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Thread: The King Watch/Flash Gordon/Phantom/Mandrake MEGATHREAD!

  1. #181
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulphero View Post
    A floppy comic book costs $3-4. By my reckoning they have not been 'affordable' for years. Since they're too expensive to be considered disposable any more, the price point drives away the casual (mass) consumer in favor of the dedicated collector, and the number of copies sold reflect this, when compared to the sales of decades past, when comic books were much cheaper. Yes, even allowing for inflation.

    Unfortunately, the King Features adventure characters don't have the wide recognition and appeal (at least in the U.S.) that they had from the 1930s to the 1960s. Paperbacks... crystal ball says no.

    Now that you mention the comic books from Harvey and Gold Key, I'm not even sure we're talking about the same thing. Dark Horse reprinted all the Flash Gordon comic books (1950s-1980s) in its FLASH GORDON COMIC BOOKS ARCHIVES series of hardcovers, but Dark Horse has never reprinted any of its hardcover archives in paperback. Hermes Press is in the process of reprinting THE PHANTOM comic books (so far they have covered the Gold Key and King Comics era, and have begun on the Charlton Comics era). Hardcover again, and again Hermes offers no paperback versions of those books.

    When you mentioned classic reprints of those characters earlier, I had assumed you were talking about the newspaper strips, not the comic books. The Harvey Comics Phantoms were also reprints of the newspaper strips, which is why Hermes Press didn't bother reprinting those - they already have series reprinting the Phantom dailies and Sundays.

    Long story short, if you want these things badly enough you will have to purchase them in hardcover, or pass if you don't want them that badly.
    Could you suggest a hardcover or two of each of our three heroes???
    Maybe I could afford to buy one....save money...buy another...... etc.

    Which hardcovers would best show me the most exciting adventures in decending order of GREATNESS.???

  2. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnoanddavey View Post
    Could you suggest a hardcover or two of each of our three heroes???
    Maybe I could afford to buy one....save money...buy another...... etc.

    Which hardcovers would best show me the most exciting adventures in decending order of GREATNESS.???
    That's not an easy question to answer, "For Those Who Came In Late".

    FLASH GORDON - Alex Raymond has always been considered the apex of FG's career, but the earliest strips do look rather crude compared to his later work. Then again, I always felt that when Raymond gave up the strip to go off to war, Austin Briggs and later Mac Raboy maintained the high standard that Raymond had established. Dan Barry's work on the (reimagined) strip, from the 1950s on, is lightly dismissed by most panelogists, but I enjoyed it. Totally different style than the Raymond school of art, but nonetheless.
    Back when Kitchen Sink did their reprints of Raymond's FG in the late 1980s/early 1990s, they offered both hardcover and trade paperback versions. Kitchen Sink followed up with a 2-Volume collection of Austin Briggs' daily FG strip in black and white paperbacks, and still later Dark Horse published a 5-Volume reprint of Mac Raboy's Sunday FG strips in paperback (sadly in black and white, though). They are all long out of print, alas.
    The best I can do is point you at Amazon.com's listing for Flash Gordon in books, and let you search for yourself. Titan Books has so far published 3 Volumes of the Alex Raymond Sunday strip in hardcover (reprinting the same material earlier reprinted by Kitchen Sink, and Checker Books). IDW should be coming out with their second hardcover of this same material (including for the first time, the Jungle Jim topper strip) later this month.

    As far as the FLASH GORDON COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES, get Volume 2, which reprints the entirety of the short run from the 1960s under the King Comics line (King Features' only foray into publishing their own comic books, which lasted all of a year and a half) and contains some work by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson (also some stories by Reed Crandall and Gil Kane). That was the best the comic book version of Flash ever got, prior to the recent version from Dynamite. Flesk Publications reprinted ALL of Al Williamson's Flash Gordon comic book work back in 2009 in Al Williamson's Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic (which was available in both hardcover and paperback). This contains both the King Comics stories, the later Whitman FG movie 3-issue adaptation from 1980, and a 2-issue series done for Marvel in the 1990s; BUT the kicker is that it's in all printed in black and white. Sorry to say this went out of print almost immediately and is now highly collectible (but you can continue to search ebay and amazon until you find one, perhaps in lesser condition, that suits your price range).

