Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blogging Dan Barry’s Flash Gordon, Part Three

“The Awful Forest” was artist Dan Barry and writer Harvey Kurtzman’s follow-up to “Tartarus” and was published by King Features Syndicate from October 20 to December 30, 1952. The story shows a marked step forward in quality in Barry’s artwork. At times, he equals Alex Raymond barring his love of EC-style comic grotesqueries which likely reflect Kurtzman’s involvement in the creative process. Flash, Marla, Kent, and Ray arrive on horseback at the edge of the Awful Forest along with a party of satyr porters from Tartarus. The rain is pouring down steadily and the setting is clearly meant to call to mind Germany’s Black Forest. No sooner do they arrive in the Awful Forest, they encounter the figure of a gibbering madman who pleads with them to turn back before rushing off into the woods in abject terror. Their porters recognize this strange figure as the Black Duke, Lucifan’s cousin who abducted Dale from the deposed king’s court. What should be an effective sequence of mounting suspense is let down by the depiction of the mad Duke as a comic loony who would have been at home in an early issue of "Mad." TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE NEXT WEEK.

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