Hanks is sometimes called, with a kind of affectionate awe, the worst
comic book artist of all time — sort of the Ed Wood of the comic
book. Like Wood, he was bad in an earnest, reckless way that
grips the imagination.
Fletcher's drawing style was crude, his stories simple and
brutal. They have a way of penetrating straight to the unconscious.
Not much is known about him, except that he was an abusive drunk who
terrorized his family and then abandoned them in 1930, that he stopped
drawing comic books in 1941 and that he froze to death on a park bench
in New York City sometime in the 1970s.
But the work remains, saved by a few collectors of wildly obscure comics and now reprinted in a new book called I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! It is a cry from a twisted heart and in some weird, unfathomable way both brilliant and important.