Friday, August 26, 2011

Flash Gordon Makes Three!

Dynamite followed up the announcements of procuring The Shadow and The Spider with the announcement that Flash Gordon will soon be published by them as well. For those keeping track, the list of pulp or pulp-ish characters that Dynamite has the license to include the above plus Buck Rogers, The Phantom, Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, John Carter of Mars and Zorro. I had to check this morning to see if possibly there were any new announcements of Dick Tracy, Prince Valiant, Tarzan or Mandrake the Magician.

The press releases keep touting Dynamite's Project Superpowers as an example of the company's success, but when did the last issue of that come out? And, the few spin-offs it had have been cancelled. Likewise, the strong outing of Green Hornet titles has greatly diminished. Lone Ranger is ending. Buck Rogers has been gone for awhile. And, at least half of the titles feature strongly re-imagined versions of the characters. Green Hornet and the Bionic Man are based on film treatments. Their Zorro was largely an adaptation of Isabel Allende's novel. Couple that with their decompressed storytelling that takes several issues to deliver an origin and put the hero in costume. It's difficult to get too excited.

Of course Alex Ross is involved. He's obviously been a fan of Flash as he uses a Flash Gordon logo as part of his own logo (no trademark infringement there?). This announcement creates some bad blood between Dynamite and Arden who currently also publishes a Flash Gordon comic. Remember Dynamite pulling something similar with the Phantom? Appears that King Features is a little loose, they don't date exclusively. Of course, Arden didn't really impress me with their first issue as it set out to tell Flash's origin all over again, only with cartoony artwork and has a parachute pack just to seem to magically appear on his back when it's obvious he wasn't wearing one in preceding panels.

Hey, Dynamite. We know most of the origin and backstory already of Flash, Phantom, Bionic Man, etc. Don't just simply retread the same storyline or retcon the stories written by the creators only spread out over six issues. Give a little recap and jump in and give us the stories featuring the characters we love. Bring in new stuff, but not at the expense of the old. We want to believe that this comic featuring the hero is featuring the same hero that was in the pulps, serials, comic strips etc, not that it's just another version.

The art released has been interesting. The Doc Savage homage is definite with one. Once I saw that, I couldn't help but feel a John Carter vibe off another and a Star Wars vibe off a third. Of course, the pose in that one has been used in everything from Conan painting, movie posters for National Lampoon's Vacation, Army of Darkness, etc. Let you be the judge of that.

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