Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Flash Gordon turns 80 today!

It was on January 7th, 1934 that Alex Raymond's FLASH GORDON first appeared in newspapers to the delight of pulp adventure fans and readers of funny pages. It should go with saying just how much Mr. Raymond's hero has influenced modern popular culture.

Whether he was reappearing throughout the years in his own strip, comic, TV show or movie serial or acting as the zeitgeist behind even bigger mythologies (*cough*, STAR WARS), the other-worldly escapades of Flash Gordon have given us decades of epic entertainment.

Happy Birthday Flash!

Click to embiggen. Image: King Features Syndicate 2014, all rights reserved.

To commemorate the occasion, Flash Gordon's publisher, King Features launched a new website www.flashgordon.com with comics from the most recent artist to steward Flash's newspaper appearances, Jim Keefe

Jim's been a fellow Twin Citian now for a number of years and I've been lucky enough to bump into him from time to time at local comic conventions. Besides being the nicest guy this side of Mingo City, he's an unabashed Gordon fan himself, with a real reverence for Raymond's original imaginings. 

From primeval monsters, to swashbuckling sword fights, and swooshing rocketships, to finned spacecraft, sleek cityscapes, and elaborate costumes--Keefe's Flash hearkens back to the early Raymond adventures and planetary romance themes. But he's also put his own unique spin on the Mongo universe, including updating a few characters.

From time to time, he's even turned the pencil work over to a few guest artists, including Al Williamson himself!

Longtime readers Exonauts, know that Flash looms large in my geek psyche. To kick off Flash Gordon day here on Exonauts, here's a few of my favorite renderings of Flash. I've noted artists/sources in the file names when known. Click to embiggen. 

Probably my favorite though is this one:

For more art, check out this Flash Gordon Pintrest board I put together. 

We'll have a little Flash Gordon Fest here on the blog throughout the month. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: Check out Comic Kingdom's post on Flash's anniversary.

UPDATE 2: Jim Keefe has posted an excellent snapshot of Flash's career in comics, check it out!