Archive - July 2009
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July 31st, 2009
...And We're Back...

Hi gang!

Pardon the paucity of blogging of late, but everyone one here at the Hembeck household has been a bit under the weather this past week, undermining any real zeal for posting on the Internet (that, and all the movies I've been watching on TCM. Don't worry--I'm keeping a list, which I promise to share with you at some point in the very near future). Well, those nasty ol' cold and strep germs are finally receding, so while we gather up our strength, let's once again dip into the illo inventory, with a half-dozen new semi-gems to show, okay?



Click the above images to view even larger images!

And go here for our current Ebay auctions!

Come back soon, won'tcha?
July 24th, 2009
It's That Time Again!!
Another week, another six illos for your consideration!
To wit:

SUPERMAN versus a George Perez stylin' LEX LUTHOR!!
Black Canary, Dr. Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Starman!
The Enchantress and The Executioner!!
WOLVERINE in the buff!!
Don't you just hate how Magneto always seems to attack just as Logan is about to jump into the shower?

Wanna see more detail? Click the above images to enlarge, like always.

And like always, here's the link to our current Ebay auctions!!

More anon!!
July 23rd, 2009
A World Without Gordon

Sorry to learn about the recent passing , at age 64, of Gordon Waller, one half of the British pop duo, Peter and Gordon. He was the one without the glasses--and the one whose sister WASN'T dating Paul McCartney.

The first 45 rpm single I ever bought was The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "I Saw Her Standing There". Probably because my parents got sick and tired of hearing me play it over an over, they went out and bought me, in short order, "Meet The Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album", and "Introducing The Beatles". But music is an infectious thing, and eventually I needed more, so my mom gave me enough money to buy three singles (at the price of, I believe, 49 cents apiece), and with most all of the current Beatles hits included on the aforementioned LPs, I decided to stray afield and invest in the following: "I Get Around" (b/w "Don't Worry Baby"), by The Beach Boys, "Ronnie" by The Four Seasons, and "A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon.

Actually, i didn't stray completely afield as I well knew at the time that the latter tune was a Lennon/McCartney composition (actually, pretty much solo Paul, but back then, that sorta info wasn't disseminated). It was a catchy number, one that still brings back those halcyon days of 1964 with every fresh hearing. Later, I went out and bought their next two singles as well, "Nobody I Know" and "I Don't Want To See you Again", two more McCartney gifts. There were other hits as well--"True Love Ways", the novelty "Lady Godiva", and the "Paul-pretends-he's someone-else-and-uses-a-pseudonym-to-see-if-it'll-still-sell" "Woman", which turned out to be a moderate hit at best--but I never quite got around to buying a full album of their work until the CD era. But to me, even though I couldn't tell you which one was which, vocally speaking, Peter and Gordon will always remain true icons of the sixties' British Invasion.

The duo split up in 1968, with Peter Asher forging a long and successful career as a music producer, most notably with Linda Rondstadt. They reunited for occasional gigs in recent years, and in fact had some dates scheduled for the very near future. Not gonna happen now. A real shame.

Here's a video of the pair singing their first big hit, back in 1964. To paraphrase a famous comedian, "Thanks for the memories, Gordon"
July 20th, 2009
One Small Pitch...

It was forty years ago today--I'll never forget it!

Jack DiLauro notched his first major-league win, pitching in relief for the New York Mets against the Montreal Expos in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader played on the Canadians' home field!

Okay, okay--so maybe I had to go look the particulars up (thank you, Google), but the truth is, while every other channel on the dial (all half dozen of 'em) were broadcasting live from the moon, me and my dad were tuned into the one station that wasn't! Oh sure, we switched over when Neil Armstrong took those first, tentative steps, but then--back to the game!!

Hey--don't look at me like that!! A Miracle took place that year, y'know.

(And if you've been watching the team lately, you know that a 2009 Miracle is about as likely as another lunar stroll, but at least we have our memories...)

Happy anniversary, Neil and Jack!
July 18th, 2009
Half A Dozen Drawings

Time for the nigh weekly illo pitch!

To wit--

Click the any of the above images to see 'em larger!

Go here for our latest Ebay auctions!

That's all for now--gotta get back to TCM! See ya soon!
July 15th, 2009
Three Announcements, Three Links

If you head on over to Robert Goodin's Covered website, and utilize the following link, you'll find my version of MYSTIC COMICS #7, a Golden Age Timely cover originally by Jack Kirby. Don't stop there, though--do look around cuz there's lots of fascinating takes on iconic covers of yesteryear. And apparently, I'm just about the only contributor who HASN'T done a version of AVENGERS # 221 yet!!

Secondly, if you're a New York Mets fan who's ever wondered if any players, past or present, have appeared in either any movies or on television programs, my good buddy Matt Poslusny has just the website for you: NY Mets Korner. Check it out, Amazin' fans, cuz if nothing else, it may well mercifully help take your mind off the 2009 season, if only for a little while.

Thirdly, just thought I'd let you know that I've accepted an invitation to attend this year's Mid-Ohio Con! True, it won't be happening until October 3rd and 4th of this year, but I wanted to give you all an early, early heads up!! Y'know, it's probably been a full quarter century since I last attended a con outside of the tri-state area, though not for wont of requests--I simply resist flying whenever possible, and in fact will be driving with co-pilot Lynn this time around. Hey, what's a 12 hour car trip,after all? Well, probably enough to limit my Midwestern con appearances for the foreseeable future, so if you're in the vicinity, c'mon by!! Dunno when I'll be out that way again. But I'm pretty doggone excited about the prospect, and very much appreciate the invitation to one of most heralded of Comics Conventions--mucho thanks to James and Bill Henry! I look forward to having the opportunity to meet all sorts of folks I'd otherwise never likely encounter!! And worry not--as the event draws closer, I'll post the occasional reminder here! In the meantime, guess I'd better drop the Triple AAA a note about getting me an Ohio map or two!...
July 13th, 2009
I'm Coo Coo For Cinema!

I haven't been posting much lately (save for the shameless hawking of my goods--see previous entry, and likely the next one as well...), and there's a reason for that:


And I'm not just talking about our nearly weekly visits to the local bargain theater, but let's start there first anyway, okay?

The last flick we saw away from home goes all the way back to Father's Day, when we took in "Sunshine Cleaning", a quirky comedy-drama about a pair of sisters who team-up to start a crime scene clean-up business. The laughs were hardly plentiful, the story a little aimless, but at least the acting was of a high caliber.

Afterwards, daughter Julie wondered aloud why I had chosen this particular film to plunk down two bucks each for.

"Fred has a crush on the star", Lynn matter-of-factly replied.

To which I declared, "Amy Adams is the SECOND most adorable woman in the whole wide world!"

Nice save, huh?

Truth is, she's also a tremendous actress, and I'll happily go see her in whatever she appears in! Yes, even "Night At the Museum 2"!...

But there's more to the story of my current ongoing distraction...

The very same day, a local library was in the midst of an enormous--and generous--four day sale. Each day, the prices asked were diminished, with whatever was left going for free on the final day. Having enough unread books, I did my best to shy away from them, instead heading over to the VHS tapes. And there were plenty to choose from! Some still in their commercial packaging, others in typical generic library cases, and still others in no case whatsoever. Looking over the available bounty, I chose only films I'd never seen, but would like to. So, for a mere quarter each, I bought the following movies...

"Dead Man Walking"
"There's Something About Mary"
"Ghost World"
"Things To Come"
"The Muse"
"Punch-Drunk Love"
"A League Of Their Own"
"Four Weddings And A Funeral"
"The Night They Raided Minskys"
"Taxi Driver"

(Yes, I've never seen "Taxi Driver". Hard for ME to believe, too...)

(And yes, we went back on the last day. the shelves were pretty much totally cleaned out of actual movies, with mostly instructional videos being all that was left. Still, I managed three more:

"Thoroughly Modern Millie"
"Parenthood", being the Ron Howard film--which I'd already seen, but hey, it was free--but looked to be something from the TLC channel due to it's featureless casing.

But that's not all. The very next day, we finally upgraded our selection of cable channels. Verizon and Cablevison have been waging an ad war in these parts with the fierceness of a cut-throat political campaign, and when about half of our existing channels were eliminated back in May--with no accompanying price reduction--we knew we'd have to eventually give in. Especially since they took away MSNBC, which I'll admit I probably watched way too much of. Ironically even though both services offered over a hundred channels, somehow MSNBC wasn't available on either one!?! Makes no sense, but at least I can still catch any of the evening shows the day after on the MSNBC website. I've kept up pretty steadily with Countdown, but have been fairly spotty with the rest. No matter--SOMEDAY Verizon FIOS (that was our choice) will add MSNBC to its roster. In the meantime, welcome back Turner Classic Movies!!

Ah, TCM, how I've missed you--and THIS time around, I'm NOT gonna take you for granted!!

Y'know, back when I was a teen, there were a few years when I was absolutely obsessed with watching movies. There'd be Sunday's that I'd plan entirely around the TV Guide listings, watching as many as a half dozen flicks in a day! I have one of the earliest editions of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, and you can page through it and still see the red dots that I checked off to indicate every film I saw!!

But then I went off to college and didn't have time for TV or movies, and by the time I did, my focus had shifted over to episodic TV, which is where it's been ever since.

However, I've slowly drifted away from weekly television programs, and now I'm fully ready to embrace movies again, especially classics--and curios--that have eluded me in the past.

TCM isn't the only place to find flicks--there's also the web. (Yes! I've finally discovered Hulu! And AMC's B Movie page. I already knew about You Tube's show page...)

So here's what I've watched in the last few weeks, all instead of blogging...

"In The Heat Of The Night" (TCM). Always felt as if I knew enough about this that I really didn't need to see it. Wrong. It was very good, even if ultimately, the mystery aspect was a bit weak.

"Born Yesterday" (TCM). Never could figure out how a comedic performance by Judy Holliday could beat out Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard", but now I know! Terrific picture!

"The 39 Steps" (TCM) Never saw one of Hitchcock's pre-Hollywood British films. Thought they'd be talky and stodgy. Wrong yet again. Very peppy, with a GREAT ending, and clever mystery resolution--hat's off to Mr. Memory!!

"The Lady Vanishes" (Hulu). Maybe even better British Hitch! Love the comedy portions.

"Clueless" (VHS) Tame by the teen comedy standards set in recent years. Pleasant enough, but nothing to overly rave about.

"The Haunted World Of Edward D. Wood" (YouTube) GREAT documentary about the cult director! LOVE Bela Jr's opening line: "Edward D. Wood was a user and a loser".

"Bells Are Ringing" (TCM) Judy Holliday again, paired with Dean Martin in an outdated musical (about an answering service), with one way famous tune: "The Party's Over". Frank Gorshin as an actor, broadly imitating Marlon Brando, is a hoot, though...

"Corridors of Blood" (AMC B Movies) It's 1840 and Boris Karloff is a doc trying to perfect painless surgery. A young Chris Lee is no help, no help at all...

"The Muse" (VHS) Albert Brooks is a screenwriter finding inspiration in a mythological muse, played by Sharon Stone. Funnier than "Mother" for my money.

"Don't Knock The Rock" (TCM ) Alan Freed and Bill Haley try to convince skeptical adults that rock and roll is just good, clean dance music--and THEN they bring out Little Richard to perform!! Oops...

"Mockery" (TCM) A Lon Chaney silent flick with the star playing a dim-witted peasant who saves the life of a Contessa during the Russian Revolution. Touching in the tried and true beauty and beast manner.

"The Manchurian Candidate" (TCM) I have seen the face of evil and it's Angela Lansbury!! Wow!! Was THIS ever a humdinger!! Frank Sinatra, karate-master? Who knew??

"To Catch A Thief" (TCM) Or, to film a vacation on the French Riviera and call it a movie!! Not nearly Hitchcock's best, but fun nonetheless...

"Beach Party" (TCM) Hard to believe, but I'd never seen a Frankie and Annette beach flick before, but now that I have, I wanna see 'em ALL!! Silly, sure, but no dopier than the sitcoms of the era that I eagerly lapped up with a spoon...

"Panic In The Year Zero!" (TCM) Frankie again, this time on the run from nuclear holocaust with dad Ray Milland (who also directed) in this zippy doomsday flick. LOVED the way Ray made a special highway crossing for the family trailer!...

"The Night of The Hunter" (TCM) Another big-time classic!! Visually stunning, extremely creepy in mood. Most unforgettable shot: submerged Shelley...

..and that's it for now, though I plan to watch "Go, Johnny, Go" later this evening, and have "1776", two Herman's Hermits flicks, three non-Avalon/Funnicello movies, several pre-code gun moll potboilers and three Fellini movies all waiting patiently in reserve (I've never seen a Fellini flick, but seeing as how he was bud's with both Stan and Steranko back in the day, I felt I owed it to him to rectify that oversight...). TCM has plenty of goodies on their playbill for the next few weeks, not the least of which is moon day on the 20th (I look forward to "The Right Stuff", not to mention that silent short from, what, 1905?...). Plus, there's still a few good things to see on REGULAR TV as well--a Tenth Anniversary SpongeBob special on VH1 Tuesday night, Paul McCartney's first ever visit with David Letterman Wednesday!

AND the Wolverine Origins movie is finally at the dollar (or two, depending which day you go) theater!

So I'll try to check in again soon, but if not, my apologies--I've got a LOT of catching up to do!!
July 10th, 2009
A Not So Dirty Half Dozen

Six new illos to showcase today, starting with...

Look! Up in the sky! It's bird! It's a plane!
Note to newcomers--as always, click on the above images to see them at twice the size, should you desire a closer look.

