Today’s Flash Gordon page (11/25/2012) originally appeared August 6, 2000. Since it focuses on Secret Agent Corrigan and his team the first tier has a group shot with artwork by veteran Secret Agent artist, George Evans.
For a larger version, just click on the artwork. For more on Evans’ work on Secret Agent Corrigan check out my previous blog post for art and links aplenty: George Evans – Secret Agent Corrigan
I really wanted to show that Dale wasn’t just a damsel in distress in this storyline – that she’d play an active role.
Today’s strip just emphasizes that fact – which will have ramifications for Corrigan later…
As always, to follow Flash Gordon online check out King Features subscription service at: DailyInk.com
You’ll also Find:
by Tony DePaul (Scripts), Paul Ryan (Daily Art) & Terry Beatty (Sunday Art)
by Mark Schultz and Tom Yeates
The Amazing Spider-Man
by Stan Lee (Scripts), Larry Lieber (Daily Art) and Alex Saviuk & Joe Sinnott (Sunday Art)
Vintage Strips like: Juliet Jones by Stan Drake Big Ben Bolt by John Cullen Murphy Flash Gordon by Dan Barry (Daily Art) & Mac Raboy (Sunday Art) Rip Kirby by Alex Raymond
And much, much more…
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Just got a question from Jim Frankenstin regarding the specs I used for Flash Gordon – thought I would answer it here for those interested…
Here’s my basic template.
This first strip is an example of a drop panel with a standard two tier layout underneath.
The drop panel is artwork the newspaper can opt not to print and it won’t affect the main body of the strip.
This second example is a drop panel followed by an irregular panel layout. Flash was offered in two formats; half page (with drop panel) and third page (without drop panel) so I could play with that bottom area however I felt as long as the proportions stayed the same.
I’ve played with different kinds of bristol and go back and forth between plate (smooth) and vellum (textured) – it usually depends on the job. I used 1-ply for awhile just because I didn’t have the best light box, but prefer 2-ply as it’s more durable.
I tended to work pretty small because the size it got printed was postage stamp size – far removed from the kind of real estate Alex Raymond had to work with in the Golden Age of the 1930s.
The size you work in is really dependent on the artist – as long as it stays proportional to the required specs. Patrick McDonnell on Mutts tends to work small compared to Ray Billingsley whose Curtis originals were larger than any other strip I saw during my tenure on staff at King.
Back in 2002 I dropped Joe Kubert a line asking if he’d be interested in drawing a Flash Gordon Sunday page for the small sum I could afford to pay at the time. I figured I had a shot at him accepting as first, I was a Kubert School alum, and secondly (and more importantly) because of his fondness of the strip and its creator, Alex Raymond.
He said yes with the stipulation that he would have full control over the finished product. In essence, for the paltry sum I had offered, he was willing to do not just the art but also the lettering, coloring and color separations as well. He also wanted to include as many classic Raymond characters as possible. I sent him some reference (Raymond clip art and color specs) and a loose script that I told him not to adhere to – to just use as a springboard. I gave him the page well in advance so I would have plenty of time to fashion the surrounding Sunday pages in regards to continuity.
Flash Gordon Sunday page: Loose script
Reaction shot of Flash, Vultan and Thun to creature (creature as yet unseen).
Vultan and Thun are momentarily frozen to the spot.
Flash springing forward into action.
Flash and Thun have swords, Vultan has spear. See reference for costume.
Note: Flash wearing holster but gun has been removed.
Text Box: As the grisly creature enters the arena, Flash springs into action!
Flash: Vultan, Thun, no time to waste… That thing is headed straight for Dale!
Panel 2 (inset in panel 3)
Close up on Ming in his spectator’s booth. A look of macabre enjoyment lights his face.
Text Box: Far above the horrible spectacle, Ming issues a proclamation as old on Mongo as time itself…
Ming: Let the Tournaments of Death Begin!
Flash, Vultan and Thun engaging creature as it reaches Dale. Dale is chained to center of arena (see reference), straining at bonds.
Vultan flying, swooping in for the attack.
Creature is your design – go nuts!
Text Box (lower right hand corner): To be continued!
Promptly and WAY before deadline, he emailed me the finished artwork.
The changes he made to the script were sublime.
Flash entering with weapons? Where’s the fun in that?
Joe had Flash and his allies chained in the center of the arena – defenseless.
The layout: Panoramic establishing shot followed by reaction shots of our helpless captives leading up to the cliffhanger as the creature is released.
A master storyteller, Joe had amped up the drama from my initial script to a fevered pitch.
After the page saw print I sent Joe a copy of it from the Boston Herald’s Sunday Comics section. A few week later I got the following response…
December 2, 2002
It’s amazing and sad the depths to which syndication has sunk. I was sorry that they distorted the strip to the extent that they did, but what do people say about crying over spilt milk?
I hope the New Year brings good things for you.
To fully understand Joe’s reaction I’ve included the following quick visual showing what Joe Kubert grew up reading in the 1930’s compared to what Sunday comics look like today.
A short time afterward Mark McMurray and I (a fellow alum) were visiting Joe in his studio and I asked (if it wasn’t any trouble) if I could get a copy of his Flash Gordon Sunday page artwork full size. Joe found the art and asked me if I would rather just have the original instead – dumbfounded I accepted. He bent forward to sign it for me, and before pen touched paper he turned to me and said, “I better not see this on eBay tomorrow.”
Just got the latest issue of Comics Revue. The illustration I did for the cover spotlights a 1957 Mac Raboy Flash Gordon storyline featured inside.
Here’s a CliffNotes version of the process I did for drawing the cover…
To purchase online you can go to MidtownComics.com. The artwork they have online is the thumbnail image but the magazine you get will have the image featured here.