Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

In Other Comics News (Updated)

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In other comics news, the creators of the excellent (and gone-too-soon) series Action Philosophers have a new series out this week, Comic Book Comics. There’s an interview with the writers here, with a teaser for what comes next:

PWCW: Any ideas on what might come after CBC for the two of you?

FVL: Two words: action presidents. And it’s exactly what it sounds like.

I also read the Fletcher Hanks anthology I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets this weekend after being intrigued by a negative review on some blog or another a few weeks ago. (Can’t remember where, sadly.) (UPDATE: Paul Karasik showed up in the comments wishing he could see the negative review, which prompted me to look a little harder and finally dig it up.)

I really liked it. Hanks’s work has that recognizable Silver Age feel, but with a bleakly nihilistic edge that I think is really interesting; these are fables much more than they are comics, and the poetic justice violence facing the villains grows more and more intense as the book goes on. A coda by the editor, Paul Karasik, reveals through an interview with the artist’s son what most readers of the book are likely to see lurking just beneath the surface of these stories: the unhappy middle and lonely end to the life of Fletcher Hanks.

I remember that the negative blog review took issue with the Vonnegut blurb on the back, but I’ve got to side with Kurt on this one: “The recovery from oblivion of the these treasures is in itself a major work of art.”

(UPDATE: Having found the review in question, I can be more specific about the problems Hooded Utilitarian raises. But I don’t need to be, because Karasik gets there first and better:

The character, Paul Karasik, from my story, “Whatever Happened to Fletcher Hanks” is a myopic fanboy. He waxes on gleefully about the refined qualities of the Hanks aesthetic while getting a boner contemplating the potential treasures he hopes to score at the house of the son of his idol.

The point was that he was blind to the actual content of the work.

I purposefully left it up to the reader to make the connection between Karasik’s delusions (and limited appreciation of Hanks) and the true nature of Hanks’ fascistic tendencies as the revelations about Hanks’ character are revealed.

The entire idea of the Afterword was that these revelations would resonate with an intelligent reader (who had just finished reading 15 of Hanks’ stories) in such a way that they would come to their own, clear and hopefully disturbing response to the “actual content of his work”

To think that most readers, including Crumb, Panter, and most of all, Vonnegut (who, by the way, if you check the quote, was referring to the unearthing of these treasures) do not appreciate the barely hidden misanthropy bubbling under the surface of these stories is to sell these guys short.

What he said.)

Written by gerrycanavan

March 9, 2008 at 5:26 pm

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