It's difficult to overstate the influence of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon on the world of comics. In conjunction with writer Don Moore, Raymond created one of the most iconic characters in all of pop culture and utterly changed the way comics were expected to look. It was Raymond, a man with his eye to doing magazine illustration, brought that lustrous more realistic style to the comics color section and inspired talents such as Jack Kirby and Joe Kubert. Suffice it to say without Raymond comics would look very different and might not even exist at all.
And I think of the lush Raymond artwork too, but that's not the Flash Gordon of the earliest strips. It took some time for Raymond to find his path forward on the character and for the first year or so it looks great but not as epic as it will become. Reading the first strips is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope, the figures are frustratingly small and seem weirdly far away. It's a story of vistas and landscapes and not so much of people, though that rich characterization would come.