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Flash Gordon is the titular protagonist of the comic book series of the same name. Flash Gordon took off as a series in the form of radio serials from the 1940's. His popularity among the children of the era lead to merchandising, and serial shorts before movies. Flash Gordon was the protagonist of multiple theatre releases, the most recent in 1980, starring Sam J. Jones as Flash. The villain Flash is best known for fighting is the tyrant of nearby worlds, Ming the Merciless.