Frew #1438
by Jim Shepherd
#1438 - 70th Birthday Special
(this edition is the 1466th actually printed)

Release Date: 17 Feb 2006

  • Pages: 100 + 36
  • Price: $5.50 inc. GST
  • Cover: Jim Shepherd & Sy Barry
  • Includes a bonus 36 page Tribute to Lee Falk comic book (see below for a description)

Tribute to Lee Falk
by Sy Barry

  • The Seahorse
    • Script: Lee Falk
    • Art: Ray Moore
    • 12th daily newspaper story; 22 Jan - 27 Jul 1940.
    • Previous Frew appearances: #10-11 (1949 & 2001/02 replicas), #100-101 (1956), #187-188 (1961), #297-298 (1965), #444-445 (1971), #622-623 (1977), #832-833 (1985), #953A (1990).

  • Fathers and Sons
    • Script: Lee Falk
    • Art: Wilson McCoy
    • 22nd Sunday newspaper story; 20 Feb - 24 Apr 1949.
    • Previous Frew appearance: #950 (1990). The daily strip version of this story, which ran simultaneously in 1949 newspapers (D34), has been published in #76 (1954), #163 (1960), #267 (1964), #409 (1969), #577 (1976), #1068 (1994).

  • The Death Threat
    • Script: Lee Falk
    • Art: Sy Barry
    • 168th daily newspaper story; 13 Nov 1989 - 24 Mar 1990.
    • Previous Frew appearance: #960 (1990).

  • Message from the Publisher:
    Celebrating - the 70th birthday of The Phantoml Lee Falk's internationally-famous character made his debut on February 17, 1936 and Frew's special tribute issue goes on sale in most parts of Australia exactly 70 years later.
    To celebrate the occasion, we bring you a 100-page special featuring stories illustrated by Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy and Sy Barry, indisputably the three most famous artists in The Phantom's newspaper strip history. Collectively, they drew The Phantom for the first 59 years - from 1936 until 1995! Frew selected The Seahorse by Moore, Fathers and Sons by McCoy and The Death Threat by Barry, because all have been out of print for 16 years and also because they represent the incredible storytelling abilities of Lee Falk.
    The Seahorse first appeared in 1940, Fathers and Sons in 1949 and The Death Threat in 1989-90, a span of some 50 years. Do not be confused with Fathers and Sons carrying some early episode credits for Ray Moore! All the work was by Wilson McCoy and as you will see, McCoy eventually receives the artistic credit.
    This birthday issue includes a 36page BONUS publication which showcases the long and eventful career of Lee Falk. I guarantee you will be surprised at some of the revelations! There was much more to Lee Falk than simply being a comics creator. He was heavily involved with the theatre for many years, he wrote plays and poetry, was an avid student of American politics, had many sporting interests, in his younger years worked in the advertising industry, produced early commercials and wrote radio dramas and even loved dabbling in the kitchen! However, his involvement with Mandrake the Magician (his first comics creation) and The Phantom for a quite amazing 65 continual years is of paramount importance. You will learn how and when it all started, what inspired many of his ideas, other comics he came close to having syndicated - even which rival comics he most enjoyed! Some of them may surprise you!
    Lee had a wonderfully sly sense of humour and away from classic adventure stories, enjoyed a number of regular sight gags and humour strips. You will also learn which movies and actors he most admired, what he thought (at least, in part!) of The Phantom movie starring Billy Zane and how he rated artists like Ray Moore, Wilson McCoy and Sy Barry.
    Even if you have only a passing interest in the theatre, you will be astonished to discover how many plays he produced or directed and the stars who performed in his productions. The list is like a Who's Who of Hollywood, Broadway and the West End. Among them was the brilliant Jose Ferrer who was adamant that Lee was using the "Method Acting" technique years ahead of Lee Strasberg!
    If there was a single reason for the ongoing success of both Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom, it could only be that Lee Falk was such an avid reader for his entire life. He was probably most reliant on the classics for Mandrake and The Phantom plots, but pulp fiction also played a part. You will learn how the idea came to Lee for The Phantom's Skull Ring and the immovable mark left on the jaws of roughnecks!
    The Lee Falk tribute lift-out is crammed with photographs, many of them published for the first time and also includes a complete chronology of all of his Phantom newspaper comic strip stories.
    All at Frew hope you get as much enjoyment from this special tribute issue as we had researching, writing and compiling!
    Our next edition will be on sale on 3 March and we return to The Phantom's battle with Jonathon Wild, the king of London crime.

Jim Shepherd

Future issues planned as of 17 February 2006 (subject to change without notice):

Check the New@Egmont and The Missing Semic Stories pages for details of other upcoming stories.

My thanks to the staff of Frew Publications for providing this information.

More Frew stuff ...

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Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 17 February 2006