Archive - April 2008
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April 27th, 2008
You folks have been having things pretty darn easy lately, but that all ends now:

Yup--more Hembeck interviews! Two in fact!

They're both short, both done via email, and besides the predictable yadayada about my perpetually impending book, should you choose to check 'em out, you might even be able to turn up some fresh nuggets of useless info.

Such as, which super power would I most like to have and why? You''ll find that scintillating answer over here, in a Q&A conducted by Richard Vasseur for Jazma Online.

Or how about my ten favorite comics of all time? My list can be found here in this interview with Stefan Blitz over at the Forces Of Good website. Admittedly, for those of you paying any attention at all, my selections aren't going to come as any great surprise, save perhaps my choice for favorite Fantastic Four story of all time. Here's a hint: it involves a completely bald-headed antagonist who appeared in but a single issue of the classic Lee-Kirby run--and it's NOT the tale you're thinking of (though I DO like that one too...).

Thanks, Richard and Stefan, for your interest, and my thanks in advance to any of you who actually bother to go read even more of my web-babble--bless your little ol' hearts!
April 23rd, 2008
It's official:


She finally made her final choice on Monday, and yesterday we dropped the letter confirming her acceptance into the mail--starting this fall, she'll be attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, where she plans to double major in Fine Art and Physics. Gotta give the kid credit for dreaming big...

Though it took a while to reach this conclusion, in a lot of ways, it's appeared to be downright inevitable for a while now--Julie just had to admit it to herself and to the rest of the world. Personally, I think it was her best choice, and I have no doubt she's gonna do great there.

Picking a college isn't nearly as simple as it was back in my day. Back then, your mail box wasn't flooded with brochures from Universities located in all fifty states a full year before graduation from high school--not to mention the ease the Internet makes applying. As it turned out, Julie applied to ten colleges, all in New York State. That was probably about twice as many as necessary, but hey, compared to the girl who submitted thirty applications, she was relatively restrained!

How'd she do? Well, she got the thumbs down from Cornell (which we visited), got put on the waitist for Skidmore (which we didn't) and Vassar (the closest of all her options, a mere fifteen minutes from our house). She was accepted by all three SUNY schools she applied to: New Paltz (about 45 minutes away, which we naturally toured), Binghamton (which we likewise drove several hours to check out), and was offered a nice scholarship from Stony Brook, which, though located not far from where I grew up, we never quite made it down for a look-see. Then there was Sarah Lawrence (which we saw, and which offered Julie a modest scholarship), St. Lawrence (which offered a bit more of a substantial scholarship, but which we never actually visited), and Bard, which offered an even better scholarship. Bard--a mere hour's drive away--was the clear second choice, and last week, Lynn, Julie, Alec and I drove out there for a second look, just to make sure it hadn't somehow eked it's way up top into the first slot.

Nope. Great school, no doubt, but in the end, Julie picked Hobart and William Smith (it's actually two schools that started out separately--a men's college and a woman's college--that some years back combined all their resources--students from both colleges attend the same classes, live in the same dorms, eat at the same cafeteria, with only the male and female sporting teams having singular identifies, though officially, Julie is registered.only at William Smith College--follow that? Good--now explain it to ME!...). We visited HWS on three different occasions, and certainly didn't go into it figuring it to become our daughter's first choice, but, by golly gee whiz, everybody connected with the school couldn't have been nicer--even in comparison to all the folks at the OTHER schools who were likewise vying for our bucks! The fact that both the art and physics department looked tremendously appealing to Julie didn't hurt much either.

And you know what REALLY didn't hurt? The scholarships. After our initial visit in October, we were obligated to return in mid-February to show Julie's portfolio in the hopes of securing an art scholarship, which, thankfully, she did. A few weeks later, we were informed that Julie had also been chosen for a Trustee's scholarship, and if we showed up for a special day devoted to those lucky students, there'd be a chance we might even get luckier: three students from the pool of whoever attended that day (53, as it turned out) would, after individual interviews and such, be chosen for FULL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR ALL FOUR YEARS!! Which is why we once again drove five hours upstate during a snow storm in early March!

Alas, Julie didn't win THAT coveted prize (if she had, there'd have been NO contest as to where she was going, trust me), but still, everything pointed towards HWS as the institution of choice, and now finally, the decision has been made! So, for the next four years, Julie will be going to school right across from Lake Seneca in Geneva New York.

