Archive - November 2005
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November 29th, 2005
If you've read every last word here on this website--and bless you if you have--you'll probably be familiar with this week's 38th episode of The Fred Hembeck Show, as it's a re-purposed Classic Cover Redo piece concerning AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25--y'know, the one where J. Jonah Jameson commandeers a robot to attack good ol' Spidey? Yeah, THAT one. Go read it if you haven't already, and even if you have, check out the additional scans I tossed in for the benefit of the IGN audience!

As for Peter, well, he's AWOL this week, so no link. Probably off in some corner watching the first three seasons of SpongeBob on DVD...

That master of the holiday music mix, Ken Plume, always has some swell suggestions on how to spend your money. Check out this week's guide, which is especially pertinent as December 25th creeps ever closer. And whatever you do, friends, please make sure to have yourselves a Kung Fu Christmas!..

Y'know, I ALMOST wrote a real post earlier today, but--oops--that urge quickly passed. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow. Thank goodness friend Roger won't let a day go by nearly as quietly...

Back soon!
November 26th, 2005
It's Saturday, which means--yup--the results from yesterday's Five For Friday poll are in. The topic this week?

What I Really Want For Christmas:

Name Five Comic Strips or Comic Books That Need to Be Collected and Back in Print

..and looking at it now, as I copy and paste it here for all to see, I'm beginning to realize I may've misinterpreted the question, as I chose to list books and strips that have (to the best of my knowledge) NEVER been collected between two hardcovers (or published at the very least in trade format). Oops. Still, I did manage to round up a group of worthy features that cry out for wider recognition, so go look. And next week, I promise to read the query closer Tom--honest...

Otherwise, things are going nicely hereabouts. Had a pleasant Thanksgiving dinner over at Lynn's mom's house (turkey for all, save for specially fried portabello mushrooms for our vegetarian daughter). Julie in fact stayed over at her grandma's until earlier today, which provided a nice respite for all. Upon her return though, well, here's what happened...

The three of us were having our supper, when the discussion turned to food. Lynn and Julie began talking about feta cheese and various pilafs (which I insist on pronouncing as "peel-offs"). In an effort to inject myself into the conversation--in however inane a manner--I turned to Julie and said,

"Feta Pilaf--wasn't that the name of an Arabian stripper?..."

To which, much to my surprise, she burst out laughing hysterically! After a few seconds of this, she nearly began to choke on the food she had in her mouth at the time I delivered my little quip, but luckily, no emergency procedures were necessary. But she wouldn't stop laughing, and soon she had me going as well. All the while, Lynn sat there stone-faced, which somehow made things even funnier!

Eventually, we both regained our composure. I hadn't thought it THAT good of a gag, but sometimes, you just never know how people are going to react. Julie complimented me, saying it was one of the best jokes she'd ever heard me tell (geez, I hope not...), and that while she would, in the past, generally laugh at my lamer gags, THIS one had spoiled her, as she'll expect nothing but A material from me in the future. Lynn? Well, nothing new here--to her, it was just more silly word play (she's been around me for quite a while, remember--though I DID mange to make her laugh several times while Julie was at her Gran's, using my, ahem, more sophisticated approach...). But it still made for a memorable homecoming for Julie. I'm just glad she didn't choke to death laughing.

I mean, I don't REALLY want my material to kill, y'know?...
November 24th, 2005
May you all have a safe and happy holiday, with a plentiful bounty to feast upon! And I'm sure, given the chance, those very sentiments would be echoed by Bikini Bottom's own SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as by his many friends and associates: Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabb, Mrs. Puff, Plankton, Mermaidman, Barnacleboy, and of course, the NEWEST member of the gang, Peter Sanderson!

Don't eat too much!
November 22, 2005
Ever wonder what Dr. Doom keeps hidden under that mask of his? Well, the 37th episode of The Fred Hembeck Show puts forth an entirely NEW theory--and has the evidence to back it up! Go look--if you dare! (Yeah, I know--that's a cheap come on. But sometimes they work, y'know?...)

Peter Sanderson continues to document his growing fascination with all things SpongeBob--apparently, now he's seeing the li'l yella dude EVERYWHERE he goes!--in his 111th Comics In Context column. Oh, and he talks about that "History Of Violence" movie too. Nice Peter--nice enough to keep you off the super-villain role-call, at least for another week!...

