Monday, November 14, 2011

A Mandrake Writer

Dick Wood became known as a scripter on the King Features heroes in comic books when Phantom stories for Charlton credited him.  I imagine his first scripts for Charlton were passed along out of inventory when King's own short-lived comic book line ended operations.

Wood wrote King Comics' early Mandrake stories.

Mandrake 2 panels from its two stories

The singular expressions in these panels from the two stories in Mandrake 2—"Suffering Hannah" and "Great suffering Caesar" more so than "Great grief," which you can find from a number of other writers—are the sort I mentioned in my post on Dick Wood's Plastic Man stories at Quality in the Fifties. They don't show up in the first issue, but its "Y-yipes" and "Thunderation," among other things, are interjections Wood uses elsewhere.

Out of my handful of Mandrake issues, I come to writers I can't put names to in issues 4 and 6. (Jerry Siegel, by the way, told the Who’s Who that he wrote one Mandrake.) I would say that Wood wrote the Mandrake back-up in Flash Gordon 1. The inking credits here are Alberto Becattini's from the GCD; I hadn't recognized LeBlanc by myself.

some Dick Wood Mandrake stories

Sept/66#1 Menace of the City Junglep: Don Heck  i: Andre LeBlanc
The Flying Phantomp: Werner Roth  i: LeBlanc
Nov/66#2 Specter from Spacea: LeBlanc
The Phantom Casinoa: LeBlanc

a Dick Wood Mandrake in Flash Gordon

Sept/66#1 Midnight with Mandrakep: Heck  i: LeBlanc


  1. Glad to have another piece of the puzzle. Did Dick write Airboy, or was that his brother Dave?

  2. BTW, I don't see any Siegel traits on any Mandrake story. But he *did* write "The Invisible Demon" in PHANTOM #20.

  3. I only just this week figured Siegel for that Phantom story's writer as I looked through my King comics--he didn't use the Mighty Comics-type intro that he did on the Owl, Tiger Girl, and on his NoMan story. In fact it was pretty subtle for a Jerry Siegel story of the mid-Sixties, but yes, this is the other King feature he noted writing a single story for, per the Who's Who.

    Dick Wood wrote the first story in Phantom 20, the Girl Phantom one, but I believe the writer on the first two King issues, the others I've seen, was Bill Harris continuing from Gold Key.

    So far I don't think I've identified any Dave Wood Golden Age stories; I can differentiate his and Dick's stories as of the late Fifties at DC (Dick on early My Greatest Adventure, Dave on Challengers, Blackhawk, and so on).

  4. I've pegged Wood as the writer of the two Mandrake stories in issue #3 with your help. However, he may have stepped out after that. In succeeding stories, Lothar refers to himself as "Lothar", not "I", and his dialogue gets a bit dumber.

    Thanks for the info on the Phantom, and I hope you post a list of GK / King Phantom writers soon.

  5. Outside of 18-20 at King, my Phantom collection centers mostly on the last few years at Charlton(namely ones I bought off the stands), starting in the Joe Gill and Pat Boyette run. Somehow I never found many Phantom back issues once I got back the good sense to look at companies beside DC and Marvel after I returned to collecting comics in high school and college.

  6. Another one: Siegel wrote "The Noxious Oxoids", starring Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, in SUPER TV HEROES #2 (1968).

  7. I've found out from Bails's Who's Who that Bill Pearson is listed as a Mandrake writer for this period. He also did some Flash Gordon scripting, so that's not surprising.