How Would You Have Ended “Vanguard of Shadows”?

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Hi Mandrake fans,

Welcome to the official Mandrake the Magician website! We are so glad you are here, joining the lively community of dedicated Mandrake fans. There are 10 years of Mandrake archives on this site, so have fun exploring the comics using the “Calendar” feature above.

In today’s post, we have a question for our fans.

As you know, Fred Fredericks, the longtime artist and writer of the Mandrake the Magician daily-only comic strip, announced his retirement recently. The comic strip has since gone into reprints, serving up great Mandrake stories from the archives.

The last story Fred wrote, “Vanguard of Shadows,” began on 5/27/13. The last strip from that storyline ran on 7/6/13, and the storyline did not have a clear ending.

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We want to know: how would YOU have ended “Vanguard of Shadows”? Share your ideas in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “How Would You Have Ended “Vanguard of Shadows”?

  1. Pingback: Our New “Mandrake the Magician” Website | DailyINK Blog - Comic Strips, Editorial Cartoons, Sunday Funnies, Jokes

  2. The story is a bit of a mess, but if they could bring in intel or margon and have mandrake cleaverly outwit the aliens with some great cliffhangers from their copy powers. just get back to classic mandrake just like the current reprint ss div is.

  3. Not offering a storyline wrap-up here, just a suggestion for getting it done: Bring in Jim Keefe, who used to do the Flash Gordon strip, and who know has picked up on the Sally Forth style so well, to finish up the story. I saw the recent cover he did for Comics Revue and must say he does a good Mandrake.

  4. Nice site for your Mandrake brand. Fred Frederick’s final story needs to be finished, for sure, I’m thinking that while there are other-worldly aliens behind the plot, I’m also thinking the multiple Hojos are not aliens themselves, but constructs or androids modeled after Hojo by a small team of aliens. For this reason, Mandrake is not able to hypnotize them, so his powers do not work until he can confront the real aliens. Lothar has to smash through the machine Hojos in order to get Mandrake into the alien’s stronghold, However, just as they are about to catch up with the bad guys, Mandrake and Lothar must face the aliens’ newest replicants modled after Narda!

    One picky point about your description on this page: Yes, Mandrake was “daily-only” toward the end of its run, but Fred Fredericks was also the writer-artist for the Sunday for the period following Lee Falk’s death in 1999 through the Sunday’s end in 2002. Fred had been the primary artist for the strip since 1964.

  5. It seems to me that the most obvious starting point is to be found in the indications (in 6/26 and 6/27, especially) that the Melvans don’t really know what they’re doing. (Hmmm… best, I think, to cast all sentences in such a way that the word “Melvan” is never used—we don’t want people being reminded of “Mad” #1.) There are several things that could be done with this, but the “Road to Oz” and “Squire of Gothos” tricks seem inappropriate for a story that, if it is to be done at all, ought to be a fitting send-off.

    Well, since the very first strip of the interruption (7/8) mentions Narda’s winning of the Miss Galaxy context, we must assume that Magnon, Emperor of a Million Planets, is still in continuity, though I don’t recall seeing him in yonks. I suggest that the invaders from Melva be revealed to be only semicivilized barbarians from beyond the fringe of Magnon’s territory, who not only do not understand how to use the technology that they have stolen, but do not even understand what the technology is for. For example, their hypnotic tools are actually meant to be employed in psychotherapy, not as weapons.

    Rough outline: Lothar joins Narda and Hojo, and they all go off to rescue Mandrake, but the invaders capture them. But Narda recognizes an artistic motif on one of their devices as appropriate to Magnon’s culture. The four, under Mandrake’s direction, unite telepathically to summon Magnon. (Exposition will be needed, but that’s no more than a comics writer is expected to do. As it is, enough time has passed since July that an opening recap will be needed just to start the continuation, anyway.) At this point, Magnon either mops up everything quickly—quickly enough that the reader perceives Mandrake as having done the hard work, as he is the star of the strip—or else Magnon fails, making all this only the springboard of a much longer and more complicated story, depending on what the Suits at King Features want. The word “vanguard” certainly sets up something like that, but I know that long continuities are frowned upon nowadays (though “9 Chickweed Lane” recently had a WW2 flashback that lasted about a year, and it seems to have been a hit).

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