Flash Gordon is a science fiction comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond and first published on January 7, 1934. It was created to compete with Buck Rogers. The strip followed the adventures of Flash and his companions, Dr. Hans Zarkov and Dale Arden. The story begins with Dr. Zarkov's invention of a rocket ship, in which the three of them make a journey to the planet Mongo, where they are stranded. Mongo is inhabited by a number of different cultures that have been falling one by one under the domination of the vicious tyrant Ming the Merciless. The Flash Gordon comic strip has been translated into a wide variety of media, including motion pictures, television, and animated series. The most recent version, a Flash Gordon TV series, aired on the U.S. Sci Fi Channel.