Posted Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 by Barry

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

A 1978 inhouse ad from the House of Ideas – and merchandising – showcased the beginning of the graphic novel and trade paperback era.

Aside from The Incredible Hulk 1979 calendar, the advertisement promoted the Fireside books published from 1974 to 1979.

 

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

Fireside was an imprint of publishing house Simon & Schuster. Stan Lee’s vision was to offer a more traditional format featuring Silver Age stories at affordable prices.

Fireside and Marvel teamed for 24 such books during the six-year association. Origins of Marvel Comics hit bookshelves in 1974 followed by Son of Origins of Marvel Comics in 1975. Bring on the Bad Guys and The Superhero Women were published in 1976.

The return of Jack Kirby to Marvel was heralded by The Silver Surfer The Ultimate Cosmic Experience. It also marked a reunion with collaborator Lee.

Other books included The Best of Spidey Super Stories, The Incredible Hulk, Marvel’s Greatest Battles, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange Master of the Mystic Arts, Captain America Sentinel of Liberty, The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Fun books one through five, The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book, The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Marvel Mazes to Drive you Mad, The Mighty Marvel Pin-Up Book, Marvel Word Games and The Might Marvel Jumbo Fun Book.

All stocking stuffers to be sure.

Posted Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 by Barry

Batgirl (2017) 18

First, thanks to Jeff for not only bringing this issue to my attention, but adding it to my stocking stuffers from him for Christmas 2018.

Batgirl 18 is a serviceable issue. Other than it makes me feel old. Barb and two friends attend a Christmas party and Harley Quinn crashes.

Batgirl (2017) 18

Batgirl (2017) 18

The story makes me feel old in the fact I can’t see me at a mixer like that anymore. I wouldn’t begin to know how to dress, mingle or stay awake as late as it probably would have gone without interference.

This is not the Batgirl I grew up with. That incarnation was created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino; concept by William Dozer. She appeared in Detective Comics (1939) issue 359.

I also enjoyed Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown as Batgirl.

When DC unveiled the New 52 and Barbara Gordon was back complete with working limbs, I was thrilled. Gail Simone took the returned Batgirl through her paces for 34 issues and did an excellent job.

Barbara then received new writers and relocated to Burnside, a ward of Gotham City. More importantly she took on a new persona. Batgirl was now posting selfies and working personal media like a Kardashian.

Having never negotiated a Facebook page and only tweeted a year for an organization I belong to, I felt old.

On the precipice of 54 – as of this writing – social media is the tool of the devil to me. Too much drama. Too many egos asking to be stroked. I’m sure it has its merits, but not to me.

Oh, and Batgirl 18? A good read if you can’t remember when telephones hung on the wall and cartoons came only on Saturday mornings.

Posted Monday, February 17th, 2020 by Barry

Flash (1959) 210

Flash goes 1,000 years into the future to avenge the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln for this President’s Day.

Washington and Lincoln’s days were combined for create President’s Day. Not that we at Four Color Holidays have no love for the founder of our country, we’re just celebrating the 16th president of these United States. To honor the Great Emancipator, we recount Flash 210 An Earth Divided.

Flash (1959) 210

Flash speeds wife, Iris, to the future to visit her real parents. Upon arriving, they discover the Lincoln of the 21st century has been disintegrated by none other than John Wilkes Booth.

An incredulous Flash sets off to find the assassin while Iris provides news coverage.

Cary Bates and Irv Novick reveal their master plan that the new Lincoln is a robot programmed with the skills and intellect of the 19th-century counterpart.

And, DC wondered why Marvel was outselling them at the time.

Lincoln’s birthday has never officially been granted Federal Holiday status. However, nearly half the state governments have renamed Washington’s Birthday as President’s Day or Washington and Lincoln Day. The day is observed the third Monday of February.

Posted Friday, February 14th, 2020 by Barry

Looney Tunes (1994) 171

It’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve gotta get this one right. Not only is it supposed to be the most romantic day of the year, but it is also my anniversary.

