Flash Gordon: The Storm Queen Of Valkir, Sundays 1944-1948
Continuing the space-bound adventures of Flash Gordon, the original guardian of the galaxy as he strives to save us all from a slew of super-villainy hell-bent on domination, destruction and devilment; including the ruthless, seductive, Storm Queen of Valkir!
Following Alex Raymond after his epic run on Flash Gordon must have been a daunting and debilitating task. A new standard for science fiction artwork had been set. So how did Austin Briggs do it? By forging his own path and doing great artwork, his way.
Titan has continued their Flash Gordon line with this fourth volume. Don Moore continues writing and Briggs applies his own clean and somewhat expressive artwork. To be clear Moore wasn’t breaking any new ground: Flash and crew continue to encounter various rulers of alien fiefdoms who invariably fall in love and plot wanton destruction, either with Flash and Dale or vice versa. Oh, and someone needs to be conquered, constantly. But like the previous Flash Gordon strips, we’re not here for the writing.
Briggs works his colours to their full extent. His lines are clean and well defined, employing little extra inking or line effects. Backgrounds vary greatly, moving from full detail all the way to nothing but colour gradients. Figures are graceful and naturalistic: nothing exaggerated or out of proportion.
Layout is very strict: two even halves, each two to three panels with that static title panel. This was for any newspapers that wanted to separate the strip onto two pages and unfortunately severely restricts any dynamics.
Reproduction is excellent, courtesy of Sunday Press Books. Clear text, pages still maintaining their newspaper look and feel, scanned from syndicate tearsheets. Production is equally good, with a thick matte paper in a sewn binding. There is a significant white border on the top and bottom of every strip: this seems to be there to maintain the same book size as the previous volumes.
Extras include a detailed strip creator bio/update/introduction by Doug Murray. The book closes with short biographies of Moore and Briggs and a Briggs Flash Gordon chronology. Also extra is the $10 price bump from the previous volumes…
Originally published at Comic Book Daily.