Posted Thursday, March 4th, 2021 by Barry

G.I. Combat (1952) 1

General Issue, formerly Government Issue, have become the preface for almost any military personnel.

Better known as G.I. the initials first appeared to denote supply records for galvanized iron. During World War I troops began associating the letters for “general issue.” By the second world war G.I. had morphed to mean a generic enlisted man.

Army Sergeant David Breger, a comic strip artist, created G.I. Joe for Yank magazine in 1942. G.I. further became engrained in the American psyche when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the bill that became known as the G.I. Bill.

G.I. Combat (1952) 1

G.I. Combat (1952) 1

Toy Company Hasbro cemented the abbreviation when they issued G.I. Joe in 1964.

To honor the men and women in service to America, today is designated National Hug a G.I. Day.

Featured guests here are the hard-fighting calvary men and commander, Lt. Jeb Stuart, Arch Asher, Rich Rawlins and Slim Stryker. Collectively they are the

G.I. Combat 87

G.I. Combat 87

crew of the Haunted Tank.

G.I. Combat began as an anthology of war-oriented stories published by Quality Comics. National bought the company in 1956, but continued the title.

Writer and editor Robert Kanigher and artist Russ Heath created the Haunted Tank and its inhabitants beginning with issue 87 in 1962. Their spin was the ghost of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart would shepherd the men in the M3 Stuart throughout the war.

The four survived their tour of duty in the European Theater of Operations only to find themselves cancelled in the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths with issue 288 in 1987.

The concept was revived in 2010 with a one-shot entitled Listening to Ghosts. Matthew Sturges and Phil Winslade penned and penciled the book, respectively.

DC’s New 52 brought new life for eight issues in 2012. Jeb and company were called up for issues five through seven.

National Hug A G.I. Day began in 1996 and is the only day on the calendar that is also a military command to salute and celebrate the men and woman who serve our country.

Posted Monday, March 1st, 2021 by Barry

Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies Comics (1941) 1

National Day Calendar offers the following advice on how best to observe National Pig Day:  “Cuddle up with one, read about one, or eat one.”

Not sure if it’s just me, but consuming something sentient you are commemorating as a show of affection is just macabre. Almost as creepy as the kid catcher in Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang.

Today is the day the world recognizes the domesticated pig. From Arnold to Wilbur. Television to the big screen.

Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies Comics (1941) 1

Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies Comics (1941) 1

We’re setting our sites a little lower. We’re looking at the printed page. The four-color printed page and our host is Porky. We’re not being judgmental, that’s his name:  Porky Pig.

Our portly pig made his debut in the animated short, I Haven’t Got a Hat in 1935. Believe it or not, Porky was the original star of Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies series. Not the leading man type, the anthropomorphized swine became a straight man and fall guy in many of the shorts to follow.

His comic book career didn’t begin until 1941 with the first issue of Looney Tunes Merrie Melodies 1. He was a mainstay in the Dell publication that ran 107 issues appearing in all.

In 1965 he received his own title under the Gold Key imprint, though he shared top billing with Bugs Bunny from issues 39 to 93. The series lasted to issue 109.

To be fair, Porky appeared in 86 of the 135 issues of Bug’s Gold Key career.

Since then he has never been far from the comic book world. He appeared at the Batman/Elmer Fudd Special in 2017 and in issue 50 of Batman in 2018.

So, if you’d rather enjoy one of our four-hooved friends without a fork today, sit down with one of the many comic books featuring the stuttering straight man of the Looney Tunes universe.

Th-th-th-that’s all folks (ouch).

Posted Sunday, February 28th, 2021 by Barry

Adventure Comics (1938) 303

February closes with a silly character emceeing a serious subject.

Adventure Comics (1938) 303

Adventure Comics (1938) 303

Matter-Eater Lad, first seen in Adventure Comics 303, is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The last Monday in February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The week was spawned to spotlight the dangers associated with eating disorders. These disorders include, but are not limited to, Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge-eating.

