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L'Uomo Mascherato (Fratelli Spada)
L'Uomo Mascherato was the regular series of Phantom comic books published by the Italian publisher Fratelli Spada. Being the direct continuation of a similar series previously released by La Freccia publications, it was also known as Avventure Americane (American Adventures) and Phantom with a total of 557 issues released from 1962 to 1980. Although it was essentially the same publication for the entire run, it was relaunched with restarted numbering several times, dividing the run into four distinctive series.
First series (1962-1967)
The first issue is dated January 1, 1962 and the last (#221) February 26, 1967. Instead of the global name of Avventure Americane, the four first issues wore the generic name of “Ediziono Americane", the latter being however dropped from the fifth issue. Issues were released fortnightly until the issue #49 when it became a weekly publication. The format was 15 × 21.5 cm for generally 32 pages but some issues had 80 pages. The material was mainly composed of stories drawn by Italian artists but American reprinted material was also published. A large part of the painted color covers are works by Mario Caria.
Second series (1967-1971)
The first issue of this specific series was published just one week (March 5, 1967) after the end of the first series. The title was still Avventure Americane - L'Uomo Mascherato and the same format size was kept, but the numbering restarted from #1. The number of pages was 68, but only until issue #99. It decreased to 52 pages from issue #100 to #109, and again increased to 68 pages for the most rest issues of the series, except a few last with 60 pages. The series ended with the issue #207 dated April 25, 1971. Once again, it was mainly composed of stories drawn by Italian artists with some stories already published in the previous series. The covers sometimes represented others comic characters than the Phantom and were less often painted. A subtitle Grandi Avventure appeared on the covers of the last 22 issues.
Third series (1971-1972)
Beginning on May 9, 1971 with an issue numbered #1, it stopped on March 15, 1972 with the issue #32. This time the format size was reduced. It contained several reprints of stories from the Gold Key and Charlton Phantom comic books.
Fourth series (1972-1980)
On April 16, 1972, this new start was founded on a larger format size and was entitled Avventure Americane – Serie Cronologica – Phantom - L'Uomo Mascherato, the word Phantom being written predominantly as the main title. The Serie Cronologica issues had a dual numbering; Serie Cronologica #1 was also L'Uomo Mascherato #33, continuing the numbering of the previous third series.
Until issue Serie Cronologica #59, a separate folded supplement of 8 pages was included which reproduced the Sunday stories in chronological order. These inserts were later glued together to form the four books named L'epoca d'oro di Phantom. The series continued after the supplements ceased, until Serie Cronologica #96 on January 1, 1980. This final part of the Serie Cronologica contained several of Sy Barry's early works.
Unsold copies were later glued together and given new covers and sold as Raccolta Super Phantom.
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