Posts Tagged ‘Flash Gordon’

Prophecy is a comic book crossover featuring characters that Dynamite has the license too, Vampirella, Ash/Evil Dead, Red Sonja, and Pantha, along with public domain characters Sherlock Holmes, Alan Quatermain, Dorian Grey, and Dracula.

The tale starts in 1890 London. Inspector Lestrade and Sherlock Holmes investigate the murder of a man who was shot in a museum. Apparently, he was shot over an ancient Mayan artifact that is now missing.

Cut to the Yucatan Peninsula in 632 AD. At the height of the Mayan Empire, a sacrifice is to be made. The girl being sacrificed turns out to be Red Sonja, who, through magical means, is pursuing an arch foe of hers across time. The villain escapes again, and travels to the (at time of print) present day of 2012. There’s a collage of images as the characters go through time, which provides a few Easter eggs for readers. One image is of Project Superpowers, the universe Dynamite created for public domain super heroes. We also see the Lone Ranger, the 3 Musketeers, Robin Hood, Evil Dead, the Phantom, Zorro, and even what looks to be a vague image of Indiana Jones.

The second issue opens at Miskatonic Asylum, where Herbert West, the Re-Animator is committed. (We also see the creators of this series, Ron Marz, and Geovani Walter locked up here) The Re-Animator was a short story by H.P. Lovecraft of Cthulu fame. Miskatonic University was also a creation of Lovecraft that was referenced in several of his stories, appearing first in The Re-Animator. The infamous Necronomicon is also a creation of Lovecraft which is referenced often and is even a part of the Evil Dead mythos. Dynamite has previously made Re-Animator comics, though set in the modern day.

Anyway West escapes his captors and travels to South America. He is in possession of the Necronomicon, which he later says he got in exchange for a certain experiment on a certain client. I don’t know what this is a reference too but in the stories West has a formula that can resurrect the dead.

In South America Herbert West runs into Red Sonja, who has just appeared from the past. Vampirella also appears and the two women briefly fight. Vampirella is also accompanied by Dracula, and Pantha. Later we get Eva, who claims to be Dracula’s daughter.

Sonja somehow is able to speak English, and communicates that her arch foe has come here to cause the end of the world (Basically the Mayan 2012 prophecy). The heroes fight the villain in the temple, where they Greek Goddess Athena shows up to help. At this point several supernatural creatures are summoned and spread across the globe to wreak havoc. The rest of the story has the team splitting up to fight them, then converging back in South America for the final battle.

One of the creatures attacks Las Vegas, and Ash comes into the story at this point. Ash also knows West from previous encounters. Periodically we get flashbacks to Victorian England, where Holmes encounters Alan Quatermain and Dorian Grey. These parts were entertaining but I think I missed how they connect to the main story.

We get a big final battle at the end, during which Vampirella steals a line from the Army of Darkness movie (Which is the 3rd Evil Dead movie.). One interesting turn of events is that a certain character gets turned into a vampire, and is still a vampire at the end of the story. I’m curious to see how that was resolved in later comics. I liked that touch which added a real consequence to this series so it wasn’t just another crossover.

Overall Prophecy is a pretty effective crossover that unites a set of characters you might otherwise not think of seeing together.

King’s Watch is a new comic book from Dynamite crossing the action heroes from King’s Features; Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, and Lothar.

The series opens with Earth in mass hysteria as people all over the world have nightmares about monsters and other horrific imagery. Meanwhile some strange atmospheric phenomenon is occurring  and reporter Dale Arden is investigating. Mandrake the Magician has an ominous moment in his home, and there’s a few mystic characters in Africa but I’m not sure who they were.

Elsewhere in Africa, Lothar and the Phantom fight a giant monster in West Tanzania in a pretty cool action sequence. Flash Gordon here is the son of a CEO who is setting up private space exploration. Flash has met Dr. Zarkoff the issue ends with them flying off into space investigating the phenomenon.

While the source of the phenomenon appears to be from Flash Gordon mythology, it does not appear to be Ming the Merciless. So far it seems like a good concept and I’m curious to read more.

Popeye Meets the Man who Hated Laughter.

           Popeye meets the Man who Hated Laughter was a 1 hour cartoon special that aired on ABC in 1972 as part of The ABC Saturday Superstar Series. It is notable for crossing over various characters that were owned by King Features Syndicate. It’s also notable for being able to cross action adventure characters like The Phantom and Flash Gordon with humor based characters like Beetle Bailey and Blondie.

           What brings them together is the villain, Morbid Grimsbee. Apparently he’s won the meanie award 6 times, and wants to be the first 7 time winner. His assistant is Brutus from Popeye. His plan is to trick everyone to board a ship, the S.S. Hilarious. So the comedic characters board the ship thinking they’re going on a pleasure cruise and get some interaction with each other. Soon the ship self-destructs, and the characters are imprisoned on an island with Morbid Grimsbee. As the ship goes down Olive Oil makes Popeye save her clothes and not his spinach, hence Popeye is not able to save the day.

           Soon the President of the United States realizes that the Sunday morning cartoon characters have been captured. Since this is a national emergency he summons the Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, Steve Canyon, and Lothar to the White House. These men form a rescue team and head to the island, but soon they are captured themselves. We get a few action sequences out of this with Flash and the Phantom. At one point the Phantom wrestles some kind of large cat, it might have been a jaguar. ALso Mandrake summons Prince Valiant from the past to assist them.

           However it is the comedic characters who end up saving the day, as they use their talents to make Grimsbee laugh, leading to a change of heart. The danger is not over as a volcano on the island erupts, forcing everyone to flee on Grimsbee’s Yellow Submarine. (King Features co-produced the Beatles cartoon Yellow Submarine). While under the sea they find Popeye’s spinach, allowing him to save the day from one last obstacle.

           In terms of crossovers Popeye Meets the Man who Hated Laughter is notable for bringing straight action adventure characters together with comedic characters. It’s also notable for the first animated appearance of Flash Gordon, Steve Canyon, Tim  Tyler, and the Phantom. In a way foreshadows the Defenders of the Earth cartoon of the 1980s, which had Flash, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician team up to fight Flash Gordon’s enemy Ming the Merciless.

Characters from the following strips appear in the show.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Bringing Up Father, Flash Gordon, Henry, Hi and Lois, The Katzenjammer Kids, Little Iodine, The Little King, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom, Popeye. Prince Valiant, Quincy, Steve Canyon, Tiger, Tim Tyler’s Luck