You shall die by your own evil creation!

One thing I love about my job as a cataloger at a major public research library is getting to see a lot of the materials our subject specialists order. Sure we get all the bestsellers and mass market coffee table books and stuff like that, but the unusual stuff can be amazing. Case in point, the two volume collected comic book work of Fletcher Hanks (1887-1076).

Hanks was a one-man band, doing all his own writing, drawing, and coloring, but only was active in comics from 1939-1941.  His work is distinctive, with oddly muscled heroes, intensely furrowed brows and scowls on his villains, and a very surreal aesthetic.  The lady in the image above is Fantoma, a sort of guardian of the jungle who assumes the skull-face when doling out punishments, which often involve the jungle’s animals and plants ripping apart offenders. His comics are rather brutal, as this was before the days of the comic censors.  Good always wins, but his heroes can be extremely sadistic and don’t mind killing off the bad guys or punishing them in macabre, Dantesque manners, such as transforming them into monsters or leaving them stranded on dead planets.

The link I gave above is worth checking out, as there are several complete comics posted online.  I think that even beyond the fascinating weirdness of the comics, it is really cool that you can get his whole corpus in just two volumes, making life really easy for the “completist.”

Hanks’ other characters include Stardust the wizard, Big Red McLane (a lumberjack/vigilante), and a few others.

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 9:11 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love the head flying through the air. Awesome!

  2. Looks like great stuff – thanks for the tip.

  3. I cataloged this some time ago for my own library system and it was a pretty trippy read. I catalog a lot of graphic novels and it’s refreshing to read ones that not only stay away from the tropes but were around before the tropes.

    The second volume contains a minicomic where the editor does some detective work trying to piece together Fletcher Hanks’ life. There’s a sad revelation at the end of it.

  4. […] you’ll recognize these guys.  If you want make them a little creepier, maybe use the Fletcher Hanks version with a single eye in their […]

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