Monday, June 14, 2010

NEW ARRIVALS: Comix



Boody. The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers


Bizarre, wacky, weird, wild and sexy — these are just a few of the adjectives that describe the cartooning of Boody Rogers. Before there were underground comics, Boody Rogers dug deep into breaking the rules; before their was low-brow art, Boody created art that hit hard below the brow. Rogers’s pen and ink outré raucousness was wrapped into great stories, beautifully drawn art, and hilarious gags. Fans of Boody Rogers’s Golden age comic book stories span generations of cartoonists, from Robert Williams to Art Spiegelman to Johnny Ryan. Spiegelman printed Rogers’s work in RAW magazine and recently it also appeared in the anthology book Art Out of Time: Unknown Comic Visionaries (Abrams). Here at last is a single book devoted to this cult comics hero, collecting Rogers's best Sparky Watts, Babe and Dudley stories, as well as much more. This beautifully designed tome also includes an introduction and comic-strip appreciation by editor Craig Yoe (Arf).







You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! Fletcher Hanks

Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur. That is, he wrote, penciled, inked, and lettered all of his own stories. He completed an astonishing 48 stories in three years from 1939-1941. As a one-man-cartooning-band, his work packs the wallop of a unique and unified artistic vision. He was a true comics visionary. In the earliest days of the comic book, before censorship, it was “anything goes!” — and in the tales of Fletcher Hanks, anything went!

The superhero Stardust gazes down at evil-doers from space and doles out ice cold slabs of poetic justice with his wizardry. A villain out to kidnap all the heads of state gets turned into a giant head, himself… no body, just a head! The jungle protectress, Fantomah, looks like Jean Harlow in a skin-tight black negligee. But when she sees an evil scientist drugging gorillas to become slaves, her head transforms into a flaming skull and she tosses the villain to the gorillas who proceed to graphically tear the guy limb from ragged limb.

Although the early comic books were meant for the kiddies, today’s mature readers are stunned by their pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem. The first volume of Fletcher Hanks stories, I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! (in multiple printings) was an Eisner Award-winning smash hit and a staple on “Best of the Year” lists.

Comics fans were thrilled to come upon a cartoonist of this caliber whom they had never heard of before. Non-comics fans who read about the book in The Believer and other journals were stunned to discover an Outsider Artist in comic book form. Edited by cartoonist Paul Karasik (who also provides an insightful introduction), this second volume, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!, collects all of the rest of Hanks's comic book work. That’s right... ALL! The 31 tales in this book (more than TWICE as many as in the first), when combined with the first volume, comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks!

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