Last week we ran a poll to decide the DailyINK community’s choice for “Favorite Mandrake Female Character.” We’re excited to announce that the winner with over 80% of the vote was Narda!
Today, in our Mandrake Fan Poll #5, we turn our attention to some of MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN’s greatest Sunday storylines. The Archivist has chosen his favorites for the DailyINK community to vote on. We also encourage you to write in any other storylines you loved in the comments below.
The Flame Pearl
This great Sunday storyling story was what could be called an epic of sorts, running two whole years.
A Colonel Barton mounts a scientific expedition (more like a treasure hunt) to the Pacific Ccean in search of the rare and valuable Flame Pearls. Along the way, their ship, the Argos comes to a magnetic island that no metal can be used on, another run by gorgeous Amazons, giant exploding sea monsters, ghost ships, a witch, a land of giants, bloodthirsty pirates, and an ocean of fire, only to finally find the source of the pearls, and accidentally sink the island, and lose everything!
At the close of this story in April, 1942, readers would be aware of far more real horrors in South Pacific.
The Kingdom Of Marvel
In “The Kingdom Of Marvel” Mandrake, Lothar and Narda inadvertently must land their plane in the unexplored Misty Mountains. Then they are attacked by a tree and chased by a robot, which in turn is destroyed by the tree! An old hermit explains they have landed in the midst of a civil war for the Kingdom Of Marvel between the “Flora” and Mechana” factions.
Always ready for an adventure, they investigate the Flora side first. A friendly “Florian” takes them on a fast moving vine to their city, which looks like a crowd of giant mushrooms with windows. The place is lit by phosphorescent plants, potatoes cook themselves and steaks grow on bushes. Clothes, including actual nylon stockings come from “Garment Plants”. We come to meet the Queen of Flora, a beautiful Blonde named Dr. Florel. She has an instant desire to make Mandrake marry her, and uses a “Flower Of Forgetfulness” to erase his memory and make him her slave.
Saved at the last second from a marriage with the scheming Queen, they come to the land of “Mechana”, where all manner of robots, conveyer belts and televisions do all the tasks in the city. They come to meet the last man living in the city, a chap named Tor. He explains that the machines his people made eventually did so much that everyone became so lazy they did nothing at all but exist and be waited on, and eventually simply died out, not even interested in breeding.
Tor reveals that he has a huge arsenal of weapons that long ago were going to be used to conquer Flora, but all interest in conquest had been forgotten. The only thing keeping Tor going all this time is, incredibly enough, is he has fallen in love with a picture of Dr. Florel. At length, they get together and are married, prompted by a mysterious message commanding them to do so from “The King Of Marvel.” Not one to let a mystery hang there, Mandrake takes his friends off to kind this strange monarch. There they learn that his people have a bizarre ability to more or less haunt the rest of the world (remember, all this is supposed to be still on Earth) and give us no privacy at all. Unfortunately, before Mandrake can make use of this information, or any of the preceding events, the trio of adventurers are brainwashed, waking up at home.
Rex, The Living Fossil
In this Sunday storyline, a Professor named Dale is breeding animals backward to their less evolved, earlier forms. This is an actual science, recreating “Phenotypical” creatures, for instance a pair of zoologist brothers named Heinz and Lutz Heck bred back several types of horses and cattle in the mid-twentieth century.
The good doctor has an experiment going: he’s developed a special ray, sort of like a giant tanning lamp, that helps breed backwards what ever goes under it. Just as he’s giving small doses to a reptile egg, a distraction and an accident causes him to leave it under all night- and upon returning, he finds just a broken shell and a large path of destruction. Mandrake happens to be having another action packed pith helmet adventure in the dark continent, and joins the hunt for whatever has developed. Of course, it’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and as Godzilla fans can tell you, they’re a menace to society.
The professor wants to kill it, but Mandrake insists it would be a boon to science if it could be caught and displayed in an American zoo. But to anyone who remembers The Lost World, they’ll recall that such a plan can go horribly wrong, and it does. The dinosaur breaks out, and rampages through the city, even falling off a bridge! A submarine catches up with him and chases him onto a nice safe island where he becomes a tourist trap. I wonder if the Jurassic Park team ever saw this story.
Lee often used pirates in his stories, indeed the Phantom’s origin and life mission is to fight pirates. But in this story, a new twist on them with updated methods. In the “Astro-Pirates,” Narda is riding a modern (1966) jumbo jet air liner when suddenly a small plane lands on the roof, space-shuttle style, and a load of pirates spill out into the jet and rob the passengers, and threaten to kill the captain. As they depart, the had planned to set a time bomb, but decide to forgo it, as Narda is too beautiful to die.
When they land, Mandrake and the police thrash out the hows and whys of the operation, and decide one of the robbed passengers might have been in on it. Monitoring his communications bear out the theory, and Mandrake and Lothar take the next plane on the pirate’s list. When they break in, he hypnotizes them and puts on one of their space suit-like costumes and joins them when they fly back, this time he sticks to the outside of the pirate craft with magnetic boots, and forces them to land by threatening to blow up their ship with a carefully aimed bullet to the gas tank. The police capture them on arrival.
What of these “Mandrake the Magician” Sunday storylines is your favorite? Vote right here:
We’ll announce the DailyINK community’s choice for “Favorite Sunday Storyline” in a blog post next Monday. And be sure to check back often for more Mandrake polls, special historical posts, and other fun surprises. And don’t forget to follow along on the DailyINK Facebook page and Twitter page as well.