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Falk, Lee

Entry updated 23 December 2023. Tagged: Artist, Author, Comics.

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Name adopted by the US Comics writer and artist, theatre director and producer whose birth name was Leon Harrison Gross (1911-1999); Falk was the middle name of his stepfather. He is best known in genre circles for creating and scripting the long-running, syndicated newspaper comic strips Mandrake the Magician (first published 11 June 1934) and The Phantom (first published 17 February 1936). The latter proto-Superhero, though lacking true Superpowers, was a strong influence on the tradition of the masked crime-fighter in a skintight costume. Despite the distractions of his theatre work, Falk continued to write scripts for his two famous creations until very near the end of his life; in collaboration with Thayer Birch he scripted the late-1970s musical Mandrake the Magician and the Enchantress, with music by George Quincy.

Six Big Little Book adaptations of comics storylines appeared from Whitman Publishing Company 1936-1947, the first being The Phantom (1936). A 1970s series of Avon paperback novels starring The Phantom appeared as by Falk, though many were ghostwritten by others who were normally identified on the title page despite the cover credit "Lee Falk's Original Story". The full list of contributors is: Bruce Cassiday as Carson Bingham, Basil Copper, Lee Falk, Ron Goulart as Frank S Shawn, and Warren Shanahan. For convenience of reference all fifteen titles are listed below.

Falk's many comics-related Awards include posthumous induction into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2013. [DRL]

see also: Charlton Comics; Defenders of the Earth; Illustration.

Lee Falk

born St Louis, Missouri: 28 April 1911

died New York: 13 March 1999



The Phantom in Big Little Books

The Phantom in Avon Books

For convenience of reference all fifteen titles, including those by other authors, are listed.


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