It’ll be a full four decades since the release of the 1980 cult classic film Flash Gordon this December 5th, and King Features Syndicate has lined up a full roster of activity, including theatrical screenings, fresh content and home entertainment, as well as new licensed products and publishing, in order to best celebrate.
“Flash Gordon’s comic adventures have influenced how we define the modern science fiction genre, but the 1980 film is what really solidified the comic star as a lasting pop-culture icon,” said Carla Silva, vice president and general manager, global head of licensing for King Features.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the 40thanniversary of the film this year with such a strong lineup of partners from across the globe. It’s our mission to continue bringing fans new Flash Gordon products and experiences that showcase their love for the savior of the universe.”
Kicking off the action, Universal Pictures and Fathom Events will present a line up of theatrical screenings in over 330 theatres across the US, each featuring an on-screen introduction to the film by actor Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), as well as the world premieres of a new Flash Gordon comic strip series called Flash Forward – the first ever motion comic strip for the brand.
Meanwhile, this summer, StudioCanal, Europe’s leader in production, distribution and international sales of feature films and TV series, brought Mike Hodges’ cult classic film back to the big screen in 4K Ultra-High definition at Picturehouse Central, The Luna Drive In Cinema and other select UK cinemas with additional screenings across France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand throughout the year.
Launched on Sunday, November 15, a new Flash Gordon original comic strip anthology project features 40 world-renowned artists and illustrators, each telling the story of Flash Gordon through their own unique lens. Talent includes Tana Ford (LaGuardia, Livewire, Black Panther), Jim Keefe (Flash Gordon, Sally Forth), and Liniers(Macanudo) among many others.
“The new product offering of Flash Gordon-inspired comic strips from King Features is an anniversary celebration that everyone who loves the Savior of the Universe will enjoy in both print and digital formats,” said the company.
Next up, Flash Gordon: A Minute to Save the World, the first-ever Flash Gordon motion comic series, made its world debut at the Fathom Events theatrical screening on November 15 when the first five 60-second episodes played on screen. This new twist on classic comic storytelling uses a fresh animation style to follow Flash Gordon’s battle to save earth from Ming the Merciless. The motion comic series is produced by King Features and drawn by David Reddick and will be available to watch on the Comics Kingdom YouTube Channel beginning Sunday, November 15.
In the consumer products space, a robust lineup of Flash Gordon-inspired merchandise and licensed products, including board games, artwork, collectibles and much is all scheduled to land.
Boss Fight Studio, a creator-owned company focused on high-quality, collectible toys, debuted its Flash Gordon figure for the 40th anniversary, which is the first Hero H.A.C.K.S. licensed character. The figure features extensive articulation, multiple hands, multiple heads and a “football” accessory to allow fans to build their collections and continue customizing in a special way.
This limited-edition figure comes packaged in a collectible retro lunchbox featuring a mix of classic movie poster art and brand-new art created by superstar comics artist, Erica Henderson.
This limited-edition figure is the first in the Flash Gordon line from Boss Fight Studio featuring both comic and movie version characters.
King Features is also in developing a new line of Flash Gordon figures with National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA).
Meanwhile, Plastic Meatball – creator of pop culture products that should have been, but never were – is developing a retro style Flash Gordon family board game that is launching with a Kickstarter campaign later this year, as well as a series of ‘70s style “Heat Transfer” t-shirts, enamel pins with iconography from the film, a set of four drinking glasses and ‘80s style jigsaw puzzles inspired by the film.
Additional product launches include new stylish art prints inspired by the cult sci-fi film from Art & Hue and Vice Press, Flash Gordon-inspired apparel from CEND International and Trademark Products and a Flash Gordon: Death to Ming card game coming soon from Wayland Games.
King Features is also expanding its publishing program for the brand with the launch of a 40th anniversary title from Titan Books titled Flash Gordon: The Official Story of the Film, on December 1.
Flash Gordon himself, actor Sam Jones, also embarked on an anniversary tour this year with stops across the country, including one where he was presented with a custom made 40th Anniversary Flash Gordon Harley-Davidson motorbike. Upcoming dates for Jones’ tour can be found on his social channels.
As King Features continues Flash Gordon’s 40th anniversary celebration throughout 2021, fans can expect to see a fresh look for Flash Gordon and his crew as new character art developed by popular comic book cover artist, Amelia Vidal (Marvel Studios, Boom! Studios), is released.
Looking ahead, a new Flash Gordon feature film is in development with 20th Century. Taika Waititi, director of Marvel’s Thor: Ragnorok and Jojo Rabbit, is attached to the production. In the meantime, the latest Flash Gordon content can be found at www.ComicsKingdom.com and the Comics Kingdom YouTube channel.