King Finally Listens to Me

By | Wednesday, October 04, 2023 1 comment
I've been saying off and on how I've thought that King Features was doing something of a disservice to its adventure properties like The Phantom, Flash Gordon, and Mandrake the Magician. I've said as recently as April that I don't think anyone at King really has a good sense of what they have, or what to do with them. Their last "big" move with Flash Gordon, for example, was that they licensed the comic book publishing rights to Mad Cave Studios back in July with an intended release of a middle-grade version through Papercutz in 2024. I can't find any actual mention of it at all on Papercutz site, and Mad Cave's only has the initial press release with no notes about who might be working on the books, or even what part of 2024 they might come out. I don't know about you, but I don't find that particulary encouraging.

On the other hand, we just got news this week that King will be bringing back Flash Gordon in comic strip form. It'll be the first new Flash Gordon comic strip in thirty years and it will be written and drawn by Dan Schkade, whose work I loved on the Lavender Jack webcomic. It seems a little unclear precisely in what form Flash Gordon will be returning, though; they haven't specified if it will be syndicated in newspapers or presented only on the web or some combination or..? Schkade is probably more familiar with working on webcomics, but he's done his share of printed comics as well, having tackled The Spirit Returns for DC and a Dark Horse title called Saint John that just debuted last month. King also hasn't announced a date when readers can expect to start seeing the new strips, which is also a little concerning.

I've read enough of Schkade's work that I have no doubt I'll enjoy his take on Flash Gordon. And hiring him is the first decent move I've seen King make about the property since... crap, probably when they licensed it to Filmation back in the early 1980s. However, King sadly also has a... less than stellar track record when it comes to promoting their adveture heroes. (They're not all that great about promoting their funny animal characters either, if I'm being honest.) So I'm not sure if this new Flash Gordon strip will take off or not. Regardless of how good it is, if nobody sees it... King is going to consider that a failed experiment. But they've at least done a great job with Step 1 here and got some real talent to work on it. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes and ears open to see how well it does! Good luck, Dan!
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Pj Perez said...

Well, this is where the crumbling of Twitter has done a disservice, because this is the first I've heard of Dan doing Flash Gordon. How exciting! He's certainly come a long way from when I published his first series at Pop! Goes the Icon almost 10 years ago.