Ming (also known as Emperor Ming or Ming the Merciless) is the sinister tyrant of the planet Mongo.
Ming first appears in the third installment of the Flash Gordon comic strip.  In the comics, Ming has yellow skin and wears a long, red robe. He instantly takes a shine to Dale Arden, and decrees that she will be his wife.
Ming isn't named in the early installments of the comic; he's known simply as "the Emperor". He's first referred to as "Ming, the Merciless Emperor of Mongo" in the ninth strip. 
Sci Fi Channel series
In an interview with EW.com, Eric Johnson described how the Ming of the Sci Fi Channel Flash Gordon series will be different from previous incarnations: "What's amazing about him is he's an incredibly good-looking, charming guy. He's very physically capable. I mean, this isn't some decrepit old despot. He's a very, very worthy adversary. Flash Gordon and Dale Arden are gonna have their hands full. If it came to blows, things wouldn't be one-sided in Flash's favor. I really like [the writers'] take on that. That was something that came up early. They thought it would be far more interesting to make Ming someone that you could understand, to have him be a very capable adversary." 
Marc Stern, Sci Fi Channel's executive vice president of original programming, says that the show will take Ming "into more of a kind of Saddam Hussein, dictator type of character and play with some of those themes of control over the masses and propaganda. And he's not just this dictator in the old-school sense... I think a kind of dictator for the modern age is a little more savvy and is a little more about getting the P.R., and he's really more concerned about putting the right face on everything while he's torturing and killing people." 
In the same series, once he finds out that Princess Aura knows who her mother is, he kidnaps Vestra and tortures her. When Terek leads the rebellion against him, Ming disappears in the punishing chamber before he can be sentenced.
Ming through the years
- Bruno Wick: The Amazing Interplanetary Adventures of Flash Gordon (1935)
- Charles Middleton: Flash Gordon (1936), Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938), Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)
- Alan Oppenheimer: Flash Gordon (1979)
- Max von Sydow: Flash Gordon (1980)
- Vic Perrin: Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982)
- William Callaway: Defenders of the Earth (1986)
- John Ralston: Flash Gordon (2007)
- Comic strip: "The beauty of the female pleases me -- She shall be my wife."
- Radio serial: "Slaves... Bring forward the Earth people!"
- 1936 serial: "Was there any resistance?"
- 1979 cartoon: "I know who you are."
- Movie: "Klytus, I'm bored. What plaything can you offer me today?"
- Sci Fi Channel: "It's glorious, Rankol. The gateway to a new world."