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Games

My Slice of Flash Gordon

12.03.17 | Comment?

I’m of an age in which I can claim having seen all three original Star Wars films during their original theatrical runs. That also means I remember seeing the 1980s Flash Gordon™ in the theater as well. At the time I think we were all hoping for another Star Wars, but that’s not what came to the screen. (In hindsight, it was the other way around. Little did I know at the time that Star Wars was a Flash Gordon tale, sans Flash.)

“I use these for smuggling. I never thought I’d be smuggling myself.”

I’m also of an age in which my only exposure to Flash Gordon came from the 1980s movie. I knew he didn’t spring into existence in the 80s, but only in the way I know the capital of Alaska–a bit of trivia I picked up somewhere along the way. I’ve never visited Juneau, nor did I get to watch any of the old films or read the old comics.

That is, not until little more than a year ago. That’s when Pinnacle gifted me the opportunity to contribute a chapter to Kingdoms of Mongo, a companion book to the Savage World of Flash Gordon™ roleplaying game penned by the talented Scott Woodard. This gave me an opportunity to delve into Flash’s history and adventures. Luckily for us, the old serial newspaper comic strips have been lovingly collected in a series of beautiful hardback books so they are more accessible now than ever before.

It wasn’t until I started reading those old comics that I came to appreciate the lasting impact Flash Gordon has had on our culture. While I came relatively late to the Flash fan club, there’s no question he’s of a class of hero I have admired since childhood. In my mind he stands shoulder to shoulder with Buck Rogers, John Carter of Mars, Tarzan, Indiana Jones, and many other pulp-style legends. Flash relies on his quick wits, steady hand, brave heart, and steadfast friends to overcome adversity and win the day. What’s not to admire?

Too many captions! Can’t decide among: “Arrr, warrra, rowar!” “Hey baby, I’d be lion if I said you weren’t hot.” “I’m a lion-man. Man in the streets, lion in the sheets.”

So little more than a year ago I began penning that chapter, adding my own modest contribution to the ongoing Flash Gordon legacy. It remains, quite simply, an honor. It was a real joy to expand upon the “my” little corner of planet Mongo as we know it from the comic strips. I got to immerse myself in how Mongoians live, what strange creatures inhabit the world around them, and what dastardly dangers might befall heroes brave enough to call themselves friends of the legendary Flash Gordon.

How much longer will the Earth hero’s exploits inspire us? As long as we cast our imaginations to far away Mongo and its wonderful and deadly denizens, and that’s exactly what The Savage World of Flash Gordon aims to do.

The Kickstarter has less than a day to go. It’ll be available in retail game stores and online later, but backing the Kickstarter ensures you get early access. The PDFs will be ready as soon as January. I hope you’ll consider backing the Kickstarter so you can see how Scott brought Mongo to the game table. Flash is Alive!

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