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Interview: Alex Ross on MERCILESS: THE RISE OF MING

Find out what Mr. Ross has to say about going back to Ming's early days.

This week FLASH GORDON ZEITGEIST #3 is in stores. Last week we talked to writer Scott Beatty on the April 25th release of MERCILESS: THE RISE OF MING series focusing on Ming's early days. As you know, Alex Ross has a hand in shaping many of Dynamite Entertainment's books and he will be involved and providing covers for Ming as well (you can see his penciled/sketch cover for the first issue).

Alex took the time to answer our questions on Ming and the series as well. Check out Scott Beatty's response here and take a look at Ross' below.

Comic Vine: People know the concept of Flash Gordon from the strips, movies and animated series but has Ming's backstory ever been told?

Alex Ross: If any investigation into Ming’s personal history has been done before, ours will be completely independent of that. This new take on who Ming is is a very aggressive one that paints the portrait of a younger Ming obsessed with power.

CV: How far back will this series go? How young will Ming be?

AR: It’s always interesting to note about such bald icons when they did have hair.

== TEASER ==

CV: Often when villains get the focus, the stories slowly get readers to sympathize for the villain, to understand their motivation. Will that be the case with Ming or is he simply cold hearted and completely ruthless?

AR: What Scott has written is absolutely not a sympathetic portrait. In an age where the backstories written about classic villains swerve much more to the side of how they were arriving at their villainy through reasonable means, I’m happy to see something that just portrays a personality for being as bad as they sometimes come.

Alex Ross' 20-year-old Ming

CV: What type of character will young Ming be? Does the tribulations require him to be a cold and calculated person or does he face physical situations that has him completely get his hands dirty?

AR: In a weird way, it shows a comparison to Flash Gordon having Ming get physically involved with his various struggles in the story. It might be too easy to think of Ming as some kind of overly protected being who’s never exerted any effort, and I don’t believe that was ever Alex Raymond’s intent with the character.

CV: Will there be one event that carves Ming into being so "merciless"?

AR: Scott lays out how this complicated imperial dynamic works. It’s interesting to see how he defines that Ming’s father before him was not the same kind of tyrannical emperor. What the story shows is that with the laws of dictatorship governing a place, you have potential abuses that can run wild, and Ming realizes all of those.

CV: Is there a struggle in making him into a true villain without making him weak by giving him emotions? How do you find the balance in making him evil yet making him more than a simply deadly villain in order for readers to care about him?

AR: Weirdly enough, in this day and age, the idea of doing a villain as the lead in a comic book isn’t as strange as when DC tried giving Joker his own series in the 1970s. Since this story doesn’t detail how an unsympathetic villain is ultimately robbed of power, it really does examine a history that brought us the war of the worlds that is the Flash Gordon storyline. In many ways for comic books, Ming is the original of all big bad guys. Before Joker, Doctor Doom, or even Galactus, there was the guy who came barreling down at Earth with a whole planet of nastiness.

Check out this early look at the uncolored pages for MERCILESS: THE RISE OF MING #1 (on sale in April) with art by Ron Adrian.

12 Comments
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

I am very much enjoying the new Flash Gordon series so I cant wait for this. 
 
All Hail Ming and HIs Glorious New Regime  

Posted by KidSupreme
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@KidSupreme said:

Can anyone say Sinestro LoL

Maybe its just me but Ming The Merciless looks a lot like Sinestro from DC Green Lantern.

every one keeps saying this, Ming was around 30 years before Sinestro was a twinkle in John Broomn's eye
Posted by KidSupreme

@spiderbat87: I am aware Ming has been around much longer then Sinestro. I use to watch the old re-runs on tv when I was a kid. I remember him with a big goatee, I realize they want to update the character, but they made him look a lot more like Sinestro now.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@KidSupreme said:

@spiderbat87: I am aware Ming has been around much longer then Sinestro. I use to watch the old re-runs on tv when I was a kid. I remember him with a big goatee, I realize they want to update the character, but they made him look a lot more like Sinestro now.

he still does, the reason he doesn't have a beard here is because he is too young
Posted by NightFang

@KidSupreme said:

Can anyone say Sinestro, LoL.

Posted by Rdhg

@KidSupreme said:

Can anyone say Sinestro LoL

Maybe its just me but Ming The Merciless looks a lot like Sinestro from DC Green Lantern.

thats what I thought too when I saw the thumbnail.

Posted by jrock85

@KidSupreme said:

Can anyone say Sinestro LoL

I was just about to say that.

Posted by The Impersonator

@NightFang said:

@KidSupreme said:

Can anyone say Sinestro, LoL.

Posted by Hoobson

Can't wait to read it!

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

"What the story shows is that with the laws of dictatorship governing a place, you have potential abuses that can run wild, and Ming realizes all of those." Exactly how I pictured Ming's rise to mercilessness. I certainly cannot wait and...I don't know, is it me, or does anyone else agree that if this were to ever be done as a movie that Jet Li would do Ming perfectly?

Posted by Nova`Prime`

I am definately gonna pick this up but I am gonna wait to get it digitally. I jsut don't have room for any more comics.