And Sleestak? After seeing this photo, I surrender. I mean, how's a guy like me supposed to compete with THAT? I just hope the two of you are very happy together. (Dirty stinking space aliens, always stealing our wimmen-folk...)..

That's all for now. Feel better, Rog...
November 20th, 2005
Stevie Wonder Woman?

No, really. Go look if you don't believe me.

There's more if you can stand it. The site is called Frankentoons, and I found it thanks to K. Thor Jensen's choice of Portal of Evil on the last Five For Friday listing. GREAT choice, K, as a veritable treasure trove of oddball site links lurk within!

And speaking of that Five For Friday posting, I received a very gracious email from the fellow who presides over Lady, That's My Skull for including his site in my own listing. In the course of his message, the man previously known only to myself and the rest of the internet as "Sleestak" casually reveals his TRUE identity--meaning I now have him EXACTLY where I want him! HAH! My plan worked to perfection!

"Sleestak", for those of you who haven't been paying close attention, has posted several entries that read like little more than love-struck mash notes to the beauteous Hayley Mills, but she's MINE, "Sleestak", all mine! Back off fella, or I'll reveal your secret to the entire world! (Or at least the several dozen bored comics fans who stop by here when their boss is in the executive washroom, anyway...) Back away from Pollyanna, pal, and everything will be all right...

Unless, y'know, there really ARE two of her, like in that "Parent Trap" movie. That would solve our numbers problem right there, and we could be buds again. Yeah, that'd be swell--y'know, this sure looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, D--er, "Sleestak"!..

(You don't think the wives will mind overmuch, do ya?...)
November 19th, 2005
Over at The Comics Reporter, the results for Five For Friday #56 --

Link-a-Rama: Name Five Comics-Related Web Sites You Use and Their URLs(bonus: include one at #5 you think not enough people know about)

--are up. I eschewed reference and news sites, as well as name writers (hi, Mark!) that everybody visits regularly, and instead chose to list five bloggers who deal primarily in comics. Of course, choosing five meant that I've most likely alienated the couple of dozen other folks I peek in on at least on an occasional basis. Look at this way, friends--if your blog wasn't listed, odds are you just narrowly missed out and were a close number six, dig? Honest...

Speaking of links, check out this week's Oddball Comics entry, as Scott Shaw examines an obscure comic drawn by the great Al Wiseman. And Will Pfiefer now has audio of the Jerry Lewis debacle I linked to the other day. Great stuff, but I kept listening for a burst of "Hey laaaaaady!" and never quite heard it. Oh well, maybe next time..

My current blogging malaise continues. I'm surprised how easy it is to fall out of the habit. Bear with me--there'll be some goodies arriving in the future, promise. In the meantime, enjoy these meager morsels as best you can.
November 17th, 2005

More sketchbook characters, friends. These hail from roundabouts 2001, and if you go here, you can see six whole pages of the li'l critters, all scanned in on one page (scroll down, dudes). I cobbled up an actual sample single page strip using these designs not long before I launched this very website, but sad to say, it never went anywhere. Hmm--I sorta like these funky folks, so maybe I'll try again sometime soon. Or, maybe not. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, let me direct you over to Will Pfiefer's blog. Ever wonder what might happen if you set out to attend a Jerry Lewis Love-In, only to see it degenerate into a Lewis Hate-fest right before your eyes? Well, Will'll give you ALL the details, as he had the luck (both good AND bad) to witness such an epic event. The way he describes it, it sounds sorta like an issue of the funnyman's old DC Comics series that started out being drawn by Bob Oksner, but was finished up by Graham Ingels!! Yes, it's ghastly fun--don't miss it!

(And uh huh, I have myself a copy of "Dean and Me: A Love Story", and I hope to read it soon. When I do, I'll give you my review. Or maybe I won't. Geez, suddenly I've gotten awfully unreliable, haven't I?...)
November 16th, 2005
I was gonna write something pithy today, but then decided that, hey, this site has enough Hembeck verbiage (at least for now), but not enough Hembeck artwork. So I dug out this page from an old sketchbook of mine from the early nineties, and scanned it in. Look for more of these, ahem, lost treasures in the days to come--at least, until I start my big-time blathering again...
November 15th, 2005
It's super-villain month over at IGN Comics, so the 36th episode of The Fred Hembeck Show is devoted--mostly--to some questionable fashion choices made by a few big-time baddies. Go look.