Y'know, my kid has never been a voracious reader, and because of that, I may've underestimated just how bright she was. I mean, hey, I knew she wasn't DUMB by any means, but I don't know that I really expected all these fine institutions of higher learning to be so gosh-darn eager to have her in their intellectual clutches! A lot of the credit has to go to the folks at Poughkeepsie Day School, which Julie began attending in the ninth grade, particularly her art teacher, Wayne (who recommended HWS after his own daughter went there) and Jonathan, her physics professor who once called Julie "a great intellect", causing Lynn and I to wonder if this was the same individual who we'd been having some pretty silly conversations with over dinner all these years! But yeah, PDS really did a great job in bringing out the best in Julie and getting her ready for the next big step, and as schmaltzy as it may sound, her mom and I couldn't be any prouder of the little scamp!

Good luck, kiddo!
April 22nd, 2008
Firstly, I sincerely hope all my fellow Earthlings have had themselves a swell Earth Day! All hail Terra!

Beyond that, I just wanted to share a quick note from my old buddy, Ron Marz, about my NEW buddy, Rafael Kayanan, who, as you may recall if you read my NYCC recap, I met for the very first time over this past weekend. Ron?...

One thing you didn't mention about ol' Rafael Kayanan -- he's a world-class knife fighter who has trained the military in knife fighting, and who also does fight choreography for films. So, in other words, it's a damn good thing you replied to his letter!

Phew--once again, Miss Manners saves my bacon!
April 21st, 2008
On Saturday, I spent my day in The Big Apple at the 3rd annual New York Comic Con.

On Sunday, I spent my day preparing this photographic recap of my escapades, heavily annotated--go look!
April 18th, 2008
Just a quick reminder for those of you who live in the tri-state area--I'll be at the big NYCC event tomorrow, one day only (along with Lynn, daughter Julie, and her boyfriend, Alec--who've opted NOT to appear in Mario and Luigi outfits, sad to say...). I'm not a featured guest or anything--I won't have a table--but I AM scheduled to do a signing at the Image table between 3 and 4 on Saturday afternoon (alongside such stalwarts as Joe Kelly and CB Cebulski), so look for me there if you somehow think that's a good way to get a fair return on your admission fee! And bring along something to sign--the big ol' Omnibus isn't quite out yet, as you may well know. NEXT year for sure...

Mostly, I'll be wandering around the halls, meeting all sorts of good folks! Should be fun--y'know, I missed the first two of these, and so I figured that was a string that just had to be broken! Check back here in a few days for the recap!
April 14th, 2008
Given my preoccupation over the last ten days, does it come as any great surprise that today I'm announcing a brand new, stand alone page on this site--

Fred Hembeck's Across The Page Picture Gallery?

No, I didn't think so.

Nothing you haven't already seen if you been following this blog, but it is kinda nice to have all these pieces available for viewing in one place instead of scattered hither and yon across Fred Sez. And in the future, while new additions will continue to pop up here, they'll also be added simultaneously to the Gallery.

Go look!

(Or, if you're tired of the whole damn thing, check out Lee Hester's blog, Let's Level With Lee, specifically this intriguing cover to the never published LAUREL AND HARDY #2 and get a look-see at who The Boys ALMOST met!...)
April 13th, 2008
Presenting, our final (at least for now) Across The Page illo--

This one's just a little bit different than our previous entries, because unlike the nine other illos I've paraded across your screens for our daily round of Internet Show and $ell, this one's NOT for sale!

This illo, y'see, was done as a commission! The trailblazing pictorial pioneer? A farsighted gent by the name of Joe Hollon--but as there's already a couple of other similar requests in the pipeline, I've decided to offer up this fun little format that I stumbled into a few short months back as yet another option over on my Sales page. So for those of you who might be interested, I direct your attention there for all the details!

Truth is, I'd been planning to do up a Fourth World piece even before Joe contacted me, but given my own druthers, I likely wouldn't have used more than half the characters pictured above without his specific directions--I KNOW Metron and his Magic Recliner weren't in my plans, but y'know, the way things ultimately worked out, I think that might well be the coolest part of the whole drawing! Thanks Joe!!

And thank you folks for visiting with us for the duration of this little exhibition. Come back one more time tomorrow for a final postscript to all this, okay? See you then!!
April 12th, 2008

A tip o' the Hembeck hat to wife Lynn for applying Photoshop colors to our latest--and perhaps oddest--Across The Page illustration, mindlessly mixing the ouerve of John Stanley with that of Julie Schwartz!!

And here's your standard black and white version (massage your mouse to enlarge either...).
The hue-less version is selling on eBay, so go here if interested.

