Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review- FLASH GORDON SUNDAYS 1941-1944: THE FALL OF MING


FLASH GORDON SUNDAYS 1941-1944: THE FALL OF MING (Titan, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects Flash Gordon Sunday strips from January 19, 1941- August 13, 1944
Writers: Don Moore and Alex Raymond
Artists: Alex Raymond and Austin Briggs (April 30- August 13, 1944)

Alex Raymond is one of the greatest comic artists of all time. No, make that one of the greatest artists of all time, period. One of the reasons that I have such a hard time taking so many modern artists seriously is because of artists of Raymond's caliber who set the bar so high that pretty much everything else comes up short. This may sound harsh or snobbish but I call them as I see them. His layouts, panel composition, and vehicle, city, and clothing designs became the template for futuristic scenes for decades to come. Everything that you love owes a debt to Alex Raymond.

Raymond began simplifying and streamlining his style as 1944 wore on, with him eventually turning the strip over to Austin Briggs. While Briggs is a fine, fine artist in his own right it is like when Tommy Bolin stepped in for Richie Blackmore in Deep Purple. As fine as his style is, you can't follow that no matter how hard you try.


This was a wonderful read, devoid of humor and snark. Stuff like this makes many modern comics seem laughable and amateurish and only reinforces my disdain of event driven crossovers and “mature” comics. Titan has announced a fourth and fifth book in the line but neither have materialized, and it has been a while now so I am getting worried that they won't ever see the light of day.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- These strip collections are in “landscape format”, which means that they horizontal in layout.
Linework and Color restoration: These are cleaned up scans from newspaper pages, so the anomalies found there (off register printing, line bleed, etc.) are at times present here. Some of the later strips are from slightly inferior sources but look perfectly fine. The IDW collections of this same material boast full blown restoration. The long out of print Nostalgia Press books were shot from the original art.
Paper stock: Thick uncoated stock.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays perfectly flat. This book will last the rest of your life.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image is on the paper casewrap. Casewrap has spot varnish and effects like foil dye on the logo. Coating is thick and scuff resistant. 

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