Peter Sanderson's Comics In Context #110, on the other hand, is concerned mostly with the film "Chicken Little" (though it warms my heart to see him turn a significant amount of space over to yet a further discussion on the joys of being ushered into the cabal of SpongeBob! Bless you, Peter!!)

(Oh, and I apologize for not working you into any of my recent columns, Peter. Just didn't fit--no slight intended, understand. Hey, maybe should I throw the spotlight on you for an entire episode, ya think? After all, it IS still super-villains month!...)

I keed, I keed!

Sorry I won't see you at the Big Apple Con this weekend, Mr. S (or you either, Jaunty Jim Salicrup), but I'll be staying home and most likely not be blogging. Hope I'm not losing you folks, but I must admit that I'm enjoying the respite. It's not like I don't have anything to say--I do! But not being a skilled typist (or even an unskilled one, as I was never trained at all, save for the hunt and peck method), it takes me longer to prepare these pieces than the vast majority of you, the ones who can breeze through a paragraph like this while never once looking at the keyboard! (I was slightly astonished to read that my good buddy, Roger Green, had actually been preparing his recent by-no-means-stingy blog entries via a public library computer, wherein he was limited to usage of a mere hour at a time! An hour wouldn't GET me very far, sad to say...)

But like I keep telling you, I'll be back--if not EVERY day--refreshed, soon enough. In the meantime, let me leave you with this, an occasional category that pops up here on this blog from time to time...:

A Joke Prepared Especially For My Daughter, Who Unfortunately Didn't Get It (Nor Did I Expect Her To, So I Now Instead Foist It Upon All Of You..

One her favorite current bands is a group called The Shins (I actually like them quite a bit myself, but that's neither here nor there. Okay--back to the funny...).

So earlier today, she's playing their most recent album in her room (only the third time today, I believe), when I walk in to deliver my set-up...

"Hey, Julie--I just heard that a band that's been around since back in the early seventies is gonna open for these guys when they go out on tour soon."

"Oh yeah?" she says, mildly interested.

"Uh huh. Little Feat is gonna support The Shins!"

To which she replied, "Huh?"---and why wouldn't she? She doesn't know Lowell George from George Bush.

Lon Cheney and Dick Cheney--they're pretty much the same to her, too. Though I think we all know who I consider scarier...
November 12th, 2005
Funny thing about this week's communal Five for Friday listings over at Tom Spurgeon's The Comics Reporter. Not only did I contribute my own choices this time around, but when I went back to check out what other folks had come up with, I was somewhat surprised to find my own name on a handful of those very lists! Not totally, though, given the topic.

(No, it WASN'T "Name The Five Geekiest Cartoonists"--it's a sure bet I'd make it onto each and every one of THOSE lists!...)

The topic was "Trademarks-- Name Five Creators and a Signature Stylization"

Yeah, right--the squiggles. Easy call, huh?

Interestingly, the initial notion was suggested by Evan Dorkin, and on his sample list--the only one we folks got to see until Tom had assembled all the outside contributions--one of his five was as follows:

Hank Ketcham, Swirl Knees and Elbows

Which, of course, is exactly where I nicked it from (and also via DENNIS comic book artist Al Wiseman, as well as both Don Martin and Mort Walker, both of whom I seem to recall using that peculiar little visual upon occasion). Steal from the best, I always say! (And y'know, if I could draw hands like Carmine Infantino, my life would be near perfect!)

So go take a look. Oh, and Mr. S? I'm NOT offering up the "Five Geekiest Cartoonists" category for your future consideration, okay? Hey, I can live without THAT particular brand of affirmation, thank you very much!...
November 10th, 2005
The malevolent lifeforce known as SUPERFRANKENSTEIN has begun their second year on the Web in stunning fashion, offering up yet another in their celebrated series of news items as explained by vintage comic book covers. What makes this edition particularly laudatory in my eyes is that this time only Silver Age Archie titles were used, a course of action I suggested--nay, CHALLENGED--them to take in a recent previously classified communique, one delivered directly to their top-secret headquarters (i.e., I sent Tom an email).

