Thug the Unkindly

One of the best of the fan cartoonists of 1960s and 1970s fandom was Alan James Hanley. Hanley had grown up during the Golden Age of Comics and had retailed a fondness for their adventures and their style of storytelling. In particular, he was a aficionado of Captain Marvel, and the Captain’s demise caused him to come up with his own spin on the concept: Goodguy, Champion of Clean Living. Hanley produced stories of Goodguy (a.k.a. Major Marvel) in a number of fanzines over the years, including his own publication COMIC BOOK. His work was cartoony in the best way, but always just a hair out of step with where the mainstream was. In reaction to this, and to the advent of sword and sorcery as a popular genre, Hanley crafted this Goodguy story in which Major Marvel meets Hanley’s take on a Conan-esque character, Thug the Unkindly.

This story was serialized in the pages of Alan Light’s Buyer’s Guide to Comics Fandom, the precursor of the long-running Comics Buyers Guide.

Sadly, Hanley passed away in 1980 and his work has all but been forgotten in the ensuing decades. Which is a shame, as he really was a fine cartoonist, one with a unique sensibility to his work, especially for the time.

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