Colour Inside Splash pages.
Original advertisements from 1961.
Collectors Replica Series N02:
- Original Issue N0 196 - "The Diamond Hunters" - story by Lee Falk and art by Ray Moore.
- Original Issue N0 195 - "The Iron Dragon" - story by Lee Falk and art by Wilson McCoy.
- Original Issue N0 194 - "Queen Asta of Trondelay" - story by Lee Falk and art by Wilson McCoy.
Cover by Steve Shepherd.
This issue is the second in the ‘Collectors Replica Series’ and reprints issues 196, 195 and 194 from 1961. No. 196 contains the very first publication of the 1937 story ‘The Diamond Hunters’ with great artwork by Ray Moore. Unfortunately the old guard at Frew at the time decided to publish the story in one issue instead of two and deleted so much of the first part of the story that this issue is noted as containing part 2. Frew continued to publish this part 2 edition for many years. The only place to find the missing panels of part 1 was in old library issues of ‘The Australian Woman’s Mirror’ weekly magazine commencing 3 May 1938. Finally with Jim Shepherd joining Frew ‘The Diamond Hunters’ was published complete for the first time in issue No. 1,000 in 1992.
‘The Diamond Hunters’ is the first story to mention ‘The Great Swamp’ and has an early forerunner to old jungle sayings ‘As Hill’s finger tightens on his gun trigger, the Phantom’s hand moves faster than split lightning.’ On 20 August 1937 Diana unmasks the Phantom and sees his face for the first time. On 4 September Smiley, trying to ambush the Phantom, is the first villain to be shot and killed by the Phantom. On 8 September the Phantom proposes to Diana but she demures. She does not want to live in the jungle. Out of interest, Mondays are Phantom costume wash days!
No. 195 contains Wilson McCoy’s second last daily story ‘The Iron Dragon.’ When Frew published this story in 1961 it was brand new! However, Frew had a problem with this story, it was too short to fill a 32 page comic book! The story ran for only 11 weeks in the daily newspapers and Frew needed close to 14 weeks to fill a comic book. The old guard at Frew solved this problem by swiping the last two weeks from the previous daily story ‘The 50th Wife’ which had more art than they needed and added that to the start of ‘The Iron Dragon’ giving the company enough material to fill the comic book. When Frew published the story complete in issue No. 1280 the story started at the correct point with no reference to Prince Bey.
The final story in this issue is No. 194 ‘Queen Asta of Trondelay.’ Frew had originally published this story in the landscape ...