Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blogging Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Part Eighteen – “Jungles of Mongo”

“Jungles of Mongo” was the eighteenth installment of Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally published between June 21 and November 1, 1942, “Jungles of Mongo” picks up where the preceding installment, “Queen Desira” left off with the seductive Queen and a bare-chested Flash riding the local steed, a gryph through the lush jungles of Tropica with Dr. Zarkov and Dale Arden bringing up the rear. Prince Brazor, who has usurped the throne of Tropica from Desira, releases a pack of bloodwolves to hunt them down.

Alex Raymond captures the beauty of Tropica’s flora and fauna with the same care and attention to detail that he demonstrated in some of his earliest Mongo strips. Flash fells a great tree so that the fugitives can travel down the river and, in a move that is now unthinkable, our hero deliberately sets fire to the forest to aid in their escape from Brazor and his bloodwolves. Of course, the cliffhanger nature of the serial demands constant peril and the fugitives quickly find themselves facing the Whirlpool Falls. Zarkov and Dale survive the falls, but Desira (whose top is provocatively torn going over the falls) is sucked into the whirlpool with Flash sharing her fate in his attempt to rescue her.


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