Posted Sunday, May 9th, 2021 by Barry

The Tick Mother’s Day Special (2000) 1

This is just a confusing mess.

The Tick Mother’s Day Special (2000) 1

The Tick Mother’s Day Special (2000) 1

The Tick becomes mother to four clones, Dupli-Tick, Proto-Tick, Quasi-Tick and Primi-Tick. The first part of the story has our hero and friends trying to determine where they came from.

Then, along comes a non-Toho approved Godzilla wannabe and one of the flock leave the nest. The remainder self-destruct or something.

Let’s just focus on Mother’s Day itself.

The day was created by Anna Jarvis and first celebrated in 1908. The day commemorated Jarvis’ mother and was held at the St. Andrew Methodist Church in Grafton, WV. The site is now the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

The holiday was not officially observed until 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day be observed as a national holiday the second Sunday of May.

Within a few years, the day became commercialized with the selling of cards and candies. Jarvis turned against her own holiday to show her scorn at businesses making a dollar from her commemoration.

Mother’s Day has grown globally in no small part due to the commercialization.

In America, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers and greeting cards. It is also the third highest day of church attendance, ranking behind Christmas Eve and Easter.

The day is also commemorated with carnations.

Posted Saturday, May 8th, 2021 by Barry

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

When Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow revealed his origin in More Fun Comics 89 in November of 1941, the bowman was then a cheap imitation of Batman.

Through the reimaging and craftmanship of writers and artists, Queen has become our official spokesman for National Archery Day.

Star City’s premier resident was obviously based on Robin Hood, though he himself was as rich as one Bruce Wayne when he first appeared in issue 73 of More Fun Comics. Queen learned to become a preeminent archer after being shipwrecked on a deserted island.

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

Upon his return home, Queen adopted the Green Arrow moniker and a sidekick, Speedy. The colorful pair tooled around town in their Arrowcar and responded to emergencies when called via the Arrow Signal. Their chief nemesis was Bulls Eye, a clown-like villain.

His fortunes changed in 1969 when artist Neal Adams updated his appearance with a goatee and mustache as well as new costume. Compatriot Denny O’Neil had him lose his wealth and become a political liberal  as a new common man.

O’Neil and Adams partnered Arrow with Green Lantern in GL’s own book. Together they became the Hard Travelin’ Heroes from issues 76 to 89 and issue 89. Green Arrow continued his own adventures as a back up in Flash’s 217-19 and 226.

Arrow finally appeared in his own mini-series in 1983. In 1987 he earned a second mini-series called Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. Mike Grell authored and penciled both the mini and following ongoing series.

After Grell’s departure, Arrow became more involved in the DCU, eventually leading to his death.

Kevin Smith brought the bowman back in a talented 15-issue run. Judd Winick took the reins and continued the spirited storytelling for four years.

Arrow was allowed to reunite with former lover Black Canary and the two would marry. Their happiness was interrupted by Blackest Night only to return anonymously in Brightest Day.

The New 52 was an opportunity to bring combine the ageless archer with modern society and what is now known as the Arrowverse.

Arrow premiered on The CW in October 2012. The show aired through January 2020.

Green Arrow’s history is a bit more complicated than the day it represents. National Archery Day was proclaimed to be commemorated the second Saturday of May, annually.

Posted Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 by Barry

May the Fourth be With You

This year we step away from Marvel’s original run of Star Wars comic books. This year we look at the usurper, Dark Horse Comics, for our celebratory installment of Star Wars Day, May 4th.

Hosting the gala are Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, two rebels stumbling their way through the climax of a rebellion in Tag and Bink Are Dead.

Tag and Bink Are Dead

Tag and Bink Are Dead

Their story – as far as we’re concerned – begins aboard the Tantive IV, transporting Princess Leia and the stolen plans to the Death Star. Rather than risk capture, Tag and Bink liberate a couple Stormtrooper armors and facilitate their escape. They find themselves on board the Death Star as the events of Star Wars unfold around them.

Writer Kevin Rubio ends the first issue with the destruction of the Death Star and seeming deaths of the titular heroes.

