Posted Saturday, May 25th, 2019 by Barry

Jingle Belle (1999) 2

Jingle Belle (1999) 2

Jingle Belle (1999) 2

Paul Dini and Stephen DeStefano wrap up the two-issue mini with “Santa’s Little Hellion.”

When we left Jingle Belle at the end of issue one, she had released the wrath of the Blizzard Wizard after disobeying her father, Santa Claus. The good intentions of faux elf and newfound friend, Andy, allow Jingle to return to North Pole headquarters, but the damage is done.

To thwart the Bliz Wiz again, Jingle retreads old ground seeking aid from those who helped Santa before. Between a contest to prove herself and unexpected help from a suicidal source Christmas is saved.

Jingle raises her will in defiance one last time to help Andy. The good deed does go unpunished, but not unnoticed.

She is allowed a place by her father’s side on the most generous of all nights.

Another homerun from Dini and Destafano. Y2K could never have dampened the spirit released from the two issues as the duo close out the old millennium with fun and flare.

Posted Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Barry

Jingle Belle (1999) 1

“Long, long ago…” so the story begins, the good northern elves became the Blizzard Wizard’s entertainment. When the elves even gooder Queen Mirabelle sought their freedom she too was captured.

As with all good fairy tales the queen was rescued. Rescued by a saint: Santa Claus. Her hero rode forth and banished the evil and vile wizard to his icy caverns while forcing him to relinquish his power.

In a show of appreciation the elves vowed their allegiance to Santa and his mission to bring happiness to children the world over. Santa and the queen fell in love and were married.

And, they lived happily ever after.

Jingle Belle (1999) 1

Jingle Belle (1999) 1

At least until Santa couldn’t keep his pants up any longer and Queen Mirabelle bore him a daughter. One they spoiled with the best presents.

“Miserable on 34th Street” is the rest of the story. One in which their daughter, Jingle Belle, seeks a way back into her father’s good graces. Be it through deceit, granted, but still a chance to climb from under the mountain of coal she receives every Christmas Eve.

Through misunderstanding and indifference Jingle reunites the cold czar of chaos with is power source again and earns the hatred of children everywhere.

To be continued…

Paul Dini serves up the frozen fare with Stephen DeStefano illustrating the icy tale. Pin ups are served by Jill Thompson and Sergio Aragones.

Posted Sunday, May 19th, 2019 by Barry

The Tick New Series (2009) 7

“Star of Blunder, Star of Might!” closed out 2010 in true Tick holiday fashion.

The Tick has lost his Christmas spirit. Even eight days of Hanukkah isn’t enough to dampen the depression. Not until a beacon shines the way. The Tick and Arthur undertake a pilgrimage – along with the Man-Eating Cow – to seek out the meaning of the season.

For the Tick that’s a bit skewed. As is the story.

The Tick New Series (2009) 7

The Tick New Series (2009) 7

Benitio Cereno III takes as many jabs at the holiday season as he does the comic book field. The Tick was originally created by Ben Edlund. Like other indy comic books of the time, The Tick was – and is – a parody of the super hero genre. In his original run the Tick even worked at a newspaper office with a Clark Kent clone. Fellow heroes included Die Fledermaus, a shameless Batman knock off; American Maid, similar to Wonder Woman in many ways and Fish Boy, an obvious take on Aquaman.

The Tick’s rogue’s gallery could be compared to Dick Tracy’s with villains like Chairface Chippendale, The Forehead and The Terror.

He received his own comic book series in 1988. The initial run ran a mere 12 issues. Since then he has been in several incarnations.

By 1994 the Tick’s popularity was enough Fox picked up the character for an animated series. It ran three seasons, 1994-96, on the Fox network’s Fox kids block. Since then the series has been syndicated to other networks as well as released on VHS and DVD.

A live-action series aired in both 2001 and 2016.

Posted Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 by Barry

Bugs Bunny (1953) 46

Bugs Bunny issue 46 sports a Christmas cover for the December/January 1956 dated comic book, but none of the material inside reflect the season.

Bugs Bunny (1953) 46

Bugs Bunny (1953) 46

In “Mountie’s Mistake,” Bugs is desperate to become one of the Royal Mounted Policemen. Instead he is relegated to filling oat bags for the horses. In an attempt to make the force he undertakes a mistaken manhunt for Porky rather than the real criminal.

