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Best extras: Universal Studios offers absolutely nothing for the fan of this fun movie. It seems incredible that someone could not have gotten Mr. Raimi for a commentary track or at least a short interview. Considering the bubbling cult status of the character and its blueprint for how to make a cool superhero flick, the lack of extras relegates the Blu-ray to rental-only status.

Read all about it: Marvel Comics not only offered a three-issue adaptation of the movie back in 1990 (around $2 in near mint condition for each) but also went on to publish a six-issue limited series in 1993 (around $4 in near mint condition for each) extending Darkman’s adventures.

Flash Gordon (Universal Home Entertainment, rated PG, $26.98) Alex Raymond’s popular science-fiction comic strip from the 1930s became a big-budget movie in 1980 starring Playgirl centerfold Sam J. Jones.

Now available in the Blu-ray format, the colorful film looks solid in high definition and really brings the hero and his universe to live-action life.

Through a highly stylized production design and tongue-in-cheek script written by 1960s “Batman” television scribe Lorenzo Semple Jr., the story finds Flash Gordon, along with Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov on a mission to the planet Mongo to help stop Ming the Merciless from destroying Earth.

When it was released, the movie felt more like a desperate attempt to glom onto the “Star Wars” bandwagon than a celebration of the Raymond universe. It quickly attained cult status, however, thanks to a guitar-shredding musical score from Queen, its quirky level of humor and sexuality (Princess Auro left many a young boy smitten), a scenery-munching performance by Max von Sydow as Ming, and an army of hawk-men led by the burly Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed).

Best extras: Culled from the 2007 Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD, the bonus content includes a glowing 14-minute recommendation of the film by legendary sequential-art painter Alex Ross (he is frighteningly excited by it), and a slightly odd interview with Mr. Semple, who appears bitter about the film’s lack of popularity (during its initial release) and his lack of direction during the script-writing process.

Additionally, and most fun, fans get to watch the first film serial episode of Flash Gordon in action. The 20-minute black-and-white gem from 1936 stars Buster Crabbe as our hero and features lessons in overacting and cutting-edge special effects starring a pair of iguanas.

Read all about it: Checker Book Publishing Group offers seven hardcover volumes covering the gorgeous classic comic strip in “Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon” ($19.95 each).

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