In addition to the Green Hornet, and the Phantom, Dynamite Entertainment has announced it has licensed Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician from King Features Syndicate.
“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”.
Personally, I’m pretty excited about this news, as the company has been breathing new life into old characters like Zorro, The Lone Ranger, and Buck Rogers. While Moonstone Books still have its version of The Phantom, The Last Phantom story looks really interesting.
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.