Tagged: Dynamite Entertainment

Mike Gold: Creators’ Rights… And A Big Wrong

My original First Comics partner Rick Obadiah, who is not prone to outrage (I took care of that part), sent me an email a couple days ago expressing his pissed-offness at a piece in last Sunday’s New York Times.

For those who don’t have time to click-through, the Times essentially gives credit for the whole creators’ rights movement to Image Comics, now enjoying their 20th anniversary. I have no axe to grind with Image and I don’t think Rick does either; this is another case of typically sloppy reporting from the fantastically over-important New York Times.

In his email, Rick correctly points out that the stuff attributed to Image Comics started with First and with the other so-called independent publishers of the time: Eclipse, Comico, Now, Malibu, and others too numerous to name. I won’t quibble with the definition of “independent” – back in those days the term really meant “not Marvel/DC.” The Comics Buyers Guide even listed Disney Comics as “independent,” and that was the day I stopped using the term.

As I pointed out nearly 30 years ago in the pages of sundry First Comics, the creators’ rights movement on a publishing level started with Denis Kitchen and his fellow “underground comix” providers. The actual creators’ rights movement pretty much started on Day Two of the comic book industry when folks like Will Eisner, Bob Kane, William Moulton Marston and Joe Simon and Jack Kirby negotiated their own deals with the existing publishers and retained certain rights and/or received cover billing and/or creator credit and/or royalties.

But we – First, Eclipse, Comico, Now, Malibu, and the rest – took all that several steps further. Creators received certain ownership rights, cover billing, creator credit and royalties. Perhaps that was tame by today’s standards, but in 1983 this was akin to torching the Great Teat. We paid a price for this: all of those companies are now extinct, although some lasted nearly two decades – a good run in publishing. But we had nothing to take to the bank in terms of actual ownership when times got rough, when distributors went out of business and when investment-mania boiled over.

Once we started offering fair deals, DC and Marvel pretty rapidly started offering some of these rights under certain circumstances. That didn’t make them competitive on the creators’ rights front, but they provided acceptable safe haven to creators when times got rough on the independents front. And that includes me, and I am not ungrateful.

Did Image take this one step further when they went into business a decade later? They goddamn well should have and, yes, of course they did: the company was started by a half-dozen of the top writers and artists in the field. But Image isn’t a publisher in the traditional sense – to its credit, it’s more of a vanity press without the negative connotations of that term.

Image – and Dark Horse and more recently IDW and Dynamite – were built on the shoulders of the founders of First, Eclipse, Comico, Now, Malibu and the rest, and on our investors and our creative talent who took big risks breaking from the clutches of DC and Marvel without any guarantee those doors would reopen for them should the desire arise.

Again, I do not blame Image in the least. I blame the lazy, self-important “journalists” at the New York Times for having a historical point of view that fails to go beyond recently emailed press releases.

Here’s a secret. It is well known that the New York Times has never run comic strips. But this was not because comics were too lowbrow and well beneath their dignity. That was just their typical arrogant posturing. The New York Times didn’t run comic strips back when Pulitzer and Hearst started the medium because they couldn’t afford the fancy color presses. The paper of record, indeed.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil and the God Particle

Mike Gold: The Great Comic Book Retro-Expansion

Last week I bitched and moaned about how we’ve turned our backs on comics that can be appreciated by readers of all ages in order to follow the money that kids ain’t got and some adults might have. I also tied this into continuity impenetrable to newcomers that is spread over about a hundred dollars’ worth of monthly product. I can be snotty that way.

In just the past couple of years, we have seen something of a return to comics that can be enjoyed by readers young and old. Publishers can’t help the self-consciousness suffered by Baby Boomers and some Gen-Xers, but today’s new middle-agers were raised without much of the stigma us old folks suffered during the Wertham rage. So, I am now taking it upon myself to point out a few titles that work for a general audience that is fearless enough to read comic books on the bus, be it to work or to school.

