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Ming the Merciless Visual Gallery

Alex Raymond's comic strip Flash Gordon debuted in 1934. It was notable for adopting art deco design to the comics, for its detailed and more literary story lines, and for inspiring not only a series of subsequent comic versions of Flash but also the several Flash Gordon film series (1936-1940). The films starred Buster Crabbe as Flash and Charles middleton as Ming the Merciless. John Lipson played King Vultan, whose name Hagedorn puns on in her poem.

In the Alex Raymond comic strip, a rogue planet is hurtling toward the earth. Hoping to avert disaster, scientist Dr. Zarkov plans to fly to planet Mongo. Meanwhile the athletic Flash Gordon and a woman named Dale Arden are in a plane that crashes on Zarkov's property. He kidnaps them to help with his rocket flight. They all arrive on planet Mongo to find its orbit controlled by Emperor Ming. Ming later himself kidnaps Dale Arden. Hagedorn's poem is, in a sense, thus written in an eroticized version of Dale Arden's voice.

Reproductions from the Original Comic Strip

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Ming the Merciless

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The Lion Men

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Ming's Rocket Ships

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Images of Ming and Other Characters from the 1936 Film Series

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Ming the Merciless--Emperor of Planet Mongo

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Flash with Princess Aura, Ming's Daughter

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Emperor Ming and his High Priest

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Dale Arden

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Thun, King of the Lion Men

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Dr. Zarkov

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Dale Arden is Ming's Captive!

Images of Ming from the Feature-Length 1980 film Flash Gordon, Directed by Mike Hodges with Music by Queen. Ming is Portrayed by Max Von Sydow.

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