Archive - May 2008
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May 31st, 2008
A while back, the fine folks over at Broken Frontier asked me to write up a little preview of my book (yes, we're talking about my book again--your indulgence please...). If you check out this piece, you'll find 8 full pages on display, each with a little specially written background blurb from yours truly.

Even if you choose to pass on zipping over to take a look, I do want to share with you a paragraph I wrote in reference to a redo I did of a Spider-Man pin-up originally drawn by my all-time favorite artist, Steve Ditko. It was something of an epiphany, something that just came to me in the course of preparing this latest little bit of promo material...

Y'know, it never actually occurred to me before, but as I write this up, I realize that, in many ways, I'm Steve's polar opposite: he's gone further out of his way to shun personal attention than any other successful cartoonist of the last half-century, and me? Well, that's what almost all my comics are about -- ME! Plus, my characters have squiggles on their knees and his don't...

Hey, ain't it the truth?
May 30th, 2008
Well, those of you who are interested in buying a copy of THE NEARLY COMPLETE ESSENTIAL HEMBECK ARCHIVES OMNIBUS directly from me--whether simply a signed edition or one with an original drawing included--all the necessary information can be found on the freshly updated Omnibus Info page, which can be reached simply by clicking on the icon of the book's cover seen up top of this very page! Scroll down to the bottom and you'll find all you need to know--you can't miss it!

Sorry it took so long to get this all together--it's been a crazy week, and maybe real soon, I'll tell you a little about it. But for now, this'll have to suffice. I should also point out that, as of now, I still have but a single copy of the volume in my possession--Image is shipping my raft of books out to me by the most economical means possible, which is swell on a lot of levels, but also translates into SLOOOOOW. Could be another week or two--patience, everyone.

Although the book isn't supposed to be in stores until next week, I've already heard from half a dozen folks who've gotten their hands on a copy, including several in Canada, and even one in Australia! (Thanks for the kind words, Danny). (And you too, Sean Kleefeld!) So, it's getting out there.

My thanks in advance to all of you who choose to buy a copy, whether from me, your local comics store, or online! Just don't try and steal a copy--trust me, it's too big to stuff under your coat. You'll never get away with it!!...
May 22nd, 2008
Sorry if I don't write much here on the blog today. Gotta lotta reading to do, y'see...



Well, it's not in the stores quite yet--I believe June 4th is the projected date--but mere minutes ago, I opened up a package from the fine folks at Image (thank you, Joe Keatinge!!) and pulled out the ceremonial first copy of THE NEARLY COMPLETE ESSENTIAL HEMBECK ARCHIVES OMNIBUS, and I gotta say, it doesn't look half bad!

It's printed on paper similar to what DC uses for their Showcase series and Marvel their Essentials--at 912 pages, it pretty much had to be--and while some of the darker zip-a-tone effects from my earliest work closed up in a few instances (which happened at times even back in my old Fantaco collections), the good news is that almost all the lettering is legible (and the handful of instances where a magnifying glass might truly come in handy, well, going in, there really was no surprise there...).
So far, this is the one and only copy in my possession--no word as to when the copies I intend to put up for sale here on the site will arrive here in upstate New York (and no, I still haven't figured out the proper postage fee to charge, so I'm not taking orders--yet. By the end of the weekend, though, we should have all those details ironed out, so come back again soon if you're interested in something along those lines, okay?...)

Y'know, over the years, some folks have hinted that I have a bit of a thick head. Well, as you can see in the pic below, I now also have a thick BOOK!
Well, that's all for now! Until next time, I'll leave you with this final photo...
"Gee, I sure hope people think it's cute that I couldn't hardly ever get "opportunity" right back in the days before Spellcheck..."
May 21st, 2008
Once again, I beseech the art lovers amongst you to head on over to the


to gaze upon our latest additions!

We have three new pieces--all commissions--for you to feast yer peepers on.

First up, it's the World's Finest team--minus Robin--facing off against a trio each of their deadliest foes. Batman stares down The Joker, Two-Face and Poison Ivy, while Superman has to contend with Brainiac (original version), Lex Luthor (in that nutty battlesuit he usta wear), and big ol' mean Doomsday! Never have drawn Doomsie before--NOT a handsome fellow--and I don't think I've ever taken a shot at Lex's green and purple armor either. As for the Batman baddies, I've scribbled up many a Joker and Two-Face in my time, but Poison Ivy? Not sure, but she sure does seem familiar...

