After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!
Today we look at Flash Gordon #1, by Al Williamson and Larry Ivie!
In the pilot of American Dad, there is a scene where a character expresses his fondness for a chocolate junk food to another character: "By the way, Hayley, oh my God, these Chocodiles, these Chocodiles, Hayley, oh my God, these Chocodiles, oh my God!" That's basically how I feel when trying to describe how amazing of a job Al Williamson did on 1966's Flash Gordon #1, from King Comics (an attempt by King Features Syndicate to put out their own comic books starring the characters from their comic strips).
While it is true that Williamson is intentionally drawing like Alex Raymond, it is not really important HOW he gets there as the end result is simply magnificent artwork.
The story sets up the return of Flash Gordon and his companions to Mongo. It is mostly set-up (re-introducing all the major characters) but once Ivie gets into the story, wow, he really lets Williamson cut loose and in a fashion that would never be possible in a comic strip. Just check out this sequence of pages...
That's some amazing stuff, right?
Check out this out of context page...
Sure got your interest, right?
In the second Flash Gordon story in the comic (written by Archie Goodwin), we see another Williamson tale of Flash and his friend Zarkov on a mission to a mysterious subterranean world. A world that they might not be allowed to leave!!!
Again, Williamson was firing on all celandine in this series. His work has luckily been reprinted in a number of books, most recently in Flesk's 2009 book, Al Williamson's Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic
. Get your hands on a copy, people!