“Big Injun Ambush” is colorful in title and synopsis as a wayward Native American tries to stop the local train.

Sylvester and Tweety tear down the neighborhood in a cycle of life struggle during “House Hunt.”

“Firewood” is the only story with a winter flavor. Bugs and Elmer vacation at the latter’s cabin. Bugs makes due with local materials for warmth.

Posted Sunday, May 12th, 2019 by Barry

A Year of Marvels May 01

Okay, not sure about a lot of the details on this other than from the standard release published ad nauseum on Web sites.

In 2016 it looks as if Marvel released a series of monthly one-shots under its Marvel Digital Comics imprint. Since then it has been released in hardcopy as a trade paperback.

Based on release info, artists celebrated a holiday each month throughout the year. In May, readers received a – pun intended – monstrous Mother’s Day tale.

A Year of Marvels May 01

A Year of Marvels May 01

X-23 cum Wolverine teams with She-Hulk tackling sister Wendigoes sired by Mother Monster. Her real name.

Mother Monster experimented with cannibalism to craft her (wo)man made monsters. Success was elusive until she was able to feed her “daughters” authentic Wendigo meat. The combination of human and Wendigo flesh created a hybrid pair.

With She-Hulk and X-23/Wolverine captured, Mother Monster tried to transfer their powers to the man-made Wendigoes. X-23/Wolverine is able to nullify Monster Mother’s machination and earn the respect of She-Hulk.

Dennis Culver scripted the story with Geoffo and Leonardo Romero fleshing out the visuals. Overall the story is a nice piece harkening back to the original – and first appearance – of Wolverine and the Hulk. If you have to ask what issue that was, you shouldn’t be reading this.

A fun romp for Mother’s Day.

Posted Friday, May 10th, 2019 by Barry

Gen 13 A Christmas Caper

This 2000 holiday offering opened the millennium with a look at the past.

Gen 13 is/was a team of teens with a mentor. As individuals they were recruited by International Operations, a clandestine government organization along the lines of a James Bondesqe-cabal. They are trained through this organization to become heroes.

Something like that.

For the purpose of the Christmas special, that’s a good enough explanation.

Gen 13 A Christmas Caper

Gen 13 A Christmas Caper

This story takes place when the group was still old enough to believe in Santa Claus. Grunge had concocted a calculation that will give the exact time of Santa’s arrival at the facility. His plan is to hide and record the jolly one’s visit.

What no one realizes is the facility, the children, all the trappings are just bait. IO headman The Baron wishes to exact revenge for years of coal under the Christmas tree.

The plan works and Santa is captured. However, the end result is Christmas magic that reveals The Baron’s suffering was undeserved.

I’ve had this issue for years. Just sitting in my box of holiday comic books. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve pawed past it looking for the next issue to read.

While scheduling ahead for the summer season it was just time to read this book.

Having done so, I can’t believe it took so long. What a fun read. You don’t need to be a fan. I’m not. I may have read the first issue of the original title. It didn’t do anything for me. That’s probably why it took me so long to read this.

I wish I hadn’t. Waited, that is.

Next time you’re at your local comic book shop, leaf through the back issues and see if this one is available. It’s worth the time and money.

Posted Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 by Barry

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 5

Just a Christmas cover with a creepy Santa Claus for the 1943 winter edition of Comic Cavalcade.

In the heat of the second World War almost half the issue is propaganda. Filler between headliners Flash, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are illustrated tales of heroism on both the European and Pacific fronts. The “Real Life Story of George Philip Corl” features the decorated sergeant who was wounded three times before taking down a Messerschmitt over North Africa.

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 5

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 5

Hop Harrigan sinks a Japanese destroyer and a convoy of troop ships in “Combined Operations.”

“Reel Life to Real Life” is spy hunt involving a soldier, sailor and Marine in Hollywood.

Wonder Woman is featured in “Mystery of the Crimson Flame.” The Amazon finds herself in Arabia to solve the mystery of the story’s title.

Green Lantern sidekick Doiby Dickles’ hat is lost and found while foiling the plans of fashion thieves.

