Master Magicians and Phantoms: An Interview with Lee Falk, Part IV

Today we post the final installment of The Jade Sphinx’s throwback interview from 1996 with the incomparable Lee Falk (1911-1999), the creator of The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician!

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What do you think of the recent incarnations of The Phantom, like the cartoon series Phantom 2040, or Defenders of the Earth?

First off, the animator of Defenders of the Earth concentrated on Mandrake, The Phantom, and Flash Gordon. They figured the kids would like something in a future time, with interesting technology and what not. So they grouped them with Flash in the future. I rather reluctantly agreed, thinking that maybe that was the way of the future, so let’s do it. We made The Phantom the 25th generation of the character, and the great-grandson of Mandrake. But when the animators depicted them, they just used the three, Mandrake, The Phantom, and Flash Gordon. I asked why they had excluded Lothar from it all. Here’s a hero who happens to be black, and millions of black and brown fans think of him as a role model. I argued that he had to be in the posters as well.
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Happy 80th Anniversary, Mandrake!

This date in history marks the day when readers were first introduced to the mystical powers of MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN. The first comic strip appeared in newspapers on June 11, 1934.

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Since the strip’s debut eight decades ago, Mandrake has remained a fan favorite and has a loyal following of dedicated readers. For that, we thank you!