Mandrake the Magician: Dailies Volume 1--The Cobra HC
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: December 20, 2016
Price: $39.99
Creator(s): Lee Falk (writer), Phil Davis (artist)
Format: 240 pgs., Black & White, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-7827-6690-2
Age Rating: Mature
ICv2 Rating: 5 Stars out of 5

Always immaculately dressed in his signature tuxedo, silk top hat and cape, Mandrake the Magician may have looked like a stereotypical stage magician, but he didn’t use misdirection and tricks to entertain audiences. His powers were very real and for nearly 70 years he used them to solve mysteries, fight evil and visit fantastic places in comic strips published in newspapers all over the world.  Mandrake the Magician: Dailies Volume 1--The Cobra reprints his action packed, globe-trotting adventures from their very beginning.

Newcomers to the character should probably be aware during its earliest days both its art and writing could be a little rough, and the creators unsure what Mandrake’s powers exactly were.  But from the very start Lee Falk knew how to spin an exciting story on a day to day basis and the reader will quickly find themselves swept up and away by a gripping high-adventure.  And by the second story Phil Davis art begins to develop, becoming sharper and more detailed.

And fans of Mandrake, and classic comic strips in general, should certainly appreciate this handsome hardcover.  It features an incredibly crisp reproduction of 650 strips, reprinting six complete stories, which originally ran in newspapers between 1934 and 1934 and 1938,  Also included is an excellent history of the feature by noted comic strip authority Rick Norwood that doesn’t shy away from addressing the strips’s early racist portrayal of Mandrake’s African servant Lothar.  Comic strips fans couldn’t ask for a better book than Mandrake the Magician: Dailies Volume 1--The Cobra.

--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.