Eating disorders are a mental disorder that may cause illness and possibly death. They are suffered by an estimated 30-million Americans at some point during their lifetime.

To seek help for yourself or someone you know, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Matter-Eater Lad, Tenzil Kem, of course doesn’t suffer from any eating affliction. He’s a fictional character designed to entertain. Jerry Siegel and John Forte are his parents.

The Legionnaire is the 15th member of the Legion, following Bouncing Boy. His origins stem from the planet Bismoll. The in habitants developed the ability to consume any manner of matter as a survival tool.

While he rarely appears in Legion adventures, Kem has survived the various incarnations of both the Legion and DCU. Outside of the comic book medium, Matter-Eater Lad found a stage in television on the Legion of Super Heroes animated series. Alexander Polinsky voiced him. He was also licensed in plastic as part of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics Legion of Super-Heroes 12 pack of action figures.

Posted Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 by Barry

The Simpsons Winer Wingding (2007) 2

February is almost over, but winter drags on. This second helping of winter whimsy features one Christmas story with the remainder of the book focusing on seasonal activities and other notable days.

The Simpsons Winer Wingding (2007) 2

The Simpsons Winer Wingding (2007) 2

Not a Groundhog Day clone, The Christmas That Lasted Forever, is a nightmare lived over and live.

Chuck Dixon hired out his talent for the opening salvo in the second winter special.

Bart makes a simple wish that every day would be Christmas. Rather than relive the day over and over, every following day is Christmas.      Industry halts and life entropies.

Otto’s Gnarly Snowbaorder’s Glossary for When You Need to Comp a Boarder’s Lingo is a two page, well, what the title says.

Brave Bart does not mean a smart Bart. His courage outweighed his cranium as he takes on the neighborhood bullies in a snowball fight.

Bart stumbles into a sledding contest that leaves he and Ralph struggling for survival in Junior Camper Snow Sled Jamboree.

That’s so glavin! is a New Year’s resolution turned bad. Fortunately, Lisa is able to save the day.

The middle Simpson child is the focus of the last story as well as Lisa attempts to find her secret admirer in VSI (Valentine Scene Investigators).

This is the story we’re looking at as we lead into the second month and second holiday of the year with Valentine’s Day. This is a head’s up to give you time to find that perfect gift for that perfect person.

Posted Friday, February 19th, 2021 by Barry

Night Nurse (1972) 1

Holidays Calendar defines National Caregivers Day as “a holiday that recognizes and honors all of the hard work and dedication that caregivers offer all year round. It’s a day that’s held on the third Friday of each February and helps to honor the millions of caregivers who work all over the world.”

The face we’re putting on the non-holiday is Linda Carter.

Night Nurse (1972) 1

Night Nurse (1972) 1

Not that Linda Carter.

Linda Carter, formerly Linda Carter Student Nurse, who graduated to Night Nurse.

The medical-drama comic book series lasted four issues. Featured were three female roommates – Carter, Georgia Jenkins and Christine Palmer – working the night shift at Metropolitan General Hospital in New York City.

Though the title failed, writer Brian Michael Bendis resurrected Carter in 2004 in Daredevil 58 as a nurse for super heroes. Former roommate Palmer was also given a makeover in Nightcrawler 1.

In 2015, Carter appeared in a one-shot titled Night Nurse. It reprinted all four issues of the original series as well as Daredevil 80.

She was upgraded to a surgeon in the 2016 Doctor Strange feature film, played by Rachel McAdams.

Coincidently (?) enough, National Caregivers Day began in 2015, the same year as the Night Nurse reprint.

To commemorate the day, take time out to thank these hardworking individuals for their dedication and selflessness. To promote on social media, use #NationalCaregiversDay and spread the word.

Posted Monday, February 15th, 2021 by Barry

Rip Hunter…Time Master (1961) 23

In the past Four Color Holidays has honored President’s Day. Today, we honor Washington’s Birthday, celebrated on the third Monday of February.

The Federal Holiday has 14 different names throughout the United States. The Founding Father is singled out in Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Louisiana and