Posted Saturday, June 12th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 253

June 12 is a day to see red. Today is National Red Rose Day.

The red rose is a symbol of love and romance. It’s also the June birth flower.

However, the Rose can also be villainous. At least in the Marvel Universe.

Tom DeFalco penned Marvel’s first Rose story in Amazing Spider-Man 253. The original Rose was the son of the Kingpin of Crime, Richard Fisk. If that’s confusing, Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin and Richard is his son.

Young Fisk wanted to overthrow his crime lord father. He would later adopt a vigilante persona known as Blood Rose only to be shot by his mother.

The second Rose was another vengeance motivated vigilante. New York Police Officer Sergeant Blume went after the Kingpin for the murder of his brother. He, too, was shot and killed.

Jacob Conover became the third Rose. This incarnation was a former reporter for the Daily Bugle. He found himself a capo of crime lord Don Fortunato during one of the Kingpin’s absences from New York’s underworld. He would survive his tenure and be imprisoned by Spider-Man.

The fourth and, to date, final Rose is Phillip Hayes. He is currently jailed following his drug career that led to murder.

In the real world, red roses are known for their beauty and traditionally associated with love. They have adorned many a wedding and opened even more hearts when presented by a young lover.

To observe National Red Rose Day, plant a red rose shrub or vine, learn more about the types of red roses, visit a rose garden and/or show that special someone how much they mean by giving them one or a dozen.

Or, just do what we’re gonna do and pop open Amazing Spidey 253 for the nitty gritty.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 253

Posted Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 by Barry

Justice League (1986) 1

Celebrate those closest to you with Best Friends Day.

Take time to cherish the people who are there for the best of times and the worst of times. The people – and, maybe pets – who you can count on no matter what. This is the day to reward that loyalty, remember the smiles and revel in the tears.

Representing the day are Ted Kord and Michael Carter, maybe better known as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. The odd couple first met in Justice League (1986) issue one.

In the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC’s editors, writers and artists worked to piece the universe back together. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis teamed for concept and dialog chores. Kevin Maguire was the perfect choice for penciler and the quirky take on the tried and true super hero team took off.

Unlike so many comic books, the title gained speed as issue after issue rolled onto the comic book racks. Giffen and DeMatteis’s unique take added some much-needed humor to the DCU and served as a behind-the-scenes book of super heroing.

Justice League (1986) 1

Justice League (1986) 1

Two of the main jokesters, whether intentional on their part or not, proved to be Kord and Carter. Ted was a Charlton Comics re-tred updated for the times. Carter was 25th-century reject who stepped back in time to earn a reputation as a hero.

Together they became known as the “Blue and Gold” team. While serving their country and world, their main objective was to discover how to get rich quick. Their schemes escalated to the point where they “appropriated” League funds and purchased an island getaway.

Booster and Beetle would later join the short-lived Extreme Justice off-shoot of the Justice League, but eventually part ways.

They were rejoined in the 2003 Formerly Known as the Justice League reunion of Justice League International. That was followed up a year later with the six-issue story arc in JLA: Classified issues four through nine.

Both made separate guest appearances in the years that followed.

Beetle would be murdered by former employer, Maxwell Lord, in the 80-page special Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

Booster earned his own title following DC’s One Year Later. In it, he would become a time master with Rip Hunter. His heroics went – mostly – unnoticed during the venture.

One event Booster attempted time and again to mend was the untimely death of his dear friend, Beetle. Over and over he learned the hard, hard lesson some events are just meant to be and his friend could not be saved.

Giffen and DeMatteis’s five years, and subsequent returns, with their Justice League helped true comic book fans enjoy the medium as speculators began to infiltrate the hobby. Like Booster and Beetle, investors hoped to get-rich-quick by purchasing multiple issues of certain issues nearly sinking the industry.

These comic books would be a fine way to share Best Friends Day, by turning someone close to you on to these gems of books. They are as good today as they were in the waning 1980s and early 1990s.

Other ways to celebrate the day include pretty much any form of sharing and just spending quality time with that special someone or someones.

Posted Sunday, June 6th, 2021 by Barry

Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension (1994) 1

Officially, less than 332 drive-in theaters still exist.

