Exclusive: Jeff Parker celebrates 80 years of Flash Gordon in new book
On the advent of his 80th birthday, pulp science fiction hero Flash Gordon will be zooming from the pages of Kings Watch to his own ongoing comic.
To discover the details behind this move by comic book publisher Dynamite Entertainment, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer exclusively caught the first spaceship to Mongo to talk with the writer of the new book, coming in April, Jeff Parker.
Cosmic Book News: Jeff, how exciting does it feel to be putting out a book on sci-fi hero Flash Gordon on the advent of his 80th birthday -- AND Dynamite’s 10th anniversary?
Jeff Parker: It’s pretty great, what a perfect confluence of landmarks. It’s all really coming together.
Jeff Parker: I’m not even sure, I feel like I’m synthesizing all of it then picking my favorite bits and filling in with whatever my subconscious gives up. Except for the SyFy series, that didn’t look so good to me.
Jeff Parker: Nate Cosby asked me once he joined Dynamite, without knowing that I’ve had an idea for how to handle Flash lodged in the back of my head for years.
Jeff Parker: It picks up right out of Kings Watch, which will make sense at the end of KW #5. But if you begin only with Flash Gordon #1, you won’t be lost, his time on Mongo begins right then.
Jeff Parker: Well of course he pulled Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov along. At first we’re going to see Prince Barin, of Arboria. And a lion fellow.
Jeff Parker: Going back to the idea lodged in my head -- my take is essentially that Flash is a jack of all-trades rich boy adventurer who almost doesn’t fit in on Earth. He’s a champ at archaic sports like polo and fencing, and excels at mountain climbing, swimming …anything that you can’t make much of a career at, Flash is the master of. It drives his father nuts, because he wanted Flash to take over his role in Gordon Enterprises.
But once Flash gets to Mongo, suddenly he is THE
Jeff Parker: Tired and exhilarated.
Jeff Parker: About five pages!
Jeff Parker: EVERYTHING! Everything about Evan’s art and what he likes to draw fits and drives this story. It is going to be one of the purest embraces of the comics medium you’ll see this year. With Evan’s first sketch of Flash, he absolutely nailed him. You love the character immediately. His sense of design is perfect for it.
Our Flash is a really positive guy, he loves these wild experiences. To show a character that way and be convincing is harder than it looks, and Evan does it very naturally. Typically the approach is to go darker and more serious when doing a new version, but I feel it’s done to death, and it doesn’t work for every book. The danger in this book is serious enough, and our hero stands out because of it.
Jeff Parker: Well, when you order this, you should probably also have it put in a file with Aquaman and Batman ’66, just saying.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Jeff Parker for answering our questions during his busy schedule. We would also like to thank Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci who helped make this interview possible.
“Flash Gordon” #1 hits stores in April!