    THE PHANTOM - The earliest Phantom dailies and Sundays by Ray Moore look a little crude (like most Golden Age comic book art) to my eyes. After Moore came Wilson McCoy, Moore's assistant who took over the strip when he went off to war. After he returned, they alternated for a period until 1949, when Moore dropped out. Neither can be considered among the great comic artists. After McCoy died in 1961, Bill Lignante took over briefly, then eventually transferred to the comic book version (he did the bulk of the work for the Gold Key, King Comics, and Charlton runs); again, to my eyes, a somewhat pedestrian, though serviceable enough, interpretation.
    To me the ne plus ultra of Phantom illustrators was Seymore (Sy) Barry (Dan Barry's brother), who took over the daily and Sunday Phantom from 1962-1994. Also by this time the Phantom's mythology had been solidified; in the earliest days it wasn't clear if the Phantom's Deep Woods jungle was in India, southeast Asia, Africa, or on some island. Early references varied from Bangolia to Bengali, finally settling on Bangalla in Africa. Slowly details were added about the Phantom's signet rings, and the Phantom Chronicles was built up, telling stories of the many Phantom ancestors. The Barry period is the best, but Hermes Press' strip collections are only partway through the 1940s at this point.
    Pioneer Books DID do a series of trade paperbacks in 1989-1990, collecting The Phantom Sundays (6 Volumes, from 1946-1957), plus three additional "The Phantom Sundays Special Editions" (1957-1962) -- but good luck finding them, and at a reasonable price. The Sundays here were reprinted in cost-saving black and white. I couldn't complete my set, so I decided to be patient and let Hermes Press catch up to those eventually.

    As far as the comic book Phantom goes, there were two high points, both pretty brief, and both from the Charlton Comics run -- at the beginning, there are a bunch of issues illustrated by Jim Aparo, who would go on to even greater success with his work on The Brave and the Bold Batman team-ups for DC. Those are contained in Hermes' The Phantom The Complete Series: The Charlton Years Volume 1. The other high point came at the end of Charlton's run, when Don Newton took over the book for a half-dozen issues (right before it ended with issue #74). Hermes hasn't gotten that far yet, but those should be contained in The Charlton Years Volume 5.

    MANDRAKE - Nothing to tell, since this hasn't been reprinted in book form yet. Original comic book adventures of Mandrake and Lothar were limited to the previously mentioned King Comics year-and-a-half, and a 2-issue Marvel series in the 1990s. You might try searching out the comic book format strip reprints (admittedly hard to find) from Pioneer Books from the late 1980s. There are a number of differently-numbered Mandrake series from them (one series had 15 issues, another only 4, plus a one-shot Annual and a King-Size one-shot, both in 1989). These are all pretty low-budget, black&white affairs, so you don't want to spend much money for these. Other titles in Pioneer's short-lived comic strip reprint line included Johnny Hazard, Buz Sawyer, Rip Kirby, Secret Agent X-9, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, Jungle Jim, and Modesty Blaise (presumably they couldn't afford the rights to the more popular Flash Gordon. or it coincided with the time that DC put out a FG miniseries by Dan Jurgens).

    My advice would be to utilize your local library. If they don't have the Flash Gordon and Phantom hardcover collections, request them through the interlibrary loan system. That's the cheapest way to go.
    Last edited by pulphero; 08-12-2013 at 05:45 AM.

  3. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulphero View Post
    That's not an easy question to answer, "For Those Who Came In Late".