That’s according to DriveInMovie.com. There are probably the errant strays here and there that are even more evasive than a real photograph of big foot. Now, the outdoor cinemas have gone the way of the buffalo. The once popular form of entertainment that have been gobbled up by greedy land speculators.

However, today we recognize the home of the former passion pits; the once new arena. Today is National Drive-In Movie Day.

The first of the new breed popped up in Camden, NJ, June 6, 1933. There were enough slots for 400 cars for the premiere showing of Wife Beware. At the height of its popularity in the late 1950s, an estimated 4,000 drive-ins had blossomed across America.

Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension (1994) 1

Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension (1994) 1

The largest of these claimed 29 acres, accommodating 2,500 vehicles while boasting a full-service restaurant with rooftop seating, a trolley system to ferry children and adults to a playground and a large indoor theater for bad weather evenings.

To remember these past pleasure centers, Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension is today’s main feature. Fittingly enough, this 1994 retro-fitted story from the mid-Twentieth Century takes the readers to the drive-in.

Tommy and Richard Flynn star in this second-feature story. Tommy is the young protagonist adults don’t believe and Richard is the movie producer who cried monster one too many times.

It just so happens Tommy’s father has created a pair of novelty glasses designed to help movie audiences see into the fourth dimension.

Not really.

They’re a gimmick to get butts in theater seats as 1958 Hollywood vies for the entertainment dollar while television takes top tier in the living room.

Tommy receives a pair prior to heading out to investigate an explosion in the woods. These same glasses allow the young boy to see past the Predator’s reflective camouflage.

Tommy is able to steal a weapon from the Predator. A weapon the Predator wants returned.

The remainder of the book is one big chase scene with destruction strewn in Tommy and the Predator’s wake. Everything climaxes at the drive in where the real-life action mirrors that on the silver screen.

This is a fun read. Maybe as fun as going to a drive-in itself.

Of course, if you want to observe National Drive-In Day, the best way is to find one – good luck with that – and enjoy a movie under the stars. To locate your local drive-in, please consult DriveInMovie.com.

Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 4

We’re gonna stick with the X-Men brand (it worked for Marvel) as we commemorate National Running Day.

National Running Day is celebrated the first Wednesday in June and designed to encourage Americans to reaffirm their desire to run. Last year DC’s scarlet speedster hosted the day. This year it’s Marvel’s mutant of momentum, Quicksilver.

The X-Men (1963) 4

The X-Men (1963) 4

As evidenced from the cover, Pietro Maximoff first graced the Marvel U in the pages of the X-Men issue four. Like many Marvel comics heroes, Quicksilver began his public life as a villain. Joined with his sister, Scarlet Witch; leader of the pack, Magneto; the Toad; and Mastermind the quintet began their career harassing the X-Men.

Seeing the error of their ways, Pietro and sister, Wanda, left the Brotherhood and joined the Avengers. He further legitimized himself with marriage to the Inhumans’ Crystal.

Pietro remained an outsider in the MU for most of his tenure. He was introduced to a wider audience in 1966 on The Marvel Super Heroes animated series courtesy of Captain America’s segments. He further guest starred in three episodes of the 1990’s X-Men cartoon and was a recurring character in X-Men: Evolution.

Quicksilver reprised his membership in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for Wolverine and the X-Men and appeared in more kid friendly The Super Hero Squad Show.

His stock rose higher when he appeared in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016’s X-Men Apocalypse and 2019’s Dark Phoenix.

Taking the spandex-clad mutant as inspiration, lace up the sneakers and head out for a quick spin around the neighborhood or pace yourself across town. For more information on the non-holiday, visit glabalrunningday.org.

Posted Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 1

Here’s a cover Four-Color Holidays readers may recognize. We’ve used it for Angel and today we’re utilizing the ground-breaking issue again for the Beast who is our grand marshal during National Go Barefoot Day.

Celebrants are urged to doff their shoes in honor of June 1. Take a moment and run through the green grass.

The X-Men (1963) 1

The X-Men (1963) 1

For the scholars in the audience or those old enough to remember, Hank McCoy wasn’t always the “ferocious, furry Beast” we know today. Mr. McCoy started out as pink skinned as the rest of the original team.

