“Turn Loose Our Death Rays and Kill Them All!” from Fantagraphics Books just released last week and delivered to my front door as an early Christmas present for me. The Complete Works of Fletcher Hanks cover al his work from the golden age, including arguably the first female superhero in Fantomah.
Hanks was a troubled soul, an alcoholic and a very violent man. This violence came through in his strange and twisted art. Each episode of his various strips have criminals meeting a variety of gruesome endings, all with a heavy helping of a perverse poetic justice.
Stardust the SuperWizard in Fantastic Comics and Fantomah in Jungle Comics stand above the rest but he also did Big Red McLane (Fight Comics), Space Smith, Whirlwind Carter (Marvel/Timely) and Buzz Crandall in Planet Comics.
There’s an extensive page celebrating Fantomah on this site.
This book feels solid and collects his works in order of publication. The previous books, “I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets!” And “You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!” from 2007 and 2009 were oversized softcover trades that collected his material out of sequence. Both are excellent and have held up under numerous reading. All three titles are taken from the golden age comic material. Paul Karasik did an excellent job researching and gathering this material.