Frew Collectibles

Frew Publications was founded in 1948 by Ron Forsyth, Jim Richardson, Jack Eisen & Peter Watson (the ‘Frew’ name was derived from the last initials of each name). Frew Publications boasts the longest running English language Phantom comic book series in the world.

Frew Publications 1st issue titled ‘Enter The Phantom’ was published on the 9th of September 1948, and contains the story, ‘The Slave Traders’ by Lee Falk and drawn by Ray Moore. Phantom comics published by Frew Publications continue to be released fortnightly to-this-day.

As the Phantom grew in popularity in Australia in the late 1940’s, we start to see Phantom merchandise become available to the public. Frew Publications actively offered Phantom merchandise across it’s range of comic books and we start to see advertising alongside Phantom comic strips.

The earliest Frew Publications advertisement we see in a Phantom comic is on the back cover of number 18, published in 1950 for a Phantom Ring, requiring the reader to return a coupon, with payment, to Frew Publications.

Frew Publications also advertised Phantom merchandise (which was produced by John Kendall Co) in publications such as Giantsize, Super Yank Comics, Cartoon Comics, Catman and Sir Falcon (see example below of Sir Falcon number 1).

7 items of Phantom merchandise were released between 1950 and 1969, with advertisements seen both within and on the outside of comics published by Frew Publications. At least 21 varying advertisements have been identified over this 19 year period.

The 7 pieces of Phantom merchandise released are:

  • The Phantom Gold Ring
  • The Phantom Club Member Badge
  • The Phantom Quick Firing Pistol
  • The Phantom Mark Gold Stick-Pin
  • The Phantom Rubber Stamp Ring
  • The Phantom Stamps
  • The Phantom Silver Ring

The Phantom Gold Ring

14 advertisement styles identified, listed as ‘Golden Luminous Ring’ or ‘Gold Plated Ring’.

The Phantom Club Member Badge

1 advertisement style identified.

The Phantom Quick Firing Pistol

1 advertisement style identified.

The Phantom Mark Gold Stick-Pin

6 advertisement styles identified, with red or ‘glow in the dark’ eyes, listed as ‘Luminous Stick-Pin’ or ‘Gold Stick-Pin’.

The Phantom Rubber Stamp Ring

10 advertisement styles identified, ring coming in red, blue or green.

The Phantom Stamps

1 advertisement style identified (stamps from James Lee’s collection).

The Phantom Silver Ring

5 advertisement styles identified.

In addition to the merchandise noted above by Frew Publications, we see an additional offering, provided free of charge when ordering the Phantom Club Member Badge as seen above.

Advertisements for a ‘Life-Size Picture Of The Phantom’ start appearing in Phantom comic number 322 (published in 1966), available to those who purchase the Phantom Club Member Badge.

These advertisements will continue to be published in Phantom comics up until number 440 (published in 1971), with the advertisement appearing 88 times.

The ‘Life-Size Picture Of The Phantom’ measures 18.5cm x 25.3cm and printed in full color on light cardboard stock.

Thank you Christopher Smith for assisting with images and information.