Okay, the mention of the Hembeck strips made me ponder this question: Outside of the various comic strips that he did for DC and Marvel and the FRED HEMBECK DESTROYS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE special, what other role did Fred Hembeck play in the comics industry? And what is he doing now?
— ADNomad@aol.com

Well, Fred’s unique style has been on display in THE COMICS BUYER’S GUIDE for years and he’s gathered an army of fans along the way. As to what he’s doing now, I posed the question to him directly…

    Hiya Bob!

Geez, this is almost like a setup on a cheesy talk show (one of my favorite forms of entertainment)!. Well, Bob, since you asked, I’m happy to announce that we’re only a few weeks away from launching hembeck.com! (There’s a “coming soon” illo there now.) Tell your readers we plan to debut with almost 100 pages of material, at least 3/4 of which has never been seen before!! There’ll be ongoing stories, old favorites, and oddities from the cutting room floor (including the never before published framing story from FRED HEMBECK DESTROYS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE which had to be axed when its star, a Mr. James Shooter, was let go from the firm). There’s stuff for comics fans and for those with no background in the field as well. There’s me just going on and on, now that I’ve found this crazy soapbox! It’ll be fun for the whole family, young and old, and the plan is to keep adding to it so as to keep folks coming back for more and more–or at the very least, to stand there in abject stupefaction!?! My wife Lynn’s doing the tech work, and we hope to have it up and running by the 1st of January, but if not then, certainly soon after!

I’ll let you know when the site is up. I appreciate your help in spreading the word (and if you mention I also do commissions, that’d be appreciated as well).
– Fred

Thanks for the update, Fred. And I’ll take this opportunity to advise everyone that http://www.hembeck.com is up and running. Click on over there for a look (AFTER you finish reading this column, of course).

I’d like to add one more thing to your history of Plastic Man. In the recently released “Ultimate Guide To The JLA,” it is stated Eel O’Brian gained his powers during the early 1940s. He also served with the war-time All-Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters.
— SCStingRays2002@yahoo.com


Just a couple of comments about Mike W. Barr: His “The Last Jedi” is not only my favorite STAR WARS comic story, but one of my favorite comic stories of any stripe.

And if anyone from CrossGen is reading this: given the current popularity of mystery stories in television (CSI, Law & Order) and novels (Sue Grafton, James Patterson), they’d be crazy to turn down a revival of the excellent Maze Agency.
— superman@umich.edu


In his recent chronology of Power Girl, John Wells wrote: “For reasons unknown, Chuck Dixon referred to her as Karen Steele in BIRDS OF PREY but Starr is still her last name.”

I’d guess that Chuck Dixon is a Trekker in his spare time. Karen Steele was the actress who played Eve in the classic Star Trek episode, “Mudd’s Women.”
— bobbuethe@hotmail.com

Or Chuck was afflicted with the same amnesia that once had Stan Lee call the Hulk’s alter-ego BOB Banner and Spidey Peter PALMER.


The odd thing about the Crisis was that a few villains introduced as foes of characters who had their histories erased or rebooted returned in different books post-Crisis. John Wells mentioned Psychlotron being presented in SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #1 as a Power Girl villain post-Crisis, not a Supergirl villain as he was pre-Crisis. Psychlotron returned in DOOM PATROL/SUICIDE SQUAD SPECIAL #1. Actually, I think a few other pre-Crisis Supergirl villains returned in other books.

The Angle Man, although one of the more prominent pre-Crisis foes of Wonder Woman, actually returned post-Crisis in FLASH #155. Also, the Earthworm, an enemy of the Earth-2 Huntress, returned post-Crisis in GUY GARDNER #s 36 and 38. Can anyone name some other examples?

Also, John mentioned Power Girl’s mysteriously having a fatherless child during Zero Hour. I remember a website referring to that incident as “Power Girl’s immaculately-conceived son.” Well, I pointed out that they had confused the Immaculate Conception (a Roman Catholic belief having to do with the conception of the virgin Mary without the taint of original sin) with the virgin birth (the belief that most Christians and all Muslims hold that Jesus had no father). The site authors revised their sentence to read “Power Girl’s non-coitally conceived son”!
— docsavage80@yahoo.com


I have been a long time fan of DC comics and I understand that Crisis was supposed to simplify the DC universe. But I guess a lack of communication or coordination resulted in a few characters like Power Girl and Hawkman having some extremely mixed up origins.

I have been checking out the message board for DCComics.com and I have found extremely laughable all the farfetched ideas and explanations about Kara origin. A lot of the ones posted want Power Girl to have some type of Kryptonian origin. I am hoping for one that does not throw out what has already been established about her.

Officially, we know that Arion is her grandfather but I don’t think it was ever stated if the relation was paternal or maternal. One thing I don’t remember is a lot being mentioned about her actual parents other than their dying when she was very young. So there is a way possible for her to a Kryptonian connection. Could it actually be possible that one of her parents was a Kryptonian space explorer who left Krypton long before Kem’ L used the Eradicator to genetically change to all Kryptonians’ DNA to make it impossible to leave the planet.

The next question would be, shouldn’t that parent also have had Superman-like powers. To answer that, the parent in question may not have lived long enough to absorb enough solar energy for those powers to kick in. Considering how long it took Kal-El to fully develop, imagine how long it would take for a full grown Kryptonian adult.

And, taking it one step further, what if the parent in question turned out to be an ancestor of the House of El? That would make Power Girl and Superman cousins, however many generations removed. As for the spell that her grandfather Arion cast to give her powers, why couldn’t it be more like a spell to charge her half-Kryptonian DNA to allow her powers to develop? Then, technically Arion never lied; he just didn’t provide all of the details about Power Girl’s actual origin. And maybe the reason for constant change in her powers is due to that spell as well as the Godwave causing them to be in constant flux.

How does this sound for a possible resolution to the character?

By the way, is DC planning to do anything to celebrate the 20 years anniversary of the CRISIS mini-series for 2004?
— klchand@bellsouth.net

Your possible revamp of Power Girl’s origin makes as much sense as anything else that’s been done. Personally, I think they should just throw out everything that doesn’t matter any more and start fresh. Too many good stories have been lost by writers and editors trying to tie together every last detail of every comic book written. I say, use what makes sense and ignore the rest.

As for the 20th anniversary of the Crisis, if there is a way to make some money, it is likely that DC will do something to celebrate it.

As I mentioned a couple of columns ago, I made my annual appearance on Howard Margolin’s “Destinies” radio program on December 27 to recap the best, worst and most disappointing books in the comic book industry in 2002. Here are some of the things I enjoyed last year…

“These days there are too many regular comic books that are worth reading. Certainly there aren’t many with a complete story told in an issue or two. But ‘Death and the Maiden’ in DEADMAN #s 5 and 6 is a well-plotted tale in which Deadman tries to solve the mystery of a serial killer and ends up falling in love with the ghost of one of the victims. There are some clever plot twists and beautiful art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Josef Rubinstein. An excellent read!

SUPERMAN #188‘s ‘Kicking the Dog’ in SUPERMAN #188 by Chuck Austen was also a pleasant surprise. Supes is beating the stuffing out of bad guys and generally acting very un-Superman-like… but the reason makes sense. A very well done tale.

“Over in the trade paperback department, the reprints of material that appeared in the regular books just recently don’t attract my attention any more than the original issues did. It’s volumes like SUPERMAN IN THE 50s that I enjoy. Yes, a lot of readers say the old Mort Weisinger-era stuff is goofy, but, frankly, these are the stories that made me a comic book fan in the first place. I’ll take books like this any day.

“Kudos also to Marvel for continuing their ESSENTIAL volumes. They pack a lot of material in those black and white collections. And while I have most of the books in the original issues, I was happy to buy the ESSENTIAL ANT-MAN and get the early stories I’d never read. It’s nice to see that they’ve expanded the line to include the lesser characters from the early Marvel Age of Comics.

“And speaking of expanding, I’m also glad to see DC widening the variety of Archives volumes they’re doing. While there is still an abundance of Batman series – now including BATMAN IN WORLD’S FINEST and 2003’s SILVER AGE BATMAN, getting such series as the Doom Patrol and Enemy Ace in these classy sets is a treat. Of course, I’m still waiting for the announcement of the ‘MAZING MAN ARCHIVES!”

This site is really great.
— Chandresh Shah (chandreshsi@yahoo.com)

Well, thanks, Chandresh. On behalf of all of us who are a part of SBC, I want to say that we appreciate everyone who drops in for a visit, whether on a daily, weekly, or just occasional basis.

And speaking of daily visits, don’t forget my Anything Goes Trivia over at another great site, World Famous Comics (www.wfcomics.com).

On that note, I hope to see you all back here next week.

Need some answers from the Answer Man?
Ask BobRo at It’s BobRo’s Answer Board.

Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.

About The Author