On the Kirkus Blog this week, I take a look at Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist, a graphic novel from Dynamite that captures the heyday of pulp in 200 pages.
From the post:
One of the most enduring pulp characters from the 1930’s, Flash Gordon has stayed in the public consciousness through daily strips – translated into many different languages – radio and film serials, multiple cartoons and live-action television shows, novels, comics, and a cult-classic movie. Alex Raymond’s original Sunday comic strip ran from 1934-1943, with other artists taking the reins all the way through 2003. For most people, the 1980’s movie, starring Sam J. Jones as the title character, Melody Anderson as Dale Arden, Topol as Doctor Hans Zarkov, Max von Sydow as Ming, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin, Brian Blessed as Vultan, and Ornella Muti as Princess Aura, comes to mind when you mention Flash Gordon. But a lot of comic books starring the character have been produced from publishers small and large, including King Comics, Gold Key, Charlton, Marvel, Dark Horse, Ardden Entertainment, and DC – who produced one of my favorite incarnations in the late 80’s. Now, Dynamite has brought the character full circle with Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist (978-1606903339), a throwback to the heady days when pulp was king, and characters were large than life.
Click over to the Kirkus Blog to read the rest of the piece.
I only have the vaguest of memories of the campy Flash Gordon film from 1980, but I do recall not liking it very much. I think the intentional camp was lost on me at the time. Perhaps I should give it another go? I mean, Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless? How bad could it be?
REVIEW SUMMARY: A mainlined dose of beautifully rendered classic SF.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An omnibus of Al Williamson’s spectacular work on Flash Gordon strips and comics.
PROS: Great reproductions, nice format, and a nice surprise.
CONS: None worth complaining about.
BOTTOM LINE: Over 200 pages of retro-sexy fanboy bliss.
The subtitle of this volume is “A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic,” and this book delivers on every page. After an introduction by Groo and MAD cartoonist Sergio Aragones, Mark Schultz gives us the story of how Al Williamson came to be the Flash Gordon illustrator-of-choice in the wake of Alex Raymond. What follows is a breathtaking collection of Williamson’s work from the 50s all the way to 2001.
Not sure why this popped into my head this week, but it’s building up a pressure that can only be released by inflicting it on others. That’s you.
Bonus: Here’s a fan-made video paying tribute to the old Filmation Flash Gordon ‘toon.