I’ve been quite impressed with Dynamite’s Zorro Rides Again, written by Matt Wagner and drawn (now) by John K. Snyder III. That’s quite a pedigree, and their work lives up to it. You do not have to be steeped in a century of Zorrodom to understand what’s going on: it’s all about a revolutionary with a sword on a horse who fights Spanish oppression in the name of the people of California. Solid action, great storytelling, and an even greater story. You can’t go wrong here; it’s a damn fine book.

Image Comics has been running a little superhero series called Savage Dragon for almost 20 years now – the main series is up to issue 180, for crying out loud – and there’s a reason why writer/artist/creator Erik Larson’s work has endured: it deserves to. Yeah, it’s all about a big hyper-muscled green-scaled head-finned superhero; what’s it to you? It’s chock full of solid characterization and mayhem alike. I think it appeals to the same sort of 11 year old that found Marvel Comics so accessible and so exciting a couple generations ago as well as to older readers get a solid comic book experience that isn’t fraught with sturm und drang. The real old farts will be reminded why we liked comics in the first place without having to hit up 50ccs of nostalgia.

The real surprise here comes from DC Comics. While all the focus and attention has been on the New 52, a line too interconnected and too continuity convoluted to access the broader spectrum of readers, over on the West Coast their editorial operation has been publishing a nice little self-contained universe of superheroes in a continuity that had its roots in a teevee series cancelled long ago. The book is called Batman Beyond Unlimited and for those who are unfamiliar with the proto-show it’s The Old DC Universe – The Next Generation… except some members of the original generation (Bruce Wayne, Kal-El) are still around.

There’s three different series going on in this giant-sizedish monthly: Batman Beyond, Superman Beyond, and Justice League Beyond. The latter group has Superman (the original, a man out of his time), Batman (Terry McGinnis, although Bruce Wayne is still around and more cranky than ever), Warhawk – the son of Hawkgirl and John Stewart, as well as contemporary versions of Green Lantern, The Atom and others. They back-fill the origins while remaining constant with previously established continuity, but – and this is why it works – you don’t need to be Mark Waid to understand who’s who, what’s what, and how everybody got that way. Available as weekly downloads in individual series titles or in the Batman Beyond Unlimited monthly, by avoiding the grim and gritty wallowing in apocalyptic hopelessness, this is a title that can be enjoyed by all but the most anal-retentive cynic.

And when was the last time I wasn’t the most anal-retentive cynic?

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil and the Trilogy Trend





June 5th, 2012 – Mount Laurel, NJ – Join Tom Sniegoski and Dennis Calero for a very special Shadow story in The Shadow Annual #1 featuring a cover by Alex Ross.  In The Shadow Annual #1, The Shadow is tormented by visions of New York City plagued by living fire-fire in the shape of a Chinese dragon-fire with the potential to spread hungrily to the world.  But what do these visions mean?  The Shadow will peel back the layers of mystery, leading to a confrontation that could very well shake the pillars of Heaven. Who are the waifs of Li-Lung, and what are their connections to Brother Pritchard’s Orphanage for Wayward Children, and to crime boss on the rise, Vincent Ruzzo? Soon, the Shadow will know.

“When I found out that Dynamite had The Shadow license I was ecstatic . . . and when they asked me if I was interested in writing the first annual I just about had a seizure,” says writer Tom Sniegoski.  “First of all, anybody who knows me knows how much I love the pulp characters, and the Shadow is number one on my list of favorites.  I cut my teeth on the whole pulp hero thing in 2009 with my novel, Lobster Johnson: The Satan Factory, which won the Best Pulp Novel of 2009 from The Pulp Factory Awards.  Looking back, I feel like that book was a warm up to the main attraction, now I was going to get the chance to write the character that almost all other pulp characters were trying to emulate, now I was going to get the chance to write The Shadow.  To say that I was a little nervous was an understatement.  First I had to come up with an idea for a story with the same kind of punch that the original pulps had, and was as powerful and exciting as Garth Ennis, and Aarron Campbell’s current run.  After some serious thought (and a few tumblers of scotch) I came up with a story idea that everybody seemed to love.  It’s got everything that I’d be looking for in a Shadow story: mysterious locales, organized crime, dreams of an apocalyptic future, blazing Colt 45’s and Thompson Machine Guns, and creepy kids with psychic powers . . . what’s not to love?”

