Thursday, November 8, 2007

Everything I Borrow: I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks

This doesn't count as an Everything I Consume since I borrowed this from my friend Mike.

I'd been introduced to the work of Fletcher Hanks on Mister Kitty's Stupid Comics Page. His comics represent everything that was great about comic's Golden Age: crazy art, insane plots, bloodthirsty villains, battles for world domination as well as the less great sadism and racism. Hanks' greatest creation is the hero, Stardust, whose power is basically, omnipotence. A common theme of the Stardust stories is an army of hundred or thousands of villains attacking America with weapons like tanks or poison gas. In anther story, three bad guys try to send everyone on Earth off into space so they can have it for themselves. The stories have names like, "Presidential Assassination", "Org's Giant Spiders", "Lions Loose in New York"and "Wolf Eye's Vacuum Tubes".

What happens to these villains? Stardust turns them into rats or icicles. Some are stranded on a planet of enormous wealth where they will be unable to lift the gold and diamonds and will live forever in "vitamin-rich air" in a "black night that will last for centuries". How long did it take Stardust to find a place like that?

Fletcher Hanks


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.

I have been astonished by the reception. The first edition completely sold out within three weeks. Now the second edition has sold out and we are going into our third printing.

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

Brett said...

Glad you liked the comment. As I said, I loved your book. Back in the 70s when DC would reprint old Golden Age comics I enjoyed the "back of the book" features more than the Superman or Captain Marvel stories in the front. They were always a little more off-the-wall and original than the more famous stuff. Fletcher Hanks' reminds me of those stories. He really just let his imagination go free.