Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist.
To kick off Sci-Fi Week, I’m looking at a new spin on a classic: Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon. But to keep this version fresh and different from the classic 1980 film, I'm not adapting the original comic, but rather the 2014 Dynamite Comics series by Jeff Parker and Doc Shaner.
Launching a shared superhero universe is a pretty daunting task even for the best creators in comics, but 2013's Kings Watch from Jeff Parker and Marc Laming is hands down one of the best I've ever read. Built around the idea of Ming the Merciless arriving on Earth with an invasion plan that starts by simply turning off global communication --- and returning printed newspapers to the kind of prominence they haven't had since the last century --- the story threw Flash Gordon, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician into high adventure and provided the springboard for some great comics.
Now, Parker is returning to Flash Gordon with artist and co-writer Jesse Hamm, colorist Grace Allison, and letterer Simon Bowland, for an all-new five-issue story called "Kings Cross," set to make its debut in November --- and they're bringing Ming the Merciless back with them.
When readers imagine the art style of Fawcett Comics' hugely successful line of Marvel Family titles --- Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and so on --- there is a good chance the image in their head is rendered by the line's flagship artist, CC Beck, whose friendly, clean-line style defines the look of the Marvels even today. But when Fawcett launched their first spin-off feature to Captain Marvel, the appropriately named Captain Marvel Jr in the pages of Master Comics, the company went with an artist with an almost diametrically opposite --- but equally virtuosic --- style: Mac Raboy.
Illustrator supreme. Inker extraoardinaire. Member of the Eisner Hall Of Fame. Al Williamson's skill was matched only by his imagination, and in a career that spanned seven decades, he established himself as not just one of the greatest artists the comics industry has ever seen, but one of the most sympathetic and versatile collaborators, who brought an extra element of inspiration to everything he touched, and helped those around him to achieve new heights.
As much as Dynamite might be known for picking up a few unusual licenses, the upcoming Kings Quest series is not actually a comic book adaptation of the classic Sierra adventure game about wandering around, picking up everything you can, and then banging them together to see what happens. Instead, believe it or not, it's actually something better.
Coming in May, Kings Quest is Ben Acker, Heath Corson and Dan McDaid's sequel to Jeff Parker and Marc Laming's Kings Watch that finds the classic King Features adventure characters --- Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Jungle Jim and a time-tossed Prince Valiant --- reuniting to take on an entire army. In space.
And in distinctively other superhero news, Matthew Vaughn’s Flash Gordon movie is picking up a bit of steam. After years of failed development, the project finally started to get somewhere when Vaughn signed on to direct last year, and although a couple of writers have already taken a pass at the screenplay, the hiring of I Am Legend and Oldboy scribe Mark Protosevich may prove a bit more fruitful.
This week at Comixology, Dynamite has a big sale on their "Greatest Hits," and as you might expect from the title, there's a lot of really good stuff in there. So good, in fact, that you probably don't need me to tell you about it --- being able to grab twelve issues of American Flagg for nine bucks, for example, is probably something that you already know is a good idea.
But if you're on the hunt for a buried treasure and you've got a spare picture of Abraham Lincoln burning a hole in your pocket, then you need to do yourself a favor and pick up Jeff Parker and Marc Laming's Kings Watch, one of the best (and most underrated) crossovers of the past few years.
Costume design is one of the great strengths of the superhero genre, a way to establish distinctive visual shorthand for a character and reveal key details about concept, purpose, and personality. But which is the best superhero costume of all time? This month, we’re asking you to decide, by voting up your favorites and voting down the rest. When we have your votes, we’ll compile a list of the greatest super-costumes of all time.
For our seventh day of polls, we're looking at the designs of some of the most celebrated pulp heroes ever to grace the comics page. They don't have to have originated in comics, or to have originated in the pulp era, and they don't have to wear a domino mask or a red scarf or a gun belt. But it does look pretty cool when they do. Or does it?
Of all the comics that could indulge in one of my beloved Holiday Specials, Flash Gordon seems like a pretty unlikely candidate. I mean, now that I think of it, if comics can give us that story where Superboy gets caught up in the Christmas Spirit and decides to get the Legion of Super-Heroes to hunt down the star that the Magi followed to the manger and ends up rescuing a race of alien bird-people from a flood in what can only very charitably be called a miracle, I guess you can wring a little holiday cheer out of just about anything. Still, the adventures of three humans trapped in an alien empire full of tree monsters and beast-men doesn't quite seem like it would easily lend itself to the spirit of the season.
And yet, that's exactly what the folks at Dynamite have done with the new Flash Gordon Holiday Special one-shot, and while I could not possibly be more in the target audience for this thing -- my interest in space adventure is only outstripped by my love of Christmas -- it's well worth picking up.
Annuals get a bad rap. I'm pretty sure it's because they formed the core of some truly terrible crossovers starting in the '90s -- lookin' at you here, Bloodlines -- but there's nothing congenitally wrong with them. In their purest form, annuals are just extra comics, and since we all like comics, that ought to be something to get excited about. And in the case of Dynamite's Flash Gordon Annual 2014, we've got something worth getting excited about.
Flash Gordon is already one of my favorite books on the stands, and this week's Annual continues that trend by providing a fantastic roster of great stories -- including a solo tale for Dale Arden that needs to be made into an ongoing series yesterday.
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