Tag and Bink Are Dead issue two reveals Tag and Bink stole an Imperial shuttle and escaped mere moments before it exploded.

The hapless duo continues to find themselves traveling a parallel path as the real stars of the trilogy. In the second installment they are seen “paling” around with Lando and Boba Fett.

A sequel, entitled The Return of Tag and Bink, round out the original three films by landing the pair back in harms way. By story’s end, they are dressed as two of the Emperor’s Royal Guards. They fail to escape the second Death Star before it is destroyed and become Force ghosts.

They returned yet again for Tag & Bink: Episode I – Revenge of the Clone Menace. This 2006 romp saw Misters Greenley and Otauna as hopeless padawans. Later they offer romance tips to Anakin as he tries to woo Padme. They finish their prequel adventures with the grace of Anakin cum Darth Vader who warns them to abandon their Jedi training.

Writer Rubio is best known for his Star Wars fan film Troops. His professional credits include work for the Sci-Fi channel, MTV, Fox Kids and USA Network.

So, break from the movies for a bit and tickle your funny bone with a different look at that galaxy far, far away…

Posted Saturday, May 1st, 2021 by Barry

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Obesity is a chronic disease affecting 100-million adults in America. Seeing the need for awareness, Kim Bielak founded National Fitness Day in 2017 to encourage healthier lifestyles. It is observed the first Saturday in May every year.

So dire is the current obesity rate, it ranks above smoking has a health hazard. About 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States have been associated with excessive weight. People with obesity in the US have higher heath care costs than those of normal weight; 27-percent more for physician visits and outpatient costs, 46-percent more for inpatient costs and 80-percent more for prescription drugs.

Common causes for obesity include genetics, physiological influences, food intake and eating disorders, sedentary lifestyle, weight history, pregnancy, drugs like steroid hormones and drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions.

Long before obesity became an epidemic, Fireside Books, coupled with Marvel, published The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book. Agile Ann Picardo authored the tome while Jumpin’ Joe Giella illustrated the book.

Basically, it was just a fun book filled with normal exercises, most isometric, to help youngsters feel like they were training like a super hero. Or, training to be a super hero.

Marvel’s stable of heroes provided their own recommendations to help tone.

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Included was Peter’s Perpendicular Leg Extensions. Instructions were as follows:  1. Lie on the floor leaning on your right elbow, feet straight out. 2. Bend the knee of your left and grab the heel of your left foot with your left hand. 3. Extend your leg straight up. Hold for a few seconds and return to your starting position. Repeat with your right leg.

Bashful’s Brutish Bottom Basher, from the Thing, instructed participants to 1. Sit on floor with your knees bent and grab your ankles 2. Rock back and forth, until you start to feel seasick.

The (J. Jonah) Jameson Roar went something like this: 1. Kneel on the floor with your bottom resting on your heels and your hands on your thighs, palms down. 2. Bend forward, open your eyes as wide as you can, and tense up every muscle in your body 3. Stick your tongue out as far as you can, spread your fingers wide apart and hold tense for a count of 12. 4. Slowly relax, bring your tongue back where it belongs and return to your starting position.

Not sure what good this one did, other than to contribute to premature balding, but Medussa’s instructions for Firey’s Furious Follicle Flourisher: 1. Sit cross legged on the floor and take hold of as much as near the scalp as you can. 2. Pull your hair forward so you can actually feel your scalp move, and then pull backward.

Other heroes contributing were Ghost Rider with his Bizarre Bicycles, the Hulk with Jade-Jaws’ Just-So Sit Ups and Banner’s Bellicose Bench Presses (without a bench), Thor with Goldilocks’ Greatest Isometric Arm Invigorators, Luke Cage’s Super Dude’s Free Squats and Luke’s Lying Down Limb Lifter, Sue Storm – when she was still the Invisible Girl – with The Fantastic One-Two-Three-Four, Captain America and the Falcon’s All-American Give and Take, Human Torch’s The Torchie Twist, Spider-Man’s Little Miss Muffet and Spread-Legged Foot Pull among others.

