I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!
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I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  591 ratings  ·  94 reviews
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. At the time, comic books wer...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published June 6th 2007 by Fantagraphics (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 17, 2013 Krycek rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Comics fans, fans of the weird
I think Robert Crumb says it best: "Fletcher Hanks was a twisted dude." This stuff is absolutely amazing. While Fletcher Hanks only did comics from 1939-1941 and wrote pretty standard super-hero type storylines, they are of such bizarro quality that I'm mesmerized by the sheer weirdness of it all.

Hanks' heroes are nearly omnipotent--
Stardust, the scientific marvel whose vast knowledge of all planets has made him the most remarkable person ever known, is devoting his abilities to crime-busting.

If there's one thing I truly love, it's strange shit, and this volume is a cornucopia of balls-out, nonsensical four-color madness. Golden Age cartoonist Fletcher Hanks is a name long relegated to the murky mists of comics history obscurity, but now his completely insane works have been unearthed and laid out for your jaw-dropping edification. The guy's stuff brings to mind a creative gene-splicing of Basil Wolverton and Ed Wood, so stop and think about that one for a minute.

According to his son...more
David Schaafsma
Bizarre, hilarious, primitive, poster-colored, cliched, simple, fresh… Done in 1939-1941 in the infancy of comics, much of his work lost, but here it is, strange but rescued from the dust heap of history… Paul Karasik's afterward comic on visiting Fletcher Hanks, Jr. is priceless, and disturbing, and funny… Like many other comic artists such as Art Spiegelman, Seth and Chris Ware, Karasik is sentimental about and appreciative of comic history. Good thing, as now some of these early, sometimes cr...more
My mind knows that this is a very valuable piece of work, this collection from one of the pioneers of comic books. And I did like the last chapter from the point of view of the guy who actually brought it all together. I appreciate the weird sense of justice and punishment that these heroes have. But I didn't enjoy it. The heroes are all-powerful and have no weakness, so there is no tension to any of the stories. I also don't get how, like other reviewers have pointed out, the heroes waited unti...more
I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets !

Here's a book that grabs you and shakes you !

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets !

A book that makes you go What The F$£% at least 60 times !

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets !

Never in your life have you seen such a combination of psychedelic, happy, sad, good, bad, rock'em, sock'em action !

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets !

A book that makes you wonder about the sanity of Fletcher Hanks, because never has there been a comic book...more
Nov 21, 2007 Shawn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone

Stardust the Super Wizard.

Hanks was a creator during the Golden Age of comics, when everyone was trying to create their Superman. A time when no one really knew what the #$@! they were doing, but that was the beauty of it. No rules had been established. You made it up as you went along. And that's exactly how this book reads, as if Hanks was just making it up from panel to panel.

This stuff is absolutely off the wall!! A surrealistic work of genius.

Amazing! Robert Crumb loved him, which makes sense. I loved the afterword as well.
David Enos
These are from the 30's; deformed, beefy male and female "heroes" exact unneccesarily mean, often-times pre-emptive punishments on even uglier villains. The woman can change her face into a skull, and the man is named 'Star-Dust, most interesting man alive.' He has a disgusting baby's head and pointed toes.
Amy Beth Eisenberg
What is going on here?!. I have never seen art like this in my life. It is seriously jaw-dropping. The stories are pretty lame in an endearing way and seem to have been written by a crazy person. You don't need to own this, but you should definitely try to get a look at it somehow.
This books is demented. Picked this up on a whim cause I liked the printing, but found myself fascinated by the bizzare stories and the afterward, in which the compiler/editor adds his own strangely touching comic about his discovery of these neglected works.
It seems every goodreads review of this book is based on the Amazon product description. Something about crude art and storylines but interesting and weird blah blah. Come on, really? Crude compared to what? Ever read any pre-war Green Lantern? Same crude art and storylines but those writers and artists are revered in the comics world now. Weird? Well I suppose a super-powered person from another planet that travels to Earth and then apprehends criminals is a little weird yeah, but then that's t...more
Darren Cormier
This is not a review of the book of the same title. No, really, it's not. It's a manifesto, first espoused here on this semi-read blog, of how I, a mild-mannered thirty-something writer, considered polite by most, shall, in actuality, and with an abundance of commas, one day destroy all the civilized planets.