Nice job, fella--but I suppose you're sitting on a cache of DC's SWING WITH SCOOTER covers, just chomping at the bit for the Libby trial to begin, eh?...
November 9th, 2005
That's the Bizarre Polka-Dot Man aka Mr. Polka-Dot aka The Lamest Super-Villain EVER, and you can read all about him in the 35th dizzying episode of The Fred Hembeck Show!

While you're over at the IGN Comics Website, check out Peter Sanderson's Comics In Context #109. Amazingly, Peter takes a rhetorical side-comment I made to him in one of my columns about two months ago and mines five entertaining pages out of it!! Proving, once agin, next to Mr. S, we're all just amateurs! (And Peter? I don't play golf--unless you count the miniature kind. I'm no Tiger Woods--more a Ray Palmer, if you catch my drift......)

Do I really need to direct you folks over to Roger Green's site again this week? Geez, you'd think by now you'd know the way...

Big congrats to the corps of schizoid androids who assemble the strangely fascinating SUPERFRANKENSTEIN blog each day. Overlord Peyer must be immensely proud of his mindless charges for successfully reaching the one year mark! Here's to at least one more (after that, we'll just have to see...)!

That's it. I've been enjoying my little respite from heavy-duty blogging, to tell the truth, but worry not--the blather quotient is sure to increase with time. Seeya soon...
November 7th, 2005
Remember THAT cover, Batfans? Bingo, it's Mingo--Norman, that is, MAD cover painter extraordinaire! Issued in the wake of the overwhelming success of that dreadful Adam West television show, those of us who bought the issue off the stands have fond memories of the rightful evisceration the usual gang of idiots gave their unusually diotic subject matter.

But that's not why I'm running it here.

This is...
I briefly toyed with the notion of posting this as a full-fledged Classic Cover Redo entry, but thought better of it. After all, it's just a long-forgotten drawing in an old sketchbook, one I stumbled across after cleaning up from our recently flooded basement. Done over twenty years ago, it's yet another example of Hembeck pencils and Moss inks. This illo has never before seen the light of day--apparently, I've been unconsciously saving it in reserve for just the right moment.

Which would be now, it seems...

More later.
November 5th, 2005
Miss me?

Yeah, I didn't think so...

Anyway, I took a little time to update my Comic Art Links page--you'll find 52 of these ** cuties, denoting, as always, the latest additions. Enjoy. (Oh, and if I missed anybody, drop me a line and I'll put you on the list post haste, okay?)

One note: while compiling the aforementioned list, I came upon a piece by a Mr. Steven Wintle concerning yours truly. Some of the nice things he says about me are true, but ALL of the not-so-nice things he mentioned definitely are, so let this be a warning fella--watch yer step!

And thanks.

That is all.
November 3rd, 2005

"Trick or Treat"
by Lin Howard
Okay, so I love Halloween--so sue me!

Or at least come SEE me--site statistics show that our daily unique visitors dipped significantly during what I've dubbed as Monster Month, an unfortunate by-product of my laser-like focus this past October. Ah well--I had fun, anyway...

(I'm tempted to announce the advent of Cheesecake Month, but that would be entirely too tacky a stunt, even for me. Cheesecake WEEK, however, well--we'll see...)

So take a deep breath, we're almost through here--it's time now for our own personal Hembeck Halloween Weekend Post Mortem wrap-up, followed by several small announcements...

Okay, I told you about our family's visit to the IBM Haunted House on Thursday evening, right? Well, the next tenuously associated event took place Saturday night when Julie was invited to a movie party thrown by some of her friends from school. Among the treats lensed that night was that Halloween perennial, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". Julie didn't sleep over, though, since the next morning, bright and early (like at 8:30, which is daunting even with an an extra hour of sleep, thanks to the time switch), it was time for the small, local horse show she participates in each year to be held. Luckily, the weather turned extremely mild that day (and continued that way on into Halloween night), so the four hours outside wasn't as much of a chore as it might've been, particularly for us spectators.

(Truth was, with my cold at its peak, and the farm only a five minute drive from our home, Lynn took Julie in early for the preparations phase, while I arrived at 9, left at 10 after Julie participated in the first three events, then returned at 11:20 to see her finish out the final two. Hey, cut me some slack--I was sick, y'know!)

The festivities ended, as usual, with a gala costume presentation (on horseback, natch), and Julie, not bothering to put a lot of effort into that aspect of things this year (though she loves to ride), merely wore her tried and true vampire cape, an accoutrement first donned by our little faux-bloodsucker all the way back when she was in Kindergarten, a full ten years ago!! Then it was a bit too big, now pretty much the opposite--but it sufficed. Hey, Count Dracula himself probably hasn't gotten as much milage out of his gaudy garb, I'm guessing!...

