Posted Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Bet ya didn’t know there was a National Beer Day.

Well, there is. National Beer Day is a perennially celebrated non-holiday to honor the Cullen-Harrison Act, which made beer legal even before Prohibition ended December 1933.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

If you’re so inclined, crack a cold one and enjoy the following synopsis for ‘Time Runs Like Sand,’ as maudlin a sounding title as the story that follows.

Sandman, aka Flint Marko, has not had a good day. A good month for that matter. Well, a good coupla years. Not since he and Hydro-Man, aka Morris “Morrie” Bench, merged to form Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man 217.

A little radiation goes a long way and the two are able to disassociate their molecules. Each go their separate ways, Marko’s path leading to a local watering hole. The bartender recognizes his patron and contacts the Fantastic Four. As fate would have it, Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, answers.

Figuring the worst that can happen is he’ll get a cold beer out of the visit, Ben hops on his skycycle.

Rather than fight, the two former combatants share a few beers. Marko recalls his past and how it led him to his life of crime.

Kinda of a soap opera of an issue, but, deep down, aren’t they all?

Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008)

Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008)

Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008)

Marvel offered the Marvel Digital Holiday Special as an exclusive to their online subscription service Dec. 17, 2008.

In the first story, the X-Men herald the holidays and service with ‘If the Fates Allow.’ Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Angel, Beast Cyclops, Colossus, etc. celebrate with a bittersweet loss of Kitty Pryde for the first Christmas without their youngest member.

‘Last Christmas’ is a prelude to Secret Invasion.

‘Werewolf by Eve’ is a one-page slapstick story of the Russell home.

Finally, the jolly, fat one borrows the Infinity Gauntlet in ‘Santa Claus vs. The Illuminati.’ The results are not good.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited was launched Nov. 13, 2007 with over 25,000 issues at the ready for fanboys.

Posted Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 by Barry

April Fools from a Serious Earth

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth (1989)

April Fools from Jeff and I at Four Color Holidays with the help of Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. This disturbing salutation above is from the duo’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth published in 1989. This marks Morrison’s first work on any Batman title. He would later take over writing chores on a regular basis. The book is the best-selling, original graphic novel with sales topping 600,000.

Posted Sunday, March 29th, 2020 by Barry

Secrets of Haunted House (1975) 26

Secrets of Haunted House (1975) 26

Secrets of Haunted House (1975) 26

Guest host Abel frames a Christmas sequence around three tales of (1970’s) terror.

Readers were treated to ‘Elevator to Oblivion’ first. Twins battle for organs when one learns his are failing.

‘Last Train to Eternity’ is the second story followed by the cover-touted ‘Mikey’s Friend.’

Mikey is an orphan with a pet demon. Their final-family stop is a perfect match.

Cain was one of the trinity of storytellers including Cain and Eve through the first 10 issues. Destiny of the Endless fame, became the soul host, though he would be spelled by guests.

Secrets of Haunted House ran 14 issues, 1975-78, before becoming a casualty of the DC Implosion. The title was reinstated in 1979 running till 1982.

Posted Thursday, March 26th, 2020 by Barry

Daredevil (1964) 4

As March departs, let’s usher in Zebediah Killgrave to commemorate Epilepsy Awareness Day, or Purple Day.

Epilepsy Awareness Day is also known as Purple Day. Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada, created Purple Day as a way to educate the public on the condition. The World Health Organization reports nearly 50-million people worldwide live with epilepsy. It is not known how it occurs, though it is non-contagious. While treatable, medical treatment is not available in all parts of the world.

For more information, log onto the Epilepsy Foundation site.

Killgrave is The Purple Man, introduced in Daredevil 4.

The second-tier villain was one who waited in the wings until the right writer came to his rescue. Brian Michael Bendis helped himself to Killgrave for Alias. The storyline matured Purple Man enough for modern-day audiences. Enough so it became part of the short-lived Netflix story of Jessica Jones where David Tennant portrayed him.

Killgrave produces a pheromone allowing him to control others.

Daredevil (1964) 4

Posted Monday, March 23rd, 2020 by Barry

Sensational Spider-Man (2005) 24

Sensational Spider-Man (2005) 24

Sensational Spider-Man (2005) 24

Peter finally finds the Christmas spirit in himself while looking for the perfect gift.

The hapless hero finds himself without the holiday cheer. He doesn’t know why. He started early and found the right gifts for the right people. Maybe it’s the bounty a recently returned Norman Osborn has offered for Spider-Man’s head. Or, the hard year and Mary Jane have had.

Fellow journalist Billy Walters surprises Peter with an unexpected gift. One for which Peter has no reciprocal present for. Soul searching – and his red and blue union suit – bring the answer.

Hydro Man also makes an appearance in this issue, but doesn’t add to the storyline.

