pippo a Lalla" (Hi and Lois) by Mort Walker and Dick Browne; "Il Professor Filippa" (Professor Phumble) by Bill Yates; "Beetle Bailey" by Mort Walker; "Blondie" by Chic Young; "Henry" by Carl Anderson; "Lord Blumm" by Ralston Jones and Frank Ridgeway; "Barney Google" and "Snuff Smith" by Frank Lasswell. And in issues 99 to 102: "Gian Tempesta" (Dennis the Menace) by Hank Ketcham are printed on the two last cover pages, while issues 118 to 120 have "Lulu" by Sixta.
Unsold copies were later glued together and given new covers and sold as Raccolta Mandrake.
Second series (1967-1971)
The first issue of this specific is dated March 4, 1967. The cover layout and format size was kept but the numbering restarted from #1, now with the sub-title Albi de Il Vascello - nouvo serie. The number of pages was also 36 until issue #100. It increased to 56 pages from issue #100 to 110, before having 68 pages for the rest of the series. The sub-title once again changes from issue 171; Albi de Il Vascello. The series ended with the issue #206 dated April 18, 1971.
As back up stories the series printed "Johnny Safari" from #67, issues 85 to 93 printed "Cino e Franko" (Tim Tyler's Luck) by Lyman Young, issues 77 to 89 have "Capitan Baroud" by Carraz and the comic book version of "Bat Star" (Brick Bradford).
"Gordon" (Flash Gordon) by Al Wllliamson, Mac Raboy, Dan Barry and Ric Estrada are printed as back up stories from #97 to 150 and #167 to the end of the series.
In addition from #67 the series reprinted various adventure stories from the archives of "Victorious" including "Gervasio" by Carlo Peroni. And other back up series as: "Agent Sub"; "Merman" by Lee Elias; "Wyatt Earp" by Nicholas Alascia and Sal Trapani; "Furia Nera" (Black Fury) by Mastroserio.
The covers are made by: Mario Caria, Mario Pedrazzi, Nicholas Alascia, Domenico Mirabella, Angelo Todaro Romano Felmang and U. Sam. They sometimes represented others comic characters than Mandrake and were less often painted.
- Card: C'era una volta in #191.
- Cards: Le Cartorama in issues 99 to 108.
Unsold copies of the first and second series were later glued together and given new covers and sold as Raccolta Mandrake.
During this time one also find some Mandrake issues in the Busta Spada series / nb: some similar albums for the "Fratelli Spada" series "Avventure Americane - L'Uomo Mascherato" may also contains a few " Mandrake - Il Vascello" issues. However the issues inside the albums may vary due to how many copies the publisher had of each unsold issue (example : raccolta "Avventure Americane - L'Uomo Mascherato" # 6 may contains Mandrake - Il Vascello nuova serie 76...).
Third series (1971-1972)
Beginning on May 9, 1971 with an issue numbered #1, it stopped on March 15, 1972 with the issue #32. This time the format size was reduced. The sub-title was Il Vascello - nuova serie and below the main title Mandrake one now find e le avventure Flash Gordon.
- Comic book: La legge del deserto, 16 pgs, 13,8 x 20,3 cm, in #11.
Fourth series (1972-1980)
On April 16, 1972, this new start was founded on a larger format size and with sub-title Albi del Vascello – Serie Cronologica. The Serie Cronologica issues 1 to 8 had a dual numbering; Serie Cronologica #1 was also Mandrake #33, continuing the numbering of the previous third series. From issue 77 the sub-title for the series was renamed to Albi del Vascello and the series continued until #96 on January 1, 1980.
The humorous "Convegno dell'allegria" by Albe was printed on the back cover from #25, and from #41 the back cover figures Jacovitti. As back up series from issue 75: "Flash Gordon" by Dan Barry, "Big Ben Bolt" by John Cullen Murphy, "Johnny Hazard" by Frank Robbins, "Rip Kirby" by John Prentice and Fred Dickenson.
The covers are by Mario Caria.
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- Sunday pages: Issues 1 to 40 had a separate folded supplement of 8 pages included which reproduced the Sunday stories in chronological order.
- Poster: Mandrake in #45.
- Stickers: Billy Sport in #91.
In 1973 Spada sold two collector binders so the folded supplement inserts could be collected into two hardcover books, both with index pages for the supplement.
Unsold copies of the fourth series, glued together and given new covers.
Raccolta Mandrake Special
Reprint of the Sunday inserts, glued together to form a books. At the first inner cover it is an index the 4 issues of this series, similar as for the French L'âge d'or – Mandrake series. But it is uncertain whether issues 2, 3 and 4 were released in Italy.