In keeping with the modern day trend of archvillains being considered just as cool, if not cooler, than the hero they fight, Ming the Merciless is already spinning off into his own series after only two issues of Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist.
Scott Beatty will handle the writing and Ron Adrian will bring us art for Merciless: The Rise of Ming, starting in April, detailing the origins of the perennial villain and diabolical tyrant of Mongo.
"In most heroic fiction, we (the readers, that is) never really question why the villains do very bad things. It's always just assumed that evil is as evil does," says writer Scott Beatty. "Ming is one of the great antagonists of science fiction. In many ways, he's archetypal and the model for all intergalactic despots to follow. But he's not just Ming. Everybody knows he's Ming the MERCILESS. And he's successful at being just that. Ming has a plan. For EVERYTHING. Readers of Flash Gordon can think of Merciless: The Rise of Ming as 'required reading' for the series' central conflict. It's a primer that reveals not just who Ming the Merciless is–well before he ruled all of Mongo–but just what he did to get there… and WHY he did it."
Check out these preliminary sketches for Merciless: The Rise of Ming, along with the Alex Ross cover image.
And, while we're at it, if you haven't checked it out yet, here's some hot Ming action from the pages of Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist.