Comic-book Quicktake: Jewel of Denial

Mandrake theh Magician

Jewel of Denial, featuring Mandrake the Magician, is a backup filler in Moonstone’s Captain Action #1. The story is scripted by Mike Bullock and illustrated by Samicler Gonçalves.

I’m pretty ambivalent about the positives and the negatives, since the story is more of a teaser/filler/promo (duh, it is a back-up story).

What’s weak/not so good?

  • First off, the hmm… I’m thinking so I’m stroking my chin bit is way overdone!
  • The Phantom 2040ish look is, again, rather unfortunate. Moreover, the Phantom is not a 1800-PHANTOM vigilante superhero who would be well-known to all people.
  • The new-look Mandrake does not have the charismatic appeal of Davis and Fredericks’ memorable illustrations.  Samicler’s artwork could be more appealing (purely subjective). Somehow the artwork appears rushed (or is that a new style?). I am not much of a fan of what is rather gratuitously and sweepingly generalized as manga-like artwork. And Lothar’s getting way too corny in the shades and suit!
  • Too much stuffing in the tiny tale! (not necessarily a drawback)

Much kudos to Mike and Samicler:

  • Samicler’s artwork of the illusions is really nice and enjoyable and adds an extra dimension to the regular comic-strip version. Perhaps it is stretching fact a bit, but we probably see more Mandrake-magic in this six-page filler than in the drawn-out annual!
  • Mike Bullock’s script is every long-standing Mandrake reader’s delight–a light romp in the vein of classic stories with a walk in a park/drive through a desert highway theme.
  • An impressive who’s-who of rogues feature: The Brass Monkey makes for an interesting foe in this short tale.  Aleena the Enchantress makes a pseudo-comeback too. And of course, though the Brass Monkey may believe her father to be dead, the newspaper stories assure us otherwise about the Clay Camel! Interesting possibilities for future treatment in an ongoing Mandrake comic series.

The short six-page treatment hooks your interest right at the start and leaves you wanting for more. What else can you ask for?

The artwork featured in this post is copyright King Features Syndicate, Inc. and published by Moonstone, and is merely presented for informational purposes.

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