“Tom and I have known each other since he was the main writer on Vampirella back in the ‘90’s,” adds Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci.  “With his success in prose, it was hard for him to make time for comics work.  We’re very happy that he was able to work on our first The Shadow Annual.  It’s an awesome tale, and Dennis’ art compliments the story incredibly well.”

Tom Sniegoski has worked for all the big guys in the comic book industry, Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Cartoon Books, and now Dynamite! Some of the characters Tom has written include Batman, The Punisher, Hellboy, Wolverine, Devil Dinosaur, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and he even wrote the prequel to Jeff Smith’s award winning series Bone, which was called Stupid, Stupid Rat Tails: The Adventures of Big Johnson Bone. His most recent comic book work (written with frequent partner, Christopher Golden) is The Sisterhood, published by Archaia Studios Press. This dynamic duo also worked on the mini-series Talent from Boom Studios which was optioned by Universal Pictures.

Dennis Calero’s work includes Acclaim Comics’ licensed-product titles Sliders and Magic: The Gathering; Moonstone Books’ TV tie-in titles Cisco Kid and Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Platinum Comics’ Cowboys & Aliens; IDW Publishing’s Masters of Horror: Dreams in the Witch House; and Marvel Comics’ X-Factor, during his tenure on which the title was nominated for the Harvey Award for Best New Series (2006). In 2006, IDW announced that Calero will be one of the cover artists on its six-issue Star Trek: The Next Generation TV tie-in miniseries The Space Between, scheduled for 2007.  Calero drew an arc of Legion of Super-Heroes for DC Comics and his new Marvel series, X-Men: Noir, was released by Marvel in December 2008. X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain was released in 2010. That same year, he drew the Dark Horse Comics relaunch of the former Gold Key and Valiant character, Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom, which was written by Jim Shooter.

Be sure to get The Shadow Annual #1 in September!

Become our fan on Facebook at facebook.com/DynamiteComicsJoin the conversation on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComics

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com

For art and more information, please visit:

Chaykin Cover Update

Somewhere between the proofreading stage and the going to press stage, the folks over at Dynamite Entertainment changed the cover to my The Art of Howard Chaykin book.

While browsing at Amazon the other day, I was surprised to see this new image, but think it looks pretty cool. The book itself remains on track for being in stores in mid-July. While the checklist will be nearly a year out of date, the rest of the book remains a contemporary look at a pioneering creator.

According to Amazon, the on sale date for that and Art of Ramona Fradon, featuring an extensive interview between Howard and the wonderful artist, which I edited, is July 10. Both are projects I’m proud of and hope you find a place for them on your shelves.

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Dynamite responds to ERB Inc. lawsuit over John Carter, Tarzan

Originally posted at http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2012/04/dynamite-responds-to-erb-inc-lawsuit-over-john-carter-tarzan/

In response to the lawsuit filed in February by Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., Dynamit has filed what amounts to a blanket denial to accusations of trademark and copyright infringement and unfair competition involving its Lord of the Jungle and Warlord of Mars comics.

ERB Inc., which holds the existing rights to the works of the author of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, claims the comics Lord of the Jungle, Warlord of Mars, Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris and Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom are likely to “deceive, mislead and confuse the public” about the source or sponsorship of the content, causing “irreparable injury” to the family-owned company. It also insists the titles were published without authorization after Dynamite Entertainment President Nick Barrucci was told that Dark Horse held the licenses for the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars books.

