Mandrake the Magician: The Revised Edition by Jerry Whitworth
Created by Lee Falk (famous for the Phantom) in 1934, Mandrake the Magician is one of the earliest superheroes in modern existence appearing in a self-titled comic strip. Often accompanied by his friend Lothar, Mandrake is a master of hypnotism that travels the globe battling evil. Mandrake’s father Theron is the headmaster of the College of Magic in the Himalayas where he guards the Mind Crystal (Mandrake guards its twin). Mandrake’s gravest enemy was his half brother Luciphor who, under the guise of the Cobra, sought at least one of the two Mind Crystals. It is contended the character was based on real life magician Leon Giglio who toured as Mandrake the Magician and whose first wife Narda made the jump to the comic strip (eventually marrying the strip’s protagonist).
THE REVISED EDITION
Magic is a family business for the Giglio clan. Leon Giglio, better known as Mandrake the Magician, is the latest in a long line of stage magicians, where his father was a stage magician, his father’s father, and so on. However, Leon made the leap to using modern technology in his act to take illusion to another level, something frowned upon by his father Milton (or, Theron the Uncanny) who chides his son about this decision, praising the virtues of the mental and physical discipline of the craft of the past. However, Leon hasn’t heard from his father in years since an expedition into the Himalayas. That is until Lothar, a man claiming to be the African Prince of the Seven Nations, appears on his door step with a message and a crystal from him. Owing his father a debt for saving his life, Lothar claims that real magic exists and that the crystal is one half of an artifact capable of great power, sought by the forces of light and darkness alike. Unable to carry on the responsibility (and inherit danger) of caring for both crystals anymore, Lothar has brought one of Milton’s crystals to Leon to guard.
Believing the entire story to be an elaborate joke, Leon swallows his words when the homunculus Kshin appears, summoned by his father to assist his son (and prove his claims to be true). Leon has little time to absorb the story as an agent of the secret magic order called 8 arrives for the crystal, having followed Lothar waiting for confirmation of his possession of the artifact. Employing his vast skills as Mandrake the Magician, a lifetime of study as an illusionist, mentalist, escapologist, ventriloquist, and prestidigitationist, Leon now has to enter the world of real magic employing his knowledge of stage magic to survive. In this, he’s joined by Lothar (honor bound to guard the life of Leon) and Kshin (Leon’s tiny winged guide in the world of real magic) as well as his contortionist assistant and apprentice Narda and former-intelligence operative turned chauffeur/bodyguard Hojo. Mandrake is assisted in his adventures with ridiculous wealth that started from his familial inheritance but grew exponentially with marketing himself as an international phenomenon (leading to the construction of a massive mansion he refers as Xanadu). What was a life of leisure is now filled with facing the likes of angels and demons, vampires and werewolves, witches and wizards, and zombies and voodoo priestesses.
Mandrake the Magician was suggested by Glenn Walker.