[[caption-width-right:293:Mandrake and Lothar.]]

Lee Falk's (''ComicStrip/ThePhantom'') first comic series, ''Mandrake the Magician'' is his other contender for "first costumed [[{{Superhero}} superhero]] in the comics". It all depends on if you want to count a tuxedo, with top hat and cape no less, as a costume.

Creator/KingFeaturesSyndicate started publishing ''Mandrake'' in 1934. The first story ''The Cobra'' introduced Mandrake's [[BashBrothers bash brother]], Lothar, an African prince who preferred fighting evil to his princely duties. Oh, yeah, Lothar is black. And perhaps the earliest black character portrayed seriously in comics. The second story ''The Hawk'' introduced Narda, who would become Mandrake's romantic interest. After [[ComicBookTime sixty years]] they finally married in 1998.

Educated in the mysterious ''Collegium Magikos'' in the Himalayas, Mandrake's main ability is the power to [[MasterOfIllusion create any illusion]] he can think of in a target's mind, just by "gesturing hypnotically." He also has some [[PsychicPowers telepathic abilities.]] Naturally, his illusion-casting powers make him the [[MagiciansAreWizards world's greatest stage magician,]] and that is how he earns his living when he's not busy fighting the forces of evil.

Art on the series was done by Phil Davis, and later by Fred Fredericks. Following Lee Falk's death, Fredericks took over writing the series as well, until his retirement on July 6, 2013. The Comics Kingdom site is currently running reprints, starting from 1995.

Can be read [[http://www.oregonlive.com/comics-kingdom/index.ssf?feature_id=Mandrake here.]]
!!Mandrake's adventures provide examples of:

* AnimatedAdaptation: Mandrake has been animated twice, in the 1972 special ''WesternAnimation/TheManWhoHatedLaughter'' and the 1986 series ''WesternAnimation/DefendersOfTheEarth''. He co-starred with other King Features characters in both projects.
* BadassMoustache: Of the pencil-thin variety, which [[{{Franchise/Zorro}} few good guys]] can pull off so well.
* BaldOfAwesome: Lothar
* BashBrothers: Lothar and Mandrake
* BetaCouple: Lothar and Karma
* BlackSheep: Mandrake's evil twin brother Derek and evil half-brother Cobra
* TheBigGuy: Lothar
* CallingCard: The Clay Camel would always leave a small clay camel figurine at the scene of a crime, and whenever he escaped capture. His daughter, The Brass Monkey, did a similar thing.
* ComicBookTime
* CoolOldGuy: Mandrake's dad Theron.
* CrossOver: As an African prince, Lothar is invited to ComicStrip/ThePhantom's wedding, and Mandrake gets to tag along. The two strips have had multiple crossovers over the years, establishing that the Phantom, Lothar, Mandrake, and their respective supporting casts are all friends.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Princess Narda
* EvilTwin: Derek
* FantasyKitchenSink: Magic, aliens, robots, parallel universes, time travel, you name it, Mandrake has encountered it at some point.
* GeniusBruiser: Lothar is strong ''and'' intelligent
* HomeBase: Xanadu
* InformedAttractiveness: Lee Falk sometimes went to extreme lengths to point out just how beautiful Narda is.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Mandrake's memory has been "fixed" several times, usually by well-meaning, but condescending aliens and time-travellers who think it's too dangerous to let him remember all the fantastic things he has seen.
* LukeIAmYourFather: Theron
* MagiciansAreWizards
* MasterOfDisguise: The Clay Camel
** And later his daughter, The Brass Monkey.
* MasterOfIllusion: Mandrake gestures hypnotically
* MeetCute: Mandrake first meets Princess Narda after two of her servants try to mug him.
* MentalPictureProjector: Mandrake can make a subject's memories appear as moving images on a wall
* NiceHat
* TheNotableNumeral: The villainous 8 gang
* PowerCrystal: The Crystal Cube, source of tremendous magical power, watched over by Theron at the College.
* ProtoSuperhero
* PullARabbitOutOfMyHat
* [[RebelliousPrincess Rebellious Prince]]: Lothar
* ScaryBlackMan: Lothar, again
* TheShangriLa: ''Collegium Magikos,'' the College of Magic in the Himalayas
* SocietyMarchesOn: In the early comics, Lothar was essentially Mandrake's manservant/porter/slave, who barely spoke, did menial tasks (and beat up villains on command), and tended to vanish and appear when convenient. (Nevermind the fact that his initial appearance resembled less an actual human being and more ''Black Sambo''.) When this sort of depiction became unacceptable, he developed into a proper character with an actual personality and on equal footing with Mandrake.
* StageMagician
* TheSyndicate: The "8" Gang, led by Octon [[spoiler: who is finally revealed as Cobra.]]
* TunnelKing: The Mole, a genius inventor with a headmounted broad-beam heat ray capable of vaporising rock. It was so effective, his regular outfit included a jetpack so he could keep up. Naturally, [[CutLexLuthorACheck he used it to steal from banks.]]
* VerbalTic: Lee Falk... really seemed to like... ellipses! It can give the characters... a certain... [[Creator/WilliamShatner Shatneresque]] quality!
* VillainExitStageLeft: The Clay Camel would almost always get away in the end by disguising himself into an inconspicuous bystander or police officer and sneak away. The heroes would then realize they've been foiled when they find a discarded disguise and one of his CallingCard camel figurines. The Brass Monkey used the same trick.
* WizardingSchool: ''Collegium Magikos''
* WorldsStrongestMan: Lothar