Monday, October 29, 2012

Blogging Austin Briggs’ Flash Gordon, Part Six “The Radium Mines of Electra”

“The Radium Mines of Electra” was the sixth installment of Austin Briggs’ daily Flash Gordon comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally published between April 27 and July 11, 1942, “The Radium Mines of Electra” is the closest the daily strip has yet come to seeming like authentic Flash Gordon. While Briggs has not yet matched his mentor’s illustrative splendor in depicting Mongo, the storyline is one that might have been found in the Sunday strip. The story kicks off with Flash, Dale, Zarkov, and Rodan thrown into prison by Colonel Banto upon returning King Radiol to the Kingdom of Electra. The King intercedes on his friends’ behalf informing the Colonel they are his guests, not his prisoners and ordering their release. Banto remains suspicious of the foreigners for they did take the King hostage originally. A nice bit of romantic intrigue develops with the introduction of Princess Jolia, the King’s daughter, who is immediately smitten with Flash. When Dale spies Flash dancing with the Princess at a ball thrown in honor of the King’s homecoming, she retaliates by making out with Rodan on the balcony. The King takes his guests out on the balcony to view the Electra lights which emanate from the radium mines. Flash realizes the radium mines could power their return to Earth and provide fuel for the weapons needed to combat the Red Sword. There is a nicely provocative scene of the Princess alone in her room admiring herself in a mirror dressed only in bra and panties while she thinks of Flash. Sexuality has always been a key appeal to the series and it is nice to see Briggs finally taking advantage of that fact with the character of Jolia. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE ON FRIDAY.

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