The Adventures of Patsy
An early supporting character, the swashbuckling Phantom Magician, introduced a fantasy element. The Phantom Magician, along with Lee Falk's Mandrake the Magician, are regarded by comics historians as among the first superheroes of comics. Don Markstein writes, "Depending on how you define the term, Patsy's recurring rescuer, The Phantom Magician, may have been the first superhero in comics... Some people say Mandrake the Magician, who started in 1934, was comics' first superhero."
Characters and story
The strip originated as a fantasy. The story began with five-year-old Patsy carried away in a kite to the magical kingdom of Ods Bodkins. (This setting is unrelated to Odd Bodkins, a comic strip launched in 1964 by cartoonist Dan O'Neill.) During her fanciful journey, Patsy was accompanied and often rescued by the masked Phantom Magician. When they returned to Earth, the Phantom Magician doffed his duds for conventional clothing and assumed the identity of Phil Cardigan, Patsy's uncle, in December 1936. With stories situated in Hollywood, Uncle Phil worked as a screenwriter and Patsy was a young movie actress for producer J. P. Panberg. After Phil was eventually written out of the strip, Patsy's new sidekick was Hollywood agent Skidd Higgins.
Artists and writers
Graff departed in May 1940 to take over Secret Agent X-9. In the early 1940s a Sunday strip, Patsy in Hollywood, was launched, and the titles of both the Sunday and the daily were eventually shortened to just Patsy. After a succession of artists and writers, including Charles Raab, George Storm, Richard Hall and Bill Dyer, the strip came to a conclusion in 1954.
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