Join me tomorrow, friends, for one last drawing!
April 11th, 2008
Before we go into overtime with Day 8 of our Across The Page Illo Week, here's the latest update on my still-upcoming book (pictured above):

It's at the printer. That's good.

They're currently out of the exact sized paper needed to print my book. That''s bad.

It won't be available when I put in my cameo appearance at next week's NYCC. That's unfortunate.

But it's getting closer. And that's all I know for now. More news as it becomes available.

Now, onto our panoramic pic of the day...

Back in 1964, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko brought together six of Spider-Man's deadliest foes--Dr. Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, The Vulture, Mysterio, The Sandman, and Electro--and united them as The Sinister Six within the pages of the webhead's first giant-sized Annual, making for one of the greatest comics of the entire Marvel Age, period!

Three years later, as the deadline for Daredevil's first Annual loomed, editor Stan might well've thought, well it worked before, and proceeded to round up several of DD's earliest antagonists (including dual-member Electro) to come up with...


It wasn't quite the classic Electro's first go-round working alongside a team turned out to be, but hey, Stan had pages to fill, y'know? So, instead of a half dozen Ditko-designed baddies, we had one Ditko hold-over (Electro, who faced off with DD in his second issue), a pair of Wally Wood visualized villains, The Stiltman and The Matador, John Romita's Gladiator, and the sole contribution from the then current--and ultimately, long-standing--Daredevil penciller, Gene Colan, the fearsome (coff coff) Leap-Frog!

Like I said, The Sinister Six they ain't.

But there they are, in all their (faded) glory--click for a closer look, and go here for a chance to purchase it over at eBay!

More tomorrow? Yup!
April 10th, 2008
Early in 1964, the Blackhawks exchanged their blue uniforms for a stylish red and green update. Those original fighting togs may've had a rich and storied past, but having only been reading the rather lackluster post 1960 adventures of the team at that point, I welcomed the change and actually grew quite fond of the group for the first time (the fact that they were all parading around in colors that subliminally reminded me of Christmas probably didn't hurt much either...).

But apparently my new-found devotion wasn't enough, as, late in 1966, DC went even further in their quest to update the one-time Quality Comics stalwarts, resulting in the





Remember yesterday how we featured The All-Winners Squad? Well, let me introduce you to The All-LOSERS Squad, aka..

(coff coff)


Just take a look at 'em: Stanislaus, wearing a skull and crossbones motif on his chest, took on the guise of The Golden Centurion, Andre donned a beret and operated as M'Sieu Machine, Chop-Chop donned evening wear and some magic gloves to assume the identity of Dr. Hands, Hendrickson became The Weapons Master, Olaf looked extremely silly as The Leaper (Bouncing Boy with a Swedish accent), and--most ridiculous of all--Chuck was obligated to slip into some purple PJs decorated with ears all over it to denote his guise as The Listener, the single goofiest super-hero costume of ALL-TIME! Blackhawk, being the boss-man, was allowed to keep his holiday-hued duds, and thankfully, Lady Blackhawk was the lone member to retain the classic look! Hey, it always looked best on her anyway!

Of course, it didn't last for long, but while it did--brrrr.

Click for a larger version--if you dare! And go here if you want to buy this thing--if you're that demented! (And if you are, I salute you!...)

Those of you mathematically inclined may note that today is Day 7 of Across The Page Illo Week, which might lead you to assume that today's skewed tribute to Blackhawk is the Grand Finale of the series--but you'd be WRONG! Hey, it's my blog--I can do what I want and if I want to stretch out a week maybe a day or three past the lucky seven, I can do it, dig?

So, see you tomorrow!

And remember, watch what you say--Chuck may be listening!...
April 9, 2008
Captain America and Bucky!

The original Human Torch and Toro!

Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner!

The (you should pardon the expression) Whizzer!

And yup folks, here she comes, Miss America!

Put 'em all together and what've you got?

Okay, so maybe they're not ALL winners--being the only super-hero whose name suggests a proclivity for drinking too much beer doesn't exactly put you on the same level with the likes of the Avenging Son of Atlantis y'know, but hey, what's in a name?

Click to enlarge yada yada yada, go here for eBay auction yada yada yada.

Tomorrow? One you flat out won't expect, promise! C'mon back, won'tcha?
April 8th, 2008
Ladieeeees and gentleman, may I direct your attention to the center ring for today's feature attraction,

The Circus of Crime!!
May I ALSO direct your attention here, access to today's Across The Page illo eBay auction? And of course, simply click the drawing above to view a larger version of Princess Python and her pals

On another subject entirely, jovial Jim Salicrup sent along this fascinating link: it's an obit for the son of the founder of the Ludwig Drum company. And what 's the main thrust of the piece? Sales went through the roof the night after the nation saw Ringo banging away on their product on the Ed Sullivan Show! Beatlemania and its ripple effects--still resonating all these years later. Thanks Jim!

