1963 – ’69 Comic Book Covers: The Phantom and Mandrake

Le Fantôme Special N°60. 1968. Cover by Mario Caria.

The Phantom is a fictional American crime-fighting superhero first published by Lee Falk in 1936 as a daily newspaper comic strip. The Phantom’s adventures have been translated into many languages, as well as having adaptations for film, television and video games. The title continues to be published to the date of this post. In French-speaking countries the Phantom is known as La Fantôme. The character (along with Mandrake the Magician – who we will see examples of later in this post) is considered by many as one of the first comic book costumed superheroes.

From Wikipedia: The Phantom was the first fictional hero to wear the skintight costume which has become a hallmark of comic-book superheroes, and was the first shown in a mask with no visible pupils (another superhero standard). Comics historian Peter Coogan has described the Phantom as a “transitional” figure, since the Phantom has some of the characteristics of pulp magazine heroes such as The Shadow and the Spider and earlier jungle heroes such as Tarzan, as well as anticipating the features of comic book heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Captain America.

TVTA is pleased to present a selection of 1960s French edition adverts and covers for both the Phantom and Mandrake, featuring work by the artists Mario Caria, Umberto Sammarini (U. Sam), and Domenico Mirabella. These 1960s French editions are reprints from original 1940s source material.

Advert for Le Fantôme N°14. 1963.

Mandrake the Magician is another Lee Falk newspaper comic strip creation, published slightly earlier than the Phantom in 1934. Mandrake’s powers are hypnotism, invisibility, levitation, teleportation and shapeshifting. He uses his powers to fight crime against gangsters, evil scientists, aliens, and villains from other dimensions. Mandrake’s crime-fighting partner is the powerful African prince Lothar – notable as one of the first African comic book characters with superhuman powers.

Mandrake N°241. 1969. Cover by Umberto Sammarini (U. Sam).
Advert for Mandrake et Lothar. 1968.
Panel from Mandrake N°20 The Five Faces of Saki. 1963.

As always, thanks for looking!

12 thoughts on “1963 – ’69 Comic Book Covers: The Phantom and Mandrake

    • Haha, that’s so true… some of the old comics, mags and ads I pick up have that ‘old, musty’ smell about them… this particular batch is really well-preserved in its colours and white page edges, and doesn’t smell at all. Not bad, seeing as they’re more than 50 years old!


  1. After Batman (’66) … (actually have Book 1 of the Complete Silver Age Daily & Sunday Newspaper Comic book inn front of me right now) The Phantom is the next ‘hero’ i recall reading as a kid. I completely skipped the usual Superman / Spiderman somehow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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