Some of the above worked in the fight against obesity, but other alternatives include healthy recipes, substituting fries for a salad, walking the stairs rather than taking the elevator, taking the dog for a walk, ordering from the light side of the menu, setting the alarm 20-minutes earlier to allow for some light exercising prior to beginning the day, etc.

Posted Sunday, April 25th, 2021 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

The last Sunday of April plays host to International Sculpture Day. To usher in this year’s non-holiday is the celebrated fictional Marvel U artist, Alicia Masters.

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Despite her blindness, Masters became a talented sculptor. Many of her works were modeled after the heroes husband Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, and his fantastic family palled with.

Her disability was caused by her stepfather and supervillain the Puppet Master.

Masters and Grimm enjoyed a rocky romance until the Thing chose to stay on an alien planet following the events of Secret Wars. She fell in love with Johnny Storm, aka, the Human Torch and the two married in Fantastic Four 300.

In true comic book soap opera form, it was later discovered Masters had been replaced by a Skrull prior to her relationship with Storm. Upon her return, Masters found solace with the Silver Surfer.

Returning from her spacefaring days, Masters and Grimm found each other again; this time to marry.

The word “sculpture” originates from the Latin word sculpere, meaning to carve. Today the three-dimensional art form utilizes a variety of materials including wood, stone, metal, and even Legos.

International Sculpture Day debuted in 2015. The day continues to grow in recognition each year.

Posted Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 by Barry

Batman Brave and the Bold (2009) 4

Batman and Aquaman spend Earth Day chasing around the time stream, fixing what Dr. Cyber has undone. Rip Hunter, Time Master, makes a guest appearance.

Menace of the Time Thief!, a Matt Wayne, Andy Suriano production; is a bittersweet reminder of Batman: Brave and the Bold that ran on Cartoon Network from Nov. 14, 2008 to Nov. 18, 2011.

Brave and the Bold may have seemed an odd choice to follow Batman the Animated Series, but, at the opposite end of the spectrum, proved cathartic. The tongue-in-cheek, deadpan humor, as delivered by Diedrich Bader, leapt from television screens and into fanboy’s hearts.

The series lasted three seasons with 26 episodes for seasons one and two and 13 episodes for season three.

Fans were treated to a reunion – of sorts – in 2018 when a feature-length animated movie went straight to video co-staring Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc.

Earth Day was established March 21, 1970 by peace activist John McConnell. His mission was to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. Earth Day is celebrated annually April 22 around the world.

Be kind to mother Earth and let’s all pause a moment to remember a series that shown a bright light on the Dark Knight in the best possible way.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4

 

Posted Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

It’s been said we all have a twin. April 20 is the day we remember we’re not alone. Today is National Look Alike Day.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

Some times our resemblance is courtesy of nature. Other times its an achieved process. Whichever the case, Marvel’s Chameleon is the emcee.

Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka the Chameleon, first appeared in the back up story of Amazing Spider-Man issue one. The throw-away story had Smerdyakov using the Cold War to fatten his bank account. During the short story his mercenary mission was to steal as many state secrets as possible to ransom to the highest foreign bidder.

His misstep came in impersonating Spider-Man, sending the enemy of the state on extended stay behind prison walls.

The Chameleon would continue to appear throughout the Marvel U fighting such heroes as Daredevil and Iron Man as well as Spider-Man.

He made a career outside the printed world as a mainstay in the animated field. Chameleon first appeared on The Marvel Super Heroes against Iron Man in Cliffs of Doom and opposite the Hulk in Enter the Chameleon.

When Spider-Man returned to Saturday mornings in 1980, Chameleon appeared in the Arsenic and Aunt May episode. He also made an appearance on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

In the 1990s, the Chameleon was a recurring character on the Spider-Man series. Not missing a decade, he returned for The Spectacular Spider-Man and continued onto the 2017 Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Patton Oswalt.

While Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created our guest host, television reporter Jack Etzel is the originator of National Look Alike Day. A slow news day led to a recurring premise for the future.

