- The Masked Marvel
- Script: Lee Falk
- Art: Wilson McCoy
- 33rd daily newspaper story; 1 Nov 1948 - 19 Feb 1949.
- Previous Frew appearances: #55/56 (1953), #157 (1959), #261 (1964), #401 (1969), #579 (1976), #774 (1983), #972 (1991).
- The Monkey Mail (The Diamond Hijackers)
- Script: Lee Falk
- Art: Wilson McCoy
- 77th daily newspaper story; 4 Apr - 6 Aug 1960.
- Previous Frew appearances: #181 (1960), #289 (1965), #433 (1970), #604 (1977), #811 (1984), #1230 (1999).
- Terror in Mawitaan
- Script: Tony De Paul
- Art: Graham Nolan
- 158th Sunday newspaper story; 6 Apr - 28 Sep 2003.
- First Frew appearance
- Message from the Publisher:
Presenting - our 2003 Christmas Special edition!
Backing the new story, Terror in Mawitaan, you will find two classics from Lee Falk and Wilson McCoy, both presented in their original entirety for the first time in a Frew edition.
The Masked Marvel first appeared in 1949 when Lee Falk was a keen fightgoer and attended every major championship contest staged at Madison Square Garden in New York. Elements of Lee's story later appeared in the screenplay for the cult boxing film, The Setup starring Robert Ryan!
I must add that the world heavyweight championship was never won by a fighter wearing a uniform and mask and boxing rules have always prohibited the use of upper body and facial protection other than a mandatory mouthguard. Comics creators, however, have always been allowed special licence!
The Diamond Hijackers is our second special offering. Lee wrote this adventure and Wilson McCoy was the artist back in 1960. The story contains some curious things .... note that Diana sends a cable to "Mr. Walker, PO Box 7, Bengali" (instead of Morristown) and that one of the chimps (monkey mailmen) is called "Fofo". Up to that time, "Egbert" had been used. Note also that when The Phantom arrives in town he is shown wearing the skull ring on his ring finger, not the middle finger! You will also discover that Hero has a skull mark emblem on his bridle, a rather short-lived touch which appeared in a number of early Phantom stories.
[Comment from Guran: Actually, Wilson McCoy always drew the skull ring on The Phantom's ring finger (as did Ray Moore sometimes), and the skull mark emblem on Hero's bridle.]
The Masked Marvel has been out of print for more than 12 years and The Diamond Hijackers for more than 19 years.
[Comment from Guran: Once again Jim's records are in error. The Masked Marvel was last published by Frew in #972 (1991) and The Diamond Hijackers (retitled as The Monkey Mail) in #1230 (1999). Both stories were then claimed to be published in their entirety for the first time, so Jim's present claim about #1372 is misleading.]
Our new adventure in this issue is Terror in Mawitaan written and illustrated by Graham Nolan. Graham has injected some unusual layout ideas for what is a most unusual story. It's not often we see The Phantom beaten by any sort of criminal or, for that matter, end our story with The Ghost Who Walks confined to bed with very serious injuries! Needless to say, this is not the last we will see of the villain Chatu, alias "The Python"! There is a gripping follow-up to this story called The Sinbad Stone and we will publish it later in 2004.
[Comment from Guran: Jim has forgotten to mention that Terror in Mawitaan features a cameo appearance of yours truly. I'm the pony-tailed terrorist on page 67. Cool!]
Our next issue will be the 2004 Annual Special, which will be on sale on 9 January. The Special will contain nine full length adventures plus another replica edition from the Frew archives which will be issue #13 published in 1949 (#13 contained part one of Lee Falk's classic The Golden Circle and the then Frew editors renamed it The Phantom's Dilemma for reasons I have never been able to fathom!).
Covers for our Christmas edition and also the 2004 Special have been created by Antonio Lemos who now has more than 100 Frew Phantom covers to his credit and is aiming for 200!
On the subject of special numbers, note that this Christmas edition is the 1400th Phantom issue to be published by Frew, the world's oldest and longest running publisher of The Phantom - in any language!
All that remains now is for me to pass on Best Wishes from all at Frew for a joyous Christmas and a healthy, happy and successful New Year. We look forward to your company next year and for many years to come.