Flash Gordon Sundays: Dan Barry Vol 1 – The Death Planet, 1967-1971 is one of those books that should be in every collector’s library. Though available today in eBook format, this should be enjoyed by physically turning the pages, about as close to the original newspaper feel that you will get in modern publications. The hard copy print from Titan Comics will be available September 28, 2017.
More than just a collection of original illustrations of stories, this book turns out to be a fascinating biographical history lesson on the relationship of Dan Barry and the vast cast of legendary writers, artists, and creators of some of the most memorable works in comics. Barry is credited with the scientification of the already popular Flash Gordon strip by removing those familiar fantasy elements instilled by the strip’s original creator Alex Raymond and pushing the storylines more toward science fiction fandom.
Some of the names Barry worked with include the iconic Harry Harrison (who had worked on the Flash Gordon strip with Mac Raboy long before Barry took over following Raboy’s death), Burne Hogarth (Tarzan), Frank Frazetta (Johnny Comet), Wally Wood (Mad, Daredevil), Al Williamson (Weird Science, Secret Agent X-9), Fred Kida (Airboy), Bob Fujitani (Doctor Solar), and younger brother Sy Barry (The Phantom).
The selected strips included in this collection are:
Captured on Pluto (07/30/1967 – 01/07/1968)
Return of the Chameleon (01/14/1968 – 08/11/1968)
Colony on Pluto (08/18/1968 – 12/29/1968)
The Robot World (01/05/1969 – 06/08/1969)
Invasion (06/15/1969 – 11/09/1969)
Assignment on Pluto (11/16/1969 – 03/29/1970)
The Matter Transmitter (04/05/1970 – 07/12/1970)
Trouble on Venus (07/19/1970 – 10/25/1970)
The Cosmic Tower (11/01/1970 – 02/07/1971)
The Death Planet (02/14/1971 – 05/02/1971)
Robot War (05/09/1971 – 07/18/1971)
Some of my most fond childhood memories involve those early mornings on the weekend eagerly waiting for my father to breeze through the Sunday paper, eventually tossing aside the world news and classifieds until he found his prized sports section. Only then could I snatch up the comics section and run off to my room. With limited opportunities to go to the movies, these were some of the first images and stories that honed my young interest in science fiction and literature. Unfortunately, we did not have a newspaper subscription, so even this type of exposure was limited to when my parents decided to “splurge” on a paper. With such sporadic opportunities to read a comic strip like Flash Gordon, where strorylines can span weeks if not longer, I was (more often than not) left trying to decipher what had happened in the strips I’d missed.
If anything, Flash Gordon Sundays: Dan Barry Vol 1 – The Death Planet allows us (okay, me) to go back and fill in some of those missing gaps. It is a work of art as well as a fun book to read. In case you were wondering, there is a complete glossary of the titles and publication dates of Dan Barry’s Sunday contributions to Flash Gordon between 1967 and 1990, even though this volume only covers 1967 to 1971. Whether you are an avid collector interested in a little history behind the comics or just a nostalgic fan looking to rekindle some old childhood memories, this book will take readers back in time and put a huge smile on their faces.