September 12, 2013 5:22pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Kings Watch' Proves Flash Gordon, Phantom and Mandrake Still Have It
When you think of fan-favorite Saturday morning cartoons to revive, some immediately come to mind -- Thundercats! He-Man and the Masters of The Universe! and so on -- and some … well, don't. On that latter list, I would have placed Defenders of the Earth, Marvel Productions' attempt to make a superhero team out of King Features' newspaper-strip heroes Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician and the Phantom. Who wanted to see those guys team up again? Turns out, a lot of people.
The first issue of Kings Watch, a new Dynamite Entertainment series by Jeff Parker and Marc Laming that reteams the three characters, sold out of its entire 10,425-copy print run in its first day of release, proving that there's apparently an audience out there for a Defenders revival after all.
Dynamite has previously published series featuring two of the characters, including Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist and The Last Phantom (Sadly, there really didn't seem to be any desire to give Mandrake his turn in the spotlight), and has been quietly building a line filled with pulp favorites for some years now; the publisher also has ongoing series for the Shadow and the Green Hornet, among other characters. Last week it was announced that Dynamite would launch a new Doc Savage series in December.
A second print of Kings Watch #1 is expected to reach comic stores in time for October's second issue, giving newcomers a chance to catch up with what's happened to date. Now, who holds the movie rights to these characters so that they can get started on a Kings Watch adaptation …?