Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The crudely surreal comics of Fletcher Hanks has a quality unlike any other work produced by Golden Age artists that were exploring the new genre of the Super Hero. Hanks is not a master of proportion or layout, nor does he have a cohesive storytelling flair. What sets his work apart is something that must be experienced firsthand - it is dreamlike and simplistically cruel. I always took great joy in reading reprinted Stardust tales that would occasionally pop up in G.A. reprint collections but when I finally got my paws on a comprehensive gathering of his work printed by Fantagraphics, I was electric with anticipation. I poured through the handsomely printed tome, entranced by the demented incoherence, eagerly tearing through the pages to finish it in a single sitting. The first offering from editor Paul Karasik I SHALL DESTROY ALL THE CIVILIZED PLANETS! concludes with a graphic tale of how he discovered a living relative of Fletcher Hanks - his son no less! What transpires in that brief encounter was an abrupt and sobering reminder of how we confuse our artists with their art.
A follow up to the first book, YOU SHALL DIE BY YOUR OWN EVIL CREATION! gives us the balance of all known Hanks comic book stories.
Everyone can draw some enjoyment from Fletcher - check him out further here.