Next up, we have The Injustice Gang of the World, as assembled for the one and only time within the pages of 1974's JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #111: Chronos, Mirror Master, Scarecrow, Tattooed Man, Shadow Thief, Libra, and Poison Ivy (NOW I remember where I saw her!...). Aside from Chronos and Mirror Master (and perhaps Ms. Ivy), these are all first-timers for me. Truth is, I've been told that Libra is set to play a significant role in DC Comics' summer continuity crossover, a fact revealed to me by the fellow who commissioned the piece, Chuck Brouillette! Chuck is also one of the fine folks throwing the Saratoga Springs Comics Con in upstate New York this upcoming June 21st, an event which will feature none other than yours truly as one of the guests! If you're in the area, come say 'hi'! And come back here for more details as the date approaches ever nearer!

Lastly, we have several members of the JGM Comics cast--Barrel, Crimson, Ripperman, Shadowflame, Caress, Agent Napalm, and Cyberine--and to better help you familiarize yourselves with Joe Martino's creations, I direct you over to the JGM Comics website! Good luck with your brood, Joe--they're a tough looking bunch!

Two more things. Congrats to Mike Piazza, who yesterday announced his retirement after a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Fame career. Ten years ago tomorrow, Mike came to the New York Mets in a trade, and that was the start of some of the most exciting baseball Shea Stadium has ever seen. Thanks, big guy.

Oh, and speaking of tomorrow?

I've been informed I should expect a very special package in the mail--


Geez, and I'm supposed to SLEEP tonight?

C'mon back tomorrow for more on this finally developing story, won'tcha?
May 19th, 2008
After being rained out Friday night, the Mets went into Yankee Stadium and took the remaining two games, 7-4 and 11-2. This despite the umpires calling a bona fide Carlos Delgado three run home run foul--hey, the videotape doesn't lie--reverting the score back to 3-0 at the time instead of the proper 6-0. Only Delgado's stats suffered, as this one ended 11-2 Mets.

I suppose I'd be crowing a bit more about the Shea denizens taking the first half of this year's annual Subway Series from the last place Bronx Bombers if it weren't for the fact the the Metsies had just come off a series losing 3 of 4 from the equally last place Washington Nationals. Things haven't quite jelled yet this season for New York's National League team, but who knows? Maybe this was the weekend where things finally began to fall into place!

Stay tuned sports fans (though if you're REALLY hanging on the edge of your seat, you'd have way more fun checking Tom Peyer's often hilarious Yankees blog for daily updates! Good luck with that thong, Tom!...)
May 15th, 2008
I grew up in an era of the truly squeaky clean Comics Code--I'm talking about the early sixties here.

After putting aside the Harvey and Dell Comics that I was weaned on, round abouts 1962 or so I was buying mostly DC Comics, (the-not-quite-yet-christened) Marvel Comics, and Archie Comics. Then, one day, while browsing the racks in a department store, for the first time, I came across a series of MAD paperbacks reprinting material from their fifties' issues, and mostly because I found a Superman parody inside the pages of one, I got my mom to buy it for me.

The Man of Steel wasn't the only one of my familiar funnybook friends getting a make-over, though.

Riverdale High was NEVER like this!...
Right from the get go, I found the art of Will Elder intriguing, mesmerizing, and--especially at that tender age--not a little bit disturbing. I'll tell you what--especially after a later purchase of a paperback edition of Goodman Beaver stories featuring the infamous episode that deposited an entire set of Riverdale doppelgangers right smack dab in the middle of a literal modern day Roman orgy, THE EXECUTIVE'S COMIC BOOK (incidentally, the only item in my early day collection that my parents very quietly made disappear...), I NEVER looked at the Archie gang in quite the same way again!

Sorry to hear of Mr. Elder's recent passing--aside from his enormous talent, truly, he was one of a kind.
May 14th, 2008
Got a twofer for you today...

(Zippy image courtesy of the fine Fantagraphics publication, "Where's Dennis: The Magazine Cartoon Art of Hank Ketcham")

...and to my long-time pal...

(Vintage high school yearbook image courtesy of Roger Green--hey, don't blame ME! Have a great day, Roc--you could do a lot worse than to spend it reading some classic Dennis The Menace material!!...)
May 10th, 2008
Time for a quick status update regarding the long rumored publication of THE NEARLY COMPLETE ESSENTIAL HEMBECK ARCHIVES OMNIBUS.

Well, friends, I recently had occasion to go over the proofs of the entire thing, and after pointing out a few minor glitches that needed fixing, gave it my blessing. Turns out, with all the text set and shoehorned in between all that art, the thing clocks in at a whopping 912 pages, plus covers (included, incidentally, are a pair of entirely blank pages, suitable for sketching).

