Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Favorite Fictional Character --- 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 are 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 villians 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.


Simcha said...

I actually used to be obsessed with Harry Houdini when I was younger. And though I've never heard of Mandrake the Magician this sounds like something my son would really enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this blog and wanted to say, wow, another Mandrake the Magician fan. I've always enjoyed Mandrake ever since the 80's cartoon, and finding him in syndication as well. He always surprised me with his illusions and the like. It's nice to see someone else remember him. The Defenders of the Earth show is running on Amazon Prime and it was four seasons long. Peter Reneday, the voice of Mandrake, talked about it for a short moment in an interview this last summer. I have to say, they picked a wonderful voice for that part. I am currently reading the older comics, having got the large anthology of Mandrake comics being currently printed. I wish they would revive the comic, keeping it in the same time period, and having him come across contemporaries like The Shadow, Green Hornet, even the Phantom now and then. Thanks for writing about Mandrake. :)