The Saturday Comics: Mandrake The Magician (2012)

16 Jun

June 16th, 2012

We continue our look at past Saturday Comics features to see what they are up to now. The last time we checked in with Mandrake the Magician, I was a fan of the strip, including the art. This is what I wrote on March 26th, 2011, in the second ever Saturday Comics:

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!

So what has happened in the fifteen months since? Let’s take a look at a recent run of strips.

Last year, my praise of the art brought a quick and passionate argument from the readers, especially Mac, who totally disagreed with me and violently hated it. And now, over a year, later, I agree with im. That art is pretty bad. It is the same artist and he is using the same color palate and effects but this run seems more rushed and less skilled. It really looks sketchy.

And the story? It doesn’t move. I’ve been through this before with other serials, but this is glacially slow. Remember you are seeing this all at once, but this actually unfolded over the course of six days, with a day out for an unrelated Sunday strip.  

The best Mandrake can do is a hippo illusion? This strip does not do comedy well. If Mandrake is such a great magician and illusionist I am sure he could get the information out of them some other way.

So the verdict on Mandrake one year later? This strip has gone downhill, both in terms of art and story. 


7 Responses to “The Saturday Comics: Mandrake The Magician (2012)”

  1. zathra June 16, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    I remember the Gold Key comic book. Vibrant. Colorful. Pretty good detail. This sample looks like it’s from someone’s sketchbook !
    Conjuring up an illusionary hippo ? REALLY ? ! That’s the best Mandake could think up ?


    • bmj2k June 16, 2012 at 12:53 am #

      Very, very sad.


      • zathra June 16, 2012 at 1:31 am #

        Not that I could do any better, mind you, but comparing this sketchwork to classic Gold Key richness of detail & ( relative ) depth of story is like comparing Heineken, Stella Artois, or Blue Moon to Malt Liquor.


        • bmj2k June 16, 2012 at 1:38 am #

          In general I love Gold Key comics. Those are some of the only collections I still buy.

          As for doing better, I should post my old Batman sketch here to show what I can (or can’t) do.


          • zathra June 16, 2012 at 1:46 am #

            It has been MANY MOONS since I’ve even seen a Gold Key comic, but they were some of the best parts of my youth. The Lone Ranger, the Phantom, stories based on classic authors, even the Twilight Zone & Star Trek – What was NOT to love about that ?


  2. Mac of BIOnighT June 16, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    HA! It took a while, but finally he said I was right! HA!

    (seriously, this really has gone downhill… how sad, a character that is part of comics history treated like that…)


    • bmj2k June 17, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      It is worth repeating: Mac is right.


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