The Saturday Comics: Mandrake the Magician

26 Mar

March 26, 2011

This is a classic strip that does everything right. The art is great- look at the coloring. Notice how Mandrake stands out? And the rest of the coloring works perfectly with the subject matter. The illustration is top-notch. The strip is atmospheric and moody and genuinely creepy. Even the lettering gives you an old-school vibe. That is no small feat to accomplish each day in three or four panels. And the writing? This was the first time I’ve seen Mandrake in years and it was easily accessible but got me right into the story.

It is a zippy little story that keeps the essential elements of Mandrake but successfully moved it into the modern era. Here is a week’s worth of Mandrake the Magician. Enjoy!


29 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Mandrake the Magician”

  1. Mac of BIOnighT March 26, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    Er… uhmmm…


    • bmj2k March 26, 2011 at 12:56 am #

      Really? I’m not calling this great literature, but for a daily strip that’s good stuff.


      • JRD Skinner March 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

        I have to agree, I’ve never seen this strip till now, but I really like the styling. I’m going to see if I can seek out an archive.


  2. Mac of BIOnighT March 26, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    Thing is, I don’t understand if you’re serious or not, you’re too crazy and sometimes the line is kinda blurred ;-P


    • bmj2k March 26, 2011 at 1:26 am #

      Point well taken. Extremely well taken, in fact. Years back when I blogged on MySpace I would label my serious posts and warn readers in advance.

      Let me state for the record that I am a big fan of this strip and all my post is sincere. I think it’s great.


  3. Mac of BIOnighT March 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I guess it boils down to personal taste, although I do feel there’s quite a number of things I could point out that make it bad and cheap, but if it works for some, I guess it’s got something going for it as well…


    • bmj2k March 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Everything comes down to taste. I’ll just ask that you judge it by the standards of modern comics, which are admittedly quite low. That makes it shine.
      Alongside Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, or Milt Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates it won’t shine as brightly. However, I still say it has an old-school vibe, and that counts for a lot in my book. And we are only judgeing from a really small sample, so we may both change our opinions if we read more.


      • Mac of BIOnighT March 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

        What old school vibe it might have is marred by Photoshop copy-and-paste backgrounds and a large number of other things. It’s very, very evident that this strip is drawn so hastily that it’d take a lot more talent than that to get away with it…
        Mind: I’m not discussing subjective opinions here, I’m judging the objective technical aspects of it. In other words, I’m not saying it can’t be enjoyable or somewhat fascinating, I’m just disagreeing with your evaluation of the technical qualities of it. There are things that are made a lot worse than that among the ones I love 😉


  4. Thomas Stazyk March 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    I may be showing my age but I think this comic strip scared the heck out of me when I was a little kid. There was a series where the earth was taken over by these robots that looked like big water tanks with spotlights on the top. The leader, the biggest one was called Goliath and some kid named David finally shot out his spotlight with a slingshot. Am I right or having a senior moment?


    • bmj2k March 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      I hope you’re right because that sounds great!

      I just did some poking around online and while I didn’t find that strip I did find references to that strip so you are right!


      • Thomas Stazyk March 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

        I did some looking too and found this:

        Go to this web site and scroll down to the yellow 19 with the name Goliath. It will give a pop up of the cover so you can see what Goliath looked like:

        Pretty scary, huh?


        • bmj2k March 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

          What’s scary is that now I have to track that down on eBay!


          • Thomas Stazyk March 26, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

            The same thing occurred to me, but I’ll let you go first. When I googled Mandrake the Magician + Goliath I saw some sites that were selling old comic books so you might be able to find a copy. Good luck.


            • bmj2k March 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

              Don’t worry about me. If I ran out and found everything on my wish list I’d own eBay. If you find a copy at a good price, enjoy.


    • Carlos August 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      “Goliath” will be added to the Mandrake Archive ( on Aug 28th so you’ll all be able to read it from there. Great story.

      Current art sucks (imho). Mr. Fredericks is in his eighties which might explain the sloppy artwork.


      • bmj2k August 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

        Hey, nice work on the site and I will be back to check out Goliath.
        The current artist is the same guy from years back? I totally agree that it used to be better. Is he still doing it by hand or is he using software to help?


        • Carlos August 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

          You would have to ask him! 🙂

          My bet is he’s still doing it by hand.

          Fred Fredericks started drawing Mandrake in 1965 after the original artist (Phil Davis) passed away. He had this ‘pop’ style (as opposed to Davis’ ‘classic’ style) which fitted the strip very well. But in the late 90’s his art started to deteriorate and today it’s just a shadow of it’s former self. (imho)


          • bmj2k August 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

            Based on the stips I saw at your site I’d have to agree.


            • Carlos August 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

              Of the most recent posts only D#132 is Fredericks’ artwork, all the others are from Davis.


  5. The Hook March 30, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    I’ve never seen this strip but I’m familiiar with the character from “Defenders of the Earth”. Do you know that one?


    • bmj2k March 30, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      Oh yeah. Back in the the day it was on every morning before I left for school. I loved it.


  6. elmediat July 30, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    I must admit, as much as I like Mandrake from when I discovered the strip as child, I am disappointed in current quality of the illustrations. This is especially true when you compare it to a few classic adventure strips that are still going, The Phantom. Flash Gordon, and Prince Valiant . The stories are still okay and still love a character who can hypnotically gesture to bend our perceptions.


    • bmj2k July 30, 2011 at 1:17 am #

      I’m realizing I’m in the minority here but I really like the art. I admit that the car wreck in the first strip just looks photoshopped, but I like the rest. I can only comment on this run, but the skechiness of the backgrounds make them seem creepier and even the colors, simple and a bit cheesy, work for me with this mood. I guess I need to check out more Mandrake to make a better decision.


  7. Mac of BIOnighT July 30, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Isn’t it amazing that this post is still drawing comments after so many months? Wow 🙂 (I’m serious)


    • bmj2k July 30, 2011 at 1:44 am #

      This is why I use tons and tons of tags. Even my oldest blogs get views every now and then. Search engines LOVE tags. The Saturday Comics are all very popular and every single one of them gets views over the course of a week. (You would not believe how many times The Joker’s Boner gets clicked on in a month!)


  8. Tarun June 17, 2018 at 7:16 pm #

    would like to but Mandrake the Magician serial#19, on Goliath. Do you have it?


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