Few comic strips have captured readers’ imaginations like Flash Gordon. Originated in 1934 by legendary comic strip artist Alex Raymond, Flash Gordon has set the standard for science-fiction adventure, even inspiring such modern-day classics as Star Wars.
From the beginning, loyal fans have explored the stars with the comics’ most famous intergalactic adventurer, his friend and romantic interest Dale Arden, and scientist, Dr. Hans Zarkov.
The story begins when Earth is threatened by collision with what appears to be a mysterious comet. A plane carrying Flash and Dale is struck by a meteor caused by the cosmic disturbances from the comet’s approach.
They escape by parachute, only to encounter Dr. Hans Zarkov, a brilliant scientist who has been driven mad by his attempt to discover a way to save Earth. Zarkov is about to fly off in a space ship of his own design, intent on colliding with the comet and sacrificing his own life to save humanity– and he demands that Flash and Dale accompany him, threatening them at gunpoint. The three hurtle toward the comet in Zarkov’s rocket, but arrive safely, not on a comet, but on the planet Mongo, ruled by the insane dictator, Ming the Merciless, who had intended to destroy Earth. Ming imprisons them, with a desire to torture the men and make Dale his concubine. They manage to escape, and from that point on, Flash and company ally with the people of Mongo and other neighboring planets in an ongoing battle to overthrow Ming’s despotic reign.
In addition to the comic strip, Flash has also starred in a live-action serial, a radio show, novels, comic books, animated cartoons, and he even appeared on his own U.S. postage stamp.
Want to check out some of Flash’s other memorable media appearances?