Posted Saturday, July 24th, 2021 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 252

National Cousins Day has a mysterious past, but is still marked in red on the National Day Calendar each July 24.

 

Action Comics (1938) 252

The day is designed to celebrate bonds formed between those sometimes closer than siblings. Or, to commemorate a kinship that can form when siblings are not there.

Such is the case with Kara Zor-El and Kal-El, better known as Supergirl and Superman.

Depending on which reboot you last read, Kal and Kara are the sole survivors of Krypton. Originally, she arrived on Earth in 1959. Kara was sent into the heavens in a rocket of her own following Kal’s departure. The explosion caused a malfunction in the guidance equipment and she meandered in space for a bit. When she arrived on Earth, she was already a teenager.

Supergirl later became a victim of Crisis on Infinite Earths. She would be re-introduced to the DCU in 2004 in issue eight of the Superman/Batman comic book. Jeph Loeb authored an ongoing series following her reintroduction a year later.

Supergirl appeared in a self-titled movie in 1984. Unlike her cousin, Kara was not well received at the box office.

She would be given a supporting role on the CW incarnation, Smallville, in season seven.

CBS launched the latest celluloid version in 2015. To date, it has been renewed for a sixth season.

Supergirl has appeared in several incarnations in the animated DCU as well. Her first was on Superman: The Animated Series where she was voiced by Nicholle Tom. Later, she would slide over to Justice League Unlimited. Her new origin would be retold in the direct-to-video feature-length Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

More recently, she has been a fixture on the pre-teen-oriented DC Super Hero Girls series.

So, set a little time aside and remember the sibling who wasn’t a sibling, but still there when you needed them.

Posted Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 124

An estimated one sixth of the Earth’s population in 1969, 600 million, watched as Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on a stellar body other than Earth.

That was 52 years ago today.

June 20 has been set aside to remember the effort put forth by a nation and generation to put a total of 12 men on the moon with National Moon Day.

Last year Moon Knight was Four Color Holiday’s master of ceremonies. This year we celebrate with John Jonah Jameson III.

Jameson is the son of Daily Bugle owner/publisher J. Jonah Jameson II. The younger Jameson is also a former astronaut. He appeared in Amazing Spider-Man issue one, but is better known for his lycanthropic Man-Wolf persona.

Prior to his full-moon fever, Jameson was infected with space spoors that gave him super-human strength. Those were contained and on a subsequent mission to the moon, he found a space gem he kept and had fashioned into a necklace.

 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 124

The gem was later reveled to be the Godstone, a ruby from another dimension.  It embedded itself to his throat causing Jameson to be transformed into a werewolf in the moonlight.

Spider-Man first battled the Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man issues 124 and 125. Spidey was able to rip the pendent from Jameson’s throat saving everyone involved.

Morbius, the Living Vampire would later re-attach the pendant in an effort to find a cure for his blood disease. He did not and Spider-Man was forced to confront the monster duo and save Jameson a second time.

Man-Wolf would head up Creatures on the Loose from issues 30 to 37. He then returned to Amazing Spider-Man by the end of the decade for another two-issue story arc.

Jameson would bounce around the Marvel U after that. He would date She-Hulk, help Captain America prior to and during Civil War and return to space for the nation of Wakanda.

To observe National Moon Day, participants may recall where they were when Apollo 11 first made landfall. Break out the telescope and gaze at the moon for yourself. Discuss space travel.

President Richard Nixon was the first to proclaim June 20 as Moon Day in 1971. The observance stalled until Richard Christmas began a writing campaign. By 1975 he had 12 states making their own proclamations.

In 2019, President Donald Trump proclaimed July 20 as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. Again, the tradition has not be continued.

Posted Saturday, July 17th, 2021 by Barry

The Flash (1987) 1

Hitting the lottery is the dream of millions – or, is that a dream for millions.

Today is a reminder of how much money we have lost, or “invested,” in our local lotteries; this is National Lottery Day.

The lotto has been around since at least the 15th century. Like today, cash prizes were awarded to winning ticket holders. Monies collected would be used to fund the village, feed the poor and strengthen defenses.

The Flash (1987) 1

Later, the European lotteries would award a tax farm on wine transporters. At times, winning ticket holders would also be allowed quality control of the wine.

