Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Flash Gordon

Hero of the still extant Science-Fantasy comic strip created by artist Alex Raymond and writer Don Moore in 1934 for King Features Syndicate for weekly publication in Sunday newspapers. In 1944, another illustrator with a strong line style, Austin Briggs (1909-1973), took over the art, followed rather less ably in 1948 by Emanuel "Mac" Raboy (1916-1967). A daily FG strip began in 1940, also written by Moore and illustrated by Briggs, and then in 1951 a rather different daily was created with a more modern sf flavour, drawn by Dan Barry (1923-1997); in 1967, Barry also took on the Sunday page. Since then Barry has often farmed out the work to other creators.

The first FG story told of a "strange new planet" which was rushing towards Earth, whose inhabitants prepare for doom; Dr Hans Zarkov is working night and day to perfect "a device with which he hopes to save the world". Coincidentally, an airliner is struck by a meteor while passing directly over Zarkov's house, and among the passengers parachuting to safety are FG (world-renowned polo player and a Yale graduate) and the beautiful Dale Arden. "A dishevelled, wild-eyed figure [Zarkov]" forces them at gunpoint into a rocketship which takes off "with a deafening roar" to land on the wayward planet, Mongo. Here the three encounter weird Monsters, strange humanoid races and the dictator Ming the Merciless. [RT]

see also: Flash Gordon Movies.

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.