Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Reading Room FANTASTIC COMICS "Space Smith Meets Skomah the Brain"

Writer/artist Fletcher Hanks created a number of surreal series during his too-brief (1939-41) comics career...
...but none was weirder than this series, which he started, but others (like Jack Kirby), continued for almost the entire run of Fantastic Comics!
Now, that was FANTASTIC, eh?
Some call Hanks the "Ed Wood of comics", but there's no mistaking the sheer imagination behind the primitive art.
When comic books featuring new material (they were initially comic strip reprints) first appeared in the late 1930s, it was an "anything goes" market as publishers would run whatever they could lay their hands on from both comic strip and pulp magazine professionals and talented (read "cheap") amateurs.
Some, like Siegel & Shuster, Simon & Kirby, and Finger & Kane created what would become American icons.
Others. like Fletcher Hanks, were like mayflies, briefly appearing...then disappearing, leaving little behind.
Even comics geeks had forgotten about Hanks' material, which sat un-reprinted for over half a century, until Fantagraphics produced a couple of books collecting his work from the various anthologies it appeared in!
Since then, his work has discovered a new audience, eager to enjoy his unrestrained lunacy, like this premiere tale from Fox's Fantastic Comics #1!
We'll be running the entire series over the next year, including both Hanks'  work and the later, more conventional tales by others.
Watch for them...
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