Halloween itself, well--THIS year was going to be different. Julie was invited by those same school friends to an afternoon/evening get-together at one of the other girl's house's (not the same one as Saturday night) to celebrate the occasion. The thing is, Norah--the hostess--lives about 45 minutes away! The good news was that her mom was going to pick Julie (and a few of the other girls) up directly after school Monday and take them back with her, but we'd (read: Lynn, as I'm directionally impaired, sad to say) would have to come retrieve our darlin' daughter later that same night (at 10 PM, as it turned out). Julie has made a bunch of friends at the private school she's been going to the last couple of years, but because the students are spread out so widely--all over this county and the next--she rarely sees them after hours, relaying instead on her local buddies, the ones that she grew up with in public school. She was downright enthusiastic when given this new opportunity, and politely bowed out of the plans made by her nearby gal pals (who were graciously understanding, thankfully). Of course, though, that left one person being totally ignored:


Not to begrudge the kid her fun, but it was gonna be awful strange spending Halloween without her. I've been involved--usually big-time--every year since she was three each October 31st. Lynn tried that first time out, but her bad knee just made keeping up with us at a decent pace nigh impossible, so after hiking about a block during Julie's initial trek on the Trick or Treat trail back when we lived in Kingston, mom bowed out for good. Luckily, the whole thing didn't mean as much to Lynn as it does to me, so she was happy to let me spearhead all of the following annual expeditions. It rained that first Halloween, but never since--and in fact, most every subsequent final October evening has been unseasonably mild, or at worst, never overly chilly.

A brief history then: ages three, four, and five, Julie and I went around the city of Kingston, coming in at the absurdly early curfew hour of seven. After moving to the more suburban Wappingers Falls, we roamed the streets the first two years alone (even getting a bit lost the first time out, as there were no street lights around these parts as there were in Kingston--toldja I didn't know where I was going!...). Our hours generally ran from starting out just before six, finishing up as near to nine as possible. First ones out, last ones in--THAT was our credo, and we were proud of it!..

Then, over the next four years--ages eight through eleven--we teamed up with the two sisters (both younger than Julie) who had only recently moved in next door, Christina and Elizabeth, and their mom, Jeanie. In 2001, one of the Christina's friends joined us, Celeste. That, sadly, was to be my last year out on the streets. Yes, I was disappointed, but I realized Julie was growing up--she was eleven, and MY parents certainly weren't going out with ME at that age--and didn't need her dad going door to door trolling for candy with her any longer. Unfortunately.

2002 saw her on her own with long-time school chum, Deanna, but real excitement returned to the holiday the next two years when Julie organized a burgeoning group of girl ghoulies, naturally using our house as their starting point, mid-way stop-over, and finishing line. It was a veritable flurry of costumed activity as Halloween 2003 saw Julie, Deanna, Jesse, Courtney, Caitlin, Lisa and Samantha embark on the evening's quest after first duding themselves up properly here at Moss Manse. Caitlin had since moved away, and Courtney wasn't available, but otherwise, the same group went out together last year. Overall, it wasn't quite the same as going out with the kids myself, true, but just being in proximity of all that Halloween energy was enough of a rush to feed my All Hallow's hunger.

But this year, nothing. Julie wasn't even coming home after school the way things were working out. I wouldn't see her again until the night was essentially over. Well, at least the initial plans this new little group had to go to NYC to attend a rock concert that evening were never actually acted upon--I kept telling Julie, you can see a concert ANY time, but Halloween comes but once a year! She's fifteen now, so yeah, she acted all "so what?" to my protestations, and initially indicated that her little get-together would be just that-- a get-together. Nothing holiday related. But when it finally came down to it, her and her friends DID wind up doing a couple of hours Trick or Treating (yup--in that same well-worn cape!), which somehow managed to make me happy, even I wasn't there to witness it! She had, I'm delighted to say, a swell time, exploring new environments, making new bonds. As for me, well, I got to stay home and hand out candy instead--hey, how bad could that be?

