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Dynamite Entertainment licenses Flash, Mandrake, Phantom

Official Press Release:

Dynamite Entertainment, under license from King Features Syndicate, returns Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and The Phantom to comic books, and all under the Dynamite publishing umbrella.

The Last Phantom was previously announced to ship this August with Alex Ross at the creative helm, Scott Beatty scripting and Eduardo Ferigato on art in the ongoing series. But with this newest arrangement, the relationship between Dynamite Entertainment and King Features becomes even further solidified with Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician! The last time these three iconic heroes were under one publisher was 43 years ago, during the period between 1966 and 1967 under the King Comics imprint. Through the years, different publishers have published each of the characters, with none having all three prime heroes together. Dynamite has changed that.

“Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician are two great additions to the iconic characters we currently publish: Green Hornet, The Phantom, Buck Rogers, Zorro, Project Superpowers, The Black Terror, Death Defying ‘Devil, Masquarade, The Lone Ranger and all of the titles we are proud to publish,” says Dynamite President and Publisher Nick Barrucci. “We promise to devote the same passion to these King Features properties as we have done so consistently throughout our publishing history, beginning with The Last Phantom”.

Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond, which was first published on January 7, 1934. The strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip. Also inspired by these series were comics such as Dash Dixon (1935 to 1939) by H.T. Elmo and Larry Antoinette and Don Dixon and the Hidden Empire (1935 to 1941) by Carl Pfeufer and Bob Moore. The adventures surrounded Flash Gordon, a handsome polo player and Yale graduate, and his companions, Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov. Dynamite’s comic book story begins as Earth is bombarded by fiery meteors. Dr. Zarkov believes the meteors are from outer space and invents a rocket ship to locate their place of origin. Half mad, he kidnaps Flash and Dale, whose plane has crashed in the area, and the three travel to the planet Mongo, where they discover the meteors are weapons devised by Ming the Merciless, evil ruler of Mongo.

Mandrake the Magician is a syndicated newspaper comic strip, created by Lee Falk, which began June 11, 1934 and has been distributed by King Features Syndicate since its inception. Phil Davis soon took over as the strip’s illustrator, while Falk continued to script. Mandrake is a magician whose work is based on an unusually fast hypnotic technique. As noted in captions, when Mandrake “gestures hypnotically,” his subjects see illusions, and Mandrake used this technique in his battles with a variety of gangsters, mad scientists, extraterrestrials and characters from other dimensions.

The Phantom made its 1936 debut as an adventure comic strip also created by Lee Falk and syndicated by King Features. Through the years, King Features adapted the popular feature into many forms of media, including television, film and video games. It stars a costumed crime fighter operating from the fictional African country, Bengalla. The Phantom is the 21st in a line of crime fighters that originated in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was murdered during a pirate attack. The only survivor of the attack, Christopher was washed ashore on a Bengallan beach, and swore an oath on the skull of his father’s murderer to dedicate his life to the destruction of piracy, greed, cruelty and injustice, with his sons and their sons set to follow him. Making a costume based on the image of an old jungle idol, he became the Phantom. When he died, his son took over the role of the Phantom. So the mantle would be passed down to new generations, leaving the people, who believed him to be immortal, to give the mysterious figure nicknames such as “The Man Who Cannot Die,” “Guardian of the Eastern Dark” and “The Ghost Who Walks.” Unlike many fictional costumed heroes, The Phantom does not have supernatural powers of any kind, but relies on strength, intellect and his reputation of being an immortal ghost to defeat his opponents.

Look for more news about Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician comics, as well as upscale collectible figurines, resin statues, bookends, snow globes, mini-busts, trading cards, ithographs and fine art!

Community Comments

#1 Jeff Stanson
@ 3:37 pm

If what they’ve previewed for The Phantom is an indication of what’s in store for Flash Gordon and Mandrake, Dynamite’s take on these characters will be grotesque and blood covered. I’ve wanted to, but have not at all enjoyed their take on the Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, or the Green Hornet. Moonstone was doing a great job with The Phantom, and I thought their Phantom annual with Mandrake and Lothar were excellent. Ardden was doing a decent job with Flash as well. Sad, sad news for characters that deserve better.

#2 Jeffrey Lindenblatt
@ 3:51 pm

The statement that this is the first time since 1967 that Flash, Phantom and Mandrake were published by the same company is wrong. In the 1990’s Marvel Comics published these characters. The Flash Gordon series had art done by Al Williamson which was recently reprinted.

#3 D.D.Degg
@ 4:54 pm

Rick Norwood’s comic strip reprint magazine Comics Revue from Manuscript Press has, since last year, been carrying all three of those characters’ strips; and has done so occasionally before.

#4 Chris Well
@ 9:00 pm

What Dynamite claims is that this is the first time these three separate licenses have been at the same comic book publisher as three separate properties appearing in original comic book stories — so comic strip reprints do not count, and Marvel kid imprint Star’s “Defenders of Earth” comic (a tie-in to the cartoon) does not count either. (This isn’t to say whether or not they’ll do a stellar job with the three properties, just give them credit where credit is due.)

#5 Jeff Stanson
@ 7:11 am

Chris, Dynamite is not due nor does it deserve credit for their claim. The Marvel reference made by Jeffrey isn’t to Marvel kid imprint Star. Marvel did actually publish separate comic series of The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Mandrake in 1995. The Flash Gordon series indeed featured wonderful art and layouts by Al Williamson, in the style of the Flash comics he had produced for King and others. The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks was written and drawn by Dave DeVries and Glenn Lumsden, and featured the 22nd Phantom with an updated, high-tech costume (far better than what Sy-Fy came up with and what Dynamite is previewing). Mandrake was written by Mike W. Barr, with painted art by Rob Ortaleza. The books came out just prior to the great comic book implosion of 1995, which saw Marvel dropping the King licenses, aborting the runs.

This is just one more example of an untrue claim made in Dynamite, which seems to be far better at generating hype than good comic books. Why King has licensed its long-lived characters to this company is beyond me.

#6 Jeff Pert
@ 1:18 pm

Frankly, I thoroughly enjoy Dynamite’s take on the Lone Ranger. While there are certainly violent scenes and some bloodshed, I have yet to see any scenes which could be classified as “blood covered”. And I speak as an avid viewer of the TV show as a child.

If “blood covered” is in reference to the new Phantom design, that’s berry juice, according to an interview in Comics Shop News.

I’m rarely thrilled with revamps of old heroes, either, but find it best to wait until the actual book is released to make my judgements.

#7 davidgrantlloyd
@ 10:48 pm

I haven’t yet read these new comics revamping the aforementioned classic characters. But I plan to and I’m looking forward to it.

I realise some readers may be turned off by the idea of making these characters slightly darker, more violent and even more realistic. But personally I think it’s a great idea.

The last Phantom in particular looks and sounds good — hopefuly it follows through. I’ll have to check out the Lone Ranger as well … I think a touch of bloodshed here and there would make some exciting action scenes and that would do more good than harm to a classic western chaacter like the lone ranger.

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