    FLASH GORDON - Alex Raymond has always been considered the apex of FG's career, but the earliest strips do look rather crude compared to his later work. Then again, I always felt that when Raymond gave up the strip to go off to war, Austin Briggs and later Mac Raboy maintained the high standard that Raymond had established. Dan Barry's work on the (reimagined) strip, from the 1950s on, is lightly dismissed by most panelogists, but I enjoyed it. Totally different style than the Raymond school of art, but nonetheless.
    Back when Kitchen Sink did their reprints of Raymond's FG in the late 1980s/early 1990s, they offered both hardcover and trade paperback versions. Kitchen Sink followed up with a 2-Volume collection of Austin Briggs' daily FG strip in black and white paperbacks, and still later Dark Horse published a 5-Volume reprint of Mac Raboy's Sunday FG strips in paperback (sadly in black and white, though). They are all long out of print, alas.
    The best I can do is point you at Amazon.com's listing for Flash Gordon in books, and let you search for yourself. Titan Books has so far published 3 Volumes of the Alex Raymond Sunday strip in hardcover (reprinting the same material earlier reprinted by Kitchen Sink, and Checker Books). IDW should be coming out with their second hardcover of this same material (including for the first time, the Jungle Jim topper strip) later this month.

    As far as the FLASH GORDON COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES, get Volume 2, which reprints the entirety of the short run from the 1960s under the King Comics line (King Features' only foray into publishing their own comic books, which lasted all of a year and a half) and contains some work by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson (also some stories by Reed Crandall and Gil Kane). That was the best the comic book version of Flash ever got, prior to the recent version from Dynamite. Flesk Publications reprinted ALL of Al Williamson's Flash Gordon comic book work back in 2009 in Al Williamson's Flash Gordon: A Lifelong Vision of the Heroic (which was available in both hardcover and paperback). This contains both the King Comics stories, the later Whitman FG movie 3-issue adaptation from 1980, and a 2-issue series done for Marvel in the 1990s; BUT the kicker is that it's in all printed in black and white. Sorry to say this went out of print almost immediately and is now highly collectible (but you can continue to search ebay and amazon until you find one, perhaps in lesser condition, that suits your price range).

    THE PHANTOM - The earliest Phantom dailies and Sundays by Ray Moore look a little crude (like most Golden Age comic book art) to my eyes. After Moore came Wilson McCoy, Moore's assistant who took over the strip when he went off to war. After he returned, they alternated for a period until 1949, when Moore dropped out. Neither can be considered among the great comic artists. After McCoy died in 1961, Bill Lignante took over briefly, then eventually transferred to the comic book version (he did the bulk of the work for the Gold Key, King Comics, and Charlton runs); again, to my eyes, a somewhat pedestrian, though serviceable enough, interpretation.
    To me the ne plus ultra of Phantom illustrators was Seymore (Sy) Barry (Dan Barry's brother), who took over the daily and Sunday Phantom from 1962-1994. Also by this time the Phantom's mythology had been solidified; in the earliest days it wasn't clear if the Phantom's Deep Woods jungle was in India, southeast Asia, Africa, or on some island. Early references varied from Bangolia to Bengali, finally settling on Bangalla in Africa. Slowly details were added about the Phantom's signet rings, and the Phantom Chronicles was built up, telling stories of the many Phantom ancestors. The Barry period is the best, but Hermes Press' strip collections are only partway through the 1940s at this point.
    Pioneer Books DID do a series of trade paperbacks in 1989-1990, collecting The Phantom Sundays (6 Volumes, from 1946-1957), plus three additional "The Phantom Sundays Special Editions" (1957-1962) -- but good luck finding them, and at a reasonable price. The Sundays here were reprinted in cost-saving black and white. I couldn't complete my set, so I decided to be patient and let Hermes Press catch up to those eventually.

    As far as the comic book Phantom goes, there were two high points, both pretty brief, and both from the Charlton Comics run -- at the beginning, there are a bunch of issues illustrated by Jim Aparo, who would go on to even greater success with his work on The Brave and the Bold Batman team-ups for DC. Those are contained in Hermes' The Phantom The Complete Series: The Charlton Years Volume 1. The other high point came at the end of Charlton's run, when Don Newton took over the book for a half-dozen issues (right before it ended with issue #74). Hermes hasn't gotten that far yet, but those should be contained in The Charlton Years Volume 5.

