A complete run of 64 issues of Merlin el Mago Moderno, as found in the Spanish comic Aventurero. The comic lasted from 1935-1953 and the run of Merlin ran from issues 54 to 118. Merlin is a magician and has a black assistant named Lewis. While Merlin is always dressed in a tuxedo and cape, Lewis is half naked wearing a leopard top, shorts and a fez. This series is based off of the Mandrake series by Lee Falk and Phil Davis, however the strip was modified for Spain and the names of the main characters changed. This was one of the first international syndications of the strip in the US, which first appeared June 11, 1934. Another noticeable change in the Spanish version is that Lewis does not appear illiterate, which he does in the US version of the strip. From Wikipedia: “Mandrake (Merlin in the Spanish version) is a magician whose work is based on an unusually fast hypnotic technique. As noted in captions, when Mandrake "gestures hypnotically", his subjects see illusions, and Mandrake has used this technique against a variety of villains including gangsters, mad scientists, extraterrestrials, and characters from other dimensions. At various times in the comic strip, Mandrake has also demonstrated other powers, including turning invisible, shapeshifting, levitation, and teleportation. His hat, cloak and wand, passed down from his father Theron, possess great magical properties which in time Mandrake learns how to use. Although Mandrake publicly works as a stage magician, he spends much of his time fighting criminals and combatting supernatural entities. Lothar (Lewis in the Spanish version) is Mandrake's best friend and crime fighting companion. Mandrake first met Lothar during his travels in Africa. Lothar was "Prince of the Seven Nations", a mighty federation of jungle tribes; but forbore to become king and instead followed Mandrake on his world travels. Lothar is often referred to as "the strongest man in the world", with the exception of Hojo — Mandrake's chef and secret chief of Inter Intel. Lothar is invulnerable to any weapon forged by man, impervious to heat, cold and possesses the stamina of a thousand men. He also cannot be harmed by magic directly (fire bolts, force bolts, spell incantations). He can lift an elephant by one hand easily.
One of the first African crimefighting heroes ever to appear in comics, Lothar made his first appearance alongside Mandrake in 1934 in the inaugural daily strip. In the beginning, Lothar spoke poor English and wore a fez, short pants, and a leopard skin. In a 1935 work by King Features Syndicate, Lothar is referred to as Mandrake's "giant black slave." When artist Fred Fredericks took over in 1965, Lothar spoke correct English and his clothing changed, although he often wore shirts with leopard-skin patterns.”
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