In its answer to the complaint, filed last week in federal court in New York City and first reported by The Beat, Dynamite points out that the Burroughs works on which the comics are based are no longer protected by U.S. copyright law. As to the trademarks, the publisher notes, “There are numerous examples of Burroughs’ novels, and other works inspired by Burroughs’ novels bearing such alleged marks or similar marks, which have been published by third parties without any reference to” ERB Inc.

“In addition, Burroughs’ public domain novel Tarzan of the Apes has been republished by numerous publishers without any attribution to plaintiff, and the basic story of a jungle-dwelling, Tarzan-like character has appeared in and film without any affiliation to plaintiff,” the document states.

Dynamite, of course, asks the court to dismiss the lawsuit, which will likely be watched closely by those concerned with what’s been characterized as an effort to use a trademark to, effectively, prolong the duration of copyright.

More to come on this case.

Earth Station One Episode 104: Flash a-ah, Savior of the Universe

This week, the ESO crew hurls themselves into the void and travels to the planet Mongo to discuss the adventures of Flash Gordon. Can our intrepid heroes of Mike, Mike, and Bobby with guests Dan Johnson and Scott & Debbie Viguie, help Flash save the universe? Or will they face the mercy of Ming? Tune in to the next episode of Earth Station One to find out! Plus, Chris Hardwick and the Nerdist crew came to Atlanta and Christine Hoffman gives us a full report! All this, plus the usual Rants, Raves, Shout Outs and Khan report!

Join us for yet another episode of The Earth Station One Podcast we like to call: Flash a-ah, Savior of the Universe at http://www.esopodcast.com/
Direct link: http://erthstationone.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/earth-station-one-episode-104-flash-a-ah-savior-of-the-universe/

Table of Contents
0:00:00 Intro / Welcome
0:07:07 Rants & Raves
0:55:06 The Geek Seat w/ Dan Johnson
1:11:39 Flash Gordon
1:57:27 Khan Report w/ Christine Hoffman
2:29:29 Shout Outs
2:38:34 Show Close

If you would like to leave feedback or a comment on the show please call the ESO feedback line at (404)963-9057 (remember long distance charges may apply) or feel free to email us @ esopodcast@gmail.com

Download this podcast from Itunes or Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Next week on Earth Station One… the ESO crew is hanging out at the Quick Stop with Jay and Silent Bob as we dive into the world of Kevin Smith at http://www.esopodcast.com/ – We assure you, the ESO station is open for business.


Me and The Art of Ramona Fradon

Growing up, I always recognized that Ramona Fradon’s artwork was different, curvier and softer in many ways than Gil Kane or Carmine Infantino. But you couldn’t help but like her open, appealing storytelling and characters. Her artistic touch on Metamorpho and later Super Friends were perfect while she was badly miscast on things like Freedom Fighters and even selected issues of The Brave and the Bold.

From the legion of writers and artists working in the first two generations of comics, Ramona was one I had never had the chance to meet or speak with. It was therefore serendipitous when Dynamite Entertainment invited me to edit The Art of Ramona Fradon which is a visual showcase for her work and was an extended conversation between the artist and fellow creator Howard Chaykin. Chaykin spoke with her on numerous occasions and the raw transcript needed to be shaped which is what I did. But in researching her career, I realized there were pockets of work Howard never explored and other gaps that needed filling in. (And speaking of Chaykin, my overdue The Art of Howard Chaykin retrospective is finally on press and should be out in the spring.)

I was tasked with calling her myself and conducting a supplemental interview so I found myself spending about ninety wonderful minutes with Ramona last year. She was gracious and displayed a pretty good memory so those gaps filled in nicely.

It was easy, then, to take the various transcripts and edit it into a pretty coherent chronology of her life and career. The book took time to assemble given the hunt for illustrations from across her career but the work is done and I see it now being solicited in the current issue of Diamond reviews.