Our anniversary.

Sandy’s and mine.

She has nothing to do with the Web site, but she might see it at some point.

So, happy Valentine’s Day from the Looney Tune’s gang.  Issue 171 promised “Heart-Pounding Giggles Ahead!”

Really.

Looney Tunes 171

Looney Tunes 171

It does.

Just read the kicker over the title.

While the cover reads ‘There’s Something About Taz,’ the story title is ‘The Debonair Devil.’ Pepe Le Pew steals more than just the spotlight in this torrid tale of love lost and won.

Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn yuck it up for a two-page side tickler.

Bugs gets the girl in ‘Roll Out the Bunny’ for the second and final Valentine’s Day tale in the book.

Elmer Fudd gives up hunting – for this issue – after tackling technology in ‘Reach Out and Bugs Someone.’

If you’re still looking for that perfect last-minute gift, this may do the trick…but, probably not.  Comic books aren’t as cool when girls are looking at them.  If they are, you’ve found a keeper.

Hope your day of romance is a good one.

Cutting this short to spend some time with my Valentine.

Posted Monday, February 10th, 2020 by Barry

Detective Comics (1937) 58

With today National Umbrella Day, the Penguin is the obvious choice to act as ambassador.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot originally bore some resemblance to his current countenance, but was a doughier rapscallion in Detective Comics (1937) 58.  Mr. Cobblepot has firmed up a bit over the past 70 years. He has also moved on from his days of out-and-out larceny to become more of an underworld consort, catering more than cavorting.

Detective Comics (1937) 58

Detective Comics (1937) 58

In his first appearance, the Penguin begins his criminal career as an art thief, stealing under the noses of Batman and Robin themselves. He moves on to jewels in a crime spree that not only confounds the Caped Crusaders, but implicates them.

In the final showdown, Penguin manages to elude Batman, though the Dark Knight does clear his name.

Penguin does little with his bumbershoot other than spray some acid this issue. It is in subsequent appearances he and his decorative accessory earn its spot in the pantheon of weapons. Of all his assorted implements of violence, the Bulgarian umbrella is his favorite.

The umbrella has been in use since 21 AD, first seen in China as a useful and decorative cover for a four-wheeled carriage. The invention has evolved little over the years having been perfected right out of the gate.

Posted Friday, February 7th, 2020 by Barry

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 25

Our heroes make merry while Santa lies sick for the cover of Comic Cavalcade number 25. Again, the cover date is Feb.-March 1947, but the comic book appeared in December 1946.

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 25

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 25

The interior is business as usual with the only hint of Christmas on the front.

Wonder Woman headlines the book in ‘Hatred of Badra.’

Next up is a short entitled ‘The Talking Dog.’

Green Lantern is on ‘The Roof of the World‘ with Sky Pirate. GL experiences acrophobia after the villain disguises himself as a psychologist and hypnotizes the hero.

Hop Harrigan appears in ‘The Mystery of Airport Inn‘ and Cotton-Top Katie takes a turn before Black Canary. The siren of song stars in ‘Tune of Terror.’

Flash battles an animated idol unleashed by Kiua, the Mayan goddess.

Posted Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Today is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day. That said, Willie Lumpkin is the most deserving master of ceremonies for the day in our universe.

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Willie was originally created by Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo for a newspaper comic strip. Stan resurrected the character in Fantastic Four (1961) 11 in ‘A Visit With the Fantastic Four.’

Readers are treated to a more idyllic story as the famous foursome go about daily activities. They are greeted by Willie as he delivers a bag of fan mail. The short introduction ends with an offer by Mr. Lumpkin to join the team; his hidden power is the ability to wiggle his ears.

The mail carrier makes a final appearance in the last panel of the first story with an even larger bag of mail to be delivered.

Mr. Lumpkin would continue to make cameos in The Fantastic Four through the ensuing years. In 1989 Willie was given his own short in Marvel Comics Presents issue 18 in a parody of ‘A Christmas Carol.’

