Flash Gordon #2, November 1966

Gil Kane was a busy boy in 1966, spreading his net far and wide in the search for paying work. In addition to his regular gigs at DC on Green Lantern and the Atom, Kane also popped up at Marvel (Incredible Hulk), Tower (THUNDER Agents), Harvey (Tiger Boy), and, as seen here, King Comics (the comic book arm of the newspaper strip syndicate). He did a lovely job on Flash Gordon for this cover, though, sadly, that’s all he was to do on the character as far as I’m aware. The interior art in this issue is by Frank Bolle, and though he does a fine job, he’s rather overshadowed by the fact that the previous and following issues have spectacular work from the incomparable Al Williamson, who was at the top of his game.

Kane of course, would return many times to a similar sword ‘n’ sorcery mileu to that depicted here. Just a few years after this Kane tried his hand at a proto-graphic novel, with his own Blackmark creation. And later he would have several stints on Conan. The 1980’s ‘re-imagining’ of the Atom as a sword-wielding warrior was possibly Kane’s purest expression of the form — and comes highly recommended.

©2009 King Features Syndicate