Seriously, that's what it is.

Why are you laughing?

Well, okay. It's not a manifesto, and I fully lack the world domination gene, so, I suppose... reluctantly and with much sighing... I should...more
An interesting collection of a forgotten artist. Hanks created comics in the early days of the medium, quitting around the beginning of WWII. The stories are fairly much the same--they mostly feature Stardust, a "super-wizard" of technology who lives in space and Fatomah, guardian of the jungle. Both of these creations have amazing superpowers, and are utterly invincible. Which quickly removes any narrative tension from the stories--neither character is ever in any danger, there is never any que...more
This book is wild. Short comics from a guy named Fletcher Hanks who was writing back in the 30s. The plots are formulaic and get kind of annoying in that they are SO similar, after a while, BUT the crazy makes up for it. Instead of people learning lessons or simply being punished for their evil doings right before they screw everything up big time.... the bad guys usually wipe out massive amounts of people, like, say...the whole city of new york, before Hanks' wild hero, Stardust (who lives on a...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
Comic writer and historian Paul Karasik has said that ," Hanks worked on second-rate characters for third-rater publishers." Keep in mind that Karasik is also the man who who has seen all of Fletcher Hanks' known work back into publication, and who at other times refers to him as a genius. We are dealing here with an interesting case.

Hanks' comics appeared between 1939 and 1941. His two principle characters were The Super Wizard Stardust and Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle. Both are great...more
Lars Guthrie
I don't know exactly why I was so fascinated by this collection of previously unnoticed pre-WW II comics. They're crude and raw. And Karasik finds out in his comic book afterword that Hanks was a cruel and abusive alcoholic. Maybe it's the bizarre and convoluted punishments Hanks's superheroes deliver to the bad guys. How about Stardust using a "superiority beam" to enlarge the villain's head to the point where it absorbs his body, then transporting that head to the "space pocket of living death...more
Imagine a artistic talent in the vein of Carl Burgos or Bill Everett as a, perhaps, bullied 10-year-old with an unbridled imagination and you would probably still not even come close to the the comics of Fletcher Hanks. This is the first volume to collect a large portion of Hanks' vividly illustrated revenge fantasies. The targets of his vindictive ire are generally criminals, frequently Communists, Fifth Columnists and, occasionally, thinly veiled ethnic European-American stereotypes. His super...more
Peter Derk
Weirder than expected.
It's an interesting artifact, to be sure. I didn't read the whole thing. Part way through I decided that I was enjoying skimming it more than reading it word for word.
The setup isn't all that shocking. We have Stardust, who is kind of like Superman except he also has magical and scientific powers. This comic didn't spend a ton of time explaining the science behind any of this, which isn't terribly interesting anyway.
What's interesting is the plans of the villains and the cr...more
Fletcher Hanks has a genuinely odd sensibility, and I can see how his work, to the extent that it's known at all, tends to polarize people.

His drawings are crude and stiff at times, his plots are predictable and ludicrous, and his superheroes are...I mean, they have "super superiority rays," shit like that.

But. There's also a stark beauty to the work. I love the way Hanks will fill up a panel of tiny human bodies being flung around by explosions or suspension rays or whatever.

And while his su...more
Oct 21, 2008 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
The world of comics was radically different in 1939. No single artist proves this dictum than the largely-forgotten Fletcher Hanks. I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!, the first collection of Hanks' work, introduces a new generation to this artist's strange works.

