Lee Falk, the creator of Mandrake the Magician and the Phantom was born on the 28th of April, 1911. Sadly passing away in 1999, Lee Falk’s upcoming Birthday is a timely reminder to recognize the well loved comic book characters he imagined, and were brought to life via his stories and the prolific amount of artists who have drawn them over time.
At the age of 25, we see Lee Falk create the Phantom and selling the right to the character to King Features Syndicate, with the first comic strip going to print in newspapers on February 1936, in the USA. Since then, we have seen thousands of comic books and newspaper comic strips going to print across the world. The Phantom still appears in a myriad of comic book series, newspapers and in digital form to this day.
Several biographies and articles have been written on Lee Falk’s life, and make for interesting reading. Read further about Lee Falk’s life and adventures HERE
Released in 1988 by King Features Syndicate via a Press Kit, below we see a page from the Press Kit detailing some further interesting information and exploits of Lee Falk (thank you Christopher Smith for sharing the below page).
Based on Lee Falk’s international travels and life experiences, we can certainly gain an understanding on his creative influence on adventures we see the Phantom go on in our comic books.
Lee Falk’s the Phantom paved the way for future creators to gain inspiration, and forge forward with their own comic book creations, most notably Batman. The creative features we see in not only the image of the Phantom, but also the world he lives and ‘plays’ in were groundbreaking at the time.
Some of these features which we see in other comic book characters include:
- The Phantoms mysterious identity,
- A one piece skin-tight costume,
- Wearing briefs on the outside of his costume,
- Residing at a secret location.
We see other unique features that Phantom story-lines contain, which aren’t commonly seen in other comic book characters, including:
- The role of the Phantom being passed on from father to son,
- Wearing rings (the Skull ring and Good Mark ring) containing specific significance,
- Aided in adventures by a wolf (Devil) and a stallion (Hero),
- Using his ‘brain and brawn’ to solve mysteries/crimes/cases, containing no ‘super-powers’,
- Avoiding the killing of a human or creature at all costs.
So in 2021, on what would of been Lee Falk’s 110th Birthday, we remember the pleasure he’s brought into our world through his creations, Mandrake the Magician and the Phantom via adventures vividly brought to life on the pages of comic books.