Alex Raymond original Sunday comic strip artwork for Flash Gordon #1 – origin and first appearance.

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Alex Raymond original Sunday comic strip artwork for Flash Gordon #1 – origin and first appearance.
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2. Alex Raymond original Sunday comic strip artwork for Flash Gordon #1 - the origin and first appearance of arguably the greatest and most influential of all American adventure comic strips. (1933, King Features Syndicate, Inc.; published January 7, 1934). Accomplished in pencil and ink on 28.25 x 23 in. illustration board. Signed ""Alexander Raymond"" beside ""No 1"" in the lower left panel. On the top margin in blue pencil, ""Flash Gordon Page #1 By Alexander Raymond"" with ""No. 1"" written on side and bottom margins. In late 1933, King Features Syndicate assigned Alexander Raymond to create a Sunday page to compete against the popular Buck Rogers strip that made its newspaper debut in 1929. The result was the visually captivating science fiction epic adventure Flash Gordon that quickly developed an audience far surpassing that of Buck Rogers, due to Raymond's vastly superior artwork and ghostwriter Don Moore's engaging storylines. Raymond and Moore also created the complimentary strip, Jungle Jim, an adventure saga set in Southeast Asia, as a topper that ran above Flash in newspapers. Raymond's first Flash strip debuted on January 7, 1934, introducing the handsome ""Flash Gordon, Yale graduate and world-renowned polo player"" and his lovely companion, Dale Arden, who parachute out of a crashing plane and are Shanghaied by Dr. Hans Zarkov aboard his rocket ship launched to intercept the threatening planet Mongo hurtling towards Earth. Thus began the fantastical space opera that, by the late 1930s, was published in 130 newspapers across the globe, translated into eight languages, and read by over 50 million people. From 1936-1940, Universal Pictures released three highly popular Flash Gordon movie serials starring the 1932 Olympic gold medal swimmer Buster Crabbe. Alex Raymond was encouraged to draw by his father at an early age, and by 1930 he became an assistant illustrator working with cartoonist Russ Westover on his Tillie the Toiler comic strip. Through this association, Raymond was introduced to William Randolph Hearst's King Features Syndicate where he later became a staff artist and produced his best work. Alex Raymond's realistic style and skillful use of feathering (a mid-tone shading technique using a series of parallel lines to give form and volume to objects and figures) influenced comic luminaries such as Jack Kirby, Russ Manning, Bob Kane and Al Williamson, just to name a few. Flash Gordon is regarded as one of the best illustrated and most influential of American adventure comic strips. Siegel and Shuster based Superman's uniform of tights and a cape on costumes worn by Flash. The historical impact Flash Gordon had on science fiction and pop culture heroes of the 20th century cannot be overstated. The ""space western"", emphasizing space exploration as the final frontier, influenced Gene Roddenberry to create Star Trek. George Lucas had originally wanted to adapt the Flash Gordon serials in the 1970s, yet was unable to secure the rights, and his project evolved into Star Wars. Lucas' homage to Flash is evident with the opening title ""crawl,"" episodic story structure, ""moving wipes"" when transitioning to new scenes, good (Flash/Luke) versus evil (Ming's Empire/Galactic Empire), incorporating a ""Cloud City"" into the storyline, and the narrative tied together with a grand, sweeping orchestral musical score. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the very root of what grew into the Golden Age of heroes of the 20th century and beyond. Worthy of inclusion in the finest collections and institutions. Expected uniform tanning with slight stains. Minor paper loss and chipping on edges and 2.5- and 1-inch edge separations with tape repair on verso. A sublime example of 87-year-old commercial artwork that presents beautifully. $400,000 - $600,000