Neil, you ignorant slut...!
There are a lot of emails in that Hembeck directory, so it's time to put on my fake mustache and glasses ("Holy Groucho, Caped Crusader!") and do my very best impression of Bob Rozakis, Answer Man extraordinaire:
Kevin Denis wrote the first ever email to the site, starting with the very well received, "Loved the tribute." That so rocked.
MickeyCT filed similar sentiments, with "Love your Hembeck site - he's always been a favorite of mine!"
Comics fandom man-about-town David Potts wrote a while back to express his positive thoughts as well, taking the time to point out a coloring mistake (since fixed) I had made: "...in the 'Well, I'm Supergirl, but don't get any crazy ideas!' strip, you've colored Supergirl's costume incorrectly. She's not wearing her sixties 'blue miniskirt' costume, but her seventies 'red hot pants' one, which was contemporaneous with the strip. You've got her 'hot pants' colored blue." It's a sad, sad day when I don't pay sufficient attention to a girl's hot pants...
Dave also took me to task for some of the graphics enhancements I had been applying to the strips in the early days of the site (shading, feathering, shadows, etc.) I liked them at the time, but looking back through some of them, yeah, I went a bit overboard in places. I've been doing the strips straight for a while now, but perhaps a happy medium is the right approach... and by happy medium, I'm not talking about Madame Xanadu or Opal City's resident fortune teller.
In addition to sending me some lovely Hembeck pages and scans, Joshua Marquart also filled me in on recent developments regarding the Phantom Zone (mentioned in one or two of these strips) coming back into continuity over the last few years: "In recent continuity, Superboy placed Valor/M'Onel into a phantom-like state, accessible through a passageway developed by a criminal that Superboy once fought. Also, Superman now has a Phantom Zone for his globe-like tesseract fortress. The city of Kandor is stored in there. In addition, Grant Morrison attempted to create a new Phantom Zone through his JLA villain, Prometheus. Turns out that it may have been simply the Limbo between death and Heaven/Hell that he was accessing. Still, it looks like it might have been a place that Morrison was planning to move the JLA HQ into."
From Francisco Araujo da Costa: "A friend directed me to your page with Hembeck cartoons and I gotta say I loved them. I had not been exposed to Hembeck before, but now I'm hooked. I read them all -- and your articles -- last night. Completely hooked. And needing another fix ;)...Oh, and a suggestion for a theme song: Robin, the Boy Hostage, would get Simply Red's "Come top my Aid" :)"
In a commentary accompanying an earlier Hembeck strip that featured Professor Zoom (the Reverse-Flash) and Zatanna (the backwards-talking sorceress), I ventured that the two had never actually been used in the same story. Christopher Arndt and Orville Eastland both emailed me separately to correct me on this point, reminding me that they appeared together (Zoom and Zatanna, that is, not Christopher and Orville) in a two-part JLA story in which members of the Secret Society of Super-Villains exchanged bodies with several Justice League members.
One of the nicest notes came from Steve Kolton, who wrote: "I discovered your site last Monday. Although I'm only 1/2 way through the list, I had to stop and say "Thank you" as an appreciative fan for resurrecting these gems from the past. Fred Hembeck's strips were easily overlooked and taken for granted at the time they were published. I had all but forgotten about them, until I stumbled upon your site. The memories have flooded back, as have the magical feelings of childhood."
On the subject of strange team-ups, John Fiala contributed the following: "...I came across an old Batman/Kamandi team-up! ...a simple enough story (inadvertent time travel gave Kamandi invulnerability and amnesia, so he gets used by the Mob until Batman interferes), but it's one of the oddest team-ups I could have thought of." Now, doesn't this just sound like a Bob Haney script?
Barbarian (also known as 'Fred in Chicago') stopped by recently to ask for hints on finding a copy of the 'Art of Walt Simonson' book I recommended. By happy coincidence, I turned him on to an auction-in-progress, in which he proceeded to nab a copy for a five bucks. Somewhere in the Windy City, there's a barbarian doing a happy dance.
Scott Tacktill pounded me over the head with some Power Girl information in response to some sloppy research for which I sadly have no one to blame, "Power Girl was actually introduced in the first issue of the revived All-Star Comics, number 58, I think. The three Showcase issues came years later. I think they were numbers 97-99, right after the Doom Patrol revamp that launched the 70s version of Showcase....don't ask me why I know the actual issue numbers while sitting here in my office. It's not like I'm a Power Girl fanatic or anything, of course. I mean, you can't actually prove that I have any sort of shrine."
John McDonagh has written a few very well-written notes as well regarding some of what I've written about. They go into some detail, so I'll hold onto them for a future lettercol, but this one is pretty short, and kind of funny to boot: "Incidentally, the Guardians of the Universe were drawn to resemble David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel." Makes you wonder how many other world political figures have been immortalized in comic books...
Finally (for this installment of reader mail, at least) I should pass along thanks to my brother for his omnipresent after-the-fact copy-editing contributions, and, of course, the site's patron saint, Fred.