Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Buck VERSUS Flash!

It's the clash of classic comic strip space aces in a contest for cosmic supremacy – Buck Rogers: heroic aviator who is transported to a war-torn 25th century by a freak dirigible accident with his teenage sidekick Buddy, and Flash Gordon: Yale polo star who, along with the beautiful Dale Arden, is shanghaied by the mad Doctor Zarkov to the oppressed planet of Mongo!

Of course, both of these interplanetary paragons were portrayed in Thirties serials by the same Olympic swimmer-turned-action star, Larry "Buster" Crabbe.

Now, Buck's got cool 25th century gadgets (courtesy of Dr. Huer) and a sexy female pilot (Wilma Deering) to chauffeur him back and forth to Saturn, but his arch-foe, Killer Kane, is pretty much just a hood with delusions of grandeur. Flash has a smokin' hot girlfriend (Dale) lots of weird, alien allies (Barin, Thun, Vultan), is good with fists and swords, and has as his nemesis probably the coolest galactic despot ever, Ming the Merciless.

I'm calling this one for Flash (after all, he had three chapterplays to Buck's one), though I really love the 1939 Buck Rogers serial, and think it's highly underrated. Besides, I think it's telling that when Buster showed up on the 1979 Buck Rogers In The 25th Century television series, his character was named Brigadier Gordon.

"Captain, I've been doing this sort of thing since before you were born."

"Think so, huh?"

"Son, I know so."

What do you folks say? (Remember, it's only the Buster Crabbe serial versions of the characters that we're dealing with here.)

10 comments:

Andy said...

Even without Dale Arden Flash Gordon has the bad@ass trifecta of Barin, Thun and Vultan on his side.

It's Flash all the way.

Anonymous said...

I like them both but Buck is my favorite. Buster RULED that episode of the TV series even if he was only on screen a short time. He made that absurd costume look good and he looked better in it at his age than the main character- what was his name anyway? It would have been a better show if Buster had been on it more than once.

Charles Gramlich said...

I actually read about Buck before Flash so he gets my nod by a hair. I do like Flash's world much better though. It's got that Sword and planet feel

Anonymous said...

In regards to the Buster Crabbe serials -- I noticed that every time Buck Rogers goes near an air vehicle, he crashes it. Every time. It reminds me of Lloyd Bridges' line in "Hot Shots!": "Come to think of it, I've never landed a plane in my life."

Why hasn't there been a Buck / Flash crossover adventure? Seems like a natural to me...

Cap'n Perkins said...

Oh, the serialized Flash Gordon all the way. Better supporting cast, also I like that he wasn't marooned in his situation, but rather ventured into space on his own accord.

ILoz Zoc said...

I'm a Buck Rogers fan from the serial to the television series. I like the displaced in time idea, and Gil Gerard worked well with it. The TV series was fun until they screwed it up with the search for lost humanity in season two. Ruined the whole dynamic. I hope Frank Miller can do a better job on the new movie than he did with The Spirit.

BrittReid said...

You can judge a hero by his foes...
Charles Middleton's Ming the Merciless would've just tossed Anthony Ward's "Killer" Kane into the pit of the BeastMen (as he did with Flash in episode 1) and been rid of him!

BrittReid said...

Flash-related note:
Turner Classic Movies has been running the Republic serial Zorro Rides Again featuring Richard Alexander (Prince Barin in the first two Flash serials) as the lead henchman El Lobo (The Wolf)!
TCM finishes with the final two chapters this Saturday at 9am Eastern!

Anonymous said...

I'm coming into this late, but give me Buck. Buck's da man.

For everyone's general info: Miller's not directing Buck Rogers. Why? Two words: The Spirit.

wayne moises said...

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