Saturday, August 04, 2007

Flash Gordon: A Truly Novel Character

Next Friday, August 10, Sci Fi Channel debuts its new series featuring Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, possibly the longest running recurring character in the history of science fiction. I have high hopes for the series, and if successful it would make for a pretty solid couple of hours as it is being run back to back with the newest (and way cool) incarnation of Dr. Who.

For a full history of the character, Wikipedia has a pretty extensive article here. Personally, my interest in the character began with a series of novels launched in 1973. These books presented Flash as a character whose home base was the planet Earth as it was in later years of Alex Raymond's comic strip and the 1954-1955 TV series that starred Steve Holland, as opposed to the many film and comic book versions that took place solely on the planet Mongo. Series regulars Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov appeared in the novels, and while the covers carried Alex Raymond's name, the novels were ghost written by the likes of Ron Goulart, among others. Click on any of the cover images below for a closer look.

The Lion Men of Mongo
This first novel in the series was the one that evaded me. Research tells me that this is the Flash Gordon origin story, in which Flash, Dale, and Zarkov land on the planet Mongo and battle the nefarious Ming the Merciless.

The Plague of Sound
A giant spider, an underground city, and a mad muscian who seeks to rule a planet by the shattering effects of ultra high frequency sound.

The Space Circus
Trapped on the planet Mesmo, Flash is forced into slavery where he must perform as a trapeze artist in a circus of extraterrestrials.

The Time Trap of Ming XIII
In the distant future, a descendant of Ming the Merciless sends his minions back in time to assassinate Flash Gordon.

The Witch Queen of Mongo
Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov are transported to Mongo by a teenager with the ability to bend reality, where they become the prisoners of Queen Azura and her consort Ming Jr.

The War of the Cybernauts
This was the first of the series that I stumbled across. Not really a problem since the books can be read in any order (maybe with the exception of the first). Flash and Zarkov crash on a planet inhabited by robots and plagued by an ongoing war. This book had the best cover of the series, featuring some classic pulp style robots.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...