In 1941, something rather strange occurs in the Flash Gordon strip. Both in the daily and weekly press, Flash Gordon suddenly leaves Mongo to fight fascism on Earth. In Alex Raymond’s Sunday strip he stops a naval attack on the USA, under the code name of “the Red Sword”. It remains unsaid where the attack originated from, but the uniforms are unmistakably Nazi and besides that, there is a small, chubby officer with a characteristic Hitler style moustache.
In the other strip, the daily one illustrated by an assistant, Flash lands in an unidentified Scandinavian valley, threatened by an attack from a dictator. After successfully stopping these two attacks, Flash Gordon returns to Mongo.
During World War II, the American comic strips became a propaganda weapon against fascism and Nazism. Hence, Hitler banned them in Germany. Mussolini followed suit but he made an exception for his favourite strip Popeye. So, Flash Gordon was banned in Italy but the Italians created their own version and the man who wrote the script was no other than Federico Fellini. When Fellini later became a famous film director he once said that he had learned almost everything about film through working on Flash Gordon.