Fletcher Hanks

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Fletcher Hanks, Sr.
Born (1887-12-01)December 1, 1887
Died January 1976 (aged 88–89)
Manhattan, New York
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist
Pseudonym(s)
  • Hank Christy
  • Barclay Flagg
  • Bob Jordan
  • Charles Netcher
Notable works

http://www.fletcherhanks.com

Fletcher Hanks, Sr. (December 1, 1887 – January 22, 1976, in New York City) was a cartoonist from the Golden Age of Comic Books, who wrote and drew stories detailing the adventures of all-powerful, supernatural heroes and their elaborate punishments of transgressors. In addition to his birth name, Hanks worked under a number of pen names, including "Henry Fletcher", "Barclay Flagg", "Bob Jordan", and "Hank Christy". Hanks was active in comic books from 1939 to 1941.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Little is known of the life of Fletcher Hanks. He was born on December 1, 1887[2] and grew up in Oxford, Maryland. His father, William Hanks, was a Methodist minister,[1] and his mother, Alice Fletcher Hanks, was daughter of English immigrants; they married c. 1885.[3] Fletcher himself married Margaret c. 1912.[4] In 1910, his mother paid for her son to take the W. L. Evans correspondence course in cartooning;[1] as early as 1911 he described himself as a cartoonist[5]

Hanks had four children: William, Fletcher Jr., Alma, and Douglas.[4] Fletcher Jr. (1918–2008) was the primary source of biographical information on his father. Family member have described him as an abusive father and spouse, and an alcoholic, spoiled by an over-indulgent mother.[6] He made money painting murals for the wealthy, and spent the money on alcohol for himself and his friends. Fletcher Jr. worked odd jobs to support the family; in 1930,[a] he found his earnings missing, along with his father.[6] He said his mother responded, "It's a small price to pay to be rid of the bum."[7]

Comic books (1939–1941)[edit]

In 1939, in the wake of the success of Action Comics and Superman, Hanks began producing comic book stories.[7] Gradually, he abandoned the crosshatch-heavy style he had learned in his Evans courses and settled on a cleaner, thick-ligned style that reproduced better in the cheaply-manufactured comic books. He produced work for four publishers under a number of alias names: Bob Jordan, Charles Netcher, Hank Christy, and Barclay Flagg, the last of which he signed to his Fantomah stories. He used his real name on his Stardust the Super Wizard stories.[8] In all he created 51 stories.[9]

Some of Hanks' work was for the Eisner & Iger comic book packaging company; Will Eisner recalled Hanks as punctual artist whose work was reminiscent of the early work of Basil Wolverton; Hanks did all the work on his comics, from the writing to the lettering, and was considerably older than the other artists who worked there—frequently teenagers.[10]

Other publishers he produced work for include Fiction House and Fox Features Syndicate. His creations include Stardust the Super Wizard, Tabu the Wizard of the Jungle, and Fantomah—one of the first female superheroes, predating Wonder Woman.

Later life[edit]

Hanks left the comic book industry in 1941; the reason is still unknown. His body was found on a park bench in Manhattan in 1976; he had frozen to death, penniless and likely drunk.[9]

Legacy[edit]

A cult following developed around Hanks' work. His stories and art have been reprinted in the magazine Raw and several comics anthologies, and archival material of his work has been the subject of two books by Fantagraphics Books: I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! (2007) and You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! (2009).[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The US census return for 1930 describes Hanks as an artist, living with his wife, Margaret, widowed father, William, and his children Douglas, Alma, Fletcher Jr, and William.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Karasik 2009, Introduction 1.
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index entry no. 051-22-1426 New York from FamilySearch.org
  3. ^ 1900 U.S census return for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania from FamilySearch.org
  4. ^ a b c 1930 U.S census return for Trappe District, Talbot County, Maryland from FamilySearch.org
  5. ^ Manifest of Passengers for S.S. Oceana, arriving New York May 1st 1911 from FamilySearch.org, with detailed manifest available at www.ellisisland.org
  6. ^ a b Karasik 2009, Introduction 2.
  7. ^ a b Karasik 2009, Introduction 3.
  8. ^ Karasik 2009, Introduction 4.
  9. ^ a b Karasik 2009, Introduction 7.
  10. ^ Karasik 2009, Introduction 5.
  11. ^ "Paul Karasik Announces Second Fletcher Hanks Collection Following Eisner Win". The Comics Reporter. July 28, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

Collections[edit]

Work appearing elsewhere[edit]

External links[edit]