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Jeff Parker Discusses His Work on FLASH GORDON with Ron Marz

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  • Jeff Parker Discusses His Work on FLASH GORDON with Ron Marz

    Ron Marz, writer of John Carter: Warlord of Mars #2, talks with Jeff Parker about Flash Gordon #7, both on sale December 10th

    RON MARZ: How great is Doc Shaner? No, seriously, HOW GREAT?

    JEFF PARKER: Now I know how you felt when those awesome pages from Adventures of Superman rolled in. Itís Docís world, we just run around and add sound effects to it! There are plenty of people who can draw excellently now, maybe more than have ever worked in comics. But Shaner just soaks the panels in personality, and thatís not something everyone can do. You get invested in his stories, and the characters are real for you. I just wish I could send the books back in time for me to read in those years I desperately wanted something like this.

    RM: That Jordie Bellaire ain't too bad either, huh?

    JP: Honestly, I think a lot of colorists would fumble Docís art or be intimidated, and Jordie is never intimidated, once sheís on a project she gets possessive and the art essentially becomes hers at that stage. Sheíll do whatever it takes to make it good storytelling color. His stuff needs a combination of a light touch and bold choices, and thatís what she does -- it truly is a dream team. I think a lot of it is because sheís a good cartoonist, though no one ever sees her drawings. She knows the point of a story page, and how to set mood and push emotion.

    RM: I know for me, when I get to collaborate with the right art team, on the right project, it's not even work. Has Flash Gordon been like that for you?

    JP: Exactly. It just clicks like some amazing machine that does even more than what itís supposed to do. As a result I may have gotten too sparse with my panel descriptions because I think Doc is just reading my mind anyway, and so is Jordie. Panel 3: Flash does that thing! Jordie, I think you can tell what overall palette THIS requires.

    RM: I'm a big fan of pulp stuff as both a reader and a writer. Flash Gordon isn't specifically pulp, but it's of that era. Do you feel like you have to do anything in particular to make these characters resonate with a modern audience?

    JP: I figured the best thing to do was to really treat it like no one has ever heard of or read Flash Gordon before, that weíre starting from scratch with all the basic stuff the same. If you dote on how long itís all been around, youíre going to handle Flash like heís an old serious hero and itís going to feel tired. Start with Flash young and fresh and with an infectious energy. Some of the story changes I made were to get a better balance of the three main characters so readers could get more from them.

    Zarkov is a brilliant thinker who never lived up to the potential everyone expected from him until the moment he pioneered space travel. Dale is a science writer, so now she doesnít have to have the science explained to her, she can understand Zarkov much better than Flash, and sheís incredibly crafty as someone who makes a living in such a field has to be to survive. Flash is the olympic level athlete who is also a dilettante -- heís great at everything that doesnít matter in our world, but makes him The Boss on the colonies of Mongo: sword fighting, gymnastics, climbing, diving and so on. In Kings Watch, I made him the one that flies the rocket to Mongo instead of Zarkov as in the original, because the title hero should be the one driving the story, not getting pulled along. His real strength/power, though, is that he cares about people.

    RM: Obviously Alex Raymond casts a very long shadow on Flash Gordon. How do you honor his legacy without becoming imitative?

    JP: Well, you put amazing artists on it, which weíve done! Raymond was one of the most influential artists to grace our medium, so that had to be top notch. For my part, I tried to bring back a lot of the elements that often get thrown out in modern versions, and find a way that it all makes story sense. If Iíd try to do it exactly as he had, it wouldnít honor him, finding the ways to bring it to life and get readers fired up, thatís following what he really did.

    RM: Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the 1980 Flash Gordon. Way too campy for my taste. I'm even a huge Queen fan, and the song doesn't appeal to me that much. Does this make me a bad person?

    JP: It divides comics creators in a polar way, thatís for sure. I had the album, I love that Queen got so into it. I enjoy the movie even though itís not the approach Iíd do. I mean, Lorenzo Semple Jr. wrote it, and Iíve also followed him on Batman í66! I donít like Flash being a football player and all that, like wearing a shirt with his name on it. But man, the cast -- first Iím a Max Von Sydow fanboy, and it has Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed nailing their characters of Barin and Vultan. So Iíve still done some shout outs to the movie in the comic. We actually tried to cherry pick all the stuff we like from various versions. And Flashís relentless positivity was something I liked about that version. It helps set him off from so many other heroes now, who are all trying to be antiheroes. Flash is about as pure hero as you can get.

    Check out Jeff Parker's FLASH GORDON and also Ron Marz's JOHN CARTER: WARLORDS OF MARS, both have new issues on sale 12/10/14 from Dynamite Entertainment! Also, check out Parker's mini-series KINGS WATCH featuring Flash Gordon.

    Also, check out an extended preview of FLASH GORDON #7 right here!


  • #2
    Thank you Jeff Parker!!! Your King's Watch and Flash Gordon are fun to read. As a comic book reader for now four decades, Flash Gordon is the most entertaining comic I have read in recent years. Flash has a personality beyond being the strong guy who dares. He acts when a heroic need is necessary. Dale and Zarkov are also well fleshed out supporting characters. The nice thing about the world(s) of Mongo is the unlimited potential of story-lines and monsters. Thank you for creating a great start up for the King universe under DE. I am looking forward to these upcoming King mini series.

    PS. Mr. Marz, I am excited about the relaunch of John Carter/Warlord of Mars as well. Your task is somewhat limiting as the range of stories are contained within the creations of E.R.B. but I like the opportunity you now have to utilize the authorized access to the ERB books. It is an exciting time to buy DE titles!

    Comment


    • #3
      G'day,

      Flash Gordon is probably my favorite Dynamite title currently bring published. Always look forward to reading it. Almost forgive Jeff Parker for that impostor Lothar-Phantom.

      ta

      Ralph

      Originally posted by Blinky McQuade View Post
      Thank you Jeff Parker!!! Your King's Watch and Flash Gordon are fun to read. As a comic book reader for now four decades, Flash Gordon is the most entertaining comic I have read in recent years. Flash has a personality beyond being the strong guy who dares. He acts when a heroic need is necessary. Dale and Zarkov are also well fleshed out supporting characters. The nice thing about the world(s) of Mongo is the unlimited potential of story-lines and monsters. Thank you for creating a great start up for the King universe under DE. I am looking forward to these upcoming King mini series.

      PS. Mr. Marz, I am excited about the relaunch of John Carter/Warlord of Mars as well. Your task is somewhat limiting as the range of stories are contained within the creations of E.R.B. but I like the opportunity you now have to utilize the authorized access to the ERB books. It is an exciting time to buy DE titles!

      Comment

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