Posted Monday, April 19th, 2021 by Barry

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

Welcome to National Farm Animals Day, a time to focus on the human care of farm animals.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

Leading the march against cruelty are Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! If that’s a stretch, zoo and farm animals living lying down together, please visit another special day. We have enough of ‘em listed here.

The good Cap’n and cohorts were first featured in The New Teen Titans (1980) 16 in a 16-page special insert. Roy Thomas, fresh from Marvel, and Scott Shaw created the anthropomorphized inhabitants of Earth-C.

Members included Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, Alley-Kat-Abra, Fastback, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, Little Cheese and The American Eagle. Most can guess at the species of each teammate and possible doppelganger in either the DC or Marvel universe.

The series was cancelled after 20 issues with six still on deck. The series was later reprinted in DC’s Showcase Presents trade paperback line in 2014. This was after a seven-year wait on trademark approvals.

The team was reintroduced to the public in Teen Titans (2003) 30-31 and given a three-issue mini in 2007 entitled Captain Carrot and the Final Ark.

Short of a Robot Chicken skit, Captain and crew have been relegated to their comic book world. At present there are no plans to dust off the team for future projects.

For those who want a hands-on experience with the real thing, visit a farm if possible. Enjoy the country air and discover where your meals are really coming from.

Posted Friday, April 16th, 2021 by Barry

Adventure Comics (1938) 428

DC’s Black Orchid is a combination of four super heroes while orchids in general make up an estimated 25,000 species of flowers.

Today we’re just gonna focus on the comic book kind as we observe National Orchid Day.

Susan Linden-Thorne was the first such hero, appearing as a guest star in Adventure Comics issues 428-30. That earned a recurring back up feature in The Phantom Stranger over 10 issues before being relegated to pop ups throughout the DCU.

 

Adventure Comics (1938) 428

Linden did receive a three-issue mini penned by Neil Gaiman in 1988. It marked his first work for the company.

Flora Black became the second incarnation under the Vertigo brand. Her ongoing series lasted 22 issues under the guidance of Dick Foreman.

Black died in the final issue of the series, passing the legacy to a child version known simply as Suzy. The heir carried the title throughout the 1990s and early millennium aiding Shadowpact and Birds of Prey.

Under the New 52 imprint, Black Orchid resurfaced in a modernized version of the original costume. Alba Garcia became a member of Justice League Dark.

In the real world, National Orchid Day was created by Mike and Faith Young. They served in an orchid reserve in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and were so moved by the experience named their daughter Orchid Faith.

Orchid was lost during labor and the Young’s have been seeking ways to honor their departed daughter since. They secured April 16 as a day to remember their loss beginning in 2015.

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 by Barry

The Tick Big Tax Time Terror (2000) 1

Not only does the Tick see a tax return, but Barry, the evil Tick, in this one-shot.

The Tick Big Tax Time Terror (2000) 1

The Tick Big Tax Time Terror (2000) 1

The IRS possesses the power to giveth and taketh away. It is very generous with the Tick, who benefits from a loophole. Both Barry and the unexpected return share the spotlight as the disgruntled former Tick seeks retribution on those who would abuse his unknowing generosity.

April 14 is rarely a welcome time of the year. Hopefully the Tick and Arthur have helped ease the burden of supporting the country in which we live.

Taxes have been around almost as long civilization. The earliest known tax was levied in Mesopotamia over 4500 years ago where people paid taxes in the form of livestock.

Taxes in the United States have evolved as the nation has grown. Initially tariffs provided the main source of revenue for the government. New taxes were introduced during times of war to raise additional revenue, and they were usually allowed to expire once the war was over.

Taxation in the United States can be traced to the colonists. Most objected since they had no political voice or input about the creation of new taxes. This was the beginning of the fight for independence.

The first income tax was created in 1861 during the Civil War as a mechanism to finance the war effort. These were rolled back following peace, but the War Revenue Act of 1898 created another death tax to raise revenue for the Spanish-American War.

From this foundation, the modern taxation system of America grew and is known to be as inevitable as death.