A man of many talents, Lee Falk (1911-1999) was a playwright, novelist, world traveler and theater director/producer (who directed such actors a Marlon Brando, Charlton Hestion, and Paul Newman). He is unquestionably best known, however, as the creator of The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician comic striips.
Both characters first appeared in the 1930’s and, still in publication to this day, have legions of fans the world over. Combined, the Ghost Who Walks and the master illusionist have appeared in virtually ever form of media; on radio, in films, novels, animation, theater, comics, toys, and, of course, newspaper strips.
As testament to the longevity of his two famous creations are Falks own words:
Each artist, out of his own interests and imagination, creates his own world in his strip – this is true of Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Popeye, all good strips. And you accomplish this not by imitating others – you come up with your own idea. To me, The Phantom and Mandrake are very real – much more than the people walking around whom I don’t see very much. You have to believe in your own characters.
Falk received numerous awards and honors during his life, including The Yellow Kid Award, The Roman Lifetime Achievement Award, The Adamson Award, and the Golden Adamson Award.
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