Man-eating plants annoy the Flash in “The Plant That Challenged the World”.

Also included as reading fare are Sargon the Sorcerer and Mutt & Jeff.

Posted Saturday, May 4th, 2019 by Barry

May the Fourth be With You

No, May 4 is not a recognized holiday. I don’t even think there are any greeting cards available – yet.

It’s just a matter of time. With Big Bang Theory memorializing it May 1, 2014, in The Proton Transmogrification episode, it must be an important day.

And, May 4 is important. Not only is it officially Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day this year, it is also my birthday. A day I celebrate in a variety of forms from just hanging at the house to venturing out for Free Comic Book Day.

So, focusing on the Star Wars Day aspect let’s talk old school Star Wars comic books. The Marvel years. From 1977 to 1986. The ones that filled in holes when fans had to wait three years to see the next installment. When nothing else was available but the Holiday Special and spin-off novelizations.

These are the issues that gave us Jaxxon, a near-mythical rabbit in a space jumpsuit and green complexion. The comic books where Jabba was introduced as a bipedal humanoid with a walrus look. The ones where Luke returned to Tatooine and hijacked a Sandcrawler.

Those are the two issues I’d like to focus on this year.

Issues 31 and 32; Return to Tatooine! and The Jawa Express. Maybe my favorite story arc from the original series.

I don’t know why. Both hit spin racks in the latter part of 1979. Maybe I was just ready for the release of Empire. It had been so long since Star Wars first appeared in theaters. Even re-releases weren’t enough. We had to see where the franchise was going. What was going to happen to Luke, Han, Leia and others.

These two issues just seemed to sum up the era. Having been separated for several issues, Luke, Han, Leia and gang did regroup. On Tatooine of all places.

Together they run afoul of Orman Tagge who is attempting to build another weapon as devastating as the Death Star. As stated a couple of paragraphs above, the heroes go so far as to hijack a Sandcrawler. It’s ludacris and indicative of the times, but so satisfying for old-school fans. It’s a dip in the legendary Lazarus pit to renew the soul.

If you haven’t read these stories or it’s been a while, dig ‘em out. Show ‘em the love they deserve.

Posted Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 by Barry

Scooby-Doo Where are You? (2010) 28

Chanukah and Christmas are given equal billing with “Fright One Candle” and “It’s a Wonderful Fright.”

The “ghost” of Antiochus, emperor of the Syrian Greeks, attempts to spoil Chanukah by stealing the oil and candles from the synagogue. Velma’s sharp eyes notice a clue that leads to recovery of the missing items. The deception is not a hate crime, but a lesson to teach the children of the Jewish holiday.

Chanukah celebrates the Maccabees’ victory over the invading Syrian army and the miracle of the menorah burning for eight days.

“It’s a Wonderful Fright” was originally published in Scooby-Doo 115. Shaggy reprises George Bailey’s fictional life in the Phillip Van Doren Stern short story. Shaggy bumps his head and dreams away Mystery Inc. Every cliché comes to life during the dream sequence along with a series of poltergeists from the past.

Scooby-Doo Where are You? (2010) 28

Posted Saturday, April 27th, 2019 by Barry

The Tick New Series 1

For anyone not familiar with the Tick…stop it! Get right and get some knowledge.

Head to your local comic book shop, eBay, Amazon, whatever. Buy an issue, trade or omnibus. Discover a guilty pleasure.

The Tick New Series 1

The Tick New Series 1

From his humble beginnings as the New England Comics mascot to toy lines and syndication, the Tick has never disappointed. Creator Ben Edlund has crafted a character who lampoons the super hero industry. The Tick wallows in absurdity, but never white washes the truth.

During his career, The Tick has survived several series. The 2009 incarnation is birthed with a seasonal story sending the secret Santa practice into the stratosphere.

The Tick and fellow heroes meet at The Comet to celebrate Christmas. Their gift exchange is mingled with stories of past exploits. The sidekicks are given cameos as they, too, reminisce. Villains are sprinkled for variety.

A face from the franchise’s past returns and actually proves valuable in his efforts to remain a hero.

The Tick has had several holiday specials throughout the years. This is part of an ongoing series, but still feels special in its own right.