Frew Publications

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Frew Publications Pty. Ltd.
Founded 1948
Founder Ron Forsyth, Jim Rishardson, Jack Eisen, Peter Watson
Country of origin Australia
Headquarters location Sydney, New South Wales
Key people Jim Shepherd (Managing Director)
Judith Shepherd (Senior Editor)
Publication types Comics
Fiction genres Adventure

Frew Publications is an Australian comic book publisher, known for its long-running reprint series of Lee Falk's The Phantom. Frew formerly published other comics, including Falk's earlier creation Mandrake the Magician.

History[edit]

Frew Publications was founded in 1948 by Ron Forsyth, Lawford 'Jim' Richardson, Jack Eisen, and Peter Watson, with each contributing 500 Australian pounds to establish the publisher. The name "Frew" is an acronym made from the surnames of the four founders, Forsyth, Richardson, Eisen, and Watson. Eisen and Watson withdrew from the company before the first publication was issued.

Forsyth and Richardson approached Yaffa Syndicate the Australian representative of King Features Syndicate about producing an Australian comic book issue of The Phantom. The agreement was conditional that Frew could not print any stories that was currently running in other publications, nor any story soon after it had appeared in the Australian Woman’s Mirror. The first edition of The Phantom, "The Slave Traders", published by Frew debuted on 9 September 1948. The first two issues were not numbered and printed in a landscape format, with the staples were on the short edge of the cover. The third issue, "Mr Hog", was the first to be numbered and reverted to the traditional portrait format.

Between 1949 to 1958 Frew also published comics including Popeye, The Phantom Ranger, The Shadow (an Australian creation not to be confused with the American version of The Shadow), Sir Falcon, Catman and Super Yank Comics, peaking to a total of thirty titles in the mid 1950s. In the early 1960s due to the influx of imported American titles Frew reduced their publications to a single title, The Phantom.

In November 1978 Frew published its first Swedish Phantom adventure entitled "The Ghost" (Issue #730), although it was not until January 1983 that another Swedish story appeared, "The Tiger from Rangoon" (Issue #763).

In 1987 Forsyth and Richardson engaged Jim Shepherd as a consultant, the following year he was employed as its managing director. Shepherd and Forsyth's son, Peter subsequently bought all the shares in the company. In 1995 Shepherd purchased Forsyth's shareholdings, becoming the sole owner of Frew Publications.[1]

In 1990 Frew published the first ever Australian created Phantom adventure, "Rumble in the Jungle" (Issue #951A), with art by Keith Chatto and the story by Jim Shepherd. Chatto and Shepherd produced another two Phantom stories "Return of the Singh Brotherhood" (Issue #962) and "The Kings Cross Connection" (Issue #1000). Shepherd also wrote another story "The Search for Byron", published March 1996 (Issue #1131), which was illustrated by Glenn Ford.

On the 15 April 2013 Shepherd died of a heart attack at his Sydney home, at age eighty. He is survived by his wife Judith, who is also the senior editor at Frew Publications and son, Stephen.

The Phantom publishing chronology[edit]

The following section is a publishing chronology for the years when Frew used original titles. The first edition of The Phantom was issued in Australia in 1948 and it has today reached an estimated circulation of 25000 units.[citation needed] As of 2007, Frew sales figures place The Phantom's distribution above all other contemporary comic books sold in Australia.[2] It also places first in duration of publication: in 2006 Frew celebrated 70 years of continuity, longer than any other Australian comics syndicate.[2]

1948[edit]

Edition Number Production Code Official Title Frew Working Title Writer Artist
1 D9 The Slave Traders Enter the Phantom Lee Falk Raymond Moore
2 D28 Queen Asta of Trondeley In the Tiger's Lair Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
3 D29 Mister Hog Smashing the Crime Ring Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
4 D30 Romance Pt 2 The Phantom versus the Jewel Thieves Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
5 D15 The Phantom's Treasure The Phantom's Treasure Stolen Lee Falk Raymond Moore

1949[edit]

Edition Number Production Code Official Title Frew Working Title Writer Artist
6 D1 The Singh Brotherhood Pt 2 The Phantom's Revenge Lee Falk Lee Falk, Raymond Moore
7 D13 The Game of Alvar Pt 2 The Phantom versus the Gun Runners Lee Falk Raymond Moore
8 D2 The Sky Band Pt 2 Death to the Sky Band Lee Falk Raymond Moore
9 D8 Fishers of Pearls The Pearl Pirates Lee Falk Raymond Moore
10 D12 The Seahorse Pt 1 The Phantom versus the Spy Ring Lee Falk Raymond Moore
11 D12 The Seahorse Pt 2 On Bleak Island Lee Falk Raymond Moore
12 D7 The Shark's Nest The Shark's Nest Lee Falk Raymond Moore
13 D11 The Golden Circle Pt 1 The Phantom's Dilemma Lee Falk Raymond Moore
14 D11 The Golden Circle Pt 2 Golden Circle Pt 2 Lee Falk Raymond Moore
15 D11 The Golden Circle Pt 3 The Poison Gas Chamber Lee Falk Raymond Moore
16 D6 Adventure in Algiers Adventure in Algiers Lee Falk Raymond Moore
17 D10 The Mysterious Girl Pt 1 Kidnapped in Egypt Lee Falk Raymond Moore

