"He Was First!" – Roger Langridge Talks Mandrake The Magician

Next year Dynamite is kicking off the King Features crossover event which is five miniseries that will all merge into one. Part of that event is a Mandrake the Magician series written by Roger Langridge. Byron Brewer chatted with the writer about taking on such a classic character.

KingMandrake01CovACookeColBYRON BREWER: Roger, what is there about Mandrake that separates him from all the other magic-based characters in comicdom (Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate, etc.)? And please do not answer, "He's not a doctor." (laughs)

ROGER LANGRIDGE: I suppose the snarky answer is, "He was first!" All the other magical characters are, to a greater or lesser degree, imitators of Mandrake. Some, like Zatara, were even direct knockoffs. And Mandrake's a lot more human than either of those characters you mention; he's got some warmth and charisma, which your Doctors really don't. Terrible bedside manner. Very cold hands …

BB: I cannot remember if we have ever seen Mandrake's sanctum/home as we do in Mandrake #2. Do you know? And if so, did you use any of that material here?

RL: My version of Xanadu is what I think it should logically be like given the circumstances. Lee Falk's Xanadu was a very high-tech affair, but our series is set in a world where technology has been devastated by Ming the Merciless' invasion, and Mandrake (as Jeff Parker and I have been playing him) is uncomfortable with anything too technological in any case, so it made sense that he's eschewed all that in favor of a more magical form of security. Our series takes place a while after the end of the strip, so it shouldn't be too surprising that he's made some changes since then.

BB: Can you give us a hint as to who/what invades Mandrake's home in #2 and also what are these demonic entities his very presence (or the powers of his home) hold at bay?

KingsMandrake02CovAZdarskyRL: Without giving too much away, it's the voice Jeff established back in Kings Watch #1, which I thought had too much potential to just leave hanging there. I've tied it in to what's happened with Mandrake's wife, Narda. All will be revealed before we're through – trust me!

BB: Will we be privy to any of Mandrake's spells/magic secrets during the course of this battle in #2? This character certainly has a ton of potential!

RL: The main thing you need to know is that Mandrake knows more magic than he's comfortable using. What we'll find out during the course of this series is why that's the case. "Why" is always more interesting than "what", don't you think?

BB: Can you say how Mandrake's corner of the KING universe will unite with the rest as these celebratory miniseries end?

RL: Not really, because I don't actually know! There was one thing editor Nate Cosby asked me to line up for the next story, of which there is a brief mention in Mandrake #2 (King Features strip scholars, to your books!) – and that's about all I can tell you.

BB: Roger, how do you like working with Jeremy Treece? 

RL: I like it very much! I knew his style would be fresh and yet wholly appropriate from the samples I saw, but I wasn't prepared for the crazy amount of detail he's putting into it. Every page I've seen has knocked my socks off. I'm running out of socks!

For more on Mandrake The Magician, click here.

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Dan WicklineAbout Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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