He would later become a beau of Aunt May Parker until one of her many perceived deaths.

After his retirement, Willie became a biology teacher for the Future Foundation with the FF.

In a touching tribute to his creation, Stan Lee portrayed the beleaguered mailman in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.

Posted Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 388

In honor of Super Sunday, Four Color Holidays brings you Action Comics 388 and Supergirl’s victory over fixed football games.

With the big game to prepare for, we’ll keep the synopsis to a minimum: Supergirl stops a gang from threatening the star player into throwing games.

Instead, lets focus on Super Sunday, the most popular single day of sports in America.

Action Comics (1938) 388

Action Comics (1938) 388

The Super Bowl, or AFL-NFL World Championship Game, was first played Jan. 15, 1967. It is now played on the first Sunday of February.

Since most of us won’t be able to afford tickets – let alone the trip to Miami, FL, for Super Bowl LIV, we can do the following:

First, read a copy of Action Comics 388. Forget issue 388 since it’s not really a good read.

Stock up on favorite snack foods and beverages. Order pizza and sandwiches.

Make sure the front door is unlocked to allow friends and family over to share the game with.

Make sure the front door is locked so as not to allow friends and family entrance and enjoy the game alone.

Finally, have a good excuse for work the next morning when you come dragging in late because of excessive celebrating/disparaging of the previous night’s game.

So, whoever you’re rooting for, remember:  it’s only a game.

Posted Friday, January 31st, 2020 by Barry

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

Science tells us time travel doesn’t exist.

But, it does.

At least in our minds. Here’s a prime example.

The holidays may be over, but here’s a look – 39 years – back at “Marvel’s Big Money…,” well, just re-read the title of today’s offering.

This one hurts my heart a bit. This was the end of an era. This was the final full year we lived back home; Virginia.

No, I didn’t order from this ad. We were fortunate enough to have one of the early comic book shops in Winchester. If I couldn’t make it there – these were the days before a driver’s license – there were newsstands and a 7-Eleven within pedaling distance.

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

When the advertisement first appeared, it was just another page to flip past for more action. Looking at it now, the wreath is a portal to a time when adventures came at $.40 (plus tax) right off a spin rack.

Less if you subscribed for a year. Just read the hype: “The first subscription costs $5 – A big $1 savings off the regular sub price of $6!”

Read a little further and you could have saved an additional dollar with each subsequent subscription.

Whatta bargain.

It might have been nice, but there was – and still is – a thrill that comes when you pick up your pull box stack or find one on the wall that calls out; looking at those lavish covers and being drawn into the story without turning a page.

Hope your holidays were wonderful and the memories made will be good ones in the years to come. Jan. 31, 1981, has come and gone; buried by a lotta years. But, we can still remember.

Posted Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 by Barry

World’s Finest Comics (1941) 111

Not as well-known as New Year’s Eve, Tick Tock Day is celebrated Dec. 29 each year to remind us time is a commodity. One that will expire shortly when the current year is retired.

Rather than use Father Time or Baby New Year to represent the (non) holiday, Four Color Holidays has chosen the Clock King. Both of ‘em.

World’s Finest Comics (1941) 111

World’s Finest Comics (1941) 111

The Clock King was originally presented as the Silver Age Green Arrow’s arch enemy. Like so many early villains, William Tockman was doomed to a life of crime based on his name alone. He became caregiver to his ailing sister only to find he was terminally ill with six months to live. Using Breaking Bad’s plot, Tockman robbed a bank to ensure she would be cared for after his passing.

Later he learned his medical records were switched with another patient’s and sought revenge on the doctor and Green Arrow. The nefarious plan failed and the evil Clock King was escorted to Arkham Asylum where he would regularly escape to bedevil the Justice League and various DC heroes.

He was later reinvented as Billy Tockman when DC rebooted its universe during the New 52. In addition to renewing his origin, Tockman is given precognition four-seconds into the future.

To celebrate Tick Tock Day, complete any unfinished business from the year and post to #TickTockDay.