[ENGLISH] This month: Undina of Coralia – Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.
Undina of Coralia: A Siren From Another World
Just about everyone knows the name Flash Gordon. It is as familiar as Superman, Batman and Zorro. Yet there is probably no world with more of an ensemble cast in comicdom than that distant world ruled by the evil and powerful Ming the Merciless…Mongo. A large planet with many different kingdoms, the Queen of its waters was unquestionably Undina of the briny deep and domed underworld of Coralia. In the original 1940’s comics and decades later in the popular 1970’s television series largely written by Sam Peeples, Undina took a very personal interest in Flash. As was typical of the women in that universe, she fell for him and was unconcerned with the fact that Flash was a man who only had eyes for the lesser Earth woman Dale Arden.
Undina’s plan for the Earthling hero was to transform him into a water breather, thereby keeping him with her forever. Flash was not to be tamed but the beauteous quality of Undina could be seen in both mediums. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and would go after it. Eventually she saw that Flash’s heart could not be hers.
These events can be magnificently seen in episode 6 of the Flash Gordon series airing in 1979. When Flash, Dale and Dr. Zarkov attempt to escape Princess Aura and a robot armada (see I told you it was a large cast) they are captured by Undina’s powerful magnetic ray and sucked below the ocean, altered into water-breathers and held against their will. As always Flash convinces the leader to stand with him against Ming. He accomplishes this after helping her to defeat an underwater attack by Ming’s submarines in the sea in which she holds reign called the Sea of Mystery. Flash and Zarkov do this by super heating the water destroying Ming’s underwater legions of Gill-Men (notably a silly premise but the animation is quite stunning for its time and even today).
The familiarity of creating an ally with the underwater queen works as it did with other rulers. Yet with Undina we get a little more. She is adventurous and unlike other queens in the series is a woman of action. You get the feeling there could be a mutual respect between the two characters ultimately that Flash does not have with the other queens, a woman after his own heart.
The original strips were drawn by the legendary Alex Raymond whose name has become synonymous with Flash Gordon. And to Undina he does wondrous justice to her shape and attitude. In the animated series her voice was provided skillfully by Diane Pershing who provided a number of the female character vocals for the different queens including Dale Arden. As readers we can fully enjoy the alluring outfits of Undina in the strips when she first turns Flash into a water-breather and considers knowingly what it will be like to have him be with her. In the animated series we can enjoy her adventurous spirit and her nobility and honor when she knows she owes Flash and his friends a debt for saving her beautiful domed city from Ming’s forces.
Undina is one of many queens but on Mongo only she rules the water. A powerful ocean ally for Flash Gordon, even now she adjusts her siren call, even if it is in the form of a magnetic ray machine . . . deadly in its resonance as it waits for Ming to bring him down for good. We hear another song of her, though, a true siren call from her, emanating from the comic pages and the animation cells in which she lives. If we let ourselves succumb to it, perhaps we will even have the chance to explore the Sea of Mystery and meet the Queen, who even now, lies in wait beneath its waves.
James Parducci (www.jparducci.blogspot.com) is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.
Wet Linda: A Novel of Liquid Horror: Elemental and Suspenseful
Author Paul Parducci has unleashed a deeply psychological and supernatural horror. Focused characters swim through its chapters to meet their destinies even as powerful imagery sparkles on the pages like moonlight on the blackest mote. Wet Linda strikes a match against a young girls inadequacies igniting her need for a passionate affair with the supernatural realm, bringing forth a presence and a novel which both drip with terror.