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''Flash Gordon'' is a classic science fiction comic written and drawn by Alex Raymond in the year 1934 and published by King Features Syndicate. It tells the story of Flash Gordon, an athlete who travels with reporter Dale Arden and Dr Hans Zarkov in a rocket Zarkov built to the planet Mongo, ruled by [[YellowPeril Ming the Merciless]] (Franchise/FuManchu [[AC:[[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE]]]]). Flash sets to incite revolution. But wait! Dale is in love with him, and so is [[MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter Princess Aura!]] They are aided by Prince Barin of Arboria, Prince Vultan of the Hawkmen and Queen Desira of Tropica. Later stories featured Flash and company traveling to other planets, but the Mongo story arc is by far the most famous.

Although originally a comic strip, there have been several adaptations of the story: first was the [[Film/FlashGordonSerial 1936 serial starring Buster Crabbe as Flash]], which was widely acclaimed and one of the more popular serials of its time. There were [[WesternAnimation/FlashGordon several animated series]], a 1950s live-action series, and a [[Series/FlashGordon 2007 live-action series]] by the Sci-Fi Channel, which is basically ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' hampered by the fact that Flash Gordon is no Franchise/{{Superman}}. (And let's face it: you ''know'' you're in trouble when people say you're not as good as ''Smallville''.) The series arguably improved after a mid-season {{retool}} and concluded its first season in January 2008. Sci-Fi ultimately declined to renew it, however, effectively ending the series on an unresolved cliffhanger.

None of these are nearly as well known or as fun as the 1980 live-action movie adaptation, aptly titled ''Film/FlashGordon''. Starring Sam J Jones as Flash, Creator/MaxVonSydow as Ming the Merciless, Topol as Dr Zarkov, TimothyDalton as Prince Barin, {{BRIAN BLESSED}} as Prince Vultan, and, if you look carefully, you'll spot Richard O'Brien (aka [[Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow Riff Raff]]) as one of Barin's men. Widely considered a {{cult classic}} and enormously [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff popular in Great Britain]], the movie is pretty much ''exactly'' what would have happened if King Features had ten times the budget, big-name actors and better special effects, and the ''exact same script'', down to Asian stereotyping and completely insane dialogue.

And then you have the animated adaptations... including one in advance of the 1980 movie by Creator/{{Filmation}}, the people who did ''WesternAnimation/StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries''. Perhaps best described as a children's version of a sketchy [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SP2CsHNHd8 rock album cover]] come to life, with [[PettingZooPeople lion-men]] instead of [[Film/NapoleonDynamite ligers]].

Flash had comic adaptations as well, including DC Comics' ''ComicBook/FlashGordon1988'' miniseries, and a 2011 comic book adaptation called ''ComicBook/FlashGordonZeitgeist''. The most recent ''Flash Gordon'' series was written by [[Comicbook/AgentsOfAtlas Jeff]] [[Comicbook/{{Aquaman}} Parker]] with Doc Shaner on art, spinning out of Parker's ''King's Watch'' miniseries, a crossover with ComicStrip/ThePhantom and ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician. It ran eight issues and was popular enough to kick off an expanded "King-Dynamite" [[SharedUniverse universe]], with follow-up miniseries for Flash, ComicStrip/ThePhantom, ComicStrip/JungleJim, ComicStrip/PrinceValiant and ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician.

Trope codifier for SpaceOpera and RaygunGothic, along with ''BuckRogers'' of course. Famous for the serials' OpeningScroll.

An enormous influence on ''StarWars'': indeed, George Lucas wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie until Dino De Laurentiis, who held the rights, said no. Considering the massive flop the movie was, Dino might have done better if he'd taken George up on the offer.


