July 30, 2015


By all accounts, comic writer/artist Fletcher Hanks was a mystery...and an oddball. His work during the Golden Age of Comics (reprinted in I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! ) has a very distinctive, erratic quality. It's not a hyperbole to claim that once you read it, you will always remember it for its unusual tone...

...and it's that very tone that Flinch Books takes in its anthology of Fletcher Hanks-inspired prose entitled Something Strange is Going On!: New Tales From the Fletcher Hanks Universe Don't be misled by the title or its potential campiness: there are some really good, outright strange tales in this collection, and it's well worth checking out.

(Note - it's only available as an ebook, but you can always use the Kindle App for Android or iOS, or even Kindle's Web Reader).

It's hard to single out one story because....well, they all contain Fletcher Hank's uniquely surreal tone. (Think of Roky Erickson if he wrote/pencilled/inked comics in the 1930s rather than start a psychedelic band in the 1960s). Edited by Jim Beard (with whom I have worked via Airship 27), Something Strange Is Going On features a variety of characters from Hank's distinctive imagination, including Stardust, the Super-Wizard; jungle heroine Fantomah, and boxer Moe M. Down.

(No, I'm not making that last one up. Quick sniggering).

You may be wondering if I've suddenly turned hipster on you, and promoting something that's so bad, it's good - far from the truth. One of the great things about Something Strange Is Going On is how each tale manages to balance Hank's eccentricities with solid storytelling. It's the kind of book that you can't imagine yourself enjoying....yet it becomes one of your favorite hidden treasures.

Flinch Books is doing something very intriguing: taking the public domain work of a little-known artist and making it available via new stories. Managing to capture the unique tone and flavor of Hanks' characters, Something Strange Is Going On is one of the more unique reading experiences you will ever have.

Buy it. Read it. Now.

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