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Flash Gordon

Launched in 1934 as a competitor to the successful Buck Rogers comic strips, Flash Gordon quickly overcame runner-up status and carved its own niche as a source for dynamic space yarns.  The conflict between Flash and his nemesis, Ming the Merciless, made for compelling story arcs, while Alex Raymond's masterful illustrations set a new standard for comic strip art.  (Dale Arden's sex appeal didn't hurt either.)  The resulting success expanded quickly into movie serials, featuring Olympian Buster Crabbe in the lead role.  Over the decades to follow the popular brand moved into radio, TV, comic books, novels, and most memorably in the kitschy 1980 feature film starring Sam Jones (with music by Queen.)