Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Flash Gordon: Vol. 5: The Cities of Ice

   Here's yet another entry in the category of "what a great time we live in for reprints of classic comics."

   Titan Comics has a reprint series of the classic Flash Gordon series, and this, the fifth volume, brings us the beginnings of the long run on the daily strips by the great Dan Barry.

    The (pre-Barry) daily strip first appeared in 1940, and was actually dropped in 1944 - but in 1951 King Features decided to revive it (perhaps realizing that this fellow Flash seemed to be a bit popular, given the numerous movie serials and the hit Sunday comic).

   Barry took the job reluctantly, but he made an effort to make it a bit more mainstream science fiction, and a little less fantasy that was so rampant during the Sunday strips by Flash's creator, Alex Raymond.

   Barry was soon joined by writer Harvey Kurtman, who injected some more fantastic elements into the strip. It was a strong (if sometimes tempestuous) partnership. You can also spot some work by ghost artists like Frank Frazetta on some strips.

   Barry was a strong artist, with a clean, classic style - and that worked well, because the daily strip was a mighty cramped space in comparison to the Sunday version, with vast spaces to explore.

   Still, they made the most of it, and produced terrific work that (mostly) holds up well.

   This collection gathers two years worth of strips, and should earn a spot in any collector's library.

Grade: A


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