His dad, Norton McCoy, was employed at a nuclear power plant. His job caused him to be exposed to a massive amount of radiation resulting in Hank’s unusually large hands and feet at the end of equally unusually long arms and legs. His high school nickname was Magilla Gorilla.

Due to his greater strength and agility, Professor Charles Xavier approached Hank for membership in the titular Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Hank became the Beast and one of the founding members of the original X-Men team:  Angel, Cyclops, Ice Man and Marvel Girl.

Hank left the X-Men and became an employee with the Brand Corp. following his 20th birthday. An experiment turned Hank furrier than Robin Williams. Over time, he has transformed back to a more human appearance only to grow his fur back.

During his heroic career, Hank would become a member of the Avengers, X-Factor and the X-Men again.

To help celebrate this early start to summer, participants are encouraged to donate a gently used pair of shoes to a charitable organization.

National Go Barefoot Day was created in 2004 by Soles4Souls following a Tsunami disaster. Donations have continued to this day amounting in over 40.5 million pairs worldwide.

Posted Monday, May 31st, 2021 by Barry

Help Superman Crush Nick O’Teen

World No Tobacco Day is observed around the globe every year on May 31, according to National Day Calendar. The day is designed to encourage 24 hours of abstinence from any form of tobacco.

Attention is also to be focused on the reported adverse health issues from extended tobacco use. Currently seven-million deaths are attributed to tobacco use a year; 480,000 of those are Americans. Another 890,000 deaths are said to be a result of second-hand smoke.

It is estimated over one-billion persons are regular tobacco users. An estimated 34.3 million are adult smokers in the United States. Those numbers are on the decline with 21 in 100 people used to be smokers.

West Virginia has the highest rates of smoking in the United States. The Mountain State is followed by Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Alaska. Broken down farther, 14 percent of the US smokes.

Superman has long loaned his name and likeness to many a cause of his long-lived career. This public service announcement is another reminder the fictional do-gooder is saving the world one person at a time.

World No Tobacco Day

Posted Friday, May 28th, 2021 by Barry

Four Color (1939) 17

As American as apple pie and mom, hamburgers are a staple of our cuisine. Today we bring the seasoned ground beef patty served up between buns and topped with your condiments, dairy products and veggies of choice to the forefront with National Hamburger Day.

In America alone, over 50 billion burgers are devoured each year; enough to circle the Earth more than 32 times. The average American eats three hamburgers a week.

Not too shabby considering the sandwich wasn’t popularized until 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Representing the day is Wimpy of Popeye fame.

Four Color (1939) 17

The beachball-shaped guest star first appeared in the classic comic strip Thimble Theater and in Popeye cartoons. His debut in comic book form was in Dell’s Four Color comic book series sporting reprints from Thimble Theater.

His catchphrase, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” originated in 1932 having been refined from 1931’s, “Cook me up a hamburger. I will pay you Tuesday.”

Wimpy’s hamburger-chomping character was inspired by a manager of the Chester Opera House and friend of creator of E.C. Segar. His full name is J. Wellington Wimpy.

Hamburgers are his favorite food. Wimpy is almost always featured munching or making a burger. Normally the ne’er do well is too cheap to pay for his food himself.

So associated with hamburgers is the character, his name was used for a fast food franchise featuring his fare of choice. The burger stand bearing his name was founded in Bloomington, IN, in the 1930s.

The origins of the hamburger aren’t as well known. It is believed the sandwich originated in the 19th or 20th centuries. Some believe it has existed at least since the end of the Middle Ages.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Association contend the hamburger was first crafted by Fletcher Davis in his café in Athens, TX.

Another theory is it originated in New Haven, CT, in 1895.

Whatever and wherever their origins, the hamburger is to be celebrated as part of our American menu. Use the day to do honor to the portable, meaty meal that brings a smile to our faces.

Posted Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 by Barry

Brother Power the Geek (1968) 1

Okay, today is the day to be loud, proud and by yourself. Today is Geek Pride Day.

Many of the attributes associated with geekdom are hallmarks to be admired. Especially during the days of pandemics. What’s wrong with a little alone time? Distaste of sports? Being fashion challenged? The tendency to hold on to your virginity, be overweight or suffer from myopia?

Nothing.

Brother Power the Geek (1968) 1

So, join that short parade that recognizes this international non-holiday.

