Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Gordon, Flash. Flash Gordon was created Don Moore and Alex Raymond (Jungle Jim, Secret Agent X-9) and appeared in the comic strip “Flash Gordon” (1934-1993) and three film serials. At its height “Flash Gordon” was one of the two or three best adventure comic strips of all time.
Flash Gordon is a Planetary Romance Hero. A "strange new planet" is sighted "rushing toward Earth." Nothing can be done to save Earth–or so everyone thinks, except for Dr. Hans Zarkov, who is working on a private rocket which he hopes to use to stop the threat. As Zarkov is finishing up work on the ship, a plane, passing over Zarkov's house, is struck by the meteor. The passengers are forced to parachute from the plane; they them are "Flash Gordon, Yale graduate and world-renowned polo player, and Dale Arden, a passenger." They end up on Zarkov's ship, and the trio land on the "strange planet," Mongo. Mongo is full of castles, forests, jungles, mountains, hawk-men, princess, rockets, and atomic guns. Gordon and Arden quickly discover that the cruel, Yellow Peril ruler of Mongo is Ming "the merciless," and that he hates not just Earth, but white men in particular. Gordon battles Ming and eventually defeats and overthrows him and falls in love with Arden.
In the radio program The Adventures of Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim (1935) Gordon meets Jungle Jim and marries Arden.
* I'm including the "Flash Gordon" in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because, as mentioned above, when "Flash Gordon" was good (i.e., during the Alex Raymond years) it was on a level only "Terry and the Pirates" (see Terry Lee) could match. "Flash Gordon" richly deserves the label of "classic;" everything about the strip, from the lovely Alex Raymond art to the stellar use by Don Moore of pulpy tropes and concepts to the almost primal space fantasy adventures, was simply better than everything else that was appearing in the newspapers at that time. Of course, there is the unpleasant Yellow Peril quality of Ming the Merciless that needs to be taken into account, but if you can get past that (and nobody is to blame if they can't) you'll find superior pulp sf entertainment in "Flash Gordon."
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