Flash Gordon

Real Name: "Flash" Gordon

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Professional athlete (polo player), resistance fighter

Affiliations: Dale Arden; Dr.Zarkov; Princess Aura

Enemies: Ming the Merciless

Known Relatives: None known

Aliases: None known

Base of Operations: Mongo

First Appearance: Flash Gordon (King Features Syndicate, comic strip, 1934)


History: While a new planet is detected hurtling toward Earth, internationally renowned polo player and Yale graduate "Flash" Gordon and Dale Arden are on an airplane struggling through atmospheric disturbance when it goes into a tailspin and they manage to just bail out in the nick of time. Landing by parachute near the lab of Dr. Zarkov (whose name is Hans in the comic strip and Alexis here), they are shown the scientist's missile, which he hope to pilot to Mongo and then prevent the catastrophic collision. They land on Mongo, but are captured by Officer Torch and two robot soldiers who hold them at bay with scientifically-advanced rifles. They are taken to Ming, ruthless ruler of the planet. His daughter Aura falls for Flash at first glance but will kill him if she can't have him for herself.

Ming, deciding Dale will be his wife, drugs her into subservience. Flash is hurled into the "Arena of Death" for Ming's entertainment but is saved from this doom by Aura. Meanwhile Dr. Zarkov convinces Ming to preserve Earth so it can be conquered, a desperate ploy to save our planet.

Though originally very blond, by the third Flash serial, Crabbe was dark hairedMing's empire is attacked by Mongonian dissidents known as The Lion Men whose gyro ships pepper Ming's palace with fire. After evading Aura's seductive nails and escaping from a giant reptile pit, Flash battles Thun, King of The Lion Men, and subdues him. Realizing their common enemy, they join forces and head to save Dale. Later Flash would encounter Shark Men and Hawkmen, before he finally defeated the evil Ming.

In "Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938, 15 episodes) a mysterious beam of light emanating from Mars is sucking the nitrogen from the Earth's atmosphere, and only Flash can stop it. He battles Queen Azura, the Clay People of Mars, and his mortal enemy Ming the Merciless once more. In "Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe" (1940, 12 episodes) a rocket is dropping purple dust into the Earth's atmosphere, causing instant death. Flash has to locate the antidote on the frozen planet of Frigia and stop Ming.

Comments: Alex Raymond's comic strip first appeared in 1934, and Universal bought the rights two years later. Larry "Buster" Crabbe landed the part of the lead.

One major difference between the strip and the serial was the Mongonians' skin colour. In the strip they were Oriental yellow, but no mention of this pigmentation appears in the film. Later the aliens were presented as Caucasians in the newspapers as well.


Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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