- Series: The Complete Flash Gordon Library (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Titan Books (September 25, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857681540
- ISBN-13: 978-0857681546
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 1 x 10.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On the Planet Mongo (The Complete Flash Gordon Library) Hardcover – September 25, 2012
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"A wonderful new way to experience Alex Raymond’s creation, and does grand justice to the artistic brilliance of the strip. It’s a must-have for fans, and a must-see for those who’ve never had the pleasure of reading the original series before." – Forbes.com
‘this is wonderful escapism, packed to the rafters with action, last minute escapes and lurid kinkiness.’ – SFX
'This is an absolute “must have” for anyone who considers themselves a comics aficionado or armchair science fiction historian.' – B&N Book Blog
"Titan Books gives this collection the star treatment it deserves, faithfully reproducing the original strips on a high-quality stock of gently off-white paper that avoids the too-bright reproduction of other collections. If you don't have the time to read all 200+ pages of this "coffee-table" book in one sitting, merely dig in at any point and be wowed by Raymond's phantasmal world called Mongo." – MTV
'Recaptured in the glorious, four-color tones that evoke the sense of old newsprint, Titan has managed to retain the look and feel of what it must have been like to read the series as it unfolded from week to week, where Raymond managed to cram non-stop action and adventure into a single page of panels and stlll get a reader to return each week. This lovingly-presented volume should appeal to both new readers and those who might have even read it when it first came out 75 years ago.' – Fanboy Comics
'if the first volume is any indication, this series will be prized by longtime fans of Golden Age comics and new admirers alike.' – Playback STL
"As far as presentation goes, this is one huge and good looking book. Much like Titan’s other library editions to have come out and impress fans over the years." – Comic Attack
About the Author
Alex Raymond is one of the most famous artists in the history of comic strips. He created Flash Gordon, Secret Agent X-9, Rip Kirby, and Jungle Jim. George Lucas has indicated that Flash Gordon was the inspiration for the Star Wars movies, and Raymond's work has inspired decades of writers, artist, and filmmakers.
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Top customer reviews
I've compared this first Titan Books edition to the Checker Books versions, 7 volumes of which were published from 2004-2006 (and still available on Amazon, such as Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, Vol. 1). The Titan version has more subdued coloring, probably closer to the original Sunday newsprint. By comparison, the Checker version has more vibrant coloring that jumps out at you a bit more. The Checker Books are less than 90 pages of artwork each. Titan volume 1 is about 25 pages longer than Checker vol. 1 and 2 combined. Overall I prefer the Titan edition both in terms of the more accurate restoration and the page count, as well as for the introductory material. Still, the Checker Books versions are worth considering; the price per page is roughly the same.
I'm also a fan of the Mac Raboy version of Flash Gordon, still available on Amazon as over-sized black and white paperbacks (e.g., Mac Raboy's Flash Gordon, vol. 1). I own several of the recent Flash Gordon Comic Book Archives volumes; they do not compare to either the Raymond or Raboy renderings, although many of the painted covers are quite attractive. For example, see Flash Gordon Comic Book Archives Volume 1.
One problem with the new Titan edition -- despite careful handling, a few of the flecks of gold have already fallen off the gold and red logo. Not a big problem but annoying.
Flash Gordon was written over three or four years, and you can't expect to read it over an hour and a half. I usually like to read a few pages and then put it away fora while. There are quality issues in the first third of the book,perhaps because the originals have degraded after 80 years, but I think these problems won't bother most readers. Overall, if you're a fan of early science fiction, pre-Code comics, or Flash Gordon, you should be reading this book. ****
The start of the series wastes no time on establishing characters. The goal was to get Flash Gordon into space ASAP. Earth is being pummeled by meteors with one final huge meteor on a cataclysmic collision course with our beloved planet. Dr. Hans Zarkov (who is initially played as a mad scientist) has created a rocket that he intends to personally pilot to deflect the meteor and save the Earth. A plane carrying Flash and Dale Arden, who at this point don't appear to be traveling as a couple, is struck by a meteorite and the two parachute near Zarkov's lab where the paranoid scientist forces them into his spacecraft for no apparent reason. As they approach the meteor Zarkov has a change of heart and freaks out but Flash subdues him and the three land on the meteor which is now described as a planet named Mongo. The collision course with Earth is quickly forgotten although later Zarkov credits Flash with saving the Earth. I bring all this up because it happens within the first two pages and it shows how disorganized Flash Gordon started. Zarkov suddenly changed into a very sane scientist while Flash and Dale now appeared to be long time lovers and the meteorite suddenly became a planet whose distance from Earth seemed indeterminate but it no longer appeared to be on a collision course.
I've never read a Buck Rogers comic but I'm very well versed in Tarzan and Flash is definitely inspired by the ape man. Tarzan's inhuman physicality is explained by being raised by apes while Flash's is explained by him being a "world renowned polo player" and Yale graduate. This sets him up as an athlete who comes from wealth much like Tarzan who was born a Lord. As with Tarzan, Flash is superior in just about every endeavor he engages in. If he's flying an alien rocket ship he can outfly the aliens even if he's never touched the controls before or had any training. As with Tarzan and Jane, Flash and Dale are desired by just about everyone of the opposite sex they come into contact with while they only desire each another. I was amused by how often Flash finds himself shirtless and on many occasions without pants sort of like, well, you know.
From a narrative standpoint the story here is pretty weak. These Sunday comics were written to be read once a week and you don't want fans to wait a week just to have nothing happen. But when you are reading it straight through, getting years of comics in a few sittings, you become aware that the action is absurdly relentless. There is absolutely no down time. Flash and Dale never discuss the fact that they are on an alien planet or even consider returning to Earth. For much of the book they didn't even appear to eat or sleep. The original readers probably also didn't notice that Moore repeats storylines over and over again.
The writing here doesn't exude the same passion that I sense from artist invented creations but I have to admit that I found the unapologetic action somewhat hypnotizing. It's like a cake that's all frosting. I assume even the level of action was decreed by King Features. Like a lot of comics it starts off a bit shaky but after a few years moves into a groove. The art improves a lot and the action tones down about 1%. Presentation wise I have no complaints. There are some weird coloring mistakes but I assume they were present in the original comics. For an artist working in the mid 1930's Raymond's art is well above most of his peers and probably would have looked better without color. I didn't fall in love the comics but they're fun escapism and a nice representation of entertainment from the 1930's.