The ‘Flash Gordon’ newspaper comic pioneered the ‘Buck Rogers’ era

CANTON – Batman, Superman and Spider-Man comic books line the walls and fill the boxes of Comics, Cards and Collectables.

There’s no shortage of other iconic characters either: Wonder Woman. The flash. Iron Man. The Green Lantern. Captain America, The Incredible Hulk. Aquaman.

Flash Gordon, who originated from a 1934 comic strip, is not visible.

Comic Book Shop owner Tom Mattevi admitted that while Flash Gordon is relatively obscure in the world of modern comic books and fantasy characters, the edgy space adventurer still resonates from a bygone era where humans could only fantasize and speculate about what existed in Cosmos.

Excitement gripped the longtime comic book aficionado’s voice as he spoke about Flash Gordon’s legacy. And Mattevi was even more perked up while promoting the scheduled Saturday appearance of actor Sam J. Jones, who starred in the cult 1980 film “Flash Gordon.”

Jones will be at Comics, Cards and Collectables, 724 Cleveland Ave. SW from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to talk with fans, sign autographs and take photos as part of its “40th Anniversary Reunion World Tour” in conjunction with the original release of the film.

Coinciding with Jones’ appearance, there will be a sale from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring more than 40,000 comics for $1 each, plus special offers on magazines, action figures, and DVDs.

Jones is also scheduled to appear from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Comic Town at 94 Dillmont Drive in Columbus.

“Part of the problem is that his genre, if you will, is obsolete,” Mattevi said when asked why another “Flash Gordon” movie hasn’t been made since 1980 and why the legendary character is a rarity among heaps of comics and memorabilia. in his shop.

“In the 1930s, rockets flying to distant planets, it was just something people dreamed of and it was great, but in 2021, knowing the limits of space travel and because we went on the moon and we send missions to Mars and beyond, it’s not that fantastic,” he said.

However, “without comics, there would have been no comics”.

Campy but classic

Casual sci-fi and comic book fans will likely be more familiar with the film.

“Flash Gordon” was only a modest commercial success while receiving mixed reviews and being criticized for being excessive. But it achieved cult status for some fans, retaining an era charm of cartoonish brilliance, slick action and over-the-top sound theater in a time before computer animation and graphics dominated science films. -fiction.

The film’s music is by seminal rock band Queen, including a “Flash Gordon” theme song with Freddie Mercury singing melodramatic vocals at a blistering pace.

“It’s a good movie,” Mattevi said. “It was very enjoyable – he’s got a hell of a cast.”

The “Ted” films starring Mark Walhberg in 2012 and 2014 comically resurrected Flash Gordon in his glory in red, gold and black suits.

“Flash Gordon in today’s world, without the ‘Ted’ films, few people are fans,” Mattevi said of the character’s profile and modern appeal. “It’s a niche…the character, not the movie.”

“Flash Gordon is a reference that people will throw out from time to time, but there’s no connection,” he said. “But there are people who would get it because they’re comic book fans in general. You can’t talk about comic book history without ‘Flash Gordon’, ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘Prince Valiant’ and ‘The Phantom’.'”

Flash Gordon, however, still provides fantastic escape and relief, Mattevi said.

Especially at a time when the public is grappling with pandemic fatigue and longing for a return to normalcy.

“It’s dreams, it’s fantasy, it’s something that as an adult puts you in touch with your childhood and as a child gives you something to look forward to,” said Mattevi said.

Flash Gordon actor Jones agreed.

“It’s amazing, it really is,” he said of the reaction he received during the recent tour with stops in Florida, Las Vegas, New Mexico and Mexico. California. “It’s amazing. The fans are very passionate. They’re very excited and excited to come out.”

“The world (needed) permission to leave their homes,” he said. “It’s wild and regardless of the guidelines (COVID-19), everyone is in compliance.”

Contact Ed at 330-580-8315 and

On Twitter @ebalintREP

Flash Gordon Story

Flash Gordon, the hero of a space opera adventure comic of the same name, was created in 1934 by illustrator Alex Raymond and writer Don Moore as a Sunday newspaper article for King Features Syndicate.

The character was intended to rival the already established and popular “Buck Rogers”.

The series centered on the intergalactic exploits of Flash Gordon and his girlfriend Dale Arden and scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov on the alien planet Mongo.

By the late 1930s, the comic was published in 130 newspapers around the world, translated into eight languages, and read by more than 50 million people each week.

Flash Gordon was featured in a serial radio broadcast and as the hero of a novel, “Flash Gordon in the Caves of Mongo” in 1936.

Buster Crabbe played the blond astronaut in a series of films in the 1930s. The character appeared on television in the 1950s.

The first edition of the Flash Gordon comic strip sold at auction for $480,000, a record for comic book art.

“Flash Gordon”, a movie starring Sam J. Jones in the lead role, was released in 1980.

Source: Britannica and The Hollywood Reporter