With its bright colours and loud blurbs, vintage French Children’s publication Pif Gadget appears to be atypical of its time but its origins are far more interesting than most and steeped in history. While the magazine may have began as illegal Communist youth fare, several incarnations later it became a periodical most noted for its ‘free gift’ or ‘gadget’ to be assembled by the reader.
By Issue #612 the arrival of a new Flash Gordon to cinemas was so greatly anticipated that not only was it the cover story but theme for the gadget (Le Pistolflash, no less) a condensed photostory and an exclusive behind-the-scenes report from EMI Studios itself.
While Le Pistolflash sadly never made it to these shores (most likely due to the evident choking hazard) the accompanying articles (featuring and unpublished still of Max Von Sydow gleefully pointing a youngster in the general direction of the Bore Worms) are fascinating, with some nice illustrations of how the cloud effects and front-projection were achieved. A translation of the piece would be most welcome but in the meantime, feast your eyes on this rare piece of Le Flash ephemera…
Of course, representation doesn’t get much better than having the leading man show up for the event (take a bow, Mr. Jones) but at this years typically frenzied San Diego Comic-Con, our hero was supported by an impressive range of upcoming collectables –
First and foremost Sam was the guest of honour at artist extraordinaire Alex Ross booth, where the newly unveiled very limited-edition print above should already be familiar to anyone lucky enough to attend the 35th anniversary celebrations. Though handsomely presented in a frame, those who already own the much larger poster signed by many of the cast besides Ross himself should be feeling especially pleased with themselves. Meanwhile, over at the ever expanding Chronicle Collectables stand –
An ever-in-demand Sam Jones once again teams up with ultra-Flashfan and friend of Gordon’s Alive Bob Lindenmeyer to shake hands on a job extremely well-done as the gleaming finished prototype War Rocket Ajax shines its way to an upcoming pre-order accompanied by the flawless replica of the Klytus mask/hood. In the interview above Sam makes more than one mention of action figures – however none so far have been unveiled at the show and the last series from Bif Bang Pow is a couple of years old now –
Which leads us to believe, alongside Chronicles talk on Facebook of Flash Gordon ‘Signature Editions’ that an all-new 1/6 line is a possibility? Was it fresh on Sam’s mind as he’d just cut the deal? Time will tell.
Speaking of figures, nobody saw this SDCC exclusive coming –
But Funko have done it again with this charming double-pack of vinyl ‘Dorbz’ available only at their booth – chances are they’ve gone already and while we’re on the subject of rarities they don’t get much better than these –
With Propstore’s astonishing acquisitions of original costume pieces on display at their booth in advance of upcoming auctions. The breathtaking Flash Gordon Mongo Officer Jacket in red leather with gold beading has not been seen since its sale at online auction some years ago so its appearance here alone is a rare sight and with a guide price of £5 – 7K its sure to be snapped up and disappear into obscurity again.
The Hawkman helmet is another splendidly preserved artefact as most surviving examples are missing the fragile ‘barrel’ moulding on the top. Another modest estimate is sure to make this the centre of another Flashfan’s collection.
So all in all, not a bad show for the Flash enthusiast with the potential of more to come…!!
Faithfully adapted by Bruce Jones and supported by amazing art by award-winning Al Williamson, the Flash Gordon comic of the movie would appear in various guises all over the world. Arguably most common Stateside was the softcover album by Western Publishing on newsstands as the film hit theatres – Hardcovers were to follow as the release travelled across the pond to the UK and beyond. The adaptation would last be seen across three issues of the Whitman comic book…
While most of these publications would feature a cluttered cover of movie stills combined with splash panels, the German release (above) utilised the poster artwork by Renato Casaro to much greater effect. Beneath it lay a black & white filmreel of stills to introduce the characters before launching into the standard reprint. The quality of these could never be described as more than adequate (with many pages misprinted to the point of illegibility) but the artwork still shines. Williamson would later say about drawing Flash –
“I was paying homage to Alex [Raymond], you know. I tried to treat his creation with respect and dignity and tried to do it to the best of my ability. I find that other artists who have done Flash Gordon just don’t seem to get the feeling of the strip, you know. Flash is a noble guy and it’s kind of nice to have that kind of a hero…”