I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets
Welcome to the bizarre world of Fletcher Hanks, Super Wizard of the inkwell. Fletcher Hanks worked for only a few years in the earliest days of the comic book industry (1939-1941). Because he worked in a gutter medium for second-rate publishers on third-rate characters his work has been largely forgotten. But among aficionados he is legendary. Hanks drew in a variety of genres depicting science-fiction saviors, white women of the jungle, and he-man loggers. Cartoonist Paul Karasik (co-adapter of Paul Auster's City of Glass and co-author of The Ride Together, a Memoir of Autism in the Family) has spent years tracking down these obscure and hard to find stories buried in the back of long-forgotten comic book titles. Karasik has also uncovered a dark secret: why Hanks disappeared from the comics scene. This book collects 15 of his best stories in one volume followed by an Afterword which solves the mystery of "Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks," the mysterious cartoonist who created a hailstorm of tales of brutal retribution... and then mysteriously vanished.
2008 Eisner Award WINNER: Best Archival Collection/Project — Comic Books
2008 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Short Story, "Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks?" by Paul Karasik
"[The] recovery from oblivion of these treasures is in itself a major work of art." – Kurt Vonnegut
"Raw, powerful stuff. I'm glad to see a book like this. Fletcher Hanks was a twisted dude." – R. Crumb
"Hanks is a wild card original who very nearly slipped through the cracks of art history. To those among us who spend years sifting through the cultural chaff looking for those tiny flecks of art gold, this book is truly a miraculous dream come true." – Kim Deitch
"Fletcher Hanks was this old guy back in the old days who made magic jellybeans. The magic jellybeans looked like comics, but they were magic jellybeans." – Gary Panter
"Fletcher Hanks couldn't draw much or write hardly at all. So he turned his crude and primitive quasi-gifts into a comic-art style that made a strong impression on kids like me back in the 1940s. It's a pleasure to see this first published edition of his puzzlingly effective work doing what early comic books were supposed to do: making up a new set of rules for a new kind of art form and almost getting away with it." – Jules Feiffer
"There is something cracked here. The feeling is that of a third grader in the back row drawing unbelievably complex destructo-machines while inside of him a grown man boils with hate and rage: Kill them all! And where did those jaws come from?" – Greil Marcus
"Hanks' work reads as if David Lynch, Daniel Johnston, and Ed Wood sat down to collaborate on a superhero comic." – The Onion
"[Hanks] may have been the most bat-shit insane cartoonist to ever wield a pen... almost every panel here feels as if it has been rescued from a majestic nightmare." – Douglas Wolk, Salon.com Best Graphic Novels of 2007
"The grotesque physiognomies of Hanks's criminal masterminds (all bent on apocalyptic destruction) and the overamped colors are as trippy as anything that appeared in '70s underground comix." – The Village Voice
"Even if Karasik didn't provide us with a biographical prose portrait of a hard-drinking, often mean, abusive man with a streak of misanthropy he gilded with Ayn Rand-y selfish Objectivism, this collection of Fletcher Hanks comics would still be jaw-dropping... What comes across is Hanks' free-floating, near-constant outpouring of rage and paranoia — rage that there is evil in the world, paranoia that it was coming to silence his heroes...and in effect, himself." – "The Best Comics of 2007," Entertainment Weekly
"I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets is probably the archival project of the year, in that (a) these comics were not readily available in any format other than their original printings, and (b) this is an essential book for any comics library." – Dick Hyacinth
"These stories of weird justice were illustrated in a style of studied primitivism that seems to mix Basil Wolverton with Grandma Moses. And while the best way to discover Hanks is the way I did — in Golden Age comic reprints, sticking out like a weird sore thumb in between the adventures of tough-guy lugs like Shark Brodie and Hooks Devlin — the concentrated dosage in this collection is still a fascinating picture of a truly one-of-a-kind artist whose view of existence as a perpetual penal sentence was evidently borne out by his miserable life and bleak death... while Hanks may not have been an exemplary human being, he was driven by a force of imagination that few of his era could match." – Rack Raids
"I don't care how many oddball or wacky comics you think you've read: until you've dived into the works of Fletcher Hanks, you ain't seen nothing yet, bubbo! Hanks's earnest but over-the-top superhero and jungle adventure comics are grisly, crude, primal and powerful, with wildly deformed villains and earnest heroes meting out punishments so cruel and unusual you'll cackle with glee. The weed of crime bears bitter fruit, especially when you have a giant golden octopus shoved down your throat or are marooned on a high-gravity planet of gold and jewels. This is a gorgeous package all over, from the stunning minimalist cover designed by Jacob Covey, to the colorful, bright, and brilliant reproduction of the stories." – Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun! "Fun Fifty of 2007"
"Awkward, weird and just a monkey ball of visual fun." – Chris Reilly, Bookslut "Best of 2007"
"Top Dozen Comics (Reprinting Previous Publication or Archival)," 2007, The Comics Reporter