And as always, here's your link to our latest Ebay auctions, should you desire a REALLY close look--like, in your very own dining room!!

More soon!
July 5th, 2009
When Jack Confounded Stan

I've been reading the HULK OMNIBUS of late, collecting ol' Greenskin's stories from his first solo title, the entirety of his TALES TO ASTONISH back-up series, and the first issue of his second, more successful full-length book. Unlike the material in the FF and SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUSES, I hadn't reread these Hulk tales over and over again back when I was younger, as I never felt they quite measured up to the best Marvel had to offer, so reviewing them in such a concentrated fashion is quite the interesting experience.

There's all sorts of observations I could make, but for now, I'd simply like to focus on a panel found on the third page of the Hulk story published in TTA #68 (June 1965), the first episode drawn by returning original co-creator, Jack Kirby, after Steve Ditko had pencilled the initial eight chapters.

I think I'd like to file this under the category, "Things Jack Made Stan Explain", sub-category, "Kirby Notions Lee Failed To Explain In Any Way Convincingly".

See for yourself...
That's right--when Stan sat down with the pencilled pages to script, he discovered that Jack had The Hulk leaping across the Pacific Ocean!!


Apparently from one conveniently located island to another--not to mention leaping even more unbelievably from one airborne plane to the next!! Geez, can you just imagine the in-flight turbulence THERE??

"Stewardess, what was THAT?"

"It seems as if The Hulk bounced off our right wing, sir, but not to worry--he's gone now. More peanuts?..."

The good news is that, thereafter, The Hulk's leaps were--you should pardon the expression--a bit more down to earth
July 3rd, 2009
Half-baked Alaska

Can't say I've really gotten the hang of this whole Twitter thing, but when I had the tube on this afternoon as the latest big news broke--the ONLY news that could've knocked wall to wall Michael Jackson coverage off cable news, at least for a little while--I became downright inspired, and tweeted six times in less than an hour (and boy, are my arms tired!!), which I present herewith in chronological order (and no, in case you're unsure, I'm NOT a fan...)

They call her Bailin' Palen!!

WHY did Sarah Palin quit her job as governor of Alaska? Dunno--I'll ask 'er...

If she wants to improve her popularity, maybe she should divorce Todd and marry Marvel-man Stan, cuz nobody doesn't love Sarah Lee!

Any news come in about Tina Fey stepping down from 30 Rock? Just checkin',,,

I wonder if you can you see Godzilla from Wasilla?

Attention: the governor of Alaska will soon return to being someone whose name you can't remember. All is well with the world again...
July 1st, 2009
Almond Joy

Back when the legendary Bernie Wrightson was still living in the nearby Hudson Valley, there'd be a big ol' Halloween jamboree at his house at the tail-end of each October. All sorts of folks--names both familiar and unfamiliar--would show up, usually fully decked out in costume. One such perennial guest was a young fellow by the name of Bob Almond--usually accompanied by his brother, and always decked out in some elaborate outfit (the walking, talking milk carton comes immediately to mind). I always enjoyed speaking at length with Bob at those annual wing-dings, but they came to an end just before Bob eventually achieved his goal of working in the comics industry.

Well, in the years since, Bob has carved out for himself a distinguished roster of top-notch embellishing credits (which you can read about at his website).

And NOW, he's put all that good will on the line by combining his indisputable talents with my somewhat more questionable ones!

Nothing too extensive here, simply a collaboration on a pin-up type illo grouping The Fantastic Four, The Black Panther, and Spider-Man. Y'see, while zipping email messages back and forth on other matters, it suddenly occurred to me that Bob might like to take a shot at inking one of my drawings! (His reward? Said drawing to keep--hey, no one ever said dealing with me was a quick way to get rich!!...). He agreed, I sent him the pencilled piece, and today, he sent back a scan of the finished art to me, and now I'm sharing it with YOU!!

To witness the historic Hembeck/Almond Art Experience--go here!!

Thanks, Bob--you did a TREMENDOUS job!! It's always a treat for me to see my drawings inked professionally (y'know, as opposed to by ME...)!! You now join a very small, select group of brushmen who've taken a shot at my lead scribblings--worthies such as Terry Austin, Bill Anderson, and Joe Albelo (geez--who's next? Jim Amash? We seem to be going alphabetically here, so Jim--looks like you're on deck!...) (Doug Hazlewood, Dave Hunt, Joe Staton, Josef Rubenstein, and (choke) Vince Colletta pretty much make up the rest of the list--gosh, I sure wish we coulda skipped the "C"s entirely...).

But Bob? YOU get an "A" plus plus for your exemplary work!! Gracias, sir!!

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