There is nothing quite like Depression-era serials. While they may have outdated views and storytelling techniques have changed, they can always be counted on to capture your imagination. One of the most famous sci-fi heroes of this period is Flash Gordon, and Titan Books has put out a collection of his adventures titled The Complete Flash Gordon Library – The Tyrant of Mongo Volume 2.
In this collection, the artwork is what stands out the most. The vivid world is filled with dynamic characters, creatures, and settings. The planet Mongo’s terrain ranges from treetop highways through forest cities to a barren desert to a vast ice kingdom. Each of these regions presents unique creatures and challenges for our hero. The basic color pallet is indicative of the time, and while the lack of color consistency throughout the series can get frustrating, it does invoke some quaint, nostalgic sentiment.
Probably the biggest obstacle for readers to overcome is that there are some views that would not exactly fly in this day and age. The romance elements get so misogynistic that what is meant for drama sometimes ends up becoming comical. The relationship between Flash and Dale mostly consists of them meeting a new race of people where all the women throw themselves at Flash. Then, when Dale expresses her jealousy, Flash responds by saying he will never understand women’s emotions. As with many works from the past, we must approach this with maturity, take a deep breath, and remember that it was written in a different time.
Setting aside the views of a “simpler time,” this book, as well as the rest of Flash Gordon’s exploits, will fascinate children of all ages. By preserving these stories, it ensures entertainment for a new generation, and Flash Gordon will continue to inspire sci-fi for years to come.