Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur. That is, he wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered all of his own stories. He completed an astonishing 48 stories in three years from 1939-1941. As a one-man-cartooning-band, his work packs the wallop of a unique and unified artistic vision. He was a true comics visionary. In the earliest days of the comic book, before censorship, it was “anything goes!” — and in the tales of Fletcher Hanks, anything went!
The superhero Stardust gazes down at evil-doers from space and doles out ice cold slabs of poetic justice with his wizardry. A villain out to kidnap all the heads of state gets turned into a giant head, himself… no body, just a head! The jungle protectress, Fantomah, looks like Jean Harlow in a skin-tight black negligee. But when she sees an evil scientist drugging gorillas to become slaves, her head transforms into a flaming skull and she tosses the villain to the gorillas who proceed to graphically tear the guy limb from ragged limb.
Although the early comic books were meant for the kiddies, today’s mature readers are stunned by their pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem. The first volume of Fletcher Hanks stories, I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! (in multiple printings) was an Eisner Award-winning smash hit and a staple on “Best of the Year” lists.
Comics fans were thrilled to come upon a cartoonist of this caliber whom they had never heard of before. Non-comics fans who read about the book in The Believer and other journals were stunned to discover an Outsider Artist in comic book form. Edited by cartoonist Paul Karasik (who also provides an insightful introduction), this second volume, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, collects all of the rest of Hanks's comic book work. That’s right... ALL! The 31 tales in this book (more than TWICE as many as in the first), when combined with the first volume, comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks!
Order this book from us and get an exclusive FREE bonus: Color Me or Die!!, a black-and-white Fletcher Hanks mini-comic with a cover illustration by Charles Burns (pictured here with the dashing Mr. Karasik)! You will receive one of three randomly selected cover colors: yellow, orange, or hot pink. This offer is only available direct from Fantagraphics!
Another short Online Commentary & Diversons update... I guess everyone's too busy talking about Wednesday Comics to pay attention to us, boo hoo:
• Review/Interview: Chris Beckett of On the Fly Publications/Warrior27 looks at two recent releases by Jason and has a brief Q&A with "one of the most exciting cartoonists working today." From the reviews: "I heartily recommend The Last Musketeer for any fan of fantastic adventure yarns as well as anyone who enjoys a refreshing character study with a very real emotional tug at one’s heartstrings. Check this book out... [I Killed Adolf Hitler] is a masterful story that can be read on more than one level, which is always appealing. [It] is unique and tender and will challenge any preconceptions one might have about the book." Jason, from the interview: "I started doing comics when I was around 13 years old, and at that age I didn't have a camera, I didn't have a typewriter, but I had paper and a pencil."
John Kerschbaum is the guest on the new episode of Mike Dawson & Alex Robinson's podcast The Ink Panthers Show -- go here to listen! Not only that, John appears live with Mike & Alex this Sunday at noon at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn -- info below. Muffins and mimosas? Ooh la la!
It's here! The horrifying final chapter of the critically acclaimed macabre mini-series by Richard Sala, the gleefully demented creator of Peculia and The Chuckling Whatsit. Lauded by Rue Morgue magazine, among others, Delphine follows a traveler searching for his lost love and encountering a number of frightening obstacles along the way. These include witches, werewolves, bloody murder and a pack of sinister dwarfs (did we mention that this is a twisted re-imagining of "Snow White"?). Despite all this, the traveler persists, staggering onward towards a hair-raising climax and an inevitable confrontation with unspeakable evil!
In the second half of the two-part "Cryptic City" epic, Professor Hackensack continues his battle against the Wicked Barons alongside Inspector Doppiofaccio, the mysterious Lady Puzzle, and an unexpected ally from beyond the grave — with the enigmatic Mr. O'Blique on the sidelines. This amazingly inventive work of surreal fantasy from one of Italy's hottest new talents is proving to be a sleeper hit!
Long a superstar in his native Italy, Lorenzo Mattotti has made sporadic incursions into the U.S. via appearances in RAW magazine, the classic Fires graphic novel, and the more recent, 2003 Eisner-winning Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adaptation from NBM. (Not to mention regular gigs in The New Yorker.) All of these previous works have showcased his full-color painter style, but Chimera, with its intricate, hyper-expressive swirls of crisp line work, shows that Mattotti's genius is bound by no single technique. A wordless fantasia of birth, death, gods, monsters, and humans, Chimera is the most astonishing visual narrative you'll see all year.
