Flash Gordon has always been an interesting character. He wasn't an overly complex one. He was a simple Earthling. He was an athlete that soon found himself mixed up in adventures in outer space after Dr. Zarkov kidnapped Flash and his girlfriend, Dale Arden. Debuting in 1934, Flash Gordon has managed to stand the test of time as we still see interest in the character and new stories being printed.
In December, Titan Books released another hardcover collection, The Tyrant of Mongo, that continues the adventures of Flash Gordon and his companions.
This is the second volume of the classic Sunday strips. The beauty of it is, even if you haven't read the first volume of strips, you can easily dive into the story.
What immediately caught my attention was the size and format. The book is 10" x 11" so it has a nice feel to it and really allows for large images. When you first open the book, you'll notice a striking black and white image on the inside cover.== TEASER ==
Even though this is the second book, you still get some history on the character and creators. I missed out on the first volume (which I need to get around to picking up) but this book still has a friendly, new-reader opening.
There are a few pages that gives you the background on not just the action in the strips but as for how it all came about. Along with a variety of photographs, you'll fully know what the deal is with the character and how this comic came about.
Even though it's not the beginning of Flash Gordon's story, this book is still new-reader friendly. It might be safe to say that most people are aware of how Flash Gordon and his adventures started. That being said, there's is the desire to actually see how it all played out along with what happened immediately afterwards. More incentive to pick up the first release of this series.
As for starting out with this one, there is a short and simple recap that tells you more than you need.
Each page contains one full Sunday strip. You'll often see a tiny one or two sentence recap as to what happened prior on each one but it doesn't take away from the limited space for each strip.
As you read through, you'll get sucked in and eventually notice the date at the bottom of the page. It's amazing to think how fast time flies. Trying to imagine readers back then having to wait a week for the next chapter makes you appreciate this format even more.
As I was reading through this book, I left it sitting open and my daughter immediately began reading. She didn't feel the need to go back to the beginning either. She was able to just jump right in and follow along.
The only bad thing about this book is it does end on a slightly ominous cliffhanger. Guess that's a way to make you look forward to the next volume.
The stories might feel a little simple at times given the original time period and the weekly nature of the strips. The stories and art do hold up. You should be able to appreciate the nature of the time period in which these strips were released. The strips have been restored by Peter Maresca. Thankfully it's not overdone. There have been times in the past where restored material almost gains an artificial feel when attempts at restoration are made.
Overall, it's a great package. If you're looking for a fun and nostalgic look at Flash Gordon, you need to pick this up. There are over 200 pages and it retails for $39.95. Of course you know that means you'll be able to find it cheaper if you look around online. It's definitely worth checking out.
Flash Gordon © 2012 King Features Inc. All Rights Reserved.