C'mon back tomorrow for Day 6 of our little art showcase, won't you? See you then!!
April 7th, 2008
We interrupt our regularly scheduled entry in this week's Across The Page art spectacular to bring you a link to a brand new fresh (and short--count your blessings, folks) Hembeck interview conducted by Marc Haines via email for Comic fellows! Y'know, someday my book will actually come out and I'll truly appreciate the publicity!!...

And now, back to our latest piece of page spanning art--

They're classic!

They're Universal!


Frankie, his rather reluctant fiancee, Drac, the Mummy, the Wolfman, and the surprisingly flashy (or is it "flasher"?...) Invisible Man--they're all here! You've heard of Christmas in July? Well, it's Halloween in April!

If you find this piece of boo-tiful art spook-tacular, just click it for an enlarged image. And here's the link to send you off to the eBay auction!

What's on the agenda for omorrow? Ah, but that would be telling--see you then!!
April 6th, 2008
Our third installment of our week-long celebration of me trying to pawn my artwork off on easily influenced eBay patrons continues with yet another fresh Across The Page tableau, this time focusing on the First Family of the Moon (Blue Area),

Black Bolt looks absolutely tickled to be in the spotlight, don'tcha think? Even if things appear to be getting a little, um, hairy, y'know? (What ? You think that gag's trite? These are The Inhumans we're dealing with here, folks--these jokes may be Triton, but never trite. Well, not usually...)

As always, click the pic to make everything bigger, and as always, follow this link to access the eBay auction.

More manana!
April 5th, 2008
It's day 2 of Across The Page Illo Week here at, and what sort of pictorial delight do we have in store for you today?

Well, howsabout...

(Marvel Edition)!!
Yup, you have before you a collection of some of the most nefarious--and classic--baddies originally visualized by the great Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics! Spanning several decades, we see the greatest villain of the forties, The Red Skull, the nastiest no-goodnik of the swinging sixties, Dr. Doom, and from the seventies, um, Arnim Zola. Plus, the malevolent Modok and several of his AIM minions, the Asgardian Enchantress (gotta have at least a smidgen of sex appeal in these things, y'know!), and the wonderfully obscure--and wonderfully rounded--Egghead, a very early antagonist for Ant Man!! Considering all the kreeps Kirby kreated, this just scratches the surface, so look for a sequel somewhere down the line (though not this week...).

Again, for a larger view of the above, merely wave your mouse over it. And to bid on the eBay auction, go here.

More tomorrow, you betcha!!
April 4th, 2008
Nobody demanded it!

Nobody even requested it!

But nonetheless, I give you the quasi-triumphant return of The Across The Page illos series!

And today's subjects?

A happy little group we like to call...

(Hey, as a guy who plunked down his twelve cents to buy a copy of 1963's X-MEN #1 directly off the rack, these guys will ALWAYS be the "All-New X-Men" to me! It's just a shame Thunderbird croaked before he had a chance to be a part of the fun...)

Oh, and as always, simply click the above illo to see the art expand to twice the size. And yes, go here for the inevitable eBay auction.

And keep those instructions in mind, cuz today is more than a simple return of the series--it kicks off Across The Page Illo Week here at! So come on back each of the next six days for a brand new drawing of a half dozen different groupings--some predictable, some not so much so--and all the while, place side bets on just how long it will take doing all that crazy cross-hatching in the background of each piece to render me totally bonkers! Odds AREN'T in my favor, lemme tell ya...
April 2nd, 2008
Yesterday, I shared some of my thoughts concerning the recently departed Jim Mooney here. Y'know, I never actually met the man, but like so many others, that didn't keep him from making a a profound impression on me. Unfortunately, not unlike Jim, we seem to be losing quite of few such folks at an alarming rate, so I just wanted to take a few moments to salute a quartet of gentlemen associated with the music of the sixties that we've lost over the last several weeks.

