Flash Gordon Did It Before:
1. A - Superman's Krypton
B - Armageddon (Bruce Willis)
C - 2012
2. Before: Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and really Batman's Gotham City and Superman's Metropolis are both based on NY.
Yet after 1905's Little Nemo in Slumberland, which is set in NY.
3. Superman's Krypton (1938), his father Jor-El
4. Landscape of Krypton. Any time they show you the landscape and nature and wilderness of Krypton . . . yep. It's all really references to Mongo, the well known world of Flash Gordon's adventures from the 1934 comic strips.
It's just not got that "for kids" feeling of some works, like the Wizard of Oz books, and the Little Nemo in Slumberland comic strips since 1905. It's made more for an audience that is 15 and into video-games. Case in point, Flash attempts to stab this enormous monster, before Nintendo, before Sega, before Sony PlayStation.
This is way cooler than the Wizard of Oz. It's for an older audience. It captures that 1930's unphraseable need for video-game action, in games like Metroid. This comic strip has the feeling of Metroid right now.
I'm shocked that there never came a massive RPG-like action game re-enacting this total quest. Prince Thun could join Flash's side like in an RPG.
This also came before Star Wars' many random beasts and creatures.
So what came BEFORE Flash Gordon?
Late 19th century - the War of the Worlds, the book
1905 - the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book
1905 - Winsor McKay's Little Nemo in Slumberland, the newspaper comic strip. Little boy Nemo goes on adventures every time he dreams, and wakes up at the end of every strip back in bed to wake up to a terrible reality. But this is just so much more 15-ish; it's like comparing the early 80's to 1994.
I guess Buck Rogers was the other major sensational character who came before Flash Gordon, a character living 500 years in our future. Flash Gordon lives today (1934) but travels to the futuristic planet Mongo. Buck Rogers had traveled simply to the future of Earth. Superman had once been imagined as the future final man of Earth, when the Sun is dying out, sent back in time to the 1930's. Superman finally ended up being a human-looking extraterrestrial baby rocketed to Earth from Krypton.