by Fred Fredericks
Dynamite Entertainment is proud to announce the January 2015 launch of King, an epic comic book event that marks the 100th anniversary of King Features Syndicate. The celebratory event will bring history’s most famous comic strip heroes – Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, and Jungle Jim, to comic books with five miniseries that build to a grand crossover in May. Helmed by top-tier talent and rising stars of the comic book industry, each launch issue of the King event features an interlocking cover by acclaimed artist Darwyn Cooke (DC: The New Frontier, Catwoman).The creative team behind Mandrake the Magician is Eisner-Award Winner Roger Langridge with artist Jeremy Treece. KingMandrake01-Cov-A-CookeCol Mandrake the Magician #1 puts on an epic show for all comers, with the classic stage magician using his sleight-of-hand and true magic to counter the threat of witch doctors and demons. Roger Langridge says, “With the Mandrake newspaper strip ending last year and going into reruns, I’m glad the old boy has found a home in comic books where his adventures can continue, now in panels considerably larger than a postage stamp. I think Mandrake and I are a good fit: he has a career as a stage entertainer, which is a theme I seem to keep coming back to, and yet when I used to read Mandrake as a kid, I always had a sneaking suspicion that he had far greater powers than mere hypnotism and was constantly holding them back. Maybe they frightened him! I liked that there was this implied other side to him that we only caught glimpses of. It’s quite a privilege to be allowed to carry on telling Mandrake’s adventures. I’m taking pains not to contradict the history of the strip, while at the same time keeping it fresh and accessible to newer readers; I want this version of Mandrake to be for all his fans, both new and old, taking what went before and building upon it. We’re looking forward to exploring some of those held-back powers, and maybe find out why he doesn’t like using them – and what happens when he does!” Artist Jeremy Treece says, “Working on a history-lush property such as Mandrake is such an incredible opportunity. You have a character that has spawned many similar characters in the comic book media, such as Zatara, Doctor Strange, and others. As an illustrator, the visuals you are able to pull out of just Mandrake alone are something that I assume any artist would love to be a part of. Not to mention the strong supporting characters such as Lothar, Narda, or his nemesis, the Cobra! My hopes are that exploring the world of Mandrake outside of comic strips, radio shows and serials, we can really welcome a whole new set of eyes on the characters, and I hope that the faithful followers will also enjoy the steps forward into that world as well.” Flash Gordon #1, Mandrake the Magician #1, Prince Valiant #1, The Phantom #1, and Jungle Jim #1 will be solicited in the Dynamite section of Diamond Comic Distributors' November Previews catalog, the premiere source of merchandise for the comic book specialty market, and slated for release in January 2015. Comic book fans are encouraged to reserve copies with their local comic book retailers. Each series in the overall King event will also be available for individual customer purchase through digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, and Dark Horse Digital.

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