If you grew up on her work and want to get to know the artist, I strongly suggest you get this for yourself. I’m certainly proud of having worked on this, honoring Ramona and her work.

After the cut is the complete press release with additional details.

Long time fans of Metamorpho, Aquaman, Aqualad, Plastic Man, The Fantastic Four and Super Friends are quite familiar with the work of legendary artist, Ramona Fradon, but not until now will they know the whole story of Ramona’s incredible career in comics, as Dynamite Entertainment is pleased to announce the upcoming The Art of Ramona Fradon in stores on April 2012!

For the first time ever! The DEFINITIVE retrospective of Ramona Fradon’s career will be presented in The Art of Ramona Fradon. The Art of Ramona Fradon will be a hardcover book that highlights the magnificent career of the artistic legend, plus never-before-seen sketches.

Interviewed by legendary creator Howard Chaykin and featuring a forward by Walt Simonson, Fradon talks about her artistic career, accomplishments and creations from her early days at DC in the 1950’s to her later work on Marvel’s The Cat and Fantastic Four and DC’s Plastic Man, Freedom Fighters, Super Friends and more!

“I’ve never liked to see my work in print, but the way it’s presented in this book makes me feel proud,” says legendary artist Ramona Fradon. “The drawings are arranged so attractively on the pages that the not-so-good ones look good and the good ones look really good. It covers so much of my career that there are things I barely remember doing, starting with an unpublished story strip I practiced on before I got into comics. It’s nice to see I’ve improved since then.”

“In an era when 99.99 % of American comic books were produced by a male talent pool, and very few women worked in the field–mostly as writers, and mostly producing work of no particular interest or engagement,” says Howard Chaykin.  “The truest exception to this reality is Ramona Fradon, an original, not to say eccentric talent, whose approach to comics was so idiosyncratic as to make her stand out from her peers, men and women alike–and it should be noted that her work, as influential as it’s been over these many years, remains personal, individual and inimitable.”

“I have known Ramona and loved her work forever. I started with Aquaman in the 1950s when I was a kid,” says Walt Simonson. “Ramona’s art wasn’t like anybody else’s work back then.  Her design of the human figure, her slightly abstract and expressive faces, her crisp line, and her clear storytelling stamped her work with an individuality that was instantly recognizable.”

“It is an honor that we are able to present the life and art of Ramona Fradon in The Art of Ramona Fradon,” adds Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci.  “Ramona Fradon’s work has touched many creators, and I personally am a huge fan of her art.  Ramona’s conversation with Howard Chaykin about her life’s-work makes this book a must-read for any Ramona Fradon fan and any fan of comics history!”

Ramona Fradon is an American comic book and comic strip artist.  Her career began in 1950, when it was even more unusual for women to illustrate superhero comics.  Fradon entered cartooning just after graduating from the Art Students’ League. Comic-book letterer George Ward, a friend of her husband (New Yorker cartoonist Dana Fradon), asked her for samples of her artwork to pitch for job openings. She landed her first assignment on the DC Comics feature Shining Knight. Her first regular assignment was illustrating an Adventure Comics backup feature starring Aquaman, for which she co-created the sidekick Aqualad.

Following her time with Aquaman, and taking a break to raise her daughter, Fradon returned to co-create Metamorpho, drawing four issues of the series. Her other work includes Super Friends, Freedom Fighters, Plastic Man,  a variety of mystery stories, and an issue of the Fantastic Four!

In 1980, Dale Messick retired from drawing the newspaper strip Brenda Starr, and Fradon became the artist for it, until her own retirement in 1995. Fradon was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2006.

