Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fletcher Hanks: comic book pioneer and father of Fantomah (Mystery Woman of the Jungle) and Stardust the Super Wizard

If you're a fan of outsider artists, have a look at the work of Fletcher Hanks (aka Barkley Flagg), who found quite the niche for himself in the early days of comic books. Both wonderfully weird, his artwork and his locutions remind me of comics done by my brother in grade school (minus the blasé cruelty). These reprints of his work from 1939-1941 are showing up on many "best of year" lists and are well worth having a gander at. Without further ado, I'll let him show and tell his goofball tales in his own words, with panels from the Fantagraphics collection You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!
As depicted at right, Fantomah turns into a death's-head dealer of doom and metes out justice befitting those who would mess with the "jungle born." Sweet!
Another picturesque creation of Hanks is "Stardust," who traverses the universe with the greatest of ease due to his vast knowledge of "interplanetary science."

What an imagination!

7 comments:

  1. This is in fantastic! There's nothing like the completely unselfconscious, whacked-out comic stuff from the golden age. There's something simultaneously innocent and sinister about it, like the strange dream-logic behind the narratives and characters is either completely juvenile or hiding some occult meaning.

    Love that panel with 'Stardust the Super Wizard' and his criminal prisoner:
    "Enter the ice chamber!"
    "Good Lord!"

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    1. I tried not to get too carried away w/ posting panels, but truly I could have gone on ad infinitum!

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    2. The lizard-riding dames looks like chorus girls in a whacked-out space revue.

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  2. Fantastic indeed. Now whenever I'm lying around on the couch or in bed, reading, "able to see and think, but always motionless," I can tell people, "Don't bother me, I'm a frozen spacite.’

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    1. That observation will likely come first from your wife!

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  3. "Fantomah, the most remarkable woman ever known" meet "the most interesting man in the world": "I don't often read comic books, but when I do, I read Fantomah, mystery woman of the jungle".

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