Vanguard of Shadows

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Vanguard of Shadows
Start date: May 27th, 2013
End date: July 6th, 2013
# of strips: 36 (6 weeks)
Writer: Fred Fredericks
Artist: Fred Fredericks
Preceded by: "Warlock at Large"
Interupted by: "Pursuit of the Cobra" re-release of #220
Followed by:

"Vanguard of Shadows" is the 266th Mandrake daily story. The story was written and drawn by Fred Fredericks. Due to the retirement of Fred Fredericks the story was never completed.

Plot Summary

Hojo returns from the supermarket in a dire condition, collapsing into unconsciousness and uttering only two words: "Runnel's Landing." Concerned, Mandrake takes an old shortcut to the supermarket to investigate Runnel's Landing. There, he encounters a mysterious house that appears and vanishes, and a man who bears a striking resemblance to Hojo. More men, all resembling Hojo, emerge. Mandrake's hypnotic gesture proves ineffective, and his magic fails to affect the Hojo look-alikes. They take Mandrake inside the enigmatic house and reveal that they are not Earthlings; they hail from the planet Melva and have intentions to conquer Earth. The Hojos serve as the vanguard, tasked with draining the personalities and life force of any humans they encounter.

Although Mandrake's magic is ineffective against these invaders, he resorts to one last trick. Using telepathy, he communicates with Narda, informing her that he is trapped inside an invisible house by space invaders at Runnel's Landing.


Recurring characters

One-time characters

  • aliens in Hojo shape


  • New York City
  • Melva, a planet

Behind the scenes


  • The story title is taken from the strip of May 27th, 2013 (Beginning: Vanguard of Shadows).

Easter Eggs

  • The name "Runnel's Landing" is a reference to a retirement community - located in Terrell Lane, Hollis, New Hampshire 03049 - that Fred Fredericks is supposed to have chosen after the sale of his house in Massachusetts on April 30, 2013. See : [[1]] and [[2]]


This story has been published in the following publications: