Archive - August 2008
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August 31st, 2008
In the memorable words as sung by the Temptations, it was the third of September, the day I'll always remember...

I've told this story before, but it bears repeating. Back in 1990, y'see, that was the day we brought baby Julie home from the hospital for the very first time. And one of my clearest memories of that personal milestone was the fact that, off in the waiting room, adjacent to the desk where we were checking out, there was a television on. It was tuned to the Jerry Lewis Telethon.

Well, today, for the first time in over eighteen summers during a Labor Day Weekend, Julie won't be around to witness even a few fleeting moments of Jerry's annual charity broadcast. That's because on this past Thursday, Lynn and I drove our daughter upstate--way, WAY upstate--to begin her college career (her first classes, in fact, commence tomorrow morning, bright and early, likely several hours before Mr. Lewis is roused from a few hours of well deserved rest).

How'd it go?

Not quite as smoothly as expected, to be honest. To begin with, shortly after heading out to freshman registration Friday morning, a misjudged u-turn at the end of a dead-end street was responsible for the front tire on the passenger side being punctured on a jutting curb. Yeah, a flat tire--nice start to the day. Luckily, the ever handy Alec was nearby and available to help change the thing, and we actually managed NOT the be the last folks to show up to sign in.

The rest of the day (following moving into her dorm room), featured separate programs for the kids and their parents--culminating with the ominously named coming together at five o'clock for the "Family Farewell"--turned out to be a bit more overwhelming for Julie than I'd've expected, based on her past history of blithely going off to Girl Scouts Camp and, last summer, a month away from home at a Baltimore college art program. But this transition seemed to intimidate her more than most.

We snuck back on Saturday for a few more hours with Julie before heading home. It wasn't the happiest of times for anyone concerned--but the good news? We spoke with our little freshman on the phone today, about twenty-four hours after bidding her farewell in person, and much to our relief, she sounded SO much better. Hey, I TOLD her it'd take some time to make the adjustment--maybe even more than a single day! Trust me kiddo--everything's gonna be fine.

(And on a side note, here's one thing I confirmed during the drive home, nearly four hours of it spent on the New York State Thruway (without--gulp--a spare tire...): when you're driving faster than usual--around 70, 75 mph, with other cars still zipping right by you--the sun shining and the windows wide open, there's still nothing better to crank up on the CD player--and hasn't been since it first came out over three decades ago--than "Who's Next"! Goin' mobile indeed...)

So tonight, for the first Labor Day's eve since 1989, it'll just be me, Lynn, and Jerry. Julie will just have to gather with her fellow dormmates around the TV in the commons room to watch the big show--because hey, what eighteen year old girl isn't excited at the possibility of listening to Norm Crosby mangle the English language?

Okay, so she WON'T be doing that. But she'll be doing just swell, of that I'm certain. Miss you sweetie--even more than I miss seeing Charlie Callas on the telethon, and kid, that's a LOT!!...
August 26th, 2008
The first thing Julie did yesterday, on her 18th birthday, was to drive down to the Board of Elections in Poughkeepsie to register to vote.

When she returned home, I congratulated her, and asked if she had chosen a party affiliation.

"Well", she said with a sly smile, "I considered signing up with the Communist Party, but then realized if I did, I probably wouldn't get that job at NASA I've been talking about. So I registered as a Democrat, which is pretty close anyway..."

Okay, THAT made a certain amount of sense, but this whole NASA thing--spurred on from viewing the excellent documentary, "In The Shadow Of The Moon" concerning the handful of men who were given the extremely rare privilege of walking on the lunar surface, a film that was projected on the ceiling of the Julie's old haunt, the Hudson River Museum's planetarium last Friday night. Since then, the notion of a Hembeck in space (trust me, NOT this one!!...) has become the topic of much dreamy speculation.

Finally, though, both her mom and I had to gently inform her that to become an astronaut, first one had to likely excel as a member of the Air Force, and besides, it's a really, really dangerous job.

"But don't worry, sweetie", I said reassuringly , "you can still be a fireman or a cowboy if you want...'

And then my newly minted 18 year old used an adult word that pretty much ended the conversation. Golly gee whiz, but I'm so VERY proud--my little girl can talk grown-up!!

(Oh, and mucho thanks to my pal Roger Green for his nice little salute to Hembeck junior--she appreciated it as well. Plus, she much preferred the photo YOU used over the three I posted! Sigh--ain't that always the way?...)
August 25th, 2008
Kind of a special day around these parts.

HOW special?

Well, hows about THIS?...
Actually, these are among the very last photos taken of my darlin' daughter while still age 17, snapped just yesterday afternoon outside her grandma's brand new house. She's seen here no doubt pondering the lottery ticket she can FINALLY buy legally tomorrow (which--not to confuse you overmuch--is now today!!...).
Oh that Julie--it's like I've always said: her branch is worse than her bark...
Eighteen years old--whew. Hard to believe.

Y'know, among the big plans she had envisioned for this momentous occasion was walking around the Poughkeepsie Galleria without an adult companion after 4pm on Friday night, finally free of the "no roving teens on weekends" policy instituted several years back--but alas, tis not to be.

Come Friday, y'see, she'll be far, far away from the local mall, instead moving into her dorm room and going through freshman orientation.

Turn 18 on Monday, start college on Friday--like I said, hard to believe...

Good luck with that lottery ticket, kiddo, but as far as your mother and I are concerned, well, WE hit the jackpot years ago.

Eighteen of 'em to be precise.
August 23rd, 2008
Y'know, I've heard tell that there's this Batman movie making the rounds out there, one with the Joker in it. Well, until it makes it to the local two dollar cinema (one buck on Tuesdays), there's not much more I can say about it.


I CAN share this recent commission I did featuring the Dyseptic Duo...

(Check to enlarge).
Incidentally, I did the above illo at the behest of my valued patron to be presented as a birthday gift, and--wouldn't you know it?--today just so happens to be the birthday of a fellow who knows a thing or three about The Clown Prince of Crime and The Caped Crusader his own self, my good buddy, Mr. Terry Austin!

Happy B-day, Big T--and hey, why not fry yourself up a big pan of laughing fish for dinner?
August 22nd, 2008
Continuing (and concluding) the artistic theme begun last time out, we take a look at another rock-centric commission I doodled up earlier this year.

The subject de jour?

It should be no mystery, as they're the most magical band of them all--

(Click the above image to see a larger version.)

My assignment this time around was to pair up the lovable Mop Tops of 1964 era Beatlemania with their Sgt. Pepper counterparts, and to that end, i dug out my vintage LP for the latter and looked to the Fabs' mid-sixties Saturday morning cartoon show as inspiration for the former. Y'know, I had so much fun drawing my all-time favorite band, I'm thinking about maybe redoing some of the lad's classic LP covers in my own goofy style. Course, that's no easy task, so I think I'll start slowly and tackle "The White Album" first...

Well, that's it for the Hembeckized Rock Icons--at least for now. Joe, I know you're out there reading this, and as soon as we get our young one off to university, I'm gonna get to your oft-delayed commission--and honest, I ain't just blowin' wind outta my butt!
August 20th, 2008
When it comes to doing caricatures of the famous--and the not so famous--I'm afraid I have more in common with Sam Drucker than I do with Mort Drucker.

Never the less, I DO get the occasional request to draw a familiar face, and if--in a rare fit of self-delusion--I think I'm up to the challenge, I'll take on the commission. Such a situation presented itself earlier this year when a patron enlisted me to produce an illustration depicting Richer Rich paying Elvis Costello a big ol' wad of cash to strum a few tunes for him!

Yeah, I'm not entirely sure WHY either, but I do know my (ultimately satisfied) customer indicated that the drawing was intended as a gift for a friend.

Well, as far as predicting his buddy's tastes go, I sure hope his aim was true and trust that the guy enjoys this year's model...
(Click to enlarge--but you knew that, right?)

Til next time, folks--get happy!
August 19th, 2008
Not all that long ago, I was asked to provide a drawing for one of those special blank cover Marvel Comics editions to be used as part of an upcoming Hero Initiative charity auctions.

Well, the time to bid is NOW, folks! But I thought I'd show you what I doodled up first, and then send you off to the eBay listing later.

This time around, the subject was the Hulk, so naturally, I did my own riff on the original Jack Kirby cover from 1962's HULK #1. That was for the front of the book, which still left me with a big ol' blank space on the back to fill.

HOW'D I fill it? Well, you'll just have to scroll down and see (and, as always, click the images below to see 'em at a larger size...)
Here's the link to my doublesided HULK cover illo, for those of you who may want to consider snapping it up, and here's a link for ALL of the covers the Hero Initiave folks have up for sale currently. Some choice stuff there, and it's for a good cause, so I encourage you to consider parting with a few bucks for one (or more).

Or, as The Hulk might put it...

"Puny humans BID!!"..
August 18th, 2008
No art today, just some old business and some new business.

Old first.

The response to my redo of the "Big Jim's P.A.C.K.." ad was more intense than I could've ever anticipated (a portion of which can be viewed over in the comments section of my mirror image MySpace blog entry to the August 13th one found below). Thing was, I was 22 at the time the ad first ran, and so wasn't all that much concerned with the actual product--but it seems quite a few of you folks out there were considerably younger and thus apparently look back on Big Jim and his cohorts with much more fondness than I! Hey, who knew?

But besides the free-flowing wave of nostalgia that I unknowingly unleashed with that illo, I also received this intriguing email from Richard Bensam, which throws an interesting light on the ad's original art and the true identity of its perpetrator...

First of all, the piece is fantastic.

However, I hate to say it (and I'd hate even more to leave one of your clients disappointed) but the original ad was not by Jack Kirby. It was drawn by Bill Stout in homage to Kirby's style, after Stout asked for and received Kirby's permission to handle the piece that way. Kirby -- who also did a few other jobs for Mattel -- drew the package art on the boxes for the individual figures, as seen here:

I assume Kirby did the box designs first, and the company wanted to keep the print ad in the same style but Kirby was no longer available, obliging them to turn to Stout instead.

If only all artists had been so gracious as to seek the King's approval before "borrowing" his style...well, let's just say Jack and Roz's front parlour would have been inundated with all the letters all those artists would have been obliged to send.

Yours as always,


Check the link, folks--and thanks for the info, Richard!

New business?

Right here under my very fingertips--I have me a brand new laptop! Faster, larger screen, way more storage space (and considering I was keeping my entire website on the old one, this was an upgrade whose day was ever beckoning)--as soon as I can get used to the shift key being in slighter higher location and I stop accidentally erasing my words every other time I attempt to capitalize a word, I'll be just fine!! (This in my first attempt at using the new machine to compose a blog entry, y'see.) Alec bought a new laptop about a month back, then Julie--who needs one for college--about two weeks ago did the same, and finally, yours truly. So for the last few days, data was being shifted from hither to yon, computer-wise, and thus, no posting yesterday.

And how many more over the next few weeks I can't honestly say. Without actually reviewing all my previous monthly blog archives, I've a pretty good suspicion that July 2008 had the fewest entries of any month since I launched this site. I tried my best to make things up to you loyal readers (both of you) by posting a whole lot this month, even it's mostly been heavy on the quirky art and light on the incisive commentary ("While Robert Downey Jr's facial hair was one of the highlights of "Iron Man'", one has to wonder--did Jeff Bridges actually shave his head or was that a bald cap he was wearing?..."). I have some more illo-centric entries in mind, and I hope to get to at least a few of them soon, but folks, we're coming down to the wire with Julie in the next couple of weeks. Alec just today headed upstate to his new apartment (so as to be closer to Julie--yes, they really DO like each other that much! And as we saw a whole lot of Alec this summer ourselves, I'm happy (and relieved) to say he's a swell guy!) Then, next Monday, our darlin' daughter turns 18 (!!), and by the FOLLOWING Monday, she'll be ensconced in her dorm, taking her initial college classes!!! So trust me--things are bound to get a little hectic around here as August invariably winds down.

Come September, though...

Well, anyway, I'll see you again before that, but that's the news for now!
August 16th, 2008
Today, we conclude our two-day salute to the pulp-heroes of yore with my version of the greatest one of them all...


(Click the image below to enlarge, friends.)
Unlike yesterday's subject, Doc Savage, I'll happily confess to being a long-time fan of The Shadow (why, I even actually read a reprint of his very first pulp adventure, a paperback I bought mainly for the great Steranko cover)! The 1964 Archie comics version--drawn by John Rosenberger as blond haired and handsome, wearing a blue cape and a fedora in the first issue, while garbed in typical green and blue super-hero drag by Paul Reinman in the remaining seven issues--may not have been the best introduction to the pulp icon, but it was good enough to peak my interest (y'know, you probably couldn't find two artists as diverse in styles as Rosenberger and Reinman--me, I always preferred Rosenberger, and on The Fly as well, which had a similar changing of the artistic guard). Comics-wise, I enjoyed the early seventies O'Neil/Kaluta DC issues, the later Howard Chaykin reboot (and the even wackier Andy Helfer/Kyle Baker extrapolation of Howie's premise), as well as the more traditional approach of the Gerard Jones/Ed Barretto THE SHADOW STRIKES series. I've heard several of the radio shows, had fun watching the nineties Alec Baldwin movie, but again, my strongest memory of The Shadow has to do with ANOTHER film featuring the character. (Cue slowly evocative fade to flashback...)

The year was 1964. There was this indoor farmer's market my family would visit every few months, which had a booth that sold old comics and magazines at give-away prices. With their logos stripped off (for newsstand credit, natch), I picked up a few "hot" copies of Fantastic Monsters of the Films. One of which had a lengthy article concerning The Shadow, which I devoured excitedly. Among the facts included in this all-encompassing piece was the prime nugget that several feature length Shadow films--NOT serials--were produced during the forties! True, they were little more than B-movies, clocking in comfortably under the ninety minute mark, but they were honest-to-gosh, watch-'em-in-one-sitting movies, and back in 1964, there weren't any other costumed heroes who could claim that distinction for themselves!

And they all starred a guy named Kane Richmond!!

Kane Richmond! What a name! He even sounded like a comics hero himself! Geez, ANYBODY with the moniker "Kane" sounds like he belongs in a funnybook, fighting bad guys, y'know? "Kane Abramowitz, P.I."--yeah, I'd buy THAT comic!...

So from that point on, every week upon obtaining our copy of the TV GUIDE, I'd eagerly scour the section devoted to the movie listings, hoping to find one of The Shadow flicks (and, invariably, doing a double take every single time I came across the title of the WWII film "Bataan", always initially reading it as "Batman"--and this, before there even WAS a "Batman" movie!!). I did this for several months, and then finally I saw it--

"The Shadow Returns" (1946)!

There WAS a catch, though--the thing was scheduled for some ungodly hour, starting somewhere between 1:45 and 2:15 in the morning (I don't remember the exact time, but it was in that ballpark). Now, I've subsequently grown up to become quite the night owl, but at the time, I probably hadn't stayed up any later than one o'clock--and then only rarely--and here was a film I just HAD to see that wouldn't end until way past three in the A.M.!! Luckily, it was being shown on the weekend, so eventually I managed to cajole my parents into letting me stay up way, way past my bedtime and watch it.

Which I did.

And all I recall about it was that there wasn't nearly enough of The Shadow in it for my tastes--and that it's really, really hard to follow even the plot of a poverty row pot-boiler if you're constantly yawning throughout the proceedings!

And after that, to the best of my knowledge, none of The Shadow movies ever turned up on NYC television again. So, unlike the undoubtedly superior "Doc Savage" film, this is one little piece of cinema I'd be very curious to see again.

Preferably in the afternoon.

(Cue maniacal laughter....)
August 15th, 2008
Before there were comic books, there were---


(That's right, I read "Steranko's History of the Comics" too--say, has the third one come out yet? I haven't checked down at the local comics store lately, and maybe I missed it? Just asking...)

Anyway, before there was Superman there was Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze. In all these years, though, I'd never had the call to draw Clark Junior (his given name--but you know that. Jim told us....) and his associates--until now!

Here then, is a recently commissioned illo I did of the whole Doc Savage gang (click on the image to eyeball an even larger version...).
Left to right, that's Johnny, Renny, Doc's cousin Pat, Doc, Ham, Monk, and Long Tom. At least, that's their nicknames--Google Doc if you're looking for surnames and their various military ranks, okay?

in preparation for this illustration, I dug out my complete collection of both Marvel's color and black and white DOC SAVAGE series for reference (I'd completely forgotten DC had a go at Doc in the late eighties until I'd already completed the above pic). I recall enjoying the Marvel adaptations well enough--Ross Andru inked by Tom Palmer was a visual delight that had leaked out of my memory completely--but the truth is, I was never much of a Savage fan. Never read any of the paperback reprintings of the original pulps, despite their widespread popularity back in the day (gotta love those torn shirts, though).

My most vivid Doc Savage memory concerns the 1975 film starring Ron Ely in the title role. I was living in Buffalo at the time, waiting for wife-to-be Lynn to finish up college. One afternoon, we drove on over to the big local mall, whereupon Lynn sent me in to view the Man of Bronze's silver screen debut on my own while she did some shopping.

And when I said "on my own", I wasn't kidding--


"Superman The Movie" was still a few years in the future, y'see, but considering the poor showing Doc put up at the box office, it's a wonder that the OTHER fellow with a Fortress of Solitude ever got his flick green-lighted in the first place! But there, in my very own little Fortress of Solitude, I recall moderately enjoying the campy George Pal production--and I don't EVER want the see it again, cuz that'd surely mess with an otherwise pleasant memory, dig?

Now, there WAS a pulp character I was rather fond of, and if you want to see what kind of illo of him lurks in the hand of this cartoonist, come back here next time, okay?

(Cue maniacal laughter....)
August 14th, 2008
Some hand-crafted China.

A toaster oven.

Or an original piece of Hembeck artwork--any and all would make a wonderfully suitable gift for cooing newlyweds!

Well, folks can find their dishes and kitchen gadgets elsewhere, but right here is the ONLY place to find your specially cobbled together Hembeck illos for young married couples! As an example, a few weeks back, I had a request to do a wedding themed drawing for a pair of his recently hitched pals, one with a very, um, unique twist...

Y'see, THIS previously posted pic of mine is what inspired him.

So here it is--

That's Dr. Pretorius performing the ceremony, and yup, that's bridesmaid Elvira--I'm sure you recognize the rest. (Click the image to see a larger version.)

Much to my relief, I've been informed that the happy couple remain happy even after having the original of the above bestowed upon them! Whew! I sure didn't want to be responsible for causing any sort of rift with my oddball art, y'know?

Because, as Big Frankie might put it, "Marriage good! Divorce BAD!..."
August 13th, 2008
Over the last several years, I've been charged with the delightful task of redrawing quite a few pieces of art originally rendered by the immortal Jack Kirby in my own quirky little style, including covers dating as far back as the first CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 from 1941, 1968's CAPTAIN AMERICA #101, up even to BLACK PANTHER #1 from the seventies.

But recently, I was faced with perhaps my most usual Kirby reinterpretation assignment to date.

I was asked to provide my version of this, from 1975...
So I came up with what you see below (click on the image in order to view it considerably larger)

("Warpath"--now THERE'S a character you're not likely to see revived anytime soon, I'm guessing...)
I ask you--can a flurry of requests for Hembeckized Hostess Fruit Pie ads be all that far off?

(In the meantime, anybody interested in a subscription to Grit, drop me a line--I'm thinking something can definitely be arranged, dig?...)
August 12th, 2008
Today's classic Marvel cover given the Hembeck Skrull-tastic switcheroo treatment is none other than AVENGERS #93, one of the truly key issues in the original Kree-Skrull war. Those of you with long memories may recall that the scene depicted by artists Neal Adams and Tom Palmer had the Avengers attacking The Fantastic Four. Now, that certainly didn't seem like the most prudent thing for Earth's Mightiest Heroes to do--until it was revealed, within the book's pages, that the Faux Four seen on the cover were actually dirty, stinking Skrulls!

So when it came time for me to fill in the blank white space on one of those specially printed artist friendly editions of SECRET INVASION #1, I chose to make the Avengers the Skrulls this time around, and the FF the real thing! Borderline clever, eh? Hey, that's me--borderline all the way!

(Oh, and click on the image below to see an even larger version, okay?)
August 11th, 2008
These days, I just don't have the time, the cash, (or, to be perfectly honest, the interest) to follow the various escapades of my childhood (and teenhood and young--and even not so young--adulthood) favorites, even those in my once beloved Marvel Universe. Still, thanks to the Internet, even I'm aware of a little thing known as The Secret Invasion

Well, I suppose it's only proper--because after all, the one who originally set this whole crazy thing in motion?

That'd be me.

Huh? What the heck am I talking about?

I'm talking about the very first Skrull spy sent down to infiltrate the day to day doings of a Marvel mainstay, that's what I'm talking about--and if you don't believe me, check out this two page episode of "Petey: the Adventures of Peter Parker LOOOONG Before He Became Spider-Man" from 1990's MARVEL AGE #85. Unfortunately,in order to stake my claim for you skeptics out there, I pretty much had the blow what was intended to be a surprise ending, but hey, there it is--I launched the Secret Invasion!

Sorry folks...

In a related matter, I was recently commissioned to provide Skrull-centric illos on a pair of those specially printed issues of SECRET INVASION #1 with the blank covers. The first of my two customers had a very specific iconic Marvel image that he wanted me to Skrullify, and with all due apologies to Bob Layton (not to mention Robert Downey, Jr.), here it is (click on the image to see it at a larger size).
For my second cover I was left entirely to my own devices. So, I decided that I'D choose a classic Marvel cover to pull a little Skrull switcheroo on.

WHICH one?

Ah, you'll see that NEXT time!
August 10th, 2008
I'm not the sort of viewer who just indiscriminately samples various television programs--I watch what I watch, and that's all I watch. The only exception to this self-imposed rule comes each year during the Christmas season when, for the past several decades, I've made a point of tuning in virtually any sitcom--and some hour long dramas as well--with a holiday theme, all the better to put me in a properly festive mood. This peculiar practice of mine has afforded me my only peeks at such shows--both popular and obscure--as "Friends", "Girlfriends", "Everybody Loves Raymond", "Everybody Hates Chris", "Mr. Belvedere", "Family Affair", "The Famous Teddy Z", "Two And A Half Men", "The Wayans Brothers", "Yes, Dear", "According To Jim", "The George Lopez Show", "Dellaventura", "Cupid", and dozens of others.

From all those many December samplings, I only ever took up the task of following two programs on a regular basis: "Moonlighting", during it's first season, and years later, also shortly into its debut year, "The Bernie Mac Show".

I watched every single episode of that Fox show from that point on. A lot of the appeal was the fresh approach to the otherwise standard family sitcom format, but even later on, when some of the original key creative talent left the show and the scripts no longer had quite the zing of the earliest episodes, the show was still worth watching simply for no other reason than it still had Bernie.

Bernie Mac--who played a larger than life fictional version of himself on the show--was ever crusty but always lovable. I later discovered (during one of Bernie's always entertaining talk show appearances) that one of his own very favorite comedians, one he'd patterned his video alter ego on (and one who also famously played a heightened version of himself) was Jack Benny!

As wonderfully as Bernie delivered his lines during each week's little scenario, it was the short interludes throughout the plot de jour that'd have him sitting in his study talking directly to the viewers, inevitably addressing the audience simply as "America", where he excelled ! Even better would be the perfectly timed forlorn looks he'd quietly give the folks at home during key moments of the main story, carrying on the glorious Benny tradition of oft times getting his biggest laughs without ever saying a single word!

Naturally then , I was very, very saddened to learn today of the comedian's passing at the all too young age of 50.

America, there's no denying it--Bernie Mac will be missed.

August 9th, 2008
Years ago, I came up with what I thought was (ahem) a fairly clever trivia question. Here, let me try it on you:

Name the one character with "Super" in their name featured in comics published by DC back in the sixties who WASN'T copyrighted by the National Periodical Publications.

Super Turtle, perhaps?


His "Clark Kent" name was Tadwalladar Jutefruice.

His costumed identity (such as it was) was--



And his copyright owner was none other than Bob Hope, in whose 95th issue of the long running THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE title he debuted. DC published the book from 1950 right on up until a 109th issue in 1968, the last 15 of which all included Super-Hip, the final four of which were drawn by the neophyte DC artist Neal Adams, who would soon go on to more high profile assignments (and whose work on this title--and on that of fellow funnyman Jerry Lewis--likely caused DC to hedge while advertising several upcoming hardcover volumes of the popular cartoonists work as "collecting nearly every DC Comics story and cover by Neal Adams"--key word "nearly". Apparently, the Hope Estate not only controls Super-Hip, but several key pieces of Neal's early work for NPP. Oh well, there's always eBay if you long to see his version of ol' ski-nose, his talking dog, Harvard Harvard III, the faculty of Benedict Arnold High, and, of course, good ol' Super-Hip himself...)

But if you want to see MY version of all of the above (and more) go here to my Across The Page Gallery! Hey, I wanna show ya!...

WHO, you may well be wondering, would commission such an outre' item?

I know him--and maybe you do too--as David Allen Jones, but surely all savvy net surfers know him as the proprietor of the always entertaining Johnny Bacardi Show!

Actually, David simply asked me to draw up my version of Super-Hip himself, but I figured, this was likely as close to getting a request for a Super-Hip Across The Page illo as I was EVER going to get, so I decided to jump in feet first and just add the whole cast to the expanded portrait! Hey, if nothing else, it served as my little "thank you" for all the fine work David's contributed to the web with his fine site.

Besides, I WANTED to draw it! Hope (no pun intended) you folks like it!!

Well, that ends our latest batch of Across The Page illos, but I'll have some other new art to show you next time, so meet me back here then, okay?
August 8th, 2008

Fall in, you goldbricks! Today for your entertainment we have an amazing array of DC Battle Stars over in our Across The Page Gallery! Unless you want KP duty, I strongly suggest you get over there on the double!!

You'll find the one-legged Captain Storm, the only DC battle star to debut in a magazine of his very own (even if the eye-patch came way later, in his "Loser" days.).

G.I. Robot, whose adventures in WEIRD WAR TALES were only slightly more plausible than "The War The Time Forgot"s regular dose of dinosaurs vs. dogfaces.

Mlle. Marie (or as I long ago called her in my ignorance, "Mill Marie"), whose days headlining a series had already come and gone by 1961 when I first began reading DC's war comics, no doubt because little boys of that era didn't want to follow the escapades of a curvaceous French underground freedom fighter (though big boy Bob Kanigher kept her around in guest spots and reprints, allowing me to enjoy some truly beautiful Mort Drucker drawn entries from her short-lived series--magnifique!!)

Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, and WW2's own Maximus (hi, Mary Perkins' fans!), The Unknown Soldier.

The Haunted Tank, and the haunt that haunted it, the Confederate General, Jeb Stuart. Gee, I wonder HOW that'd go over these days?.,..

And lastly, America's answer to Enemy Ace, Steve Savage, the so-called Balloon Buster (as in dirigibles--it's not like the guy was a terror at kid's birthday parties or anything, mind you...). This WW1 set series didn't last long, but as the star was prominently featured in a house ad that ran across the entire DC line (along with the equally obscure Ultra the Multi-Alien and the less obscure Teen Titans), folks who never even read his adventures probably are likely aware of him through simple osmosis.

Not pictured: Jeb Stuart, The Navajo Ace; Lt. Larry Rock, The Fighting Devil Dog; Captain Hunter; The Creature Commandos, and Gunner and Sarge (and Pooch). Well, maybe another time.

August 7th, 2008
Concluding our little two-parter showcasing the whimsical crossing over of the Justice Society of America pantheon with the cast of the Lee-Ditko Spider-Man, today's commissioned Across The Page Gallery piece pits a trio of JSAers in physical combat with The Enforcers, as The Big Man looks on--and not just ANY three JSAers: Wildcat, Mr. Terrific, and (hold onto your hats, friends!) Ma Hunkle, the original Red Tornado!! I ask you, can a Scribbly/Terrible Tinkerer slugfest be very far off?

In other news, lemme just briefly tell you what happened the other night when we went to go see the "Iron Man" movie. We waited all this time until it reached the local two dollar movie theater (one dollar on Tuesdays), and I guess you get what you pay for--walking up to the counter to buy our tickets, I saw a piece of paper posted explaining that, due to a projector malfunction earlier, the Nick Fury cameo following the credits had unfortunately been cut off the print currently in their possession, and while they were in fact in the process of replacing it, they were very sorry, but folks, you just weren't gonna see Samuel L. Jackson tonight!!

Well, that put me in a cranky mood, but before long, Alec talked me down, assuring me that, as soon as we got home, he'd find said clip somewhere on the internet! Sure enough, he did--though I sincerely doubt that it was Robert Downey Jr. who exclaimed "sweet!" at the announcement of The Avengers Initiative, but more likely the guy who surreptitiously filmed the thing on his camera phone! It was a shorter bit than I expected, but at least after viewing it online, I felt satisfied and complete--I got my two bucks worth!!

(Oddly, "The Incredible Hulk" made it to the cheap theater a full week before "Iron Man", so my first viewing of Downey as Stark was at the tail-end of that film last Tuesday. And after watching "The Incredible Hulk" during an afternoon showing filled with a couple dozen screaming (literally) five to ten year old camp kids (as well as the requisite old-timers who come out to see dollar matinee's indiscriminately, chattering in their own distracting manner, oft times having little clue as to what they're watching), I decided that I'd prefer forking over a whole two dollars per person on a quieter Monday evening so I could enjoy the movie properly--which I did. I enjoyed "Iron Man" quite a bit. Heck, even "The Incredible Hulk"--not nearly as good a flick--wasn't all that bad, even viewed under the sometimes trying circumstances. It was a more visual film, so even when various crying kids were being dragged out of the theater, you could still follow the story, y'know? And so far--and we've seen nearly a dozen movies over the last few months, a list of which I should someday soon provide you with--I find it hard to truly hate a piece of cinema I've only shelled out at most two bucks (and usually just one) for, dig? Plus, I tend to stay away from movies I figure I'm not gonna enjoy in the first place, so that always helps as well...)