Soon after the April, 1938 introduction of Superman in Action Comics #1, new publishers sprang up and needed content for the suddenly-popular comic books. Almost anyone who could draw landed a job in the burgeoning industry. Dur...more
Imagine, if you will, Ogden Whitney not knowing his Herbie Popnecker, aka “Herbie the Fat Fury” had no idea his creation was abstract and absurdist and you know a bit of what you’re in for when you crack the cover of this forgotten gem. A collection of disturbingly, unintentionally deranged comic stories by forgotten forties comic artist Fletcher Hanks. Fletcher’s hero “Stardust” may be the most unintentionally hysterically cruel heroes of the golden age of comics. Stardust’s “I don’t kill, I ju...more
I heard about this graphic novel on the Newsarama or Robot 6 blog, I can't recall which. It's quite notorious. So this is my review.

Fletcher Hanks writes the same story over and over again. Here it is: a madman plots mass destruction and is stopped by one of Hanks' super-powered heroes, who then metes out poetic justice. Hanks' art style is so crude and unrealistic it reminds me of the men and women on medieval frescoes. His hero is a bloated 'roid freak and his heroine flies around in a slip sp...more
Jul 09, 2013 Kevin added it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Did not finish: I read a few of the comics and skipped to Paul Karasik's afterward. The comics themselves become very repetitive very fast in an eerie way. They follow the comics' Golden Age formula to an exaggerated extent, which points to the absurdity of the form. Then the criminals' punishment, arguably the most interesting part of the book. are downright Sisyphusean. It would have been a fast read to get through the other half of the book, but once you get the gist of it the collection work...more
Bryan Worra
I'm liking this not necessarily because of Hanks' art, but the afterword, which is relayed itself through sequential art and discusses the potential significance of Hanks art, and why anyone would care about his work. And in that search, to discover Hanks' 'true character' at least as relayed by his estranged son, and his ultimate fate, one ponders the great questions of the arts and life.

When you have someone like Hanks, does it detract from the art, or does their backstory in fact enhance our...more
This is a collection of stories from the early days of comics, and ... it's really kind of hard explain ... I can't tell if the author is a genius or mental. All the stories follow this basic plot: 1) Enemy decides to destroy civilization. 2) Stardust (the hero) stops him. Pretty standard stuff, except that after Stardust stops the bad guy, he kills the bad guy elaborately, using an almost nonsensical array of super powers, like using levitation rays to feed the bad guy to a giant golden octopus...more
Sep 05, 2007 Dave-O rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: comic nerds
Shelves: graphicnovels
Whether you appreciate the art in this comic for its kitsch value or for its inspiring design and color, you probably will agree that its not the most well-drawn stuff. No matter, the form fits the function in these very linear mini-morality tales in which grotesque villains always get their comeuppance... even if it means death! While I strongly disagree with Paul Karasik who equates the artistic impact of Fletcher Hanks' Stardust with George Herriman's Krazy Kat, I agree that this stuff is poe...more
Stewart Tame
Fletcher Hanks was to comics as Ed Wood was to movies. To simply call them "bad" is to miss the point. Hanks pulls off some breathtaking leaps of story logic with ease. The art is crude, combining the worst qualities of Basil Wolverton and Joe Schuster, but with a certain crude power that's magnificent to behold. I seriously want the panel from which the title comes blown up on a T-shirt.
Joe Reese
While there is a lot of humour to be found in the bizarre and violent punishments inflicted upon the villains in the stories, the sadomasochistic inventiveness of the heroes (and their author) only really occurs occasionally and, as a result, leaves the reader with predictable stories which seem to repeat themselves.
However, the history behind the illusive author, which is pieced together in the prologue and introduction of I Shall Destroy All the Civilised Planets and You Shall Die By Your Own...more
Very interesting and odd collection of really old but really surreal comics. The art is simplistic but off-kilter, and while all the plots are grounded in the most formulaic comic plots that the contemporary graphic novel world has railed against for years, these are such a treat to read and look at. You began to imagine what kinds of revenge fantasies the artist was projecting onto his artist. But when you read the heartbreaking epilogue to the collection, as the editor visits the son of Fletch...more
Absolute batshit insanity. It's like Henry Darger writing superhero comics.
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