!!Adaptations with their own trope pages include:

* ''Film/FlashGordonSerial'' (1930s film serials)
* ''Series/FlashGordon1954'' (1950s live-action series)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheManWhoHatedLaughter'' (1972 animated special featuring all King Features' characters, including Flash)
* ''WesternAnimation/FlashGordon'' (1979 animated series)
* ''Film/FlashGordon'' (1980 movie)
* ''WesternAnimation/DefendersOfTheEarth'' (1986 animated series teaming Flash with King Features' other action heroes, ComicStrip/ThePhantom and ComicStrip/MandrakeTheMagician)
* ''ComicBook/FlashGordon1988'' (1988 comic book miniseries)
* ''WesternAnimation/FlashGordon1996'' (1996 animated series)
* ''Series/FlashGordon'' (2007 live-action series)
* ''ComicBook/FlashGordonZeitgeist'' (2011 comic book series)

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!!The classic comic strip provides examples of:

* ArtEvolution: Alex Raymond's method of drawing notably evolved and improved as the series progressed. For a time he used a dry-brush drawing style with lots of hatching, as was common in PulpMagazine black-and-white interior illustrations. Later, he switched to a clearer line style, used in conjunction with PrinceValiant-esque still images that mimicked paintings.
** When the strip began, the people on planet Mongo all had [[YellowPeril yellow skin]] ([[OffModel most of the time, anyway]]). Plus, Princess Aura was a redhead, and Prince Barin was bald. A few years in, the yellow skin-tone was dropped and the humanoid denizens of Mongo [[RaceLift started being drawn as white]]. At the same time, Aura became a blonde and Barin suddenly sprouted a full head of black hair (which the strip lampshaded as him defying Ming's decrees on proper court fashion).
* AndNowYouMustMarryMe
* BadassNormal
* BaldOfAwesome: Barin (until he defies Ming's fashion decrees by growing his hair out)
* BaldOfEvil: Ming
* BatheHerAndBringHerToMe
* BareYourMidriff
* BeardOfEvil
* BeastMan: Several races of Mongo, including Lion Men, Hawk Men, Fang Men, Ape Man (red and not), Blue Dragon men, Panther Men and so on.
* [[BeneathTheEarth Beneath Mongo]]: The Cavern World of Syk.
* BettyAndVeronica: Dale Arden and Princess Aura, both of whom love Flash.
* BigDamnHeroes
* BigFun: Vultan's got a belly on him.
* BoisterousBruiser: Vultan
* {{Cliffhanger}}: Every single strip
* DamselInDistress: Dale
* DarkActionGirl: Aura
* DistressedDude: Flash, especially when the captors are women.
* {{Egopolis}}: Mingo City
* TheEmperor: Ming the Merciless.
* TheEmpire: Mongo.
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Aura, among others
* EvilLaugh
* FemmeFatale: Aura, though she does a HeelFaceTurn.
* FiveManBand: In the first volumes at least, there's the following scheme:
** TheHero: Gordon
** TheLancer: Barin
** TheSmartGuy: Zarkov
** TheBigGuy: Thun
** TheChick: Dale
* FollowTheLeader: The original comic strip was only created to cash in on the popularity of ''BuckRogers''. Thankfully, it never resorted to outright stealing any of ''Buck's'' storylines, and managed to carve out its own niche.
* GameChanger: Flash Gordon is the game changer in his series: before he arrived on Mongo, various worlds under Ming's thumb were fighting each other. Flash slowly convinced the various worlds to set aside their differences and concentrate instead on overthrowing Ming the Merciless.
* GladiatorGames: Flash is often forced into these.
* GoodHairEvilHair
* GreenEyedMonster: From the hawkmen's king's wife, when he decides to add Dale to his harem
* GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe: Yellow-skinned, here. For the first several years at least.
* HardHead: Thun. Flash can even confidently assert he'll come to in a few seconds.
* HeelFaceTurn: Vultan, Aura, Azura... actually, a ''lot'' of Flash's allies started out as antagonists.
* IGaveMyWord
* InevitableWaterfall: When Flash, Dale, and Thun are swept away in an underground river.
* ItsUpToYou: Only a wayward athlete can save the earth.
* IvyLeague: Flash is a Yale man.
* {{Kaiju}}: Mongo just wouldn't be Mongo without giant monsters ''everywhere.''
** In one istance, Gordon gets randomly attacked by a giant snake while walking around with Azura.
* LizardFolk: The Lizard Men. They try to capture and cook Gordon, but are quickly dispatched by the Hawkmen.
* LoveAtFirstSight: In the original comic, Flash starts declaring his love for Dale very early on, after maybe a few hours, and practically no conversation or time to breathe. Ming also wants to marry her on sight, but that's a different trope...