Moving on, I'd like to thank Grant Goggans for his very kind review of THE NEARLY COMPLETE ESSENTIAL HEMBECK ARCHIVES OMNIBUS (copies still available!), which you can read by following this link to his August 4th blog entry--much appreciated, sir!

And how about Leonard Pierce? He went out and bought a copy of The Omnibus, and after reading the "100 Things I Love About Comics" strip, he was inspired to formulate what he calls "The Hembeck Challenge" over on his Live Journal page, asking various folks to contribute a list of 50 things they love about comics! After inspiring a similar round of listings on the web several years back, I'm still amazed at how much juice that particular page--one I dashed out about a quarter century back--still has! Hey, who knows? Maybe someday it'll even inspire ME to cobble together an all-new list!! But until then, you have the efforts of Leonard and his gang--go take a look, cuz reading over the various lists will surely bring back some very pleasant memories!

(As well as occasionally making you go, "Huh? Someone actually loved THAT?"...)
August 6th, 2008
Okay folks,THIS one (as well as tomorrow's) is gonna take a little explaining...

I have this patron, y'see, who likes to commission illos mixing members of the far-flung cast of the Justice Society of America with those of the equally expansive early Lee-Ditko days of Spider-Man. Zip on over to my Across The Page Gallery to view the Webslinger surrounded by an impromptu gathering of The INjustice Society of America!!

And trust me--tomorrow things get even wackier!

(Oh, and sorry for not posting yesterday. I had fully intended to, honest, but some annoying computer problems prevented me from doing so. Happily, things seem to be back on track currently, so cross your fingers and maybe we'll ALL see something new here soon! Here's hoping!...
August 4th, 2008
Who, pray tell, would seem the most logical group to follow The X-Men on my Across The Page Gallery?

Why, Alpha Flight, of course! Go see for yourself!

(Oh, and in the "Credit-Where-Credit-Is-Due" Department, the visual notion of having the speedster twins, Northstar and Aurora, both coming AND going off either side of the page wasn't my bright idea, but was in fact suggested by my clever patron. Nifty concept!)

More anon!
August 3rd, 2008
Yesterday we saw the X-Goodies; today we see the X-Baddies getting the full Hembeck treatment over at my Across The Page Gallery--including Mr. Sinister, perhaps the goofiest name ever given to an otherwise ostensibly serious character!

Y'know, if they ever do do another Marvel-DC crossover, I'd sure LOVE to see Mr.Sinister square off with Mr. Terrific! Now brother, THAT'S fair play!!
August 2nd, 2008
Not surprisingly, the X-Men (Wein/Cockrum version) are always a popular choice when folks order up a group commission, and you can see my latest take on the Not-So-New-Anymore X-Men by going to my Across The Page Gallery. For a tad bit of variety, this time around, we add the doomed Thunderbird and the oft-overlooked Sunfire to the regular mix of usual suspects.

Incidentally, this illo was one of a duo done for a merry mutant-minded customer, and if you come back here tomorrow, you'll see the flip side to today's gaudily costumed do-gooders!

See you then!
August 1st, 2008
Yeah, my postings here were pretty darn punk this last month, no denying it. Can't promise things are gonna be substantially better, verbiage-wise, this coming month, but at least I'm gonna try and dazzle you (or least, divert you) with some brand new Hembeck art over the next few days.

Remember my Across The Page Gallery? Well, I now have eight new pieces to add to the roster, all recently completed commissions. I suppose I COULD post ''em all now, but hey, what's the fun in THAT?" Instead, howsabout one a day for the next week plus? (And if I miss a day, cut me some slack, okay? Things are a little hectic around here...)

Well then, we've got us a few way-out combos on hand, but I'm thinking, let's start conventionally and work our way up to the quirkier groupings, okay? So, follow the link above and check out five charter members of the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans alongside a pair of their JLA mentors.

More tomorrow!!

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