I'm not sure if some of you will think I'm cheating this month or not, but here it goes anyway. As you all know, when I love a character, I really do love them. Every single character I've featured over the last few years is someone that I have grown to care about and hold dear for one reason or another. Some have taught me important lessons, others have simply entertained me. So this month is dedicated to those characters that I've featured before, but never really got a lot of love from my readers. It will be my second chance to spread the word about some very special characters, and hopefully it will give those characters one more chance to win over some fans.
Now I may be shooting myself in the foot with this, but I'm hoping that this time around these very special characters will win some new followers of their own. If even one more person is exposed to them, I'll consider this month to be a success. So with no further ado, I would love to reintroduce you to a character that I first feature on June 9th, 2010. He is one that has been around for decades and deserves all the attention he can get, Mandrake the Magician.
Growing up, I was always fascinated by stage magicians. There was something so wondrous about a elegantly dressed man wearing a a top hat who can make things disappear or appear at will. So when I came across a bunch of old comic books, during the 4th grade, that showcased a stage magician who not only performed real magic but fought criminals and saved innocents, I was hooked.
Mandrake the Magician started as a syndicated comic strip appearing in newspapers around the country in the 1930s. He quickly became so popular that he started to appear in his own comic books, the ones I fell in love with plus a radio series in the 1940s and a movie serial from Columbia pictures, which is now available on DVD (I'm so buying them).
Needless to say with all the moving we did as I kid I eventually lost track of those comic books and Mandrake had slowly started to fade in my memory, so when the animated series, Defenders of the Earth, came out in the late 1980s I was hooked once again. Defenders paired Mandrake up with his old sidekick Lothar (who was one of the earliest black heroes to appear in comic books), The Phantom, and Flash Gordon, both of which where first created by King Features, the company behind the Mandrake comic strip. I loved this show, these heroes, along with their younger heirs, fought off Ming the Merciless from conquering our world. It was only on for about one season, but every once in a while I find episodes of it for sale on DVD.
I have a lot of fond memories of Mandrake as he fought evil villains like The Cobra. He stuck to his guns and never let the situations he found himself in, get the best of him. He was strong and kind and I owe a big thank you to whoever put those comics in that box, then forgot about then.