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DAVID LISS talks with JESSE HAMM on FLASH GORDON: KINGS CROSS #4, on sale NOW!

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  • DAVID LISS talks with JESSE HAMM on FLASH GORDON: KINGS CROSS #4, on sale NOW!

    WRITER 2 WRITER: DAVID LISS, writer of GREEN HORNET: REIGN OF THE DEMON #3, talks with co-writer/artist JESSE HAMM on FLASH GORDON: KINGS CROSS #4, both on sale now from Dynamite!

    DAVID LISS: The relationship between Flash and Dale provides a lot of the emotional power of this issue. Can you provide some context and talk about how you decided to use it in this story?

    JESSE HAMM: Flash and Dale were coming off a breakup at the outset of this series, so it felt natural to touch on Flash's lingering feelings for Dale -- and, perhaps, hers for him -- while they've been thrown together by this
    adventure. We don't delve TOO deeply into their hearts; it is, after all, an
    adventure, not a drama... but I believe adventures cook up best with
    ingredients from every other genre: horror, comedy, action... and, yes, even
    romance.

    DL: There are a lot of classic characters with a lot of history in this story.
    Are there references or Easter eggs in here for the hardcore fans?

    JH: We did dust off and use a few items from Alex Raymond's prop closet, so to speak. Flash's ray gun is taken directly from the original strips (though I swapped out his big leather holster for a sleeker and EVEN MORE FUTURISTIC magnetic belt-clip), and the ships they fly are based on a classic Flash Gordon spaceship of Raymond's design. Aura's honey-blonde hair color is taken directly from her appearance in Raymond's Sunday strips, and her delightfully futuristic clothing was borrowed from those strips as well.

    DL: How much liberty do you feel you can take with these characters? Do you see them as their original incarnations in a more contemporary setting, or have they evolved and become more modern?

    JH: I think one of the strengths of the original strip is that it wasn't tied to
    1930s America. Courageous Flash, the brilliant Zarkov, good-hearted Dale,
    despotic Ming, and the others all have iconic traits that can (and do!)
    carry over to any decade. And, conveniently, the fierce alien world of Mongo is timeless!

    DL: A significant portion of this issue involves the characters hallucinating
    and misperceiving reality. What are the challenges of telling a story in
    which what the characters experience isn't "real" within the fictional
    world?

    JH: I think the biggest challenge with dream sequences is to avoid
    self-indulgence. It is tempting to pursue those flights of fancy far beyond
    their usefulness to the story, or to pack info into them which should emerge
    naturally from the story's "real" events. I tried to keep each dream
    brief -- only long enough establish that the characters have been drugged
    (spoilers!) in an entertaining way.

    DL: How did you decide which illusions each character would experience? Do these hallucinations provide insight into who these people are?

    JH: The dreams were spun from each characters fears or desires -- hopefully
    without being too obvious. Real dreams often include a kooky, non sequitur
    vibe that I tried to preserve.

    DL: Ming is such an archetype of a villain. Do you see him as just a bad guy who wants to do bad things, or is he more complicated than that?

    JH: Ming's motives go deeper than plain ol' malevolence. He's selfish and cruel, but above all, I think he's about gamesmanship. It's not enough for him to gain power; he needs to look good while doing it, and to be satisfied that
    he has bested his opponents through superior maneuvering. There are hints of this side of him throughout the series, but it will become especially clear
    as the story nears its finale.

    DL: A megalomaniac using illusion and deception to get the American people to elect him dictator? Is there some kind of political allegory going on here?

    JH: Haha! Well, we wrote this last summer, so -- as I say every time parallels emerge between Ming's doings and current events -- "any similarities to events or persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental!"
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