“Throwback Thursday” aka: Where does it come from, Part 6
I haven’t looked back to acknowledge a source for the inspiration that lead to Trekker for a while. I realized that while I dropped Alex Raymond’s name when I talked about Flash Gordon in an erlier post, I really passed over him in favor of Al Williamson, who was my personal entryway into the character. Al did some stellar, signature work on Flash, no question. But he had been inspired by Raymond, who created the strip back in the ’30’s and in doing so helped give birth to the whole adventure strip phenomena and turned artists like himself, Al Capp, Milton Caniff and Hal Foster into cartoonist superstars– virtually household names. Raymond achieved this by creating characters, situations and worlds that were iconic and yet also vivid and immediate to the reader. Some of that was taken care of by his breathtaking figure drawing and inking techniques, his over-all peerless draughtsmanship, and his eye for the dramatic image. But nice visuals will only take you so far if your task is to tell a story. For a reader to embrace a series and stick with it through a long, twisting tale, you need a world that lives, and characters that feel true. And for his time and era, Alex Raymond created those as well as any of his peers.Trekker is my shot at doing the same, in my own way and given the times I swim in as a comics creator. A lot has changed in the culture since the pre-WWII days of Flash Gordon. But while the trappings might have undergone some minor updates, the impulse to create a solid story that entertains with each twist and engages the reader through strong characters that they connect with remains the formula that I believe in and strive for on each page.