Thursday, August 24, 2017

Commemorating 40 Years of Collecting Comics -- 1977 with a nod to 2017 in 2 pieces by Fred Hembeck

The Alarm sang about the "Spirit of 76", but Fred Hembeck has just delineated the Spirit of 1977!  You see, that was the year in the late Winter/early Spring that I started to collect comics.  This commission has a lengthy history to it, but I won't go into those details here.  Needless to say it was worth the wait and the end product is simply STUNNING!!!  I AM SO PLEASED!  I LOVE IT!!!  And am eager to get these framed.  But wait there's more...

To sweeten the package, which arrived today, even more, Fred included a whole slew of Bonus Materials depicted below:

Including one of his lightning bolt signature personal notes:

It was so cool to open the package, turning over each of the multitude of cover REDO copies until finally getting "the center of the tootsie pop" and seeing the finished pieces.  Even better, Fred included his preliminaries!  I'll show those below, but first I'm going to reprint my final concept pitch to Fred back in April.  I spent a long bus ride to NYC coming up with these:

Hi Fred!

I think I've finally come up with some new ideas that will hopefully line up with what you want to do.  Sorry for the delay, but I was back home in Richmond the middle part of last week to celebrate Easter with my mother and attend the sunrise service at the cemetery where my Daddy is buried.  It was a great trip that started off with us seeing the Alex Ross exhibit at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Out of our way, but definitely worth it.

Well, today I went on the annual art field trip with Helen to NYC.  I've been going consecutively for several years, first with Charlotte, then Eric, and then Helen, sometimes doubling up.  There were few highlights this year:  We walked the High Line, very cool, and I found your drawing on the cover of Comic Shop News at Forbidden Planet on Broadway!  I like walking around NYC, but 10-miles was a bit too much with no more real destinations left.  We were originally going to take the subway to Brooklyn and walk the bridge into town then make our way back to the MOMA, but the school policy is not to take public transportation.  Worst of all, Helen ditched me on the bus, so I spent the 4 hour trip (each way) there and back, alone.  Even when we were walking around I was primarily a fourth wheel and I spent an hour and half watching the backpacks while they toured the MOMA and I had to hold my bladder from the large ice coffee I foolishly drank.  However, I made good use of the bus time thinking about your commissions.  So, here goes:

Note 1: All characters should appear in their 1977 comic book costumes [references provided].
Note 2: The idea is to have the two pieces share some parallelism, same number of characters, generally the same mix of heroes (male & female) and villain, similar themes.  You'll understand that soon.  I'll give some suggestions on how characters might be paired up or sequenced, but YOU CAN COMPOSE IT HOWEVER YOU FEEL BEST.  I will likely frame these together, please keep that in mind (side by side or on top of each other).
Note 3: The theme/gag requires one word balloon and one through balloon each.  I provide some suggested language, which you may tweak as needed. we go:

Picture One -- TV theme:  Arnim Zola being a walking TV himself is talking/fighting to/the heroes that appeared in 1977 and 2017 TV shows.

Villain: Arnim Zola [Captain America #209] -- Word balloon: "Take it from ME.  I KNOW the changes you have to go thru to be on TV."

Heroes, listed in likely pairs:

1. Supergirl [Super-Team Family #11]
2. Flash [Flash #250]

3. Daredevil [Daredevil #147/148]
4. Iron Fist [Iron Fist #13]

5. Hulk [Incredible Hulk #213]
6. Isis [Isis #4] -- Thought balloon: "Not me, I was on TV FIRST".

7. Logan 5 [Logan's Run #6 cover]
8. Jessica 6 [Logan's Run #6 cover] -- there should be some loving physical contact with these two.

Gag:  TV always changes characters, such as the Logan's Run movie people are very different from their TV counterparts.  Different costumes, names (David Banner), etc.  So, while you don't have to draw any of the TV versions, we're slyly referencing them.  And for Isis, she's exactly the same as her TV version.  Clear enough?

Alternative sequencing idea (latest to oldest TV appearance): Iron Fist, Supergirl, Daredevil, Flash, Hulk, Logan & Jessica, Isis

Picture Two -- Movie theme: Reed Richards as the Molecule Man is fighting the 1977 active/reserve Avengers members.

Villain: Reed Richards as the Molecule Man with plenty of Kirby Krackle [Fantastic Four #188] -- Word balloon: "I'm going to bend reality and TURN you ALL into MOVIE characters!"

Heroes, listed in likely pairs:

1. Yellow Jacket [Marvel Team-Up #59 -- cool Byrne version with the wings same height as his head]
2. Wasp [Avengers #161 - sexy purple outfit with holes (full height no wings), that she made to get Hanks attention,who was being controlled by Ultron -- I had a whole Ultron family theme idea at one time today]

3. Captain America [Captain America #209]
4. Iron Man [Iron Man #100]

5. Vision [Avengers #160]
6. Wonder Man [Avengers #160] -- Thought balloon: "Not Me, I'm already planning to be a Movie Star.  Just need some new shades and a jacket..."

7. Scarlet Witch [Avengers #160]
8. Black Widow [Avengers #163]

Gag: All of these characters are now in the movies, except for Wonder Man, who actually WAS in the movies in the comics.  And the Molecule Man could actually accomplish this.

Alternative sequencing idea (conflict/relationship groups): Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Yellow Jacket & Wasp, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man.  Scarlet Witch could be eyeing Wonder Man with the jealous Vision watching. Cap's still in the friend-zone with Natasha.

Substitutions for Picture Two:  I think the above should work fine, but I'd be willing to substitute Black Widow and Scarlet Witch for any of the following:

A. Black Panther
B. Beast
C. Spider-Man
D. Doctor Strange
E. Johnny Storm -- this would be a funny play on how Chris Evans plays both Torch and Cap (one ridiculous and one straight)

Basically, the only characters that have special costume versions are Wasp & Wonder Man -- everything else should be standard for that time frame.

I hope this is straightforward enough and is something you can now enjoy doing.

Please let me know if you have any questions or reservations.  If you want to reject the idea, I'll try some of the other concepts.  I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE UP! : )

I had to leave Warlord and Mariah on the cutting floor (and tons of others), but I did manage to capture key characters from Logan's Run #6, Avengers #160, and Marvel Team-Up #59 -- all REDOs I had on my list at one time.

This should make a fitting 40th anniversary of collecting comics tribute!!!

Thank you so much!


And now here are the prelims:

TV theme

Movie theme

Here are some of my previous Hembeck posts:

Looks like I didn't post my last REDO, so here it is below:

I got this one in person when I met Fred at the 2014 Baltimore Comic-Con.