Amid the connected universe of Marvel’s Infinity Stone-collecting heroes and DC’s connecting universe of grimly determined heroes, many classic heroes of the past are toiling away in relative obscurity. Though it made a splash in 1980 with a Queen-scored film, Flash Gordon has spanned comic strips, comic books, novels, pulp serials, and television for over 80 years. Flash’s serialized 1930s adventures, starring Buster Crabbe, are cited as a major influence on the aesthetic of Star Wars, right down to the opening crawl.
Somebody else drawn to Flash Gordon is Disney animator Robb Pratt. By day, he works in Disney’s TV Animation department. In his spare time, Pratt’s a fan of golden-age superheroes. For the third entry in his series, following Superman Classic and Superman Classic: Bizarro, Pratt has turned his attention to Flash Gordon.
Meticulously animated by hand (save for a few CG moments), Flash Gordon Classic is just under three minutes of classic Flash Gordon. The dauntless blond alpha male rushes headlong into a battle arena to save a buxom damsel in distress, while Ming The Merciless looks on. Best of all, you can be sure that when former quarterback Flash Gordon spirals a large stone into the clawed-pit beast’s eye, there’s no risk of underinflation.
The credits come in at the midway point of the video, but it’s worth sticking around, as Pratt discusses what inspired him to give Flash Gordon the classic treatment, the top-shelf voice artists who donated their talents, and the animation process his compact team used to bring Gordon to life.