Join the conversation on Twitter with  #RamonaFradon and on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComics

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MARC ALAN FISHMAN: Make Mine Valiant

So, I’ve spent the last few weeks ranting and raving about DC. And face it, there’s still plenty there to mine. From their recent canning of six titles and announcing six more (none of which I think will last a year) to their recently leaked ”sticker logo”… I could have a field day continuing to bash and dash. But alas, I grow weary of being hypocritical. I bitch and moan about them a ton, yet the majority of the cash flowing out of my pocket to frivolity generally concerns a majority of DC books, and related merchandise. So, for now, I’m waving a white flag, and turning my gaze elsewhere. Somewhere dashing, daring, and dare I say… Valiant.

On May 2nd, Valiant Comics will be reborn. Their flagship title, X-O Manowar, will hit the shelves. I will admit freely to you all that I know nothing of the Valiant universe. Let’s quickly Wikipedia that, for those in a similar boat. Wow, what a story! In 1989, Jim Shooter, one of the Allman Brothers crew, and some other financiers tried to buy up Marvel. They didn’t get it. Thus Valiant was born! They got a few heavy-hitters, and released a line of books. In 1994, they got dumped by their initial investors, scooped up by then-important video game creator Acclaim, and died a slow and boring death as their continuity-heavy line became too heavy a load to bear. Legal battles and the like kept things grounded for a while, but as you’ll now note: it’s all been solved, and the line will reconvene with Free Comic Book Day 2012. And due largely to some lackluster books by DC, and Marvel’s Next-Big-Waste of Time, I’m at a loss for why I shouldn’t take this as a sign to give Valiant a shot.

A recent press release for the budding brand hyped the announcement of the creative team for X-O. Surrogates scribe Robert Venditti and Conan artist Cary Nord will unite to bring us a tale of a time-lost ancient warrior given amazing future technology and plopped on the populace in 2012. Color me intrigued. I happen to love the Surrogates original graphic novel, and sneak peaks at the pencils of Nord show me that the book will look amazing to boot.

But this leads me to the bigger question. What is Valiant’s battle plan? Will they rise up and be a contender with the Big Two? I doubt it. The marketplace is crowded as it is. Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Dynamite, Avatar, and Boom! all struggle to keep a cohesive line. Face it, each of those aforementioned second stringers all have one or two big fish, and then spread themselves thin on bargain-bin fodder from licensed properties that appeal to the niche audiences. Well… the niche of this niche, if you get my drift.

Mind you, I’m not trying to poop on the parade, I’m just wary for any “line launch” in a continually crowded comic rack. And a subsequent Google search doesn’t even have the company site at #1 in the rankings. What appears to be a company website is just a form with “Notify Me!” on it. Bad mojo my friends.

Let us consider Boom! Studios’ Stan Lee line, launched in 2010. Four books with solid concepts released very close to one another. The critics didn’t quite rave about any of them, and I rarely hear anyone discuss them at the shop when I pop in on new comic book day. Valiant certainly has picked a good time to strike, but I’m hoping it’s done more intelligently. Case in point?

Boom’s other cash cow, the Irredeemable universe. Launched as a single amazing comic, smartly spun off into a single other title that has refrained for years before crossing directly into one another. Join that to a solid base of fans consistently purchasing the book due to high standards of art teams and consistent writing… and you have something worth copying. While I myself have recently stopped my subscription to Irredeemable, I don’t knock those still following on. It’s the kind of model I hope Valiant is paying close attention to.

Ultimately, X-O Manowar‘s release got me genuinely excited for a new title to latch on to. With a strong creative team announced, and DC and Marvel knee-deep in their own crapulence, Valiant stands to gain a following again. If they stick to releasing solid books, refrain from event-driven releases, and put their books out on time… I see no reason why they won’t stick around for a long while.

Also, they should hire Unshaven Comics.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Cover: Alex Ross
Cover: Jae Lee

In the first issue of the new ongoing The Shadow series, it’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all… but what that might be, only the Shadow knows. Be sure to get The Shadow #1 in April 2012!

Written by Garth Ennis with art by Aaron Campbell. Cover art provided by Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, Jae Lee and John Cassaday.

Learn more about Dynamite Entertainment at http://www.dynamite.net/.

