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

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


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Welcome to the bizarre world of Fletcher Hanks, the mysterious cartoonist who created a hailstorm of tales of brutal retribution from 1939-1941...and then mysteriously vanished. His obscure and hard to find stories are finally collected here.

Welcome to the bizarre world of Fletcher Hanks, Super Wizard of the Inkwell. Fletcher Hanks worked for only a few years in the earliest days of the comic book industry (1939-1941). Because he worked in a gutter medium for second-rate publishers on third-rate characters, his work has been largely forgotten. But among aficionados he is legendary. At the time, comic books were in their infancy. The rules governing their form and content had not been established. In this Anything Goes era, Hanks' work stands out for its thrilling experimentation. At once both crude and visionary, cold and hot as hell, Hanks' work is hard to pigeon hole. One thing is for certain: the stuff is bent. Hanks drew in a variety of genres depicting science-fiction saviors, white women of the jungle, and he-man loggers. Whether he signed these various stories "Henry Fletcher" or "Hank Christy" or "Barclay Flagg" there is no mistaking the unique outsider style of Fletcher Hanks.

Cartoonist Paul Karasik (co-adapter of Paul Auster's City of Glass, and co-author of The Ride Together: A Memoir of Autism in the Family) has spent years tracking down these obscure and hard to find stories buried in the back of long-forgotten comic book titles. Karasik has also uncovered a dark secret: why Hanks disappeared from the comics scene. This book collects 15 of his best stories in one volume followed by an afterword which solves the mystery of "Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks," the mysterious cartoonist who created a hailstorm of tales of brutal retribution...and then mysteriously vanished.

2008 Eisner Award WINNER: Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books

2008 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Short Story, "Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks?" by Paul Karasik

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781560978398
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Publication date: 06/25/2007
Pages: 120
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Paul Karasik is the co-author (along with David Mazzucchelli) of the perennial graphic novel classic City of Glass, adapted from Paul Auster’s novel. He lives in Martha’s Vineyard.

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I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
felixcanis More than 1 year ago
The artwork is, shall we say, odd, visceral, and vivid. The story lines are strangely focused on vengeance and retribution, rather than the super-deeds of other pulp comic artists and writers. This is obviously someone trying to work their inner demons out in public (and Fletcher Hanks had plenty of demons). The interesting thing to ponder is whether Hanks knew he was trying to untwist his psyche on paper, or if he just thought he was making a quick buck to afford his next binge. Or, both, since life is never as black and white as that. But in any case, the book is utterly compelling.
dr_zirk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is something weird, wild, and wonderful, and further testament to why Fantagraphics Books is the most significant book publisher in existence. Along with fellow "outsider art" practitioners like Henry Darger, the works of Fletcher Hanks are impressive for their ability to re-interpret familiar memes from popular culture in ways that are both completely amateurish and vaguely amazing in their lack of pretense and their unabashed strangeness.While some of the individual pieces in this volume are merely odd, the best adventures of the Super Wizard Stardust and Fantomah, the Mystery Woman of the Jungle, approach extremes of surrealism that are undeniably compelling. Better yet, these short, poorly-drawn adventure strips manage to salute and spoof the superhero genre at the same time, although one can't help suspect that the spoofing was entirely unintentional.The comics of Fletcher Hanks are clearly not great art, but they are significant and entertaining cultural artifacts. Plus, let's face it, we'd all love to be able to travel through space at light speed in a "tubular spatial", just like the Super Wizard Stardust. Live the adventure!
Ganeshaka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fletcher Hanks was the most amazing artist who ever lived. From his secret drawing table, in a penthouse on the other side of the moon, he shot hypno-comic rays into thousands of speechless readers, lifted their bodies, suspended, into space where he flung them into the sun, faster than the speed of light, so that they came out the other side, cooler, and in yesterday. This is not to mention his tales of the Queen in Africa, and the giant panthers, and the bombs over New York. He surely would have busted crime too, if he had the time. "To be continued, in the next issue"...what a diabolical plan! Stardust!
kristenn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very golden age, very weird. The epilogue really enhanced it. My favorite comics character is the Spectre, so the creatively gruesome fates of the villains weren't all that startling. He only had a couple basic ideas, but they were strong ones.
piemouth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One review calls this "outsider comics". That's a pretty good description. I loved this - the artwork and stories are so odd, yet compelling, and the post script in which Paul Karasik tries to track down the cartoonist is interesting.
goodinthestacks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!" is a collection of comics by Fletcher Hanks, a comic artist and writer who was one of the original creators of the art. I bought this at a used book sale because I really thought the title was great.Not knowing what to expect, I skimmed through the book that was filled with what looked like to meet crude, yet beautiful art. I didn't read anything fully until I came to the end. There is an afterword so to say about who is Fletcher Hanks and what happened to him. This is also is comic form and tells the story of Mr. Hanks and I believe reading this first made me appreciate him and the comics more. As for the comics by Mr. Hanks, I really enjoyed them, especially the ones featuring his character "Stardust" who is so great and powerful and seems to have any ability that he needs at his disposal. Great read for any fan of comics.
librarianbryan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wonderful example of true outsider art that somehow leaked through the channels of capitalism. Reminded me a lot of northern renaissance paintings. The ideological disjunctions are explained with Paul Karasik's graphic postscript.