Neil Aspinall was spending time with John, Paul, and George a full year and a half before they even enlisted Ringo to replace Pete Best on drums, and he continued on with the group all the way until his retirement from heading up Apple Corps just last year. He wasn't a musician per se, and to many folks, hardly a familiar name, but being a hard core Fabs fan from that landmark night the group first played the Sullivan show, I knew of Neil pretty much from the get-go. Y'see, given limited options back in '64, I had little choice but to purchase 16 magazine on a monthly basis for Beatles news. Included in each issue was a regular feature detailing the life of a Beatles insider, allegedly written by Neil Aspinall. Yeah, I suppose it was ghostwritten, but I wasn't hip enough to realize that at the time, and thus hung on "Neil's" every word! So I may not go back quite as far with Neil as the Lads from Liverpool did, but we went back a long time together nonetheless. I was sorry to hear of his passing.

Then there was Norman "Hurricane" Smith, another Beatles' associate. Specifically, he engineered all of their EMI recording up through and including "Rubber Soul", after which he was promoted to producer, working on, among other things, some of Pink Floyd's earliest recordings. In 1972, he even had a decent sized novelty hit with "Oh Babe What Would You Say", an affectionate throwback to the sound of an earlier time. Another Beatles insider, gone.

Mike Smith (no relation to "Hurricane") may be the saddest loss of all, at least when you consider the circumstances--as the lead singer of the Beatles earliest chief rivals, The Dave Clark Five, Smith didn't quite live long enough to see his long-overshadowed group finally enshrined in The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, dying a little over a week before their induction ceremonies. Kinda breaks your heart, y'know?

Lastly, Rod Allen has left us as well. I'll forgive you if you have trouble placing the name--I didn't recognize it either when I spied it in the obituary section of a recent issue of MOJO. But I certainly DID recognize the name of the group he sang lead for back in the sixties and seventies, The Fortunes. And if that STILL doesn't ring a bell, well, if you were listening the radio at all back in those days, there's no way you're not familiar with Allen's vocals on "You've Got Your Troubles" and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again". Great tunes both.

It's sad when you stop and consider that these talented individuals are no longer around, but--as with the bounty of pages Mr. Mooney left behind--thanks to audio technology, they'll never truly be gone. Hey, I surely won't forget any of them, I guarantee you that...
April 1st, 2008
I started buying DC Comics off the stands back in the spring of 1961. By the time Lucille Ball's follow-up to "I Love Lucy", "The Lucy Show", debuted in the fall of 1962, I was so steeped in funnybook lore that every time the faux redhead bantered with comic foil Gale Gordon and she inevitably called him by his character's name, Mr. Mooney, I couldn't help but think of the regular artist on the "Supergirl" feature in ACTION COMICS, Jim Mooney.

And why not? THAT Mr. Mooney rendered Superman's younger cousin in an absolutely adorable manner!

How adorable? Well, if you were to page through my collection of old ACTION COMICS, you'd find several panels--all close-ups--with tell-tale pencil markings traced over Kara Zor-el's face. Y'see, I'd gotten ahold of a piece of carbon paper, and wanted to see if, even at the tender age of eight years old, I could possibly draw as sweet a visage as this Jim Mooney fellow.

Well, no, I couldn't, but I tried. I tried because, truth to tell, I had a young boy's crush on a bunch of lines on paper, which says a lot about the effectiveness of Jim Mooney's cartooning! Lord knows it wasn't the stories...

Eventually, Jim was assigned the task of illustrating the "Dial H For Hero" series in HOUSE OF MYSTERY, a feature I had high hopes for going in, but due to typical lack-luster mid-sixties scripting, I ultimately abandoned (though Jim did have the distinction of reintroducing Plastic Man to the DC universe with a guest shot in issue 160).

Not long after, Jim Mooney went over to Marvel Comics, and I'll admit, when I first read about the then practically unprecedented move in one of the newszines of the day, I was less than thrilled. The "Dial H" feature had gotten really silly, and I made the mistake of assuming that somehow Jim was at fault, and I was afraid that he'd subsequently somehow lower the very high cool quotient that Marvel Comics had in my eyes at the time.

Boy, was I off base! The first time I saw him paired with John Romita, working over his layouts on (I think) the second and final magazine sized issue of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, I was sold! What a great team they made working together on the Webhead!

From then on, I always looked forward to Jim Mooney's Marvel work, particularly the stuff he did in conjunction with writer Steve Gerber, MAN-THING and OMEGA THE UNKNOWN (I think there were some issues of SON OF SATAN done in tandem as well). I'll admit that Jim Mooney was never a candidate for inclusion in my top-dozen favorites, but I always enjoyed his work, and I don't think there was ever another artist who worked in the super-hero genre whose characters looked so flat out friendly.

Or, in the case of teen-age girls from Krypton, so wonderfully adorable.

Bye, Jim--and thanks. We'll miss you.

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