I wasn’t a big fan of Flash Gordon growing up. I knew who he was, but he was of my father’s generation. In the late 1970’s there were some good cartoons featuring Flash Gordon and then the movie, Flash Gordon, staring Sam J Jones and Max von Sydow, that opened my eyes to this character. I really loved the idea of a normal guy saving the Earth.
Just A Man
“Just a man; With a man’s courage; Nothing but a man; But he can never fail; No-one but the pure at heart; May find the Golden Grail…” - Freddie Mercury & Brian May*
Our world was being bombarded by meteors, Hans Zarkov believing it was an attack built a rocket to travel to attacker’s planet for peace. Needing help to fly the rocket Zarkov kidnaps Dale Arden and sports star, Flash Gordon, whose plane crashes nearby because of the meteors. The three travel to the planet Mongo and confronts the evil emperor, Ming, the Merciless. Fighting against Ming, Flash Gordon finds and gains the trust of the rebellion. Eventually Ming is defeated. Then Flash Gordon and his friends travel to different worlds bringing peace for the war-torn universe.
The regular guy Flash Gordon saves the day. Most people who are recognized as heroes think of themselves as “normal” people. Did all the firefighters and police that helped during the “911 attacks” wake up that morning saying, “Today I will be a hero?” No, they woke up went to the bathroom, ate breakfast and got dressed just like the rest of us. There is nothing wrong with being “just a man”. We always try to be the boss, to be famous or to be rich. We often forget to be “normal”. There is nothing wrong with seeking to be better or advancing either. It’s when we lose humility and forget that we are “just a man” that we begin to lose. Let’s face it, in the comic strips Flash Gordon was just a polo player and nothing special, all he had going for him was the ability to play on a team.
First Appearance: Flash Gordon, Comic Strip, January 7, 1934, King Features Syndicate
Creators: Alex Raymond
* “Flash”, Brian May & Freddie Mercury, EMI, Elektra Records 1980, performed by Queen