Fletcher Hanks’s bleak comics vision is rediscovered
I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets:
The Comics of Fletcher Hanks
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There is a man in a blue suit and a green and red skullcap piloting a red plane across a yellow sky. Crossing a lush jungle valley, he spots thousands of “gigantic royal panthers” and instantly declares: “I CAN USE THEM IN MY PLAN TO WRECK CIVILIZATION!” Though the colorful and crudely drawn adventure comics gathered in I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! read like the fevered imaginings of Henry Darger’s bully older brother, they are, in fact, the garish and terrifying work of Fletcher Hanks.
An obscure artist who briefly earned paychecks churning out pulps for titles like Fantastic Comics between 1939 and 1941, Hanks used a variety of pseudonyms to publish tales that starred Fantomah, “mystery woman of the jungle,” and Stardust, the “super wizard.” Little else is known about this nearly forgotten
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