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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sketch Week II, Part 2: Fred Hembeck - 2004


Like for a lot of comics fans my age, Fred Hembeck and his cartoons were a welcome and unusual take on the world of DC Comics.

DC, unlike Marvel--who was willing to make even their villains look goofy to help sell the Marvel brand--always seemed so serious and straight-laced, so seeing Fred's irreverent take on the characters was a real breath of fresh air.

I had been to Fred's website and knew he did commissions, so I thought why not send him the book and have him do it in there directly? Fred said he would, so I nervously handed my baby over to the strangers at FedEx.

Of course, everything went smoothly, and within a week or two Fred had sent the book back to me, with this wonderfully fun piece of Arthur and Mera in the inimitable Hembeck Style. Fred also included a doodle of himself in an Aquaman costume with the inscription "Some nice stuff in here--and I really like what you did with the cover! Good luck filling it up!"

Thanks, Fred! I intend to!


Scurvy said...

I am once again rendered speechless. This book is simply amazing.

Have you considered doing a seperate site that just features scans form the book. A gallery of sorts? Cuz there's some really great stuff here.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, NOW you're talking about the masters! LOL! Back in the day I bought all of Hembeck's books and got Aquaman sketches drawn in one or two of them. And I also wrote him and asked for an individual sketch back in the late 70s or early 80s, and actually got one. I'll have to dig it out sometime....I remember he signed it with something like, "I don't usually do sketches for people, but then again, I don't usually run across such die-hard Aquaman fans, either." It's one of the treasures of my collection.

rob! said...

>>Have you considered doing a seperate site that just features scans form the book. A gallery of sorts?<<

hmm, interesting. i did add a list of interview links so people can find them quickly, maybe i should do something like that for the sketches.

Anonymous said...

Hembeck! How I remember those strips on the World's Finest pages of the dollar comics. Those sprial knees! Is it wrong that I find his Mera attractive?

What's the cover of your sketchbook look like Rob?


Anonymous said...

Dur, I meant the Daily Planet pages of course. Seemed to me Hembeck usually showed up in World's Finest, but now that I think about it, for a time his strips were in all the comics!


rob! said...

i posted the front cover here:


...i update it every so often when one of the pics gets ratty from use and starts falling off. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Rob,

Love the contents of your sketch book thus far. I would love to see the cover design that Fred compliments you on.
Also wanted to send you a link to Cliff Chiang's website within which he has a very attractive Aquaman sketch. Enjoy.




Anonymous said...


Hembeck and his Fantagraphics books were my window into a world of comics that I was just a tad too young to have experienced first hand.

And he always does a smash-up job on commissions.

rob! said...


see the link in the comment directly above yours. i posted the cover back in January(the front, at least).