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Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon Comic Strip Casting Calls

As mentioned in a previous post, the inspiration for King Vultan’s headstrong daughter Princess Tyree was Tionne Watkins – or T-Boz from TLC.

Close-up of original art.
Artwork from the August 20, 2000 Flash Gordon Sunday page.

Thinking back, she wasn’t the first celebrity I had used for inspiration when it came to Flash Gordon supporting characters. When Flash needed help fighting werewolves, Kurt Russell was called in, cast as Thorne.

Kurt Russell - The Thing (1982)
Kurt Russell – The Thing (1982)
Artwork from the June 23, 1996 Flash Gordon Sunday page.
Artwork from the June 23, 1996 Flash Gordon Sunday page.
Artwork from the August 4, 1996 Flash Gordon Sunday page.
Artwork from the August 4, 1996 Flash Gordon Sunday page.

I brought him back a few times after that to team up with Flash. He ultimately met his demise due to a crooked arms dealer who had sabotaged their equipment…

Artwork from the June 21, 1998 Flash Gordon Sunday page.
Artwork from the June 21, 1998 Flash Gordon Sunday page.

Before Tionne Watkins, there was Tisha Campbell as the strong-willed hawkwoman, Teesha. See how I cleverly changed the name so it wouldn’t be obvious?

Tisha Campbell circa 1990s.
Tisha Campbell circa 1990s.
Black and white art for January 26, 1979 Flash Gordon Sunday.
Artwork from the January 26, 1997 Flash Gordon Sunday.

This last likeness wasn’t for the strip, but a request to weatherman Al Roker.

Back in 1998 the New York Daily News had dropped a bunch of their adventure strips, including Flash Gordon. As Al Roker was known for being a staunch supporter of the comics (having wanted to be a cartoonist when he was younger) I alerted him of the Daily News dumping Flash – and he generously wrote a nice piece on his blog lending his support.

Here’s the art I sent him (pre-weightloss I might add)…

Al_Roker


That’s all I can think of for now as far as celebrities go. Friends and family making cameos are another matter – but that’ll have to wait…

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A reminder that you can find my work on Flash Gordon online at…

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Al Williamson Alex Raymod Flash Gordon

Princess Tyree

One way to flesh out a character you’re creating is to use a model or picture reference for inspiration.

Here’s an example of Alex Raymond doing as much – modeling Captain Sudin after matinee idol Errol Flynn.


Skipping ahead 60 or so years…

When I was creating King Vultan’s headstrong daughter Princess Tyree I needed a character who just radiated strength and self-confidence.

I went with Tionne Watkins – or T-Boz from the 1990s R&B group TLC.

It’s amazing how much easier a character is to write and draw once you have a clear image of them in your head – it ends up changing your story in ways you hadn’t even imagined. What came out of using T-Boz for inspiration was that when Princess Tyree first meets Flash Gordon – she’s not all that impressed…

In Writing 101 you learn to avoid cliches. One of the cliches for Flash Gordon stories is that the female characters all swoon over him. In this respect I thought Tyree would be a welcome change.

Flash2000_08_20

It’s said that strong characters write themselves, it’s not entirely the case, but it sure gives you more tools in your toolbox to work with.

Close-up of original art.
Artwork from the August 20, 2000 Flash Gordon Sunday page.

The toolbox analogy is from Stephen King. For more on the craft of writing I recommend reading King’s On Writing. One of the best books out there on the subject as far as I’m concerned.


All for now.
And as always, to follow Flash Gordon online check just go to Comics Kingdom.