The Fred Hembeck Files!Proud Robot ProductionsProud Robot Productions

The Strips

Martian Manhunter & J. Hex New!

Superman and The Flash New!

Justice League of America

Jonah Hex

Green Lantern


Green Arrow and The Flash


The Flash


Gotham City Police Dept.

Johnny Thunder and Shazam!

Batman, Green Lantern,
and The Flash


Metal Men

Pete Ross and Lana Lang

Superman & J'onn J'onzz

Charles M. Jones

Batman and Robin

The Flash and Zatanna

Jor-El and Lara

DC Prez Jenette Kahn


Clark Kent and Lois Lane

The Haunted Tank

Superman and Lois Lane

The Unknown Soldier

The Vigilante

The Private Life of Clark Kent

Green Arrow and Black Canary

Sgt. Rock and Easy Company

Witching Hour

Green Arrow, The Human Target,
and Superman

Super Friends

Lois & Clark

Green Arrow & Black Canary

Superman & Jimmy Olsen


Batman & Shazam!

Justice Society of America

Phantom Stranger and
Phantom Girl

Batman and Robin

Black Lightning

Private Life of Clark Kent

Green Arrow and The Warlord

Eclipso / Mr. Mxyzptlk

The Flash & Adam Strange


Lightning Lad & Chameleon Boy

Justice League of America

Wonder Woman

Zatanna and Professor Zoom

Firestorm, the Nuclear Man

Swamp Thing

Gotham City Police Dept.

Bizarro World

The Atom

The Flash and The Mirror Master


The Batman and the Joker

Lex Luthor and Brainiac

The Flash

Enemy Ace

Green Arrow & Black Canary

Hawkman & the Flash

The Phantom Stranger

Legion of Super-Heroes

Green Lantern


Batman and Red Tornado

Green Lantern and the Flash

The Creeper

Robin, the Boy Wonder

Justice League of America

Legion of Super-Heroes

Elongated Man and Plastic Man

Superman Family

The Flash and the Spectre

Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen


Hawkman & Hawkgirl


Wildcat & Dr. Fate

Batman & Robin


Plastic Man

Bob 'Answer Man' Rozakis

Batman & the Flash

Green Arrow & Green Lantern

The Atom

Batman & Robin

Coming soon

Jimmy Olsen & Lois Lane

Steve Trevor


Steve Savage

The Flash

Johnny Thunder

Sgt. Rock & Easy Company


Johnny Cloud

Green Lantern

Lois, Clark & Jimmy

Plastic Man

Perry White & Jimmy Olsen

Martian Manhunter

Madame Xanadu

Bruce Wayne


Swamp Thing

Fred Hembeck

Uploaded August 2, 1999

It's raining (Hawk)men...!

I had one heck of a time finding a good color reference for the helmet on the leftmost Hawkman in this strip. It was worn by the Earth-2 Hawkman only briefly during the mid-seventies, and the JSA wasn't exactly breaking any sales records back then. I finally found an issue of the short-lived All-Star Comics 1976-78 revival which showed him wearing it for the first time (sometimes I'm amazed at what I find buried in my collection).

I've rambled on with a previous strip about Hawkman and the various interpretations inflicted on him over the years, so I won't repeat that territory. This time, I'd thought I'd confuse everyone with a look at the various Earths that make up the DC Multiverse.

We'll start with a historical perspective. For a variety of reasons, the focus on super-heroes diminished significantly during the fifties, in favor of other genres. When DC began to re-introduce many of their old heroes a few years later, the editors and writers took the opportunity to re-invent many of them, jazzing up the powers and costumes, and even giving some of them new secret identities. The golden age Green Lantern, a radio broadcaster named Alan Scott, became a test pilot named Hal Jordan, for example. The golden age Flash, a scientist named Jay Garrick, became a police forensics scientist named Barry Allen. Some of the new versions had only the name in common, such as the Atom. At some point, writer Gardner Fox decided it would be cool to have the two Flashs meet each other.

So they did.

The explanation was that there are an infinite number of Earths, all co-existing in the same physical space, but on different vibrational planes (or something like that). When conditions are right, inhabitants of one Earth can cross over to another. For whatever reason, the Earth with the silver age heroes (i.e, all heroes currently being published at that point) was designated as 'Earth-1', and the Earth with the golden age heroes was designated as 'Earth-2'.

But wait, you cry! What about Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman? Which Earth are they on? Their series were never cancelled!

Easy - there's one of each on each Earth. Same goes for Hawkman (hence the strip above), Green Arrow, and others who were re-introduced without any significant changes.

After that first Flash team-up, cross-Earth match-ups were fairly regular. The Flashes met up often enough, and the Justice League hooked up with the Earth-2 based Justice Society each year as well.

So far, it's not too difficult to keep track of things. Two Earths. Two sets of heroes. Not a problem.

Things got worse. Fasten your seatbelt, because here's a partial list of Earths:

Home of most of the current super-heroes being published, including the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Home of the golden age heroes, many of whom have direct counterparts on Earth-1; when DC acquired the Quality Comics set of heroes, they were retroactively implanted into Earth-2 continuity, during which they migrated to….

Adopted home of the Quality set of heroes, where they fought unsuccessfully to prevent the Germans from winning World War II.

Home to a group of super-villains, counterparts of Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman.

Home to the heroes and characters published by the defunct Fawcett Comics, including the Marvel Family, Kid Eternity, Ibis, and the Monster Society of Evil (bwaa-hah-hah-hah…..)

Originally thought to be our own Earth, in which all of the DC heroes and villains are just characters in a line of comic books. I don't think I'll ever be able to shake the memory of the Justice League needing JLA writer Elliot S! Maggin to defeat the likes of fellow JLA writer Cary Bates, when the two supposedly crossed Earths. Oh, the ignominy…

And then there's the Earth with the heroes that DC acquired from Dick Giordano's old stomping ground, Charlton Comics. And the Earth featuring Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. And so on. You get the general idea. Heck, spend too much time thinking about, and your head begins to explode.

In an effort to forestall any more such aneurysms, Marv Wolfman and George Pérez (of New Teen Titans fame) pitched a series to be called 'Crisis on Infinite Earths', which would simultaneously collapse all of the Earths together into a single continuity and make DC tons of cash. One Earth, one Superman, one Batman, one Hawkman (which means the above Hembeck strip isn't canon anymore - sorry), etc.

DC is still trying to figure out the continuity ramifications from that one. A subsequent cross-company super-hero slugfest called 'Zero Hour' ended with a 'reboot' of that single Earth's history, and I don't think anyone really knows yet just what the heck 'Hypertime' is supposed to accomplish.

You know something? None of it really matters. As far as I'm concerned, if a story works on its own terms, then it works, and I'm not going to be overly concerned whether it dovetails neatly with everything that's gone before.

So there.

- NP

The copyrights, trademarks and publication rights to Fred's cartoons belong to DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Fred Hembeck where appropriate. Proud Robot Productions graphics, site design, cartoon re-coloring and commentary copyrights belong to Neil Polowin and Proud Robot Productions.

Proud Robot Productions