Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mad #11: "Flesh Garden!"

Download MAD #11

In the company of Dale Arden, Flash Gordon embarked for the planet Mongo in 1934. That was in the Sunday funnies in a page drawn by Alex Raymond and written anonymously by former pulp-fiction editor Don Moore. This space opera became one of King Features Syndicate's most popular features, and Raymond's illustrative art was to have a strong influence on many of the young artists who began drawing for comic books in the late 1930s and the early 1940s—Tom Hickey, Sheldon Moldoff, Jack Lehti, George Papp, Mac Raboy, Dan Barry, etc.

Flash Gordon entered comic books early in 1936 by way of reprints in King Comics. His battles with the merciless Ming, a sort of galactic Fu Manchu, unfolded in the magazine from the first issue.

In the early 1940s Dell began issuing now and then Flash Gordon reprint titles. Later in the decade came an occasional comic-book offering Flash adventures "especially written and drawn for this magazine." The artist was Paul Norris, who also began drawing the Jungle Jim newspaper page in 1948.

Harvey Publications tried reprinting the Raymond material in 1950 and 1951, giving up after a few issues. King Features experimented with publishing comic books in the late 1960s. These used original material, and the Flash Gordon book made use of such artists as Al Williamson, a devoted Raymond disciple, Gil Kane, and Reed Crandall. When King quit, Charlton took over and finally Gold Key. The final Flash Gordon comic book was printed in 1982. He reappeared briefly in 1987 as part of a team that included Mandrake and the Phantom in the TV-inspired Defenders of the Earth.

Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood spoof Flash Gordon below.


Cover art: Basil Wolverton
Script: Harvey Kurtzman
Pencils: Wally Wood
Inks: Wally Wood
Colors: Marie Severin

  • in Mad Reader, The (Ballantine Books, 1954 series) #93
  • in Mad About the Fifties (Little, Brown & Co., 1997 series) #[nn]
  • Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad (EC, 1997 series) #4

Below is Frank Brunner's curious spoof from Unknown World of Science Fiction #1:

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