“Freeland” was the second installment of Austin Briggs’ Flash Gordon daily comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally published between February 24 and August 21, 1941, “Freeland” was the second story in the daily companion to Alex Raymond’s celebrated Sunday strip. It is the second of two Briggs strips available in a reprint collection from Kitchen Sink Press.
“Freeland” gets underway with the ship bearing our motley crew making its way toward the Promised Land free from Ming. Flash and Dale set out in a rocketship to scout for a safe harbor and encounter a hostile tribe of what appear to be Native Americans.
Once more, Austin Briggs demonstrates his version of Mongo is more attuned to contemporary American experience or American history than the prehistoric or Medieval Europe model chosen by Alex Raymond. Briggs may also be borrowing a page from Edgar Rice Burroughs (one of Raymond’s primary inspirations) in transplanting Native Americans to another world.
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“Princess Lita” was the first installment of Austin Briggs’ Flash Gordon daily comic strip serial for King Features Syndicate. Originally published between May 27, 1940 and February 22, 1941, “Princess Lita” was the story that launched the daily companion to Alex Raymond’s celebrated Sunday strip. It is one of two Briggs strips available in a reprint collection from Kitchen Sink Press. We shall examine the second strip in next week’s column.
The most rewarding part of delving into Austin Briggs’ first two Flash Gordon storylines has been the discovery that the sloppiness of the first few Austin Briggs’ Sunday strips printed a few years after the daily debuted were likely more the result of the artist being overworked than they were an adequate representation of Briggs’ work on the property. “Princess Lita” shows the artist in full command of the material drawing the characters as well as their creator, albeit without the benefit of the Sunday page to showcase the exotic flora and fauna of Mongo to full advantage. The transition from Sunday continuities to a daily strip is jarring at first and the smoothness of Don Moore’s scripting and Alex Raymond’s plotting is sorely missed, but Briggs does an admirable job of staying true to the source material.
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