Prince Vultan

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Prince Vultan
Publication information
Publisher King Features Syndicate
Created by Alex Raymond
In-story information
Supporting character of Flash Gordon
Abilities Flight via artificial feather wings
Enhanced strength and eyesight
Temperature regulation
Limited physical regeneration
Serves as component of his artificial feather wings and archaic weaponry

Prince Vultan is the prince of the bird-like Hawkmen in the Flash Gordon comic strip and its adaptations.[1] Vultan and his people dwell in Sky City, a metropolis that floats in the sky.[2] Prince Vultan starts his career as a half-villain (he resents Ming's domination but does not oppose it out of fear of reprisal) with a lecherous side (he lusts after Earth woman Dale Arden). [2] However after Zarkov saves his city he reforms into one of Flash Gordon's greatest allies. His character fits the stereotype of the barrel-chested chieftain with more than a hint of the pirate captain or the viking reaver in it, endowed with a booming voice and a great appetite for life, food and women.[2] In the original comic, he has several wives, one of whom tries to kill Dale, as she is jealous of her. He claims to have become King of Sky City after winning one of the Tournaments of Mongo. When Ming tries to take Flash, Vultan calls for a Tournament of Mongo. It is revealed that with Emperor Ming and King Jugrid of the Lion Men he is one of the three most powerful rulers on Mongo. When Flash is given the unconquered Kingdom of Caves by Ming,Vultan sends a party of Hawkmen under Captain Khan to help Flash conquer his Kingdom.[2]The Hawkmen later come into conflict with Queen Azura and her Blue Magic Men. The image of the Hawkmen descending to attack Azura's army (from the June 16, 1935 storyline) is one of the most reproduced scenes from the Flash Gordon strip.[3][4]

Vultan and the other Hawkmen provoked some controversy at the time of publication. Some Christian leaders regarded the characters as blasphemous because they resembled angels. [3]

In other media[edit]

In the 1936 film serial, he was portrayed by Jack Lipson (1901-1947).[5]

Allan Melvin provided Vultan's voice in the 1979 Filmation animated series. He is referred to here as King Vultan, not Prince. His Sky City is a marvel of Mongo technology, as the massive construct is suspended miles above ground by beams of polarized anti-gravity light. Unlike Prince Barin's kingdom of Arboria, Vultan's Hawkmen do not make use of airships in battle. Instead, they fly under their own power or ride giant warbirds armed with harness-mounted energy cannons.

He was portrayed by Brian Blessed in the cult 1980 film Flash Gordon.[6] For the film's soundtrack by the rock group Queen, Freddie Mercury composed a song called "Vultan's Theme". At the end, he is appointed the General of the Armies when Prince Barin is revealed as the rightful ruler of Mongo.

In the 1996 Flash Gordon animated series, Vultan is a somewhat conservative leader, and reluctant to act against Ming for fear of reprisals against his people. His role as Flash's ally is taken by his teenage son, Prince Talon.

In the 2007 television series, Vultan appears as the leaders of a group of nomadic mercenaries called Dactyls (a variation of the Hawkmen). In the episode, Ascension, Vultan travels to Earth, using Princess Aura's rift key. He kidnaps a teenage boy who he claims is his son. He is played by Ty Olsson.[7]

In a 2008 episode of the animated sitcom Family Guy called "Road to Germany", Brian, Stewie and Mort enlist the help of Vultan's Hawkman Army in a dogfight over Europe against the Luftwaffe. Blessed returns to voice Vultan briefly during the episode.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Great Movie Serials Cb: Great Movie Serial - Jim Harmon, Donald F. Glut - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2015-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d Don Thompson and Richard A. Lupoff, The Comic-Book Book. New Rochelle, N.Y., Arlington House, 1974, ISBN 9780870001932 (p.335).
  3. ^ a b "One of Alex Raymond's most spectacular-and controversial -Sunday Pages, featuring the Hawkmen. Some church leaders complained about what they saw as religious undertones in the angel-like characters".Dean Mullaney, Bruce Canwell and Brian Walker, King of the Comics : One Hundred Years of King Features Syndicate. San Diego : IDW Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781631403736 (p. 168)
  4. ^ Alex Raymond, Flash Gordon:Mongo,the Planet of Doom. Princeton, Wis. : Kitchen Sink Press. 1990. ISBN 0878161147 (p.111)
  5. ^ "Outer Limits: The Filmgoers' Guide to the Great Science-fiction Films - Howard Hughes". Books.google.co.uk. 2014-05-30. Retrieved 2015-06-13. 
  6. ^ "Brian Blessed accused of throttling Savoy diner who insulted one of his films". Dailymail.co.uk. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Flash Gordon: "Ascension" Review - IGN". Uk.ign.com. 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2015-06-13.