The United States continued the lottery fever when it formed. Ticket sales paid for cannons during the war for independence as well as paved roads.

In today’s spotlight is Wally West, DC Comics original lottery winner.

Following Uncle Barry Allen’s seeming demise during Crisis for Infinite Earths, West assumed the mantle. Carrying on the tradition of the Flash also meant a new book.

As readers began the new adventures, they learned West had won six and a half million dollars in the lottery. For a time, he had it all; the fame, money and women.

Fate, and writer Mike Baron, would soon rob West of his fortune and return him to the working world. Unlike his predecessor, the new Flash was not afraid to flaunt his Christian name and hawk his superpowered talents to the highest bidder to gain employment.

The series began as a fun read in the wake of DC’s original Crisis. The title, with other books receiving a reboot, brought a breath of fresh air into the comic book world. A much needed one before the bust of the next decade that nearly destroyed the industry.

National Lottery Day was founded by the Massachusetts State Lottery in 2018.

To celebrate, see if a local or state lottery offers a promotion recognizing the day.

Don’t play unless you have the means. If suffering from a gambling problem, please seek help, either through Gambler’s Anonymous or other organizations designed to help with this addiction.

Posted Sunday, July 11th, 2021 by Barry

7-Eleven: Free Slurpee Day

It may be hard to comprehend, but there was a time before super hero movies opened the floodgates to merchandising.

1977 7-Eleven Spider-Man Cup

Since Superman first rocketed to Earth, there have been crossover promotions and toys and apparel. Not on the scale it is today, but enough to allow the fanboy faithful to show their allegiance with the four-color counterpart of choice.

In the 1970s Marvel proved masters of merchandising. Just on the fringe. Superman the Movie may have proved popular at the box office, but the collectibles were still not forthcoming.

Let’s face it, if you wanted a super hero shirt, it was purchased from the ad pages of a comic book. You weren’t buying off the rack at the local department store.

That’s why promotions like the Marvel Slurpee cups were so welcomed. They provided another dimension to our worlds. We could not only read about our heroes, but drink from cups with their likenesses plastered on the front.

And, it was something our parents would buy us without much fuss. It was like a reverse Trojan Horse; you got your Slurpee, but it came in a super hero cup. A two-fer.

There were only 40-drinking glasses in the 1977 series. The 1975 collection featured 60. However, the ’77 offerings were visually more stimulating with an action sequence. Like the 1975 predecessors, the more popular characters are featured on more than one cup.

National 7-Eleven Day was first celebrated in 2002. The convenience store is widely regarded as the first of its type, established in 1927, then known as the Southland Ice Company. When the company expanded its hours in 1947, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., it changed its name.

Drink responsibly, don’t risk a brain freeze.

1977 Marvel Slurpee Check List

 

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2021 by Barry

Video Game Day

Need we say more?

Well, we’re gonna.

There’s no real history for the day, but there are a plethora of games that can be sampled. Rather than bore you with a lengthy dissertation, we’ll let Nixian’s YouTube offering on the Evolution of Superhero games give you a sampling.

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Posted Sunday, July 4th, 2021 by Barry

Captain America (1941) 1

Before the hamburgers and hotdogs, before the sun-soaked dip in the pool and before the fireworks, take time to remember today is Independence Day; America’s day.

What better hero to represent the Fourth of July then the one draped in our nation’s stars and stripes, Captain America?

Cap has been called the living embodiment of America. Not because of his red, white and blue costume, but the ideals he has manifested. Captain America provided a prelude to the second World War when he socked Adolf Hitler on the jaw on the cover of his first issue, six months before the “…day of infamy…” speech.

Captain America (1941) 1

Captain America (1941) 1

Captain America became a casualty to the nation’s beliefs in the 1950s. As senators conducted witch hunts, Cap fell out of favor. His absence went unnoticed for a decade.

By the early 1960s, America and its avatar were about to embark in a period of strife not seen since the Civil War. This struggle within the nation was mirrored in pages of Captain America. When he finally had had enough, Cap tossed aside his heritage and donned a black suit and new name reflecting his and other’s dissatisfaction with the country and its leaders.

As a new era dawned in the 1980s, Cap was asked to run for the presidency. His decision to stand aside was based on the greater good of America.

He later became a symbol for individuality during the nation’s second Civil War. His name has been smeared and death cheated, but Captain America remains the nation’s champion.

Unlike so many of Four Color Holiday’s observances, this is the real thing. The federally-sanctioned holiday has been commemorated since 1777 when 13 gunshots were fired in Bristol, RI. The salute was fired once in the morning and once in the evening recognizing the original 13 colonies.

In 1778 General George Washington remembered the day by toasting with his troops as the artillery sounded the celebration. In Europe, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, ambassadors, held a dinner party with fellow Americans in Paris, France.

The Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration in 1781.

In 1791 the first recorded use of the name Independence Day was noted.

In 1870 the United States Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.

Not until 1938 did the Fourth become a paid holiday for federal employees.

Dust off the Captain America’s and the pride in the nation to commemorate America’s day.

Posted Thursday, July 1st, 2021 by Barry

Tick (1988) 7

Here’s a non-holiday most of us can really sink our teeth into, Cow Appreciation Day; no offense to the vegetarians in the audience.

Bad puns aside, this calendar traveling day is celebrated seemingly at the whim of…I don’t know. This year it’s observed on the first, but it can be moooved (boo) to other days based on the wishes of the calendar gods.

Originally Cow Appreciation Day began as a Chik-Fil-A gimmick. Heff R. Jones (sound it out) started the “Eat More Chikin” billboard campaign in 1995. Even allowing for the attention span of most Americans, the first observance of Mr. Jones’ promotion wasn’t celebrated until 2004.

To commemorate, Chik-Fil-A passes out free meals on the day.

As for Four Color, well, Mr. Jones may be the original mascot, but he doesn’t work for the Web page. The Man-Eating Cow does.

The Man-Eating Cow first appeared in Ben Edlund’s Tick issue seven, The Moon Menace. Inside, the Tick seeks Pez, but finds himself the beefy sidekick to a back-alley detective. They are soon at the mercy of the underworld and a pit of man-eating alligators and cows under the employ of Chairface Chippendale.

In addition to introducing the Man-Eating Cow, the Tick also utters his “Spoon!” battle cry for the first time. Also making inaugural appearances were Angus MacGuire and Professor Chromedome.

By battle’s end, the Tick and Arthur have triumphed and depart for New York City, leaving The City in the hooves of the Man-Eating Cow.

The Man-Eating Cow would prove popular enough that she spun off into her own book that ran from 1992 to 1994 for 10 issues. The Tick would return for guest appearances.

A two-issue mini ran in 1996 called Man-Eating Cow Bonanza.

The Man-Eating Cow also made an appearance on the Tick’s two-season Fox network’s Fox Kids block animated series.

Happy Cow Appreciation Day, no matter how you celebrate.

Posted Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 36

This is the last time this month we will use a Spider-Man villain to represent the day.

Mainly ‘cause it’s the last day of the month and, well, that’s why.

Today is National Meteor Watch Day. Yes, June 30 is the night we are to turn o

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 36

ur eyes heavenward with hopes in seeing a falling star.

Does that always happen?

No, but it does make for a romantic evening under the stars.

Less romantic is the host for the day/evening. Norton G. Fester was originally called The Looter. He began his crooked career seeking funding for his scientific endeavors.

Spider-Man defeated him in Amazing Spider-Man 36. After his escape from prison, Fester laid low until he could steal another meteor. Valkyrie and Spider-Man tackled the rechristened Meteor Man whom they recaptured.

In a scathing indictment of the prison system, Fester escaped again. This time he faced off against Bill Foster/Giant Man (II) and Spidey. Meteor Man’s then current invention literally blew up in his face causing the appearance of his death.

He, of course, did survive and battled Spider-Man – again. The Web Head went it alone this time and sent Meteor Man back to prison – again.

Before we all become dizzy from this merry-go-round of imprisonment and release, let’s remember the day for more interesting hot gasses.

Meteors are debris from space, often rock, the enter Earth’s atmosphere. The friction as they enter causes the surrounding air to burn. The flaming hot air around the debris is what laymen call a shooting star.

Meteors are usually seen at night when they are between 34 to 70 miles above the Earth. They usually disintegrate between 31 and 51 miles. Their glow time is about a second.

