Using this translation turn the pages a bit odd - sorry




The Creators of Mandrake the Magician (and the Phantom)


the first blb

Mandrake took the first step into the "comic books" in the big / better little book series, these books did have single edited pictures from the newspaper version on one page and text on the next one.

Lee Falk was writing two other comic strip projects before he and Ray Moore came up with the idea for the Phantom. He and Ray Moore did a two-week panel and KFS bought it. A strange thing is that Ray's widow, Claire, told Ed Rhoades that a group of artists (one of them was Hugh Hackaday) meet with Ray and helped him develop the image of the Phantom. She said Lee only attended the first one or two meetings.


script page for a sunday page for the Phantom from 1962

The first daily strip with the Phantom was printed 17 feb 1936.

In several interviews Lee Falk told that he did a lot of the pencil layouts in these early days, when the team did both the dailies and sundays of Mandrake and the dailies with the Phantom. Perhaps similar with the script at left ?

Even if Ray Moore now had his own strip to work with he continued as assistant on Mandrake until the early summer of 1936, mostly with some of the inking on the dailies. Phil Davis signed all dailies up to 11 jan 1936, and it is believed that he stop signing the strips when somebody else did the inking.


Ray Moore

For help with the lettering both Phil Davis and Ray Moore worked with Eddie Walcher, and Phil Davis had hired an other pen and ink draftsman (after Ray Moore) as assistant in 1936.

Lee Falk and his wife, Louise Kanaserift, moved to NY in 1937. They travel around in Europa several months every year, and Louise Falk acted in various plays in Connecticut during the summers.

In 1939 Phil Davis was a hard working man, he share his desk room with 6 other commercial artist (The Illustrators Inc.) at the 12.th floor at the Louderman Building in St. Louis. He had married Martha Grocott in St. Lois nov 5 1934, the head fashion artist in Vandervoort's art department.

Phil Davis had developed a tight work schema so that he could be 4 weeks ahead the publication dates, so at:

- Mondays he roughing out the six strips of dailies and one page of the sundays.

- Tuesdays and Wednesdays he spent tree hours in penciling one strip in the morning, afternoon and evening.

- Thursdays he penciled the sunday page.

- Fridays he spent inking in.

- Saturdays at noon he picks up his wife and they went to their weekend house at Big River.

Mandrake was publicized in many US and foreign newspapers and KFS translated the strips into 17 different languages. The KFS income for Mandrake in 1938 was $ 42 000. The income was split to KFS 50 %, Lee Falk 25 % and Phil Davis 25 % (in 1938 $ 10 500 was a lot of money ! ).

Due to the political situation in Europe and Asia late 30's several newspapers in Spain, Germany, Italy and China stopped publications of US newspaper strips. Lee Falk and Ray Moore made a sunday version of the Phantom and the first strip was publicized 28 may 1939.

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Mandrake the Magican and the Phantom is copyright 2018 King Features Syndicate Inc., The Hearst Corporation