Mad Cave’s ‘Flash Gordon’ plans include a new series, middle-grade graphic novels + more

Flash, Ming and the gang will return to comics in a big way this year.

This week’s ComicsPRO meeting brought news from Mad Cave Studios not only about Gatchaman, but also about their plans for Flash Gordon. Mad Cave announced they’d acquired the license to publish Flash Gordon comics from King Fetaures, the property’s owner, last summer.

“Flash Gordon brings a completely new dimension for Mad Cave as a premier comic book and graphic novel publisher,” said Mad Cave Studios Publisher Chris Fernandez. “By expanding our publishing line with a legacy character like Flash Gordon, we’re able to expand our audience across generations of readers through each of our imprints. Whether in grade school or a longtime reader, fans of Flash Gordon and Mad Cave will have lots to look forward to!”

Like Gatchaman, Flash Gordon will debut on Free Comic Book Day in May. The #0 issue will kick off an ongoing series, with the first issue arriving in July.

Free Comic Book Day 2024 cover by Dan Panosian

FLASH GORDON ONGOING SERIES (May)

(W) Jeremy Adams (A) Will Conrad (C) Lee Loughridge (L) Taylor Esposito (CA) Dan Panosian

Audiences will thrill with a race against time as Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Doctor Zarkov try to stop the villainous Ming the Merciless from using the Unraveller, a device that can unwind an object to their subatomic structure in one apocalyptic burst of energy. 

This all-new series begins with Flash Gordon #0, available as a free promotional item at participating retailers worldwide on Free Comic Book Day 2024 (Saturday, May 4) and featuring cover artist Dan Panosian. The ongoing story continues in Flash Gordon #1 in July.

June brings the revival of an interesting project from the past — a collection of Defenders of the Earth, a four-issue series originally published as a part of Marvel’s Star imprint. The first issue of the comic was written by Stan Lee and Bob Harris, with Michael Higgins writing the next three issues. Alex Saviuk and Fred Fredericks did the art. The fourth issue advertised a fifth, but it never materialized. The story was based on the animated TV show of the same name, featuring Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and more fighting the forces of evil.

Defenders of the Earth TPB cover by Scott Chantler

DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH TPB (June)

Flash Gordon teams up with The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Lothar, and the next generation of legends! Based on the beloved 1980s cartoon series, this 96-page trade paperback collects the classic 1987 four-issue miniseries for the first time ever, featuring legendary creators: Stan Lee, Bob Harras, and Michael Higgins, with pencils by Alex Saviuk and inks by Fred Fredericks. Features a dynamic new cover by Scott Chantler (Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen).

In addition, Mad Cave announced they’ll release a new eight-issue Defenders of the Earth miniseries, which will kick off in August. The creative team has not been revealed yet.

Then in September, Mad Cave will launch Flash Gordon Quarterly, which will feature the Flash Gordon characters in “wildly entertaining genres that you’d never expect. Each issue spotlights a new and unique take on the characters.”

Starting in October, Mad Cave will begin reprinting Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon newspaper strips from the 1930s and beyond as 200-page hardcovers.

And finally, Mad Cave’s middle-grade imprint Papercutz will begin releasing a series of graphic novels aimed at a younger audience, titled Flash Gordon Adventures!  The first one is expected in November.

“Flash Gordon is a multigenerational character that means something different for every fan. Some got into the character through the serials and comics, while others have fond memories of TV shows and movies,” said Mad Cave Studios Senior Editor Chas! Pangburn. “Thankfully, our partnership with King Features allows us to deliver exciting tales for fans new and old. Be it classic/retro-inspired stories, expanding the world of existing Flash tales (film, comics, TV), and even wholly unique takes on the character, we’re strongly leaning into finding a Flash for everyone.”

Flash Gordon first debuted in a King Features comic strip in 1934. Created by Alex Raymond, the strip quickly became popular and expanded into merchandise, film serials, radio, novels, TV, animation and eventually into a feature film in the 1980s. The strip ran as a daily comic until the 1990s, and as a Sunday strip until 2003 — but then made it’s triumphant return this past October thank to Dan Schkade.

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