1950[edit]

Edition Number Production Code Official Title Frew Working Title Writer Artist
18 D10 The Mysterious Girl Part 2 Trapped Under the Sea Lee Falk Raymond Moore
19 S12 The Golden Princess The Golden Princess Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
20 S8 Castle in the Clouds Pt 2 The Phantom versus the Old Man of the Mountains Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
20 S9 The Ismani Cannibals The Ismani Cannibals Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
21 D5 The Prisoner of the Himalayas Pt 1 The Kidnapped Bride Lee Falk Raymond Moore
22 D5 The Prisoner of the Himalayas Pt 2 Sentenced to Death Lee Falk Raymond Moore
23 D14 Diana Aviatrix Lost Pt 1 Jungle Victory Lee Falk Raymond Moore
24 D14 Diana Aviatrix Lost Pt 2 The Phantom's Triumph Lee Falk Raymond Moore
25 D22 The Maharajah's Daughter Pt 1 The Kidnapped Maharajah Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
26 D22 The Maharajah's Daughter Pt 2 The Royal Prisoner Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
27 D16 The Phantom Goes to War Pt 1 The Phantom Goes to War Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
28 D16 The Phantom Goes to War Pt 2 The Red Invaders Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy

1951[edit]

Edition Number Production Code Official Title Frew Working Title Writer Artist
29 D16 The Phantom Goes to War Pt 3 Death to the Invaders Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
30 D16 The Phantom Goes to War Pt 4 The Hero of Oolan Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
31 S10 Hamid the Terrible Pt 1 Hamid the Terrible Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
32 S10 Hamid the Terrible Pt 2 The Sultan's Prisoner Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
33 D17 Bent Beak Broder Bent Beak and the Phantom Mark Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
34 D18 The Phantom's Engagement The Phantom's Engagement Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
35 S11 The Young Phantom,
The Childhood of the Phantom
The Young Phantom Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
36 S15 King of Beasts King of Beasts Lee Falk Raymond Moore
37 S16 The Scarlett Sorceress The Kidnapped Princess Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
38 S14 Queen Pera the Perfect The Reluctant Bridegroom Lee Falk Raymond Moore
39 S18 The Dragon God The Dragon God Lee Falk Raymond Moore
40 S13 The Strange Fisherman The Strange Fisherman Lee Falk Wilson McCoy

1952[edit]

Edition Number Production Code Official Title Frew Working Title Writer Artist
41 D24 Lago the Lake God Underwater Doom Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
42 D25 The Wild Girl The Lion Woman Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
43 S1 The League of Lost Men The League of Lost Men Lee Falk Raymond Moore
44 S4 The Beachcomber The Beachcomber Lee Falk Raymond Moore
45 S2 The Precious Cargo of Colonel Winn The Precious Cargo of Colonel Winn Lee Falk Raymond Moore
46 D41 Whirlpool Channel Whirlpool Channel Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
47 D27 Princess Valerie Pt 1 Princess Valerie Pt 1 Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
48 D27 Princess Valerie Pt 2 The Phantom versus the Hairy Twins Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
49 S21 The Haunted Castle The Haunted Castle Lee Falk Raymond Moore, Wilson McCoy
50 D42 The Tiger Girl The Tiger Girl Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
51 S3 The Fire Goddess The Fire Goddess Lee Falk Raymond Moore
52 D39 The White Monkey The White Monkey Lee Falk Wilson McCoy
53 D32 The Lady Luck Part 1 The Lady Luck Part 1 Lee Falk Wilson McCoy

Notes[edit]

Unnumbered Editions[edit]

The following Frew editions were without edition numbers when issued. For ease of reference, official Frew archivists have assigned them either an 'A' or a 'B' as per their publishing date:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 65A
  • 76A
  • 76B
  • 817A
  • 825A
  • 840A
  • 858A

Untitled Editions[edit]

In editions 43-47, 49-821 and 823-828 no story title appeared on the front cover. Frew did not alter the official titles, which in most instances appeared at the start of the story.

Missing Edition[edit]

Due to an accident in production, edition number 330 was never issued. Edition number 331 was substituted in its place.

Exclusions[edit]

List is restricted to pure Phantom comic books; supplementary Frew editions and associated publications have been excluded.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hope, Steffan. "Jim Shepherd interview". Fantomet.org. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b http://haiche.bigcat.net.au/phantoms/images/phantom70years.jpg [dead link]

Sources consulted[edit]

External links[edit]