    MANDRAKE - Nothing to tell, since this hasn't been reprinted in book form yet. Original comic book adventures of Mandrake and Lothar were limited to the previously mentioned King Comics year-and-a-half, and a 2-issue Marvel series in the 1990s. You might try searching out the comic book format strip reprints (admittedly hard to find) from Pioneer Books from the late 1980s. There are a number of differently-numbered Mandrake series from them (one series had 15 issues, another only 4, plus a one-shot Annual and a King-Size one-shot, both in 1989). These are all pretty low-budget, black&white affairs, so you don't want to spend much money for these. Other titles in Pioneer's short-lived comic strip reprint line included Johnny Hazard, Buz Sawyer, Rip Kirby, Secret Agent X-9, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, Jungle Jim, and Modesty Blaise (presumably they couldn't afford the rights to the more popular Flash Gordon. or it coincided with the time that DC put out a FG miniseries by Dan Jurgens).

    My advice would be to utilize your local library. If they don't have the Flash Gordon and Phantom hardcover collections, request them through the interlibrary loan system. That's the cheapest way to go.
    Thanks for the information.
    I have the Don Newton Charlton stuff ....that was pretty good. He gave The Phantom a great look. Too bad it was so short lived.

    (The Rip Kirby stuff I love.... but a bit off subject. Rip, Dick Tracy, Rusty Riley, .... I read in my local newspaper and was a big fan. )

    I'm going to start digging for these three.(The Phantom, Mandrake, and Flash.) I think I have one Harvey Phantom, ....and a few others. Searching my collection is always fun.

    Thanks, again. Helpful info. I'll be looking for the Sy Barry stuff, for sure.

    OK, I started my search. (Just Started.) I found an Alex Raymond, Volume 6: 1943-45.

    FLASH GORDON "TRIUMPH IN TROPICA". I got it in '94. By Kitchen Sink Press. A nice package ---and now wished I had gotten more of them.

    Now, with our three heroes returning, I sure wished that DE would put out a couple of adventures each of our heroes in some form.... to inform the readers of these three great heroes. Some of their best adventures to show how good they really can be.
    It would be nice to get a couple of Alex Ross covers, too.

    Best adventures to compliment the KINGS WATCH series.

    Nick, are you listening??
    What say you.??

    Followed your advice and visited my local library.
    They have several of the hard covers.
    Went for THE PHANTOM, Volume 2, 1937-39--- Falk and ray moore.!!
    Great suggestions.

    So, KINGS WATCH #1 is out. And it's pretty decent. Where are we talking about it.??
    Last edited by magnoanddavey; 09-14-2013 at 02:32 AM.

  4. #184

    Default KING'S WATCH is great!

    Finally got around to reading the first two issues and I'm REALLY enjoying this take on the DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH team. I have a few things that I would have preferred...would have preferred it had been a 30's/40's period piece...would have preferred the Flash Gordon in this had been the same Flash Gordon as in ZEITGEIST etc. but those are just personal preferences and did nothing to detract from my enjoyment of the story thus far.

    I'm really enjoying this version of The Phantom, especially. It's classic but with just enough of an edge to keep him from being hokey. Writing is great, art is great...just an all-around great book. Well done!

  5. #185

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    I used the word "enjoy" (or variations thereof) an awfully lot there. Sorry. Best work I could think of to use!

  6. #186

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    Jeff Parker and Marc Laming are putting forth a great series! Yes, I too wanted to see the same DE Flash Gordon in these pages but this reads like a great start up for a team or a series. I wondered when the series started what the King in King's Watch meant. I even dreamed it was a reference to King Arthur (a strong Prince Valiant reference and another Kings Feature adventure strip). As a fan of Defenders of the Earth, I am glad that these three characters and their supporting casts are intact (one of my complaints of the old cartoon is that there was no Dr. Zarkov and no Prince Barin; heck, Dale was killed off to be downloaded into a computer mainframe).

    I hope the sales are good and there will be more DE series on this team.

  7. #187

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    I'm thinking it might have something to do with the characters all being owned by King Features Syndicate.

