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Ep. 22, Page 35
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Comic 1661 - Ep. 22, Page 35

8th Jul 2014, 9:57 PM in Episode 22 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 8th Jul 2014, 9:57 PM edit delete
smbhax
So yesterday I started talking about how Flash Gordon artist and co-creator Alex Raymond seems to have shifted from drawing his famous comic strip just from his head to using live models and/or photographic reference in mid-September, 1938, and I went on to point out instances from the months leading up to that where his style was definitely shifting—perhaps making sporadic use of reference or some other new source of inspiration.

These experiments in deviating from the imaginative illustrative style he'd been honing since beginning the strip in 1934 did not always work out. For instance, this Flash, from the June 5th, 1938 strip, appears to have facial features (even make-up?) inspired by some sort of Hollywood actor's photo or the like, but it would be hard to say that the photorealistic quality of the features is an improvement on Raymond's previous, classic Flash look:

Image

Fortunately, that version of Flash appeared in just a couple panels. Two weeks after that one, we meet a new character, with startlingly realistic facial features:

Image

If Raymond was saving his experiments for new, minor side characters, that was probably a good idea—if they came out weird, nobody would really notice. He generally got this Sudin guy down pretty neatly, though. And there were other new things to see during this period, too. For instance, in this panel from the July 3rd strip, the faces of Sudin and Flash don't particularly look referenced, and neither do their poses, *but* whereas movement in Flash Gordon up to this point had almost invariably been side-to-side, in this panel, they're suddenly coming *right at us*:

Image

Pretty convincingly, too! I wonder if Raymond did have reference of some kind for that. He had very rarely had figures coming straight at the camera before, and generally only in more typical, less dynamic poses, like this pointing Ming ("Mongo wants YOU! ...For hard labor!") from November 7th, 1937:

Image

By July 17th, 1938, Raymond was so good at drawing Flash—from his head, I think—that he could fit him in pretty seamlessly beside Sudin, whose realistic facial shading does strike one as having had the advantage of some sort of reference—and perhaps Raymond liked the look he was getting with that actor or model so much that he couldn't resist throwing in a few clones of him in the same panel:

Image

Remember, of course, that this is all just supposition and guesswork on my part.

Looks like that's about as far as I'm going to get today—darn these bizarre World Cup semifinal matches, anyway! : P >_> More dissection of Raymond's 1938 drawing experimentation tomorrow!

Comments:

cattservant 8th Jul 2014, 10:13 PM edit delete reply
cattservant
Well that was easy.
smbhax 9th Jul 2014, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
smbhax
And now everyone's all caught up! : D
moizmad 9th Jul 2014, 10:46 AM edit delete reply
moizmad
"That wasn't junk, I've already sold it on e-Bay!"
smbhax 9th Jul 2014, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
smbhax
Another woman's treasure!