* LoveDodecahedron: Flash loves Dale, Dale loves Flash, Aura loves Flash, Barin loves Aura, Ming lusts after Dale. (Aura eventually switches to Barin, though)
* MadScientist: He's a nice guy, but Zarkov's got more than a touch of this, at least in the beginning.
* MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter: Not so much Mad Scientist as Emperor, but still a major influence.
* MenActWomenAre: The caption for the very first panel Flash and Dale appear in:
-->''"Aboard an eastbound transcontinental plane we have Flash Gordon, Yale graduate and world-renowned polo player, and Dale Arden, a passenger."''
* MirrorMoralityMachine: Azura brainwashes Flash for a while.
* MixAndMatchCritters
* MsFanService: Aura
* MulticulturalAlienPlanet: Because the comic is set entirely on Mongo and doesn't do any standard planet hopping (at least, not until the strip's later years), Mongo is an incredibly diverse planet.
* MurderTheHypotenuse: The king's favorite toward Dale in the city of the hawkmen
* MyBreastsAreDownHere: Princess Aura's at the beginning used to wear this kind of garments.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Ming the Merciless.
* PettingZooPeople: Lion Men, among others.
* PlanetOfHats
* PlanetaryRomance: For one thing, Aura and the various moons of Mongo.
* PowerTrio: Flash, Dale and Zarkov
* ProtagonistTitle
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Lots of them, but Thun's probably the most notable.
* PunyEarthlings: [[YouHaveNoChanceToSurvive Who can save you now?]]
* RandomEventsPlot: Unsurprising, in view of the need for a cliffhanger.
* RaygunGothic: The ''entire concept'' of ''Flash Gordon'' embodies the trope.
** {{Retro Rocket}}s: Your classic cigar-shaped rockets with tail fins. In the film serials, they actually puff smoke!
* RealitySubtext: As WorldWarTwo loomed on the horizon, strips featuring Ming's concentration camps appeared.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: ...and as WorldWarTwo creeped even closer, [[spoiler: Ming the Merciless got mercilessly and unceremoniously killed off so that Flash and friends could return to Earth and lend a hand in the war effort.]]
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves
* RobinHood: The obvious visual inspiration for Barin and the Arborians.
* RuleThirtyFour: There is porn of it. Specifically, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flesh_Gordon Flesh Gordon]],'' a [[TheSeventies '70s]] softcore romp which has a cult following of its own, largely due to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38XmSTDO6e4 this]]. (Yes, it's work safe, as long as your boss doesn't hear the expletives.)
* SchizoTech: ''So'' much! But totally justified by RuleOfCool.
* ShockAndAwe: Part of the arc in the Snow Kingdom is dedicated to hunting down a colossal monster that blows people up with his electrified tentacles.
* SpaceOpera: TropeCodifier.
** What more need be said than that ''StarWars'' was going to be a gritty reboot of ''Flash Gordon'', [[UsedFuture minus some of]] the RaygunGothic aspects, but GeorgeLucas couldn't secure the rights.
* TapOnTheHead: Aura uses one on Flash to let her father carry off Dale.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: Until the 1980 movie, Flash was always from the future. In the comics, prior to WWII, there was no date given. Following WWII, they were set "ten years into the future".
** The {{Creator/Filmation}} 1970s animated movie (on which the '70s animated TV series was based) has Flash, Dale, and Zarkov leave Earth in the 1940s--which explains the period hairdos on the three Earthlings in the '70s series.
** The 1950s TV show was set over a thousand years in the future.
* UnderwaterCity: Corallia
* TheVamp: Queens Azura and Desira.
* WeAREStrugglingTogether: This is why Ming isn't overthrown; the races of Mongo are busy fighting amongst themselves.
* WeirdScience
* WhiteAngloSaxonProtestant: Flash Gordon is a Yale man and champion polo player.
* WouldNotShootACivilian: Flash objects at the notion of killing an unarmed Aura.
* WingedHumanoid: The Hawkmen, although not the delicate beings you'd expect...
* YellowPeril: Ming, Ming, Ming! Oddly enough, the theme song to the movie became incredibly popular in Japan. It helps a lot that Ming looks [[ChinesePeople Chinese]] rather Japanese; that the two were at war at the time; and Creator/MaxVonSydow basically plays [[LargeHam himself]] in oriental drag (in the [[Film/FlashGordon 1980 film]]).
* {{Zeerust}}

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