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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Complete Flash Gordon Library – On the Planet Mongo (Vol. 1)

Creators: Alex Raymond and Don Moore
Introduction by Alex Ross
Titan Books
Full colour
208 pages
Dimensions: 280 x 253mm
Publication date: 22 June 2012
ISBN: 9780857681546
RRP £29.99

Being a comics historian and interviewer there is one thing I can say with 100% absolute certainty: the Flash Gordon newspaper strip influenced and inspired many US as well as British/European Golden and Silver Ages creators.  In fact, the influence of the strip on comic creators world-wide was incredible.

But is it really that good?

Yes, is the simple answer. This volume covers the Sunday newspaper strips from 1934-1937.  It needs to be pointed out that at the time Raymond could not really be inspired by the comic books since they really did not exist when he started –there were mainly illustrated stories or pictures and text boxes.  But Raymond started drawing very early on in life.  It is one reason why I like this book –the excellent illustrated text feature by Doug Murray “Birth of a Legend” and Alex Ross takes a brief look at “The Flash Gordon Legacy.”

What I also like is the excellent restorations carried out by Peter Maresca. Forget the 1930s cinema serials or the 1970s film (most fondly recalled by many because of actor Brian Blessed!) –all borrowed from the strips.  Here you see it as a generation saw it –reading wide-eyed at the rockets, the evil Ming, the, uh, ‘troubled’ scientist Zarkov, the lion men…the beautiful women!  And Raymond’s art style is there to explode Don Moore’s story into print.

The production on the book is of the highest standard and if the rumoured Mandrake collection is as good as this then I think a whole new generation has the chance to be introduced to what was shaping the comics industry –and some creators/wannabes today can learn a great deal from this.

An excellent book from Titan that I have no trouble recommending!

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