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Two Marvelous Ming The Merciless Cakes

Ming The Merciless Cake

This post is for Brian Mulvey and Darrin and Ruth Sutherland.  Brian is a friend on Twitter and Darrin and Ruth run the excellent podcasts – Trekker Talk and Warlord Worlds.

Brian recently tweeted a picture of a 75 year old piece of Prince Valiant artwork by Hal Foster.  Darrin and Ruth joked that I could probably find the perfect 75th birthday cake to match.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a Prince Valiant Cake. So, I started looking for cakes of other famous comic strip action heroes.  To my surprise, while looking for Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers cakes, I found two terrific cakes featuring Ming the Merciless.  Ming the Merciless is Buck Rogers arch enemy.

The great cake shown above was made by Joanne Spencer from Ohh my dayz celebration cakes.  Joanne made this for her uncle’s 60th birthday.  Joanne says that her uncle is a Flash Gordon fan, and that he bears a resemblance to Ming the Merciless, minus the eyebrows.  The cakes likeness to Ming is terrific.  It has his eyebrows, mustache, beard, and elaborate headdress.

Here are two more pictures of this cool cake:


Ming The Merciless Cake


Ming the Merciless first appeared in the Flash Gordon Comic Strip in 1934.  He is the ruthless tyrant of the planet Mongo.  Ming has two children Princess Aura and Kang the Cruel. 


Ming The Merciless Cake


Ming the Merciless has appeared in the Flash Gordon newspaper strip, comic books, the old time radio show – The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures Of Flash Gordon (where believe it or not Flash Gordon was played by a young Gale Gordon), the famous Flash Gordon movie serials with Buster Crabbe, the classic camp Flash Gordon movie with the Queen soundtrack, a bunch of animated series, and a live action television series.


Flash Gordon / Ming the Merciless Birthday Cake

This wonderful Flash Gordon / Ming the Merciless birthday cake was made by Darrowby Cakes.  The hand painted Ming the Merciless is terrific.  I really like that the cake includes a Flash Gordon blaster.

This post began with me looking for a Price Valiant Cake.  It turns out that Prince Valiant and Flash Gordon teamed up at least once.  When I was a child, Saturday morning cartoons were a big deal.  In 1972 and 1973, ABC produced the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.  The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie was a hour long animated series that rotated what it featured each week.  Believe it or not, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and Rankin/Bass all worked on the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.  Many of the episodes were pilots for animated series.  For example, the first episode – “The Brady Kids on Mysterious Island” – was the pilot for The Brady Kids.  “Yogi’s Ark Lark” was the pilot for Yogi’s Gang.  There were truly unusual episodes like “Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family” which featured the children from Bewitched as teenagers.  Both Tabitha and Adam had magical abilities.  (Anyone remember the live action Bewitched spinoff staring Tabitha?) Filmation and Warner Brothers crossed over in “Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies”.  There were even an episode featuring The Munsters and another featuring Lost in Space.

The most famous episode of the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie was probably “Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter”. This hour long movie combined Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday funnies.  This movie featured Popeye, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Snuffy Smith, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom, Steve Canyon, and other famous comic strip characters owned by King Features Syndicate.  The story involves Professor Morbid Grimsby and Brutus (from Popeye fame) teaming up to eliminate all laughter in the world.  How do you eliminate all laughter in the world? You give the Sunday Funnies stars a free cruise on the S.S. Hilarious and cause it to shipwreck on an island.  I wonder if the S.S. Hilarious had a 1st mate named Gilligan?  When the President of the United States finds out about the Sunday Funnies stars vanishing, he assembles a team of heroes including Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and the Phantom to find and rescue them.  They heroes find the island.  A battle ensues.  During the battle, Mandrake the Magician summons Prince Valiant who chases off Brutus.] Before the conflict ends, the island has a dormant volcano that has suddenly become active.  Not to worry, everyone escapes in a Yellow Submarine.  [Time for a Terry Pratchett style footnote – Did you know that Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and The P
hantom actually make a cameo in The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine?  It has been too many years since I’ve seen it, but apparently there is a scene in a museum which has cardboard cut-outs of Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, and The Phantom]  When the submarine gets stuck underwater, Popeye saves the day. 

I don’t know if Prince Valiant and Flash Gordon teamed up again, but this one team-up is a Saturday morning cartoon classic. 


Hand Painted Ming the Merciless

Here is a close-up of the hand painted Ming the Merciless.

While Ming the Merciless doesn’t appear to have met Price Valliant, he has battled The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician.  In 1986, Marvel Entertainment produced a cartoon series called Defenders of the Earth.  This animated series features Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician vs. Ming the Merciless.  The one and only Stan Lee even wrote the lyrics for the theme song!

NoteDefenders of the Earth, Defenders!
Out of the sky his rockets ignite!
Jets into battle, flies faster than light!
Flash Gordon!

Lord of the jungle, the hero who stalks!
The beasts call him brother, the ghost who walks!
Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!

Master of magic, spells and illusion,
Enemies crumble in fear and confusion!
Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!

His strength is a legend, his skills conquer all,
Armed with his power, we never will fall!
Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!

With our new young hero’s, proving their worth,
Four become eight, defending the Earth!
Defenders of the Earth, Defenders!Note


Defenders of the Earth #1

Marvel’s Star Comics imprint also published a four issue Defenders of the Earth series.  The first issues was written by Stan Lee.