  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blinky McQuade View Post
    Jeff Parker and Marc Laming are putting forth a great series! Yes, I too wanted to see the same DE Flash Gordon in these pages but this reads like a great start up for a team or a series. I wondered when the series started what the King in King's Watch meant. I even dreamed it was a reference to King Arthur (a strong Prince Valiant reference and another Kings Feature adventure strip). As a fan of Defenders of the Earth, I am glad that these three characters and their supporting casts are intact (one of my complaints of the old cartoon is that there was no Dr. Zarkov and no Prince Barin; heck, Dale was killed off to be downloaded into a computer mainframe).

    I hope the sales are good and there will be more DE series on this team.
    I always thought that Prince Valiant (being the next well-known) would make a good addition to a superteam of King Features adventure heroes. He could be awakened in the present time from a 'sleeping spell' cast by an evil wizard (or frozen in an iceberg, but that may already have been done... ) Give him some minor advantages like Merlin making his skin impervious to weapons and/or an enchanted 'singing sword', or something like that... Of course he would have lost his family and his kingdom, which would give him an element of tragedy as well, but being a hero, he must soldier on. If the Avengers can have a Norse God on their team, I say why not? The nice thing about all these characters is that they are all, in their own way, 'proto-superheroes', yet they represent an eclectic range of character types that gives them a nice amount of variety as a team.

  9. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by pulphero View Post
    I always thought that Prince Valiant (being the next well-known) would make a good addition to a superteam of King Features adventure heroes. He could be awakened in the present time from a 'sleeping spell' cast by an evil wizard (or frozen in an iceberg, but that may already have been done... ) Give him some minor advantages like Merlin making his skin impervious to weapons and/or an enchanted 'singing sword', or something like that... Of course he would have lost his family and his kingdom, which would give him an element of tragedy as well, but being a hero, he must soldier on. If the Avengers can have a Norse God on their team, I say why not? The nice thing about all these characters is that they are all, in their own way, 'proto-superheroes', yet they represent an eclectic range of character types that gives them a nice amount of variety as a team.
    The idea has merit but Prince Valiant is pretty much established as a Dark Ages character,he still has lots of adventures there to do. Besides what's poor Aleta going to do?

    ta

    Ralph

  10. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphuniverse View Post
    The idea has merit but Prince Valiant is pretty much established as a Dark Ages character,he still has lots of adventures there to do. Besides what's poor Aleta going to do?
    Ah, this is comic books, Ralph. Let's just say that somehow or other (to be decided) he gets stuck in the present due to some kind of magical time warp (or maybe Ming has a 'time ray'). But of course Mandrake won't rest until he searches his thousand-volume library of ancient mystic tomes for just the proper spell to return him to his proper place in time. Of course, it could take a while, but in the meantime he could lend a hand to the other four heroes just so he doesn't go nutty sitting around on his hands.

    Or maybe its some kind of weird reincarnation thingy where some 100th generation descendant is temporarily possessed by the spirit and consciousness of his ancient ancestor. Maybe Mandrake summons Val's shade back to the mortal plane because he needs some specific knowledge that only Val would know, and to do it he needs to use his distant descendant as a conduit, but then the modern descendant is mortally wounded and to save his life Val's spirit must merge with his.

    Or maybe his spirit was imprisoned in the Singing Sword by an evil wizard at the end of a full lifetime of adventure, and Mandrake discovers the ancient sword and releases it. Or any one of a dozen other comic book type plots. The means don't matter so much, just as long as we get him here. You've probably been reading comics long enough that you can think up three or four of your own plot devices. Sure, they all sound cliche' when just flatly stated like this, but a decent writer could still make it work anyway. There really aren't any new plots anyway, just recycled and recombined ones; at best you put a slightly fresh spin on it.

    I have to admit having Mandrake around makes these plot devices a lot easier to dream up than if I had to figure a way to do it with just Flash or The Phantom. Maybe an experimental time portal invented by Zarkov?
    Last edited by pulphero; 10-25-2013 at 06:13 AM.

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