Jeff Parker On Telling A Retro Story With Modern Pacing In Flash Gordon: Kings Cross

Jeff Parker continues the story of Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom and their friends in Flash Gordon: Kings Cross #1, on sale in November from Dynamite. He's co-writing the series with Jesse Hamm with art by Grace Allison. There will be covers by Roger Langridge, Marc Laming & Grace Allison, Jesse Hamm & Grace Allison, and Roberto Castro.

FlashKC01CovALangridgeBYRON BREWER: Jeff, your first outing as writer of Flash Gordon's adventures was very well-received by critics and fans. You used a very light-hearted retro style that became the mold for the character at Dynamite. Will this new five-issue limited series follow suit, and what is it about the character you obviously enjoy so much?

JEFF PARKER: Yes, Jesse Hamm and I agreed to keep that tone because it's very accommodating for such an over-the-top story. It would be weird to try something not retro with characters who are so clearly from the 1930s, I think. But we go very modern with the way we pace and tell the story, that's the difference between this and a vintage comic strip.

BB: Flash and the King Feature Syndicate characters have had some rough times, continuity-wise, since your 2014 run. Will "Kings Cross" expound and embrace that continuity, or is this a fresh go-round?

JP: Oh yeah, we're following directly with the events of Kings Quest, which is by talents I really enjoy — Acker, Corson, McDaid and Bob Q, a powerhouse lineup.

FlashKC01CovBLamingBB: Dynamite readers know you love Flash. How do you feel about Mandrake and the Phantoms as characters? Any potential there you hope to unlock?

JP: I'm fond of them as well, and though the story is pretty Flash-centric, they get a lot of time. It may seem like we don't develop Mandrake as much as other characters, but that's much more about preserving an element of mystery with him. Too much behind the curtain time works against him, I feel.

BB: Jeff, you really, really turned the tables as far as Dale Arden's traditional role in Flash stories. Will Dale be a significant part of this new series? Dr. Zarkov?

JP: Both of them will. To me, they're one of those triumvirates where individually they're impressive, but together they're a world-shaking force.

BB: Elephant in the room: How soon before Ming appears?

JP: Pretty fast! The first page!

FlashKC01CovCHammBB: I see Jesse Hamm is helping you with plotting/writing chores. Tell us about this collaboration.

JP: Jesse is brilliant, many people follow his art online but few know how good a writer he is. This seemed a perfect project to bring him in and let that be seen. It was weird for me at first to figure out how to leave him room to do his thing, but we got the hang of it fairly fast. I predict he'll be sought after as a writer/artist a lot more following this series.

BB: Speaking of Jesse, how does the artist, with Grace Allison, stand up in rendering your iteration of Flash Gordon?

JP: Really well — Jesse and Grace don't try to follow the directions of Doc Shaner and Jordie Bellaire, they do their own thing and it works really well. It doesn't feel like any other book on the shelves now, which is what I like most. They give the series its own voice. What helps a lot is that Grace is also a terrific artist at drawing as well as color. Seek out her individual work, you'll love it.

FlashKC01CovDCastroBB: Jeff, any projects current or near-future you'd care to mention?

JP: I'm talking to Dynamite about some very interesting possible projects and still writing Future Quest for DC, which is going strong. But I apologize I have to be vague at the moment.

This interview was provided by Dynamite Entertainment.

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About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.
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