Frew #1477
by the photocopier
(this edition is the 1505th actually issued)

Release Date: 25 May 2007

  • Pages: 36
  • Price: $2.50 inc. GST
  • Cover: the photocopier
  • No Phantom Forum in this issue

Fantomen Nr.14/1981
by Jaime Vallvé

  • The Legend of the Sword Pt.2 Durandal
    • Story: Norman Worker
    • Art: Jaime Vallvé
    • First published in Fantomen Nr.14/1981 by Semic, Sweden. Original cover shown on the left, thanks to Ulf Granberg.

  • Message from the Publisher:
    In this edition, we conclude the Legend of the Sword mini-series. The Phantom takes us back in time to explain the existence of Roland's famous sword 'Durandal' in the Skull Cave Major Treasure Room.
    As mentioned in our last issue, it will be worth your while to look up everything you can find about Roland and his sword in an Encyclopedia or the many sites which exist on the Internet. Roland, you will discover, is part of an epic legend built around an actual event in 778. His famous indestructible sword is part of the legend which is all about medieval chivalry. Forget, if you can, that our story is almost entirely fictional. It is best accepted as yet another great Phantom adventure and one which attempts to explain part of the mystery of how the current Phantom's forefathers came into possession of so many priceless treasures!
    This is not the first time Roland has starred in a Phantom story. In Frew #1379, published in 2004, we presented a story entitled The Horn of Roland which explained how Roland's famous signalling device came to be in the Major Treasure Room. Lee Falk had many times mentioned its existence without offering any explanation! The Horn of Roland was written by the late Norman Worker and illustrated by Carlos Cruz and recounted in great detail how Roland, bringing up a rearguard of 20,000 soldiers following King Charles the Great of France through the Pyrenees, was ambushed by 400,000 Saracens. Roland and his men fought valiantly but the gallant Knight left it far too late to use his famous signalling horn to summon help. He was simply too proud and blew his horn only when his small army had been reduced to 60 men. According to that story, the 9th Phantom was given Roland's Horn by Sheik Assad Bade, whose life he had saved.
    Lee Falk clearly loved the Roland legends, because he also twice mentioned Durandal, Roland's sword, in stories linked to the treasures in the Skull Cave. So much was recorded about Roland's heroic last stand, that for years after 778, many plays and musical productions were produced about Roland and the famous and battle. The first such production is believed to have been written in France early in 1100 and although none of the original manuscripts have survived, at least one old English translation exists today. The famous English detective story novelist Dorothy Sayers, like Lee Falk, was a Roland enthusiast. She was acclaimed for translating many of the early stage productions from French and Spanish into English. More than a few European motion pictures have been built around the character and characters based on Roland and his famous sword and horn have often appeared in superhero comic books.
    If you have a sizeable collection of Frew editions of The Phantom, you will find the first Lee Falk reference to the horn of Roland in the 1962 Sunday Treasure of the Skull Cave (Frew #1000 and some earlier issues). Lee first mentioned 'Durandal' in the 1970-71 Sunday, Alexander's Diamond Cup (Frew #1156 and several earlier editions). If you would like a little more information, refer to Frew's edition #1379 (The Horn of Roland) in which you will find two illustrated editorial pages about Roland's sword and horn and their location within the Major Treasure Room.

Jim Shepherd

Future issues planned as of 2nd June 2007 (subject to change without notice):

Check the New@Egmont and The Missing Semic Stories pages for details of other upcoming stories.

My thanks to the staff of Frew Publications for providing this information.

More Frew stuff ...

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Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 3 June 2007