FLETCHER HANKS was an American cartoonist who worked during the 30's & 40's, his work is both crudely and beautifully draw with a great naive quality to them and the colours are brilliant too. The stories pretty much always follow the same basic idea of a group of bad guys who want to do something terrible, the superhero (usually a guy called Stardust The Super Wizard or a lady named Fantomah) finds out and punishes these bad guys, but what makes Fletcher Hank's work so interesting are the ways in which the superhero goes about punishing these bad guys. In one strip Stardust turns a gangs into ice some of which melt and die,then with the rest he transforms them into rats and turns himself into a panther, he then chases the rats around the city and into the river where Stardust transforms back into himself and causes the river to drown all but one of the remaining gang. With the one remaining member, he transforms his head back to normal, so now hes a rat with a human head and finally he flies the rat man to the FBI. Sadly not too much is known about Fletcher Hanks, he was never particularly successful with his work, supposedly he was an abusive father as well as an alcoholic and in the 70's was found frozen to death on a park bench in New York.
A book of most of his work was published not to long ago, and I recommend you buy it NOW.


Paul Karasik said...

Thanks for all the kind words about my book, "I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks".

Evidently the book also has appeal to people who don't care about old comics. Of the book, Kurt Vonnegut said, " The recovery from oblivion of these treasures is in itself a work of art."

The visual impact is like being hit in the brain by a jackhammer. Once you see Hanks' work, you are not likely to forget it.

For those of you unfamiliar with Hanks' work, I urge you to wander over to my website, go to the BONUS page, and see the slideshow of a Fantomah story that does NOT appear in the book:


(and check out the swell t-shirts!)

-Paul Karasik

Kevin Scully said...

Hey Jiro

I'm glad you like the Fletcher Hanks stuff, I bought the book just after Christmas and it's been doing the rounds of friends ever since.

When I try to explain why its so amazing to people I usually tell them that he's like the Henry Darger of comics, no nonsense beautiful drawings and stories that defy explanation.

I especially like the Big Red McLane strip, utterly pointless, one logger beats the shit out of a load of other loggers from another company, and that's it.

I hope all is well Jiro,