Before the Star-Spangled Avenger, Captain America, threw his mighty shield, and even earlier than Superman traveled faster than a speeding bullet, there was a handsome caped crimefighter with a dash of style named Mandrake the Magician.
This wand-waving warrior was created during the Golden Age of comics by Lee Falk and first appeared as a syndicated newspaper adventure strip on June 11, 1934. The stylish Depression-era protector against evil eventually ran in over two hundred publications worldwide to become one of the most beloved daily crusaders on the planet.
Wearing a black top hat and sporting a suave mustache, Mandrake used his impressive powers of hypnotism and illusion to battle a continual cast of bad guys with the help of his exotic wife, Princess Narda and his loyal African companion, Lothar, who was one of the first racially integrated characters in comics.
Falk wrote and drew the popular strip for several years before handing the torch to Phil Davis, who was the head artist until 1964 when he passed away. Falk then discovered American cartoonist Fred Fredericks to assume the art gig in 1965 until Falk's death in 1999 when Fredericks took over the writing duties as well. The last Mandrake daily strip was printed on July 6, 2013 after Fredericks retired.
In 2016, Warner Bros. announced it was developing a Mandrake the Magician movie starring Sasha Baron Cohen as the debonair superhero.
Titan Books has just released a lavish new volume of nostalgic Mandrake the Magician newspaper dailies by Lee Falk and Fred Fredericks this week. It's a premium 240-page coffee table book that will make you vanish within its bright black-and-white panels for all eternity.... or at least until the dog needs to be let outside.
Here's the official description:
These are the further newspaper comic strip adventures of Mandrake The Magician and his ever-faithful companion and trusty side-kick, Lothar. Join them on their never-ending quest as they once again unravel mysteries, battle intrigue and lock horns with Mandrake's arch enemy - the nefarious and ruthless, criminal mastermind, The Cobra armed with nothing more than a top hat, his incredible hypnotic abilities, a wand and the immense strength of Lothar, African Prince to save the day!
Join Mandrake as he battles slavers, explores the Lost World, unlocks the mystery of the haunted house, travels to Hollywood, rescues Sonny the child movie star and meets Blozz the mysterious.
Check out this exclusive 8-page preview of Titan's impressively bound collection of Mandrake the Magician daily newspaper strips and tell us if you think this classic character might make a magical big-screen movie.