I've been informed that the book will be in stores on June 4th--which YEAR, they didn't say, but me, I'm hoping for 2008...

(Still don't know how much to charge for postage and such yet, though--but as soon as I know, I'll put out the word, and those of you hankering for a signed copy--or one with an original illo included as well--can finally send me those hard-earned shekels of yours.)

Funny thing--originally, it seemed like my collection would hit the stands roundabouts the same time as Mark Evanier's Kirby tome, but now, if everything works out as currently planned (and c'mon, what are the odds?...), we'll be hitting the shops the same week as Blake Bell's Steve Ditko overview! Either way, those are some way swell coattails to grab onto, no denying it!....
May 3rd, 2008
Hey, art lovers--head on over to the


to see the latest additions!

I promised you folks I'd post new pieces over there as I did 'em, and friends, I ain't no liar! Right up top, you'll see not one, not two, but FIVE brand-spanking new illos, each one of which is a recent commission (and with a half dozen currently in the pipeline, there'll be more a-comin''--watch this space!)

inasmuch as these ARE commissions, their content is naturally dictated by my always creative patrons! Hows about--in chronological order left to right--the many faces of the many Batgals? Or the Legion at play ("Have Duo Damsel use Bouncing Boy as a basketball, thrown through Colossal Boy's arms while playing against her other self" were my instructions!). The New X-Men, circa Storm's mohawk era. And another take each of the classic LSH and the Silver Age Superman Family--THAT'S what we have to show you today! And trust me, NEXT TIME, some of the situations get REALLY wacky! But later for that--in the meantime, check these five out!

And gosh, if you'd like one of your own, hey, you know what to do. No hard sell, merely a gentle reminder (said the hammer to the nail...).
May 2nd, 2008
If you consider yourself any sort of comics fan, you're likely all too familiar with this happy little group. It's the in-crowd down at Mid-Town High shunting aside bookworm Peter Parker on the splash page of the very first "Spider-Man" episode in AMAZING FANTASY #15...
...the very same AMAZING FANTASY #15 whose entire issue's worth of original artwork was recently donated to the Library of Congress! There's a very interesting article about the transaction on the Library of Congress blog (which I was alerted to by John Firehammer's always informative Pop Culture Safari page).

For the purposes of this here particular post, I want you to go take a look, and in particular, enlarge the photo showing several pages of artwork--including the splash--laying out on a table, and zero in on Liz Allen (or was it Liz Allan? Even Stan could never seem to make up his mind...)
Did you see it?

Did you?

Liz's facial features were clearly whited out and inked over, presumably by an artist with a brushstroke more favorable to the ladies!

All these years later, who knew? That AIN'T Ditko, folks (well, save for those, um, ears)--most likely that's Al Hartley glamorizing things up a bit! No wonder Parker was getting the cold shoulder at school--not only did he have to contend with muscle-bound Ditko jocks, but he was WAY outta his league in a "Patsy and Hedy" babe-heavy environment!

Gee, where was April March when you REALLY needed her, huh?
May 1st, 2008
It may be May, but today, I want to talk about April March!
THAT'S April March!

Never heard of her?

Truth to tell, until earlier today, neither had I. But that didn't stop a long-time fan of hers--Terry Austin, you may've heard of him?--from giving me the lowdown on her.

Cuz not only has this lovely lady (real name, Elinor Blake) been recording her own pop songs in both French and English for over a decade now, not only has she recorded (as yet unreleased) demos with Brian Wilson and Andy Paley, not only was one of her songs, "Chick Habit", featured in the recent Quentin Tarantino film, "Grindhouse", but even earlier, she was an animator, working on both "Ren and Stimpy" and Pee-Wee's Playhouse", and...

( here's the part that really caught MY attention)

...she began her career as an illustrator by assisting none other than STEVE DITKO on none other than MR.A!!!
Hard to believe? Well, check out this interview and see for yourself (a tip o' the cap to Bill Alger for bringing this to Terry's attention--and now, to mine AND yours)! There's not a lot of detail about our favorite reclusive cartooning genius to be had in the Q&A, but still, it's something new (at least, to me), another small piece of the puzzle.

(And if you're at all curious about checking out Ms. March's music, you can zip on over to her MySpace Page and get an earful....)
So if you ever found yourself sitting down with a copy of one of Mr. A's many adventures and thought, gee, I wonder what the proper musical soundtrack to read it to might be, well, now, thanks to Terry, Bill, and April herself (natch), we know!!

(Now if I could only decide which would make THE AVENGING WORLD go down easier--Jonathan Richman or World Party?...)

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