Sunday, June 07, 2020
Number 2436: Mandrake, Lothar, Molly, and a caveman named Lance
This daily comic strip continuity, which I found reprinted in Classic Adventure Strips #11 (1986), is as full of goofy stuff as any comic strip of its era. Mandrake and Lothar, Mandrake's friend and aide, are searching for an aviator named Molly, who has disappeared during a flight over Antarctica. Mandrake and Lothar encounter polar bears (at the South Pole, no less) and find a tropic zone, a lost world with dinosaurs and Neanderthals, and even a handsome caveman named Lance. Oh, and some bad guys who want to get at a lake of “hot oil.” I think all they would have needed to make the story complete would be a giant ape.
The whole story appeared over a long time: from November 30, 1936 to April 17, 1937. It is by Mandrake creator Lee Falk, and drawn by Phil Davis. Falk wrote the Mandrake strip until he died in 1999, and Davis did the artwork for 30 years, until he died.
The thing that struck me the most was not the lost world, caveman Lance, or even the polar bears...but Mandrake and Lothar tromping over the Antarctic tundra, with Mandrake in his tuxedo, and Lothar wearing his animal skin, and walking on his bare feet. I think it would probably take a lot more than a hypnotic gesture to keep the pair warm.
Mandrake and the werewolves! Just click on the thumbnail.