Representing our socially retarded group is DC’s little used Brother Power the Geek. A clear attempt to capitalize on the late 1960’s self-movement, Geek’s origin rivals the Frankenstein monster’s. Geek is a reanimated amalgam of corpses shocked to life with a stab of lightening.

He originally shambled through two self-titled issues spewing his own brand of philosophy.

The DC upper echelon punted Brother Power from the four-color universe. After two decades in limbo, Neil Gaiman brought him back for a guest shot in Swamp Thing annual five. Rachel Pollack and Mike Allred showed him a mercy with Vertigo Visions – The Geek, a one-and-done.

Literally.

Other than a brief return in 2010’s Brave and the Bold, Brother Power the Geek has only been hinted at in the DCU.

Geek Pride Day officially began in 1998 when Tim McEachern organized unconnected events called Geek Pride Festival/Day. March 25 was chosen simply because Star Wars premiered the same day in 1977.

America first embraced the day of geekery in 2008 with blogs and the launching of the Geek Pride Day Web site.

Posted Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 by Barry

Uncle Scrooge (1952) 3

To quote Clint Eastwood, “Do you feel lucky, punk?”

If so, today is your day. Today is National Lucky Penny Day.

With inflation, it may be hard to believe good luck in finding a lone penny. Materials cost more to create the coinage than it is worth. Many societies have even done away with the denomination.

Where the term came from is more a mystery than why pennies continue to be minted. The superstition of finding a “lucky” penny is not. Many cultures have their own origins. In Ireland and northern Europe, the belief is that if a penny is found it is to be given to someone else – heads up – so the good luck may be passed along.

Maybe it can better be explained by marrying superstition with religion. The penny, or one cent, may represent the oneness of God.

Walt Disney Uncle Scrooge 212 (a copy of the original Uncle Scrooge 3 could not be found)

What could be considered luckier is the dime.  Ten represents completeness. A dime – or 10 – is a one and a zero which equals one; or returning back to the unity and completion, a return to completeness.

Ten also represents universal creation, heaven, the key and the highest integrity.

By stretching the logic of the above three paragraphs we come to our host of ceremonies, Uncle Scrooge.

In addition to his frugalness and love of adventure, he is also known for his lucky, or number one, dime. The Number One Dime is the first coin that Scrooge McDuck ever earned. None of the stories associated with the dime state whether it actually brings luck or if Scrooge merely believes it does. The Number One Dime first appeared in Uncle Scrooge issue three.

The 1875 Seated Liberty dime was earned in 1877 by Scrooge in his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. He was a 10-year old shoeshine boy at the time. Since then, it has been the focus of every Magica De Spell story to date. Her belief is the dime possess magical powers and will help augment hers.

But, enough about the miserly mallard.

Today, keep your eyes downcast for that lucky penny. When found, pass it along to another to keep the good fortune flowing.

Posted Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 by Barry

Hot Stuff (1957) 1

Finally, a day for the sass we want in our food. May 19 is traditionally National Devil’s Food Cake Day. A day to celebrate the heavenly decadence that tantalizes our tastebuds.

While the origins of this darker dessert are under investigation, it does share the calendar with such desserts as Ice Cream Cake Day, Devil Dog Day, Lemon Cupcake Day, Cake Day, Chocolate Cake Day and Angel Food Cake Day.

Hot Stuff (1957) 1

Hot Stuff (1957) 1

Representing is Hot Stuff the Little Devil.

Warren Kremer found a home for his creation at Harvey Comics. With trusty trident and asbestos diaper, Hot Stuff has been a staple of the four-color (under)world since 1957. In his heyday, the pint-sized demon had eight comic book titles bearing his moniker.

He would also provide back up stories for other titular Harvey characters.

His last comic book appearance was in 2009 with Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Witch in a three-issue mini entitled Casper and the Spectrals.

Most recently he guested on The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror XXV in 2014.

One of the earliest recipes for Devil’s Food cake appeared in the Aug. 10, 1898 edition of the Hagerstown Exponent of Hagerstown, IN. This devilish delight differs from other cakes in that the coloring tends to be darker and the constancy moister. Devil’s Food cake recipes use hot or boiling water as the primary liquid. Cocoa is typically used in the batter, as opposed to chocolate. Top with a tasty frosting.