Lair of the Geek

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Flash Gordon: On The Planet Mongo

Review By: Dean Jennings
Publisher: Titan Books £29.99

“Gordon’s alive?!” is one of the most iconic sayings in the geek culture and it comes from one of the most iconic Sci-fi Films; Flash Gordon. But before the film, this iconic character started life out as a one strip cartoon in newspapers and from that day on a legend was born. Let’s skip to the 21st century, where times have changed and where people have forgotten about this sci-fi classic. However, all that has changed, I was lucky enough to receive ‘Flash Gordon on the Planet Mongo Volume 1’ by Alex Raymond, and from the start, I have to say, what an impressive looking book it is.

The book itself is 206 pages long and is all wrapped up in a hardback cover, the art work on the front is simply outstanding with Flash Gordon holding Dale’s hand, this is accompanied with what looks like Ming’s Castle at the bottom and covering the centre in big gold writing is the title of the book. Again on the back is two great pictures from the stories inside the book, with the same banner across the centre telling you a bit about the book.
Opening the book up you are treated to a the Flash Gordon Legacy By Alex Ross and he goes into detail on how it all started and what was really going on at the time and how Flash Gordon went from Newspaper comic strip to the silver screen. It really is a fantastic read for someone who was not around at the time, to kind of step back in time, to read how comics themselves started.

Once you have finished reading that, the comic strips themselves have have been lovingly restored to full colour, and it’s nice to see it starts off how it should, with the meeting of Flash and Dale and then good old Dr Zarkov, who is trying to save Earth from impending doom (from the comet that is streaking toward them). And so begins the tale of Flash Gordon. It’s great to see all the comic strips laid out this way, making for some great reading following Flash on his adventures through the planet Mongo. Seeing all the people he finds and as well as his enemies. To me what is outstanding is the story-lines. What you have to remember is that these were newspaper comic strips and back then newspapers were big business, so keeping your comic in them was hard, so they had to stand out and after reading this I can see why it lasted so long.

The art style is amazing for the time period it came from, and I can understand why it stood out so much in a newspaper, even by today’s standards, it would not look out of place on the shelf of a comic store. You can really tell that Alex Raymond loved what he did, every cell is so detailed, the actions of the people and the look of the people look so natural, as well as the locations. The jungle locations are so detailed, plants and trees are all very easy on the eye.

Overall Flash Gordon On the Planet Mongo, is an amazing read. It has been put together with great care and attention. If you have any interest in Flash Gordon or just simply want to know what you have been missing, this is a great book to own and have on your self. I think it’s best to finish this review off with one of my favourite quote of all time from the 1980’s film.

“Ah, well; Who wants to live forever? Hahahahahaha!!!! DIIIIIIVVE!”

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