The many mirrors of Mandrake the Magician

As mentioned in today's review, Mandrake the Magician inspired many an imitator. Take a look:

Mandrake the Magician debuted in the newspaper comics on June 11, 1934. It took four years for the first knockoff to arrive, DC Comics' Zatara.

Notice how similar he looked to Mandrake: tuxedo, top hat, everything. He even wore a cape in his earliest appearances.

In August of 1939, Fox Features introduced Zanzibar, who managed to distinguish himself from the competition by wearing a fez:

(You'll find that a lot of these guys are only separated from one another by their hats.)

Two months later, in October's Daring Mystery Comics #1, Timely Comics gave us Monako, Prince of Magic, who was back in a top hat:

By issue #4, he'd also switched to a fez.

MLJ introduced a turban with Kardak the Mystic Magician in December:

Timely was back at it again at the start of 1940, putting Dakor the Magician in the first issue of Mystic Comics:

Dakor really bucked the trends, by wearing no hat at all!

Just a month later, Quality Comics came out with Ibis the Invincible, our second turban-man:

Comic companies then made it all the way to April before introducing Marvo the Magician:

Marvo cast his spells in some kind of Italian gibberish, and had a super-intelligent monkey sidekick.

Norgil the Magician appeared as a backup in The Shadow and Doc Savage, but neither book ever really had a clear shot of him:

All appearances to the contrary, this isn't Ibis again; it's Mr. Mystic, who was created by Will Eisner:

The most unique headgear among all these guys has to belong to Quality Comics' Merlin the Magician, who sometimes wore the hood of his cape up:

He activated his powers by speaking the words backwards. Just like Zatara had two years before.

The third Timely Comics character come out in September of 1940, Mantor the Magician:

What sets him apart from Monako? Not much.

Quality Comics came back in February of 1941 with Tor the Magic Master:

He also uses the backwards-talking gimmick, and dresses exactly like Mandrake.

All-American Comics, one of the forerunners of DC, created comics' fourth "suit/cape/turban" combo with Sargon the Sorcerer:

And coming very late to the game was 1954's Mysto, the Magician Detective:

Marvel also had a Mysto, but that one was a villain who just used plain stage equipment to fight Captain America.

So today, Marvel owns Monako, Dakor, and Mantor; DC owns Zatara, Ibis the Invincible, Merlin, Tor, Sargon, and Mysto; Zanzibar, Kardak, Marvo, and Mr. Mystic are all in the public domain; and that leave Mandrake and presumably Norgil to remain property of their original publishers.

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