The Phantom:
A Publishing History in Australia

by Bryan Shedden

The Australian Woman's Mirror (1936-61)

(Henry Kenneth Prior Publishers)

Vol.15 No.51
Nov 14, 1939

Vol.28 No.49
Oct 29, 1952

Vol.32 No.18
Mar 28, 1956

The Australian Woman's Mirror, a magazine published by Bulletin Productions on Tuesday of each week, was the first Australian publication to feature The Phantom strips. The magazine was first published in 1924 and ceased in 1961. The Phantom made his first appearance in the 1 Sep 1936 issue, running a full page and commencing each page with a story synopsis stripped across the top. Each daily strip was fitted neatly on a single line, but was slightly reduced relative to the typical size in today's Frew Phantom comics (with 12 panels per page). Of course they began with the only Phantom story in existence at the time, The Singh Brotherhood -- in fact it was still running in American newspapers and would not finish for another two months. The editors went out on a limb by changing the opening scenes from New York to Sydney and turned American-born Diana Palmer into an Australian girl. To strengthen the Australian flavour, several later references were made by re-lettering the text to include Port Darwin. Added to that, much of the dialogue was changed from American jargon to Aussie slang.

The Woman's Mirror continued to publish a weekly page of The Phantom with five daily strips on a single page in each issue of the magazine. At the completion of The Singh Brotherhood, the Woman's Mirror continued with the daily strips running in sequence roughly 12 months behind the original US newspaper appearance date. Occasionally, they skipped an entire story and so Little Tommy (D4), The Shark's Nest (D7) and Bent Beak Broder (D17) were never published in the regular magazine.

Beginning on 7 Aug 1946, publication of the Woman's Mirror moved to the Wednesday of each week. They also shifted away from regular appearances of the daily strip in sequence, instead publishing a mixture of Sunday and daily strips of different vintages. During an 18 month period, they printed:

Thereafter, the Woman's Mirror continued to publish the recent Sundays in sequential order, about 16 months behind the original US newspaper appearance date. Five months later on 5 Sep 1948, the fledgling company Frew Publications launched their first comic book entitled The Phantom. The Woman's Mirror ran cross promotion for Frew's Phantom comics, as shown in the example below from the 1 Nov 1950 issue.

The Phantom's run in The Australian Woman's Mirror came to an end on 28 Jun 1961 when the magazine ceased publication. It was almost immediately taken up in Everybody's weekly magazine before Sunday newspapers began to carry The Phantom in the early 1970s.

A complete list of the Phantom stories published in The Australian Woman's Mirror is shown below. This includes the publication date for the start of each story in the magazine, the story title and code (as per the daily and Sunday story lists), the original US newspaper starting date for each story, and the number of days of "lag" (ie. Mirror date minus newspaper date)

Start Date
Story TitleCodeOriginal
Start Date
Days Lag
1 Sep 1936The Singh BrotherhoodD117 Feb 1936197
21 Sep 1937The Sky BandD29 Nov 1936316
3 May 1938The Diamond HuntersD312 Apr 1937386
22 Nov 1938The Prisoner of the HimalayasD57 Feb 1938288
28 Mar 1939Adventure in AlgiersD620 Jun 1938281
9 May 1939 *Fishers of PearlsD87 Nov 1938183
15 Aug 1939The Slave TradersD930 Jan 1939197
5 Dec 1939The Mysterious GirlD108 May 1939211
2 Apr 1940The Golden CircleD114 Sep 1939211
24 Sep 1940The SeahorseD1222 Jan 1940246
17 Jun 1941The Game of AlvarD1329 Jul 1940323
2 Dec 1941Diana Aviatrix LostD1416 Dec 1940351
21 Jul 1942The Phantom's TreasureD1514 Jul 1941372
20 Apr 1943The Phantom Goes to WarD162 Feb 1942442
23 May 1944The Phantom's EngagementD1824 May 1943365
8 Aug 1944High Seas HijackerD1926 Jul 1943379
27 Mar 1945The Spy GangD2028 Feb 1944393
10 Jul 1945The CroonerD2122 May 1944414
30 Oct 1945The Maharajah's DaughterD2228 Aug 1944428
4 Jun 1946The Blue GangD2326 Mar 1945435
7 Aug 1946The League of Lost MenS128 May 19392628
25 Sep 1946The Precious Cargo of Colonel WinnS222 Oct 19392530
13 Nov 1946The Mermaids of Melo StraitsD2612 Nov 1945366
12 Feb 1947Princess ValerieD2718 Feb 1946366
25 Jun 1947The Fire GoddessS317 Mar 19402656
17 Sep 1947King of BeastsS1524 Mar 1946542
17 Dec 1947Queen Pera the PerfectS149 Dec 1945738
25 Feb 1948The SaboteursS55 Jan 19412607
7 Apr 1948The Scarlet SorceressS1611 Aug 1946605
7 Jul 1948The 12 TasksS1729 Dec 1946556
3 Nov 1948The Dragon GodS186 Jul 1947486
23 Mar 1949The Marshall SistersS1923 Nov 1947486
21 Sep 1949The Phantom TrophyS2023 May 1948486
11 Jan 1950The Haunted CastleS2112 Sep 1948486
21 Jun 1950Fathers and SonsS2220 Feb 1949486
30 Aug 1950The Flirtatious PrincessS231 May 1949486
27 Dec 1950The ThuggeesS2428 Aug 1949486
20 Jun 1951The Ape Idol of the DuruguS2526 Feb 1950479
5 Sep 1951The Mysterious PassengerS2614 May 1950479
14 Nov 1951Jungle KingS2723 Jul 1950479
13 Feb 1952The Phantom's RingS2829 Oct 1950472
24 Sep 1952The Rope PeopleS2917 Jun 1951465
18 Feb 1953Tale of DevilS3011 Nov 1951465
8 Jul 1953The 'Copter PiratesS3130 Mar 1952465
4 Nov 1953The Female PhantomS3220 Jul 1952472
27 Jan 1954Diana and the Bank RobbersS3319 Oct 1952465
19 May 1954The ChainS348 Feb 1953465
8 Sep 1954Madcap MiriamS3531 May 1953465
26 Jan 1955The Imaginary PlaymateS3625 Oct 1953458
11 May 1955The BeltS377 Feb 1954458
14 Sep 1955The Master SpyS3813 Jun 1954458
18 Jan 1956Alexander's CupS3917 Oct 1954458
6 Jun 1956The Gibs BrothersS406 Mar 1955458
11 Jul 1956The Crescent CultS4110 Apr 1955458
14 Nov 1956The Horned Star DemonsS4214 Aug 1955458
13 Feb 1957A Proper HusbandS4313 Nov 1955458
22 May 1957The Jungle TourneysS4419 Feb 1956458
28 Aug 1957Pirate DayS4527 May 1956458
27 Nov 1957The RattleS4626 Aug 1956458
23 Apr 1958Danglor, International Bank ThiefS4720 Jan 1957458
13 Aug 1958A Lesson for Prince OrqS4814 Apr 1957486
24 Dec 1958The FrameupS4925 Aug 1957486
29 Apr 1959The Monster of Green ValleyS5029 Dec 1957486
9 Dec 1959The Plant God of the MassauS513 Aug 1958493
27 Apr 1960Conley's Good MarkS5228 Dec 1958486
19 Oct 1960The Childhood of the PhantomS5321 Jun 1959486
10 May 1961The River GangS5410 Jan 1960486

* = date may not be correct

Thanks to Barry Stubbersfield for his list of stories in The Australian Woman's Mirror


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Bryan Shedden /
Last updated 16 March 2006