Celebrating 80 Years of FLASH GORDON

Click to enlargeFlash Gordon, the original space adventurer and sci-fi hero, celebrates 80 years of intergalactic thrills today, 7 January 2014. There is no way to cover all of the exciting facts, figures and fantastic lore about this all-American hero in one blog post, so come back for more info in the days to come!

The Wall Street Journal observed that the blockbuster movie, “Star Wars,” owed its “most obvious debt to ‘Flash Gordon.’”

Through the eight decades of high adventure, an international audience has remained steadfastly loyal to Flash. Continue reading


Original Flash Promotion, 1934. I Guess Ming just wasn’t sexy enough to make the cut. (Courtesy of Allan Holtz)

Original Flash Promotion, 1934. I guess Ming just wasn’t sexy enough to make the cut.
(Courtesy of Allan Holtz)

When the world first saw  FLASH GORDON, it was not the first science fiction or even space strip. BUCK ROGERS had been around for five years, and BRICK BRADFORD had launched the previous August, although it was still in its earthbound adventure phase. Flash was a far different strip than Buck, with its bulky space ships with exposed machinery, wires and rivets and heavy lines.

Alex Raymond (1909-56) as seen by Alex Raymond.

Alex Raymond (1909-56) as seen by Alex Raymond.

Alex Raymond was an up-and-coming young cartoonist, ghosting for Russ Westover on TILLIE THE TOILER, on Lyman Young’s TIM TYLER’S LUCK and his brother Chic Young’s BLONDIE.  By late 1933, he came to the attention of the president of King Features, Joe Connelly. His artwork was quite impressive, in the classic, highly detailed tradition of earlier penmen like Fredrick Remington and Charles Dana Gibson. He was eager to do a strip of his own, and the time was ripe for the syndicate to put out a science fiction adventure series of our own, so FLASH GORDON was born.

FLASH GORDON made its debut on 7 January 1934, along with a top comic called JUNGLE JIM, a Frank Buck-type adventure about a fearless hunter/trapper, also created by Raymond. If this didn’t keep him busy enough, he was also picked to do the new daily series, SECRET AGENT X-9, which was written (at least at the start) by famed mystery writer Dashiell Hammett, also beginning the same month.

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