Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stardust The Super Wizard

For your viewing pleasure: STARDUST The Super Wizard from issue 10 of Fantastic Comics, published by Fox Features, cover date September 1940.

There's a few sites & blogs that deal with Stardust's creator, Fletcher Hanks. I'll try to keep my opinions to a minimum ... it'll be hard, but I'll try.

Fletcher Hanks is best known as the creator/artist who worked on Stardust, Fantomah, Big Red McLane, Space Smith, Whirlwind Carter, Buzz Crandall and the first Tabu story. Hardly ever mentioned anywhere (at least I've never seen anyone mention it) is a story called "Tiger Hart of Crossbone Castle" found in Jungle Comics # 2.

Fletcher Hanks worked under many aliases. Contrary to popular belief, not all of the aliases were created by Hanks. Some of the names he worked under were Barclay Flagg, Henry Fletcher, Charles Netcher, Hank Christy, Lance Ferguson, Bob Jordan and Carlson Merrick. Hanks worked on features for Fox Features, Fiction House and Timely Comics between books cover-dated December 1939 and "Spring" 1941. Additionally, "Witty Comics # 1" featured a re-worked Big Red McLane story, retitled "Ted Kane". (One of these days I hope to have a decisive list of everything Hanks worked on, but until I see all the alledged work attributed to him, this'll have to do)

Hanks' work can be found in issues of Jungle Comics (Tabu & Fantomah), Planet Comics (Buzz Crandall & Tiger Hart), Fight Comics (Big Red McLane), Fantastic Comics (Stardust, Space Smith & Yank Wilson), Witty Comics # 1 (Ted Kane) and Big 3 Comics # 2 (Stardust). BEWARE! Not everything "the experts" claim was done by Hanks was actually done by Hanks. If you take a few seconds to study his style, you can look at something like the Space Smith story in issue 10 of Fantastic Comics and easily say "Fletcher Hanks had nothing to do with that." There are also two stories of Stardust that were not drawn by Hanks, issues 6 & 9 of Fantastic Comics, although the story from issue 9 gets pretty close to capturing the "feel" of Fletcher Hanks story.

Around the internet, Hanks doesn't get too much respect. His time in comics was extremely short (about a year-and-a-half), and most people have the opinion that he wasn't much of an artist, at best viewed as being "so bad, he's good". Take the time to actually look at his work and judge for yourself, because art appreciation is subjective. My opinion is that Fletcher Hanks was a man ahead of his time. Had he stayed in the business longer, or worked in the industry a few decades later, people might be singing a different tune about him.

But enough rambling-on from me, enjoy the story!

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