Thursday, September 1, 2011
Blogging Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Part Ten – “The Beast Men of Mongo”
“The Beast Men of Mongo” was the tenth installment of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally printed between April 25 and August 8, 1937, “The Beast Men of Mongo” picks up the storyline where the ninth installment, “The Tusk Men of Mongo” left off with Flash and Dale led by Captain Truno to Prince Barin’s kingdom. Truno explains that it is necessary for them to live in treetop homes because of the many dangers of the forest. They ride a vine-propelled elevator to an amazing network of highways that link the trees four hundred feet above ground to Prince Barin’s stunning snow-white castle.
Barin and Aura give Flash and Dale a royal welcome. Alex Raymond’s artwork is gorgeous in these panels. Aura still carries a torch for Flash and greets him with a passionate kiss that leaves Dale fuming. That night as Flash gazes out the window he spies an intruder entering Aura’s chamber via the balcony. Flash heroically swings down on a vine and surprises the intruder. The man surrenders Aura’s jewels and claims he was reduced to thieving because of his sickly wife. Flash takes pity on him and lets him go free. Aura emerges from her bed chamber and discovers Flash who returns her jewels and claims the thief escaped. Leaving Aura’s room, Flash is met by Dale who is suspicious when Flash claims he chased a thief away. The adult themes in this storyline (though tame by modern standards) were quite sophisticated for their day. Don Moore’s dialogue lets Raymond’s artwork tell the story for him. This was always true of their partnership, but the point is driven home even more when Raymond turns up the heat of sexual tension between Flash and Aura.
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