Flash Gordon Does Not Have Super-Speed

Spotted this article on Sony’s planned Flash Gordon movie: ‘Flash Gordon’ pace quickens with scribes. It opens with the tagline, “‘Flash Gordon’ is moving ahead at breakneck speed.” Those are odd comments for an ordinary guy who ends up having adventures in space, but appropriate for a super-speedster…. Yeah. Someone else got the Flash and Flash Gordon confused. It’s a typical example of what TV Tropes calls Cowboy Bebop at his Computer.

It fits with society’s general contempt for both comic books and science-fiction. If you ask whether a football team is playing in the World Series, people will look at you like you’re an idiot. But it’s okay to get Star Wars and Star Trek mixed up to the point where Dr. Spock has a lightsaber and Yoda says, “Live long and prosper.” In fact, many people look down on you if you do understand the difference.

Oddly, our mainstream culture is quite willing to go see science-fiction and comic-book films, as long as they have enough explosions. Take a look at the 30 top-grossing films list, and it’s one sci-fi, fantasy, or super-hero after another. (Exceptions: Titanic, Passion of the Christ, and Forrest Gump. I’m counting movies with talking animals as “fantasy.”) I guess it’s okay to watch the stuff, as long as you don’t remember too much about it afterward.

It also fits with the annoying tendency of headline writers to use the “Holy XYZ!” phrasing from the 1960s Batman TV show as if it’s somehow still relevant to modern-day comics or movies, despite a massive cultural shift away from camp and toward serious (and, in many cases, downright dark) storytelling over the past 20 years. That second link lists almost 50 examples from July alone!

I guess actually paying attention to what they write about would make them less cool or something.


12 thoughts on “Flash Gordon Does Not Have Super-Speed

  1. The Irredeemable Shag

    Preach on, my friend! I work in an office of “norms”. All day I hear football references or talk about some inane reality TV show.

    However, the minute some sci-fi or superhero reference is made, the room is full of snickering and glances at me. I love your Star Wars/Star Trek cross-reference comment. That is totally true.

    Thank you for this post. I makes me feel validated in my frustration with geek acceptance.

    The Irredeemable Shag

    .-= The Irredeemable Shag’s latest blog post: Job Description: Married Geek with Children =-.

  2. Keeter

    I’ve run six marathons, soon to be seven. The last four I’ve run wearing a Flash t-shirt. I cannot tell you how many morons scream “Flash Gordon” or “Shazam” from the roadside. Drives me batsh*t.

    I’ve also got a ring with a lightning bolt on it. Has to do with both running and one of my late brothers. Anyway, I get so freakin’ sick of explaining.. no.. NOT Flash Gordon, over and over and over…

    1. Wally East


      I had the same experience. I wore my Flash Halloween costume when I race the Thanksgiving Day race in the next town over. Many people yelled, “Yeah! Go Flash!” I waved to them. Others yelled, “Go Flash Gordon!” I did not wave to them since they were clearly cheering for someone else 😀 (Unfortunately, while I ran a good race, Superman beat me to the finish.)

      On a related note: Why can’t someone take the Flash logo and put it on a wicking shirt?

      .-= Wally East’s latest blog post: Chocolate Ice Cream =-.

    2. Saranga

      I wear a Wonder Woman vest and get cries of Superwoman..When I explain that Superwoman does not exist (at least in mainstream continuity which is what they are thinking of) I get crazy lady looks.
      Then I wear a silver shield t-shirt and get cries of Wonder Woman…

  3. Margaret

    Even worse, I used to work at a company that sold halloween costumes. We had Flash costumes, but event he bins in the ware house were labelled “Flash Gordon.”


  4. Mike W.

    I just roll my eyes and look at people who approach me in a bar, while I’m wearing a Flash t-shirt, saying, “Dude, Flash Gordon Rocks!” It’s just like Kelson says that we would get strange looks if we asked which baseball team won the Superbowl. Admittedly, I couldn’t ever tell you who won the Superbowl this last year… New Orleans I think?! I get tired of correcting people and just go back to my drink. You would think that after a four season long cartoon series(Justice League) a television show(The Flash) and various t-shirts and what not that actually say, “The Flash” on them that people would get it right! Shazam and Flash Gordon are no where near as cool or as fast as Wally or Barry!

  5. Andrew

    I’m in school, and i really like Flash Gordon(maybe because of the Queen song?), On my binders they have written,’What would Flash Gordon do?’and then the Flash Gordon logo and people say stupid things like, ‘Does that binder make you run fast?’ or ‘Don’t be late for class’ and I made a large sign stating the difference. It was in the library forever. But people still say things. Those Stupid Nerds…

  6. YraniGami

    The thing about people who think that its beneath them to know something for certain is that its usually not limited to the trivial. They really ARE idiots, not just cool people pretending to be idiots. Moreover, since i’m often wearing one of my many Flash t-shirts, sometimes someone will come up to me and say something like; Flash Gordon Dude! Or; Flash Gordon is AWESOME! And my favorite response is; WHO?
    you should see their crestfallen looks as they pause and look more closely at my t-shirt then walk away mumbling to themselves…

  7. PertinentExample

    Another “Cowboy Bebop” moment:


    In Guns in America By Jan E. Dizard, Robert M. Muth, Stephen P. Andrews we find Don Pendleton saying “Pendleton’s guidebook to writers for The Executioner series says, “Bolan is not Flash Gordon. He is an idealized man, yes, but such men are found outside of comic strips”. Did Pendleton confuse Flash Gordon with the Flash?

    (War Against the Mafia by Don Pendleton (Pinnacle Books, 1988) featured an in-universe Cowboy Bebop moment: “two mobsters are talking about a theft from one of their businesses. One of them says “How did he know?”, the other responds “He’s the f-ing Phantom, the f-ing Phantom knows everything” to which yet another mobster admonishes him by noting “That is the f-ing Shadow.” “)

  8. Pingback: New Super Heroes (Batman): Riddler Chase (76012) with a Lego Flash

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