Well, it wasn't gangbusters, I'll tell ya that. Our first guest arrived at 5:52, a five year old boy in a Spider-Man outfit accompanied by his mother. The next time a knock came upon our door was over an hour later at 7:10! In total, 24 kids came to the door (11 groups, the biggest being 6 older teenagers, half of which couldn't even be bothered to muster the energy to put on any old vampire capes or such), a majority of whom turned up through 8:03, with the last stragglers arriving at 8:25 and then 8:38 (yeah, I know keeping track of this stuff is mildly insane--again, I invite you to sue me, okay?...). Given the exemplary weather, I was fairly surprised at the paucity of revellers, but that's the way it always seems to go--too much candy leftover, AGAIN...

Halloween is so ephemeral, y'know? I mean, the main event only lasts about three hours maximum (when I was a younger, kids would go out in the afternoon before it even got dark, but that doesn't seem to be the case any more), and if it's pouring rain, oh well--wait'll next year. There are no do-overs (like I said, we've managed to dodge THAT potentially fatal bullet time and again). Some folks don't understand the attraction, this I realize, but to me, its that for a small, magical window of time, kids can safely roam their neighborhood streets in the dark, hidden beneath the guises of various fanciful creatures, peeking into house they'd normally get nowhere near, all the while amassing plentiful amounts of candy in the process (the point never really being the sweets themselves, though, but the actual hunt)! The macabre aspect of the day isn't what primarily appeals to me, and I was never one of those kids who saw it as an invitation to go out and cause trouble, either, even the reasonably benign kind. No, to me, it's always been just a couple of hours each year when the rules are turned over onto their heads, and kids take over, however briefly. I'm not a kid anymore, true, but I've learned over the past decade and a half that the next best thing is witnessing these annual rites through the eyes of one, and that's why I'll never encourage my daughter to put Halloween aside--as some of her peer's parents apparently have--all in the name of "growing up". Because, y'know, if there's one thing I've come to realize each October 31st, growing up is vastly overrated....

Well, THAT went on far longer than expected. On then to a few other things.

Such as, "Happy Belated Birthday, Steve Ditko!!"

Considering the guy is my all-time favorite cartoonist, I'm somewhat embarrassed that I missed marking the day yesterday. However, I doubt I've offended the man, as odds are he isn't a regular reader of this site--and even if he is, he probably bailed (like all too many of you) midway through my above ode to the glories of Halloween! Well, whether you're still with me or not, Steve, here's wishing you many more!

Concerning that photo of the Marx Brothers I ran the other day, the ever-delightful Jim Engel chimes in regarding Chico's unusually florid appearance...

Gotta come to the defense of my Marx brethren here...that pic has appeared in other Marx books/articles, and I'm pretty sure they say the others were visiting Chico backstage at one of his solo performances, hence the make-up.

Thanks Jim, but try to explain THIS: the sound of Harpo's voice!! AND the story behind WHY he never used it on stage! (Link courtesy of the always vigilant Alan Plessinger, who figures one listen will explain EVERYTHING....)

Lastly, I'd like to take a moment to point something out to you folks--I've posted something here on this site (if not always in this blog) EVERY DAY SINCE OCTOBER 21 OF 2004!! That's over a year, people. Fact is, LAST November 3rd, the day after the Presidential election, I simply posted one word--albeit in a bold, red typeface: "Noooooooo!!!!" A year later, I continue to stand by that sentiment, but the point I'm making here is that while one COULD possibly interpret that entry as a bit of a cheat, posting wise, still, today, on THIS November 3rd, I can confidently claim that I did indeed post something on without missing a single day for at least entire year!

So what do I plan to do NOW?

Miss a day.

Or two.

Or maybe even (shudder) THREE...

Look, I did it. I'm proud. And so, I want off this runaway merry-go-round--NOW!!

Not that I couldn't keep it going, mind you--I could. But its become too much of a compulsion, and it's been getting in the way of other things I want to do. Such as artwork. Lots and lots of artwork. I have a bunch of commissions I need to finish, and these poor folks have waited long enough (you know who you are! If you've paid me for something before today, I pledge to get it to you by this Christmas-- barring another flood or the bird flu--promise!!). There's other stuff I want to draw as well, as well as to write. Even other stuff for THIS site, too much of which has been ignored in favor of feeding this blog on a daily basis. There are longer pieces I want to cobble together for those unjustly neglected sections, and I plan to do so in the very near future--Classic Cover Redos, Life Story anecdotes, and a whole LOT of Beatles stuff needs to be said before the end of the year. Even though we have a New On Site section (which I continue to use), I realize that I've trained my faithful readers to come here to the blog first, so be assured that any future additions to the site will also be noted in Fred Sez for your web-surfing convenience.