Click on images for a larger view.

Cover: John Cassiday

Cover: Howard Chaykin


Art: Alex Ross
Art: Alex Ross
January 11th, 2011, Runnemede, NJ – The iconic legend Flash Gordon made his dynamic splash back into comics with Dynamite Entertainment with Flash Gordon – Zeitgeist!  Spinning off from that series is the prequel comic book series, Merciless – The Rise of Ming #1, which is written by Scott Beatty and drawn by Ron Adrian, with an incredible cover from Alex Ross and is in stores April 2012!  In issue #1, Prince Ming begins his rise to dominion over the entirety of Mongo! But who (or what) was Ming before he was ‘Merciless’? Find out here as the origin of one of science fiction’s preeminent villains is presented in all its diabolical details! Be sure to get Merciless – The Rise of Ming #1 in April 2012!


Art: Alex Ross
“In most heroic fiction, we (the readers, that is) never really question why the villains do very bad things. It’s always just assumed that evil is as evil does,” says writer Scott Beatty. “Ming is one of the great antagonists of science fiction. In many ways, he’s archetypal and the model for all intergalactic despots to follow. But he’s not just Ming. Everybody knows he’s Ming the MERCILESS. And he’s successful at being just that. Ming has a plan. For EVERYTHING. Readers of FLASH GORDON can think of MERCILESS: THE RISE OF MING as “required reading” for the series’ central conflict. It’s a primer that reveals not just who Ming the Merciless is–well before he ruled all of Mongo–but just what he did to get there… and WHY he did it.”

Art: Alex Ross

Art: Alex Ross

“Scott [Beatty] has taken the groundwork laid by Eric [Trautmann] and Alex [Ross] in Flash Gordon and gone back in time to tell the tale of the Rise of Ming,” states Dynamite Editor Joe Rybandt. “This is the direct precursor to the story in Flash Gordon and presents the definitive origin of the universe’s most merciless dictator.”

Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1934, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip.

The original Flash Gordon comic strip follows the adventures of Flash Gordon, a handsome polo player and Yale graduate, and his companions Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov. The story begins with Earth bombarded by fiery meteors. Dr. Zarkov invents a rocket ship to locate their place of origin in outer space. Half mad, he kidnaps Flash and Dale, whose plane has crashed in the area, and the three travel to the planet Mongo, where they discover the meteors are weapons devised by Ming the Merciless, evil ruler of Mongo.

For many years, the three companions have adventures on Mongo, traveling to the forest kingdom of Arboria, ruled by Prince Barin; the ice kingdom of Frigia, ruled by Queen Fria; the jungle kingdom of Tropica, ruled by Queen Desira; the undersea kingdom of the Shark Men, ruled by King Kala; and the flying city of the Hawkmen, ruled by Prince Vultan. They are joined in several early adventures by Prince Thun of the Lion Men. Eventually, Ming is overthrown, and Mongo is ruled by a council of leaders led by Barin. Flash and friends return to Earth and have some adventures before returning to Mongo and crashing in the kingdom of Tropica, before reuniting with Barin and others. Flash and his friends would travel to other worlds and frequently return to Mongo, where Prince Barin, married to Ming’s daughter Princess Aura, has established a peaceful rule (except for frequent revolts led by Ming or by one of his many descendants). The long story of the Skorpii War takes Flash to other star systems, using starships that are faster than light.

Scott Beatty has worked extensively for the popular comic book publisher DC Comics since the mid ’90s. He is perhaps best known for his work on several encyclopedic guides to superheroes.  He has also worked writing comic books, recently contributing to the Wildstorm reboot World’s End with the series Wildstorm: Revelations and Number of the Beast.  Other projects include Buck Rogers, The Last Phantom, and Merciless – The Rise of Ming for Dynamite Entertainment.

Join the conversation on Twitter with #FlashGordon and on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComics

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com

For art and more information, please visit: www.dynamite.net