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Interview

 

Christopher Lindbergh Hanther, Jr. was born into a family of small time farmers and passed his early years on the land. His first memories are of gardens and fields and cows. He also remembers his grandfather reading to him from the Sunday comics section of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. While in the first grade, he gained a reputation in art by drawing on the chalk board after class at school while the other students waited outside for the bus.

When the family moved to a small town to allow Chris’ father to take a job selling insurance, the young child was less than enthusiastic. His heart remained with the farm and he would through his years in public school return to the farm at every opportunity to stay with his grandmother where he was given the freedom to do pretty much as he pleased within certain strict parameters.

Hanther’s father was not a spectacular salesman, a quality passed intact to Chris Junior, and he soon sought to become a government accountant. Acquiring the job, the Hanthers moved to Knoxville in East Tennessee. Chris developed no love for the larger city, but the nearby Appalachian Mountains were paradise.

Upon graduation from Fulton High in Knoxville, Hanther passed four years acquiring a worthless degree in advertising art and in maintaining a worthwhile military draft deferment. The Viet Nam war was going full steam at the time and forced conscription was the law. A young man could go to prison for not signing up to allow the regime in Washington to send him half way around the world to be shot. Hanther had hopes that, after four years of college, the war in Viet Nam would be over. After all, the big war, World War II, had lasted only four years and Viet Nam was only a little skirmish of no special significance. Unfortunately, when Hanther came to graduate, the war still showed no signs of winding down, so Hanther weighed his options and signed up with the U. S. Air Force. Better to make the choice to be a jet jockey and drop napalm on widows and orphans than to be drafted to die in a rice paddy with an M-16 strapped to one’s back. The military required ten weeks to decide Hanther was not Air Force quality material, an observation Hanther could have confirmed early on if asked.

Returned to civilian life, Hanther began to build his interest in art and comics into a lifelong career. He worked for a year in advertising, then went to New York City where he was hired by Marvel Comics to work on production staff. While he enjoyed working at Marvel, New York winters were too long and cold for someone born to the more temperate climate of Mississippi/Tennessee.

In March of 1971, Hanther returned to the land he loved and began to develop a concept he had carried in his head for years into a publishable project. It was a story of adventure on another world. The first issue of Critter, a self published pamphlet, was released in July, 1973, containing the first Tandra pages. Though not an immediate explosive financial success, Tandra has continued to be published on a semi-regular schedule over the years, building a small core of fanatical followers. It was late 1995 when Hanther was approached to do a web site for an internet service provider in Corinth, Mississippi. Though he had very little experience with computers at the time and no exposure to the internet, Hanther immediately embraced the opportunity to expand Tandra’s possibilities.

It is no small cause for endless speculation here at Hanthercraft International that the Hanther interview page generates the most hits of any page on the Tandra site. There is no accounting for taste. In any event, the Tandra CD-ROM is just released in January of 2002 and it seemed poor business to charge people for, among other things, the interview on the CD when it remained available for free on this site. With an eye toward making a buck and the intention of updating viewers on Hanther's activities since the first interview over two years ago, we are beginning posting of the second conversation with the chief cook and bottle washer of Tandra.

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