Friday, December 24, 2010

Blogging Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Part Six: “At War with Ming”

“At War with Ming“ was the sixth installment of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally printed between October 20, 1935 and April 5, 1936, “At War with Ming” picks up the storyline where the fifth installment, “The Witch Queen of Mongo” left off with Flash awaiting Ming’s recognition of Kira, the cavern kingdom he had conquered over the course of the last two installments as an official kingdom of Mongo.

Unsurprisingly, Ming rejects Flash’s claims that Azura has abdicated as valid and demands that she be vanquished before he will recognize Flash as a legitimate monarch. Sadly, just as in the real life it is a petty disagreement that is interpreted as justifiable cause for war.

Flash immediately declares war on Ming in response to the insult he received. Flash and Dale head the Black Lancers, while the Hawkman Khan heads the infantry and Dr. Zarkov heads Azura’s artillery unit. The first strip ends with Kira’s forces mobilizing for war despite being hopelessly outnumbered.

For the next five and a half months, readers thrilled to Alex Raymond’s glorious depictions of battle. It seems strange, from the vantage point of the 21st Century, to see that the attitude that a war fought over wounded egos was still considered glorious after the tragic and monumental loss of life during the First World War less than twenty years before.


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