Happy 7-8-9 day... today's Online Commentary & Diversons update is extra short:
• Review: "...[M]y favorite comics collection of the year so far [is] Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations... Think of [Peter Bagge's] strips as angry but really funny protest songs on paper... Bagge wickedly and wonderfully shows a truly individualistic viewpoint, an actual bullshit detector raging full blast (occasionally to the point of anxiety-induced overload), with ideas and observations both fearlessly marginalist and unabashedly mainstream (like the best rock and roll, in my opinion)... it is HOT and FUN. Just out from Fantagraphics, pick it up now!" - Chris Estey, KEXP
• Review: "Jordan Crane is, to be polite, a bit of a disturbed individual... Not that I'm complaining... The [first] story [in Uptight #3 is] a refinement of past themes that, while not as chilling as usual, still can leave you emotionally drained... The second story is "Freeze Out"... The drawing is immaculate... And just when you think the story is over, it twists right at the end from a gentle children's fable... into something else." - squiggly lines!
Is this a shout-out to Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar delicacy on Kitty Pryde's baseball cap in my battered thrift-store copy of Uncanny X-Men #201 (Jan. 1986), or just a bilingual pun? Either way, very cute, Chris Claremont, Rick Leonardi and/or Whilce Portacio. Or was letterer Tom Orzechowski responsible? So many mysteries!
MOME 15 spotlights the first, 20-page chapter of T. Edward Bak's (Best American Comics 2008) new graphic novel, "WILD MAN - The Strange Journey - and Fantastic Accounts - of the Naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, From Bavaria to Bolshaya Zemlya and (Beyond)", as well as the final chapter (3 of 3) of legendary Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers creator Gilbert Shelton's first graphic novel in 20 years, "Last Gig In Shnagrlig." Also featured: the final installment of Tim Henlsey's hilarious "Wally Gropius," and new work by Dash Shaw, Andrice Arp (who also provides the cover), Sara Edward-Corbett, Conor O'Keefe, Noah Van Sciver, Robert Goodin, and Paul Hornschemeier. Finally, the icing on the cake of this issue is a 16-page full-color minicomic by Spanish legend Max (Bardín the Superrealist), bound into each issue!
We're pleased to offer the following bargain multi-packs. Buy Mome in bundles and save 1/3 off the cover price! 5-packs of Vols. 6-10 and 11-15 are $49.99 each; Vols. 6-15 are $99.99 and come with a FREE bonus Vol. 1!
• Review: "Low Moon, the latest collection from this Norwegian-born graphic novelist [Jason], is certainly as funny as his previous books, but the humor is quieter, more mature. It balances the awkward sexuality and cynical humor of a teenage boy with the disillusionment and longing of an old man... Basically, it's been a while since I read a book and thought, 'This is changing the way I think about short fiction.' So, I've been carrying the book around, like a buddy, trying to understand out what makes Low Moon so perfect." - Heidi Broadhead, Publicola
• Review: "You’ll Never Knowis, for good or ill, going to elicit a lot of comparisons to Maus... Yet while Tyler’s work... certainly deserves any accolades it receives, it’s a much different book — warmer, more overtly affectionate and more personal to a certain extent as well... Tyler’s art is constantly inventive and alive throughout the book. full of color and energy yet incredibly lyrical and graceful when need be... Tyler has long been a cartoonist’s cartoonist, which basically translates as 'Why is no one paying attention to the awesome stuff Carol Tyler is doing?' Both in subject matter and in delivery, she seems poised to finally break free of that term." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug: "Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me and Other Astute Observations: Damn it Peter Bagge, now what am I going to call my autobiography? This is a nice-looking collection of a decade's worth of the master cartoonist's cartoons from Reason magazine. I'm working my way through a preview copy at the moment, but I can personally attest to the first two chapters being pretty great." - J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
• Plug: "Peter Bagge has become quite the comics pundit in recent years, sounding off on a variety of issues like drugs, gun control and abortion in the pages of Reason magazine. This book [Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me] — love the title, by the way — collects most of them... [I]t’s really funny and you should buy it." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Plug: "Bigger, harder, thicker and better colors. Fantagraphics has decided to repackage Hal Foster’s seminal 'knights and text' once again, this time in a hardcover format [Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-1938] and with improved production values... I was quite surprised how entertaining this strip was back in the day." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6 (same link as above)
• Things to see: On the Covered blog, Steven Weissman has some alternate choices for new Avengers members in re Avengers #221
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