Flash Gordon: According to Variety, Van Helsing writer-director Stephen Sommers and his producing partner Bob Ducsay have landed the rights to Flash Gordon, and will adapt a feature film based on the iconic comic book superhero for Universal.

Sommers, creator of such hits as The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, is producing the Flash project with an eye toward scripting; Sommers has yet to helm a project he hasn't scripted.

"Flash Gordon" dates back to 1934, when it was created by famed comic strip artist Alex Raymond, and for decades after appeared in movie serials, animated fare, TV shows and a 1980 feature helmed by Mike Hodges ("Croupier").

The deal also packs good news for classic comics fans, as the legendary intergalactic adventurer, his female companion Dale Arden and scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov will again appear in comic books. This time, the series will be distribbed by the nation's third largest comic book company, Top Cow, whose film topper Spike Selden will exec produce with former Davis Entertainment exec Adam Coplan. Sommers is expected to serve as a creative consultant on the new series of comic books, according to insiders.

The 1980 "Flash Gordon" pic, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and starring Max von Sydow as Flash Gordon nemesis Ming the Merciless, was also released by Universal.

Brian B.