Not a bad story for a time when Marvel was going through so much turmoil. I only recently stumbled across this by accident.

Merry Christmas from the merry Marvel team and the Spider-Man family.

Posted Friday, March 20th, 2020 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 182

Believe it or not there’s actually a National Proposal Day. The day you’re supposed to ask those four simple words that are the hardest to say, “Will you marry me?”

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 182

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 182

To commemorate the day, let’s look at Amazing Spider-Man issue 182 when Peter Parker first asked Mary Jane Watson to marry him.

Not much special about the issue other than Peter popping the question. The Rocket Racer is back. Spider-Man attempts to knock Robert Farrell off his land board with no success.

Between battles readers wind through the day with Peter as he visits Aunt May, stops by the Daily Bugle and relaxes at home. Each stop offers him a chance to chase his thoughts. When he does catch up with them, they all lead in the same direction.

By book’s end Peter is at Mary Jane’s doorstep. In one hand is a box of Cracker Jack and his heart in the other. Read the issue to understand.

MJ would turn down the initial proposal, but relent by 1987 in ASM 290.

The two would later wed in Amazing Spider-Man annual 21.

A mock ceremony was held at Shea Stadium in 1987, Stan Lee officiating.

Posted Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 by Barry

Blue Devil (1984) 25

Blue Devil (1984) 25

Blue Devil (1984) 25

I have no idea what is going on with this issue. It has something to do with Leprechauns and a treasure. Sure, that’s traditional St. Paddy’s Day fare, but as far as what it had to do with the character and story, I don’t know.

What is important is today is St. Patrick’s Day. Hats off to the Irish.

St. Patrick’s Day is held March 17, the death date of Saint Patrick patron saint of Ireland. Celebrations associated with the day include the wearing of green, parades, shamrocks and festivals.

Blue Devil, aka Dan Cassidy, was created by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Paris Cullins in 1984. Cassidy was a stuntman filming a movie called Blue Devil. A demon known as Nebiros mistakenly believed Cassidy was real and fused the demon suit to the stuntman. He became a full-fledged denizen from the deep later.

If anything will drive up the price of his first appearance in Firestorm 24, it’s his brief appearance on the short-lived DC streaming service version of Swamp Thing.

Posted Thursday, March 12th, 2020 by Barry

Batman (1940) 181

National Flower Day won’t make most people’s radar. It’s doubtful any of you reading this even know there is such a thing. But, for the one who would embrace the day as her own, we’ll look at Poison Ivy’s debut.

Bob Kanigher, the man behind the Silver Age Flash’s origin and three decade’s worth of Sgt. Rock tales, spins “Beware Of—Poison Ivy!” Sheldon Moldoff handles the pencils. Of the two, Shelly can at least hold his head a little higher.

Batman (1940) 181

Batman (1940) 181

Not wishing to speak ill of the dead, it’s still hard not to bash the accomplished writer for the horrid tale introducing such an acclaimed character. Much like a young actress breaking into movies, Ivy has to be embarrassed by the dialog she is forced to mouth.

Batman and Robin are even worse. There’s no evidence of the Dark Knight to come as he pines for the leggy flower child. Robin can chalk part of his verbiage to age. It’s not much worse than Bob Haney’s hip mid-60s rap for the teens in the original Titans book.

The less said about the book, the better.

National Plant a Flower Day is celebrated March 12 each year. It is a time to begin thinking about what flowers are to be planted in the spring garden. If Batman 181 didn’t cost so much, it would make good compost.

Posted Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 by Barry

Nintendo Comics System (1990) 1

Today we celebrate the stereo-typed Italian plumber in his primary colored coveralls. Today is National Mario Day.

Mario first appeared without fanfare in 1981 as the unnamed hero in Donkey Kong. He wasn’t christened until 1983 when he shared the spotlight in Mario Bros. with sibling Luigi.

Nintendo Comics System

Nintendo Comics System

Over time Mario, and to a lesser degree, Luigi would become the face of Nintendo. With the Nintendo Entertainment System all the rage in homes, Mario and the subsequent population of the Mushroom Kingdom would be appearing in the Nintendo Comics System series published by Valiant Comics from 1990 to 1991. Also featured in four color were Super Mario Bros. and Adventures of the Super Mario Bros.

Stories from Valiant’s NCS were reprinted in text form in England. These were the basis for the Nintendo Adventure Books in which readers could choose their own endings.

In addition to the comic book medium, Mario has starred on television and the big screen as well as live performances.

National Day Calendar suggests inviting friends over to play video games, do something nice for those named Mario and/or to use #NationalMarioDay to post best wishes.

Those are all well and good, but we think maybe a well-read issue of your favorite Mario comic book might also be in order.