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CSBG Archive

Silver Age September – Flash Gordon #1

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today we look at Flash Gordon #1, by Al Williamson and Larry Ivie!

Enjoy!

In the pilot of American Dad, there is a scene where a character expresses his fondness for a chocolate junk food to another character: “By the way, Hayley, oh my God, these Chocodiles, these Chocodiles, Hayley, oh my God, these Chocodiles, oh my God!” That’s basically how I feel when trying to describe how amazing of a job Al Williamson did on 1966’s Flash Gordon #1, from King Comics (an attempt by King Features Syndicate to put out their own comic books starring the characters from their comic strips).

While it is true that Williamson is intentionally drawing like Alex Raymond, it is not really important HOW he gets there as the end result is simply magnificent artwork.

The story sets up the return of Flash Gordon and his companions to Mongo. It is mostly set-up (re-introducing all the major characters) but once Ivie gets into the story, wow, he really lets Williamson cut loose and in a fashion that would never be possible in a comic strip. Just check out this sequence of pages…

That’s some amazing stuff, right?

Check out this out of context page…

Sure got your interest, right?

In the second Flash Gordon story in the comic (written by Archie Goodwin), we see another Williamson tale of Flash and his friend Zarkov on a mission to a mysterious subterranean world. A world that they might not be allowed to leave!!!

Again, Williamson was firing on all celandine in this series. His work has luckily been reprinted in a number of books, most recently in Flesk’s 2009 book, Al Williamson’s Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic. Get your hands on a copy, people!

13 Comments

If you ask me, the art seems to be 10 0r 15 years ahead of it’s time. Wow!

Wow… That book has been on “save for later” mode in my amazon cart for a while…. It might be time to change that!

If this was a new #1 out today, I’d buy the crap out of it all the same. Wow.

Gorgeous art indeed, but that dueling sequence looks like it was ripped directly from the climax of the 1948 Errol Flynn film “The Adventures of Don Juan,” right down to the staircase.

Guido-Vision… the book is absolutely worth it.

Is it blasphemous to say that I prefer Williamson’s Flash Gordon to Raymond’s? The best work (IMO) that Alex Raymond did was Rip Kirby.

This issue (a reprint, actually) was my introduction to Flash Gordon, and I’ve loved the character ever since.

That was spectacular. Why don’t I have more money?

I dearly love Williamson’s work, although it is a little jarring when he stops swiping from the old Raymond pages and the characters suddenly look a little off model. I don’t hold the swipes against him – they’re part of the charm. Williamson SHOULD have been given a shot at some point at doing the newspaper strip, but I’m grateful for all of the years of Secret Agent Corrigan that we have from him.

@Reno:

I know what you mean… Raymond’s Flash Gordon is gorgeous, but it doesn’t approach the dynamism that Williamson puts in his pages.

dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum
FLASH!
AAA-AAAA!!
Saviour Of The Universe!!
dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum
FLASH!
AAA-AAAA!!
He’ll Save EveryOneOfUs!!

The Archie Goodwin-scripted story was adapted on the LP album “Official Adventures of Flash Gordon” into the audio story “Flash Gordon and the Mole Machine” starring Buster Crabbe as Flash!
Art from the comic was adapted and used on the back cover of the album.
Al Williamson contributed a NEW illustration for the cover of the album!
http://lpcoverlover.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/IMG_5086-500×491.jpg

I have a very good, clean, copy of this comic, published in Sydney, NSW. Content is black and white.

[…] about Flash Gordon #1 can be found in two blog posts written by Ray Cuthbert in 2002, and a blog post written by Brian Cronin in […]

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