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Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Flash Gordon Edition!
FLASH GORDON: THE TYRANT OF MONGO By Alex Raymond 208 pages; hardcover; color; editions: December 2012
Gordon is alive and well and battling Ming the Merciless and other monsters of Mongo in this second volume of (so far) three hardbacked volumes (volume three streets in March of 2013) of Alex Raymond's classic, and influential Sunday comic strip hero. This is stunning artistry, gorgeously reproduced for lovers of vintage comics and fine art everywhere. I remember my first exposure to Flash Gordon was on Saturday Morning airings of the B/W serials starring Buster Crabbe as Flash and Charles B. Middleton as Ming. I'd seen other serials on Saturday mornings, but FLASH GORDON was a favorite. When I got older, I eventually bought several of the FG comic books and the 1980 movie left a huge impression on me as a child, as well. However, I never came to appreciate (till much later) where it all started -- from the artistic hands of Alex Raymond. Now, the fine folks at Titan Books have tasked themselves with their own production of the complete library of this iconic character. So far, three hardback volumes are available. The one reviewed here is volume two (available for purchase December 18th, 2012), considered the apex of the Raymond strips about the earthling hero.
These are stunning reproductions of those original color comic strips covering the years between 1937-1941. An opening chapter by Doug Murray puts the series in perspective with startling insight into the brilliance of Raymond's artistry that's flanked by some rare, and revealing photographs. This includes his use of live (fully nude) models to capture unique physical positioning for his myriad number of characters brought to life in Sunday newspapers. Fans of the character, the serials and the movie from 1980 will surely find this an immersive experience. The level of detail is mesmerizing. Many of the panels seen here are instantly recognizable from the opening credits sequence of the cult 1980 production -- itself, deserving of a volume on its making!
Reading through these Sunday strips will no doubt bring about a renewed interest in the character and his exploits. All three volumes are a must for comic book lovers and anyone with an appreciation for vintage, and exceptionally well mounted artwork. FLASH GORDON: THE TYRANT OF MONGO is due for release on December 18th, 2012.
To purchase this book through amazon, click HERE. To read more about this book, and the other two volumes as well as purchasing through Titan Books, click HERE.You'll also find interviews with well known artist and FLASH GORDON fan, Alex Ross. Titan Books also has a blog regarding the FLASH GORDON COMPLETE LIBRARY which can be read HERE.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.