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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back To The 25th Century!

As I've noted over the last few weeks here on the blog, I've been in a pulp space opera mood. I've filled in my collections of the Avon Flash Gordon and Ace Buck Rogers paperback novels, finished reading Dynamite Comics' Buck comics series from a couple years back, and, over the last few days, watching episodes of the 1939 Universal Buck Rogers serial starring Buster Crabbe, each morning before going to bed.

I'm a big fan of this serial, and in some ways I prefer it over the Flash Gordon serials that Crabbe did for the same studio. Don't misunderstand me - those three chapterplays are classics, and there's no way that Constance Moore's Wilma Deering or Anthony Warde's Killer Kane can hold a candle to Jean Rogers as Dale Arden or Charles Middleton's Ming - but there's a polish to Buck that's lacking in the first two Flash serials, and a consistent aesthetic to the look and design of Buck's 25th Century Earth that the Mongo of the Flash serials just didn't have.

The storyline is just a tiny bit more adult and better-structured, too. There isn't quite as much repetitive action and narrative water-treading in it as in the Flash Gordon adventures. Also, frankly, I prefer Crabbe without the over-bleached, over-styled coiffure. He just looks tougher with his natural brown hair.

Well, gotta go. I've got a couple chapters to spin before I hit the sack!

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