The blog itself will continue, natch--and if you want to show your appreciation for this year's past Herculean efforts, fell free to leave a tip, or buy some of the artwork available in the sales gallery. Anybody sending twenty bucks or more will get an autographed copy of a water-damaged edition of one of my old Fantaco HEMBECK books--signed with a water-proof pen, natch!

So until next we meet--two, three, perhaps even FOUR days from now--don't let this be goodbye, merely "aloha"...

(...sniff...I always get SO emotional at farewells...)
November 2nd, 2005
Kid Colt's bombastically bolted baddie, Iron Mask, meets the similarly encased Dr. Doom in the 34th episode of The Fred Hembeck Show, now posted over at the IGN Comics website. Featuring a never before scanned Dateline:@#$! strip from 2000, this otherwise worthwhile entry was a last minute substitute for the one originally sabotaged by that unfortunate event we had downstairs a few weeks back. I had planned to finally finish it over the past weekend, but instead got hit the nastiest cold I've had to endure in quite awhile, and as a result, my concentration was way diminished (yes, even moreso than usual, obligatory wise guy!...). That final Monster Month essay will arrive eventually--promise (honest, Batton!).
What else?

Well, why not take a look at Peter Sanderson's latest Comics In Context #108 (even more on Gaiman's "Anansi Boys"! Quick--someone find Peter another book, okay?), Ken Plume's IGN FilmForce Weekend shopping guide for 10/28/30 (nice take on the Macca CD, Ken--someday I"M gonna review it, too! Honest, Rog!), Greg Burgas' Sunday Links, and Roger Green's Rambling With Roger--personally, I was captivated with Roger's story of past bat invasions that he and Carol have suffered, but YOU may be just as taken by the photo of Mr. G in drag! Nice wig you got there, fella...(Congrats on making it to six months, by the way!) And on a belated Halloween note, Gary Sassaman wrote a really nice piece the other day regarding warm memories of his all-time favorite monster movie (it's mine as well), "Bride of Frankenstein". It's well worth checking out, even if it IS November...

I was saddened to read of the passing of Bob White, whose artwork we spotlighted here twice last month (on the 29th and the 16th). His tenure on the book-length tales published in LIFE WITH ARCHIE were particularly noteworthy, taking the Riverdale gang and regularly throwing them into new and different environments, and making it all somehow convincing. I recall Bob Bolling speaking VERY highly of him on one of the few occasions when I was lucky enough to talk with the LITTLE ARCHIE creator, and while I never quite considered him up there with Bolling, Dan DeCarlo, Samm Schwartz, or Harry Lucey, Bob White clearly was a talented cartoonist, and he'll be missed.

Well, I'm feeling much better today, if not totally on top of my game (thanks for asking, obligatory nice guy). Come back tomorrow for a brief recap of our family's personal Halloween evening's activities, as well as a (don't get too excited now) minor announcement. And speaking of which...

Best of luck to Dorian Wright! He may have left the ever thrilling realm of funny book retailing, but at least his PostmodernBarney blog remains up and running! Selfishly, I consider that great news, as it's long been one of my favorites.

But I STILL think the Mothman is real, Dorian!

Well, probably, anyway...
November 1st, 2005
Back in August (starting on the 15th), there was some small discussion here on the blog concerning the Marx Brothers, specifically of the largely unknown Gummo. Well, in the course of cleaning up after our recent flood, I found the above photo, clipped out of a late sixties/early seventies newspaper, tucked into my copy of Richard J. Anobile's "Why A Duck?" (which sustained a bit of only comparatively minor water damage, thank goodness).

The caption identifies this picture as being from 1957, and in case you can't tell, from left to right, that's Gummo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho, and Harpo. Interesting to see the siblings sans their theatrical makeup--although, truth to tell, Chico (pronounced, "chick-o", please remember) sure looks like he's wearing lipstick! Could he have been taking that chick obsession of his maybe a little TOO far? And dig that outfit--was THIS where Pee Wee Herman got his look from?...

More undersea treasures in the days to come!....

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