National Day Calendar has created a nine-step program for optimal meteor viewing.

Let’s all wish upon a falling star that Marvel finds a more interesting villain and quits trotting out Meteor Man.

Posted Sunday, June 27th, 2021 by Barry

Avengers (1963) 9

Today’s non-holiday adds a little mystery with its unknown origins and dark lenses. Today is National Sunglasses Day.

Since 2009, June 27 has been set aside for a subject lauded in song and popularized in film. From ZZ Top’s Dark Sunglasses to Arnold’s trademark shades in the original Terminator, sunglasses are a fashion statement and a health recommendation.

Each year National Sunglasses Day gains momentum from organizations such as The Vision Council. Humans may love the sun, but it doesn’t always reciprocate. Harmful UV rays cause our eyes to be at risk while we have fun in the sun.

Four Color Holidays’ spokesman for the day wears his shades for a completely different reason. Or, he used to before he donned his red and black singlet.

When Simon Williams first appeared, his green and red togs seemed a cross between nightmare and Christmas. Later he would don a red safari coat, black tights and boots. No matter what his fashion fau

Avengers (1963) 9x pas, Simons, aka Wonder Man, would have his red sunglasses.

In the beginning they resembled lenses in his facemask, but by the 1970s and his Marlin Perkins-inspired ensemble, they were definitely red sunglasses.

Williams began his career in what appeared to be a one-and-done as a villain in Avengers issue nine. Having appeared to have died, Williams did not return until Avengers 58 four years later.

The Avengers had conveniently saved his mind in a computer.

Oh, yeah, Simons had already been transformed into a being of ionic energy, seeking revenge against Tony Stark.

Anyway, following his reappearance in Avengers 58 the character was shelved for another few years only to return in a comatose cameo in Avengers 102. Kang the Conqueror would revive Simons/Wonder Man in the Avengers story arc 132-34.

Simon would finally become an Avenger after two more guest appearances with Avengers issue 160. Simon would pal with Hank “Beast” McCoy, even trying their hands at Hollywood.

He became a founding member of the West Coast Avengers in 1984, then joined Force Works a decade later. In 1994 he starred in his own series for 29 issues. Simons rejoined the Avengers in 1998. He has remained with the team since in most of its incarnations.

Now, to celebrate today, grab your favorite shades, head over to your local comic book shop and pick up some Wonder Man issues.

Posted Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 212

Enjoying a cool and refreshing beverage is the order of the day as we observe National Hydration Day.

This non-holiday was founded in honor of football Coach Victor Hawkins, the creator of a mouthguard that releases electrolytes that kept his players hydrated during practices and games. SafeTGard Corporation founded National Hydration Day to increase awareness of the importance of proper hydration to athletes. It also honors the coach who has contributed to the wellbeing of his players.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 212

While the hero of the day was looking out for others, our host is much more self-serving. Morris Bench was a crewman on the U.S.S. Bulldog way back in Amazing Spider-Man 212. His villainous origins began when Spider-Man accidently knocked him overboard and he took a swim in an irradiated section of ocean.

As a result, Bench found himself the watery equivalent of the Sandman; able to transform his body into water and water-shaped weapons. Blaming Spidey for his condition, the newly minted Hydro-Man sought revenge.

Using the heated day and lack of moisture, Spider-Man was able to – literally – dry up his hot-headed opponent. Bench eventually evaporated into the New York skyline.

Like any good villain, Hydro-Man would return. Over time he would seek help and join such groups as the Sinister Syndicate, Frightful Four and Masters of Evil.

Bench participated in a minor role in the Civil War and Spider-Island storylines. Later he was defeated and handed over to the employees of Horizon Labs. He is utilized in a blackmail plot to drown New York City. Spider-Man and Deadpool teamed to defeat him.

Hydro-Man knocked around for a bit in the Marvel U to finally be used by Namor against the surface world.

Bench has seen action on the small screen in Spider-Man: the Animated Series, the Fantastic Four cartoon and back to Spider-Man in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode Shear Strength. His final small-screen appearance was on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.

He has also been used as a major villain on the big screen in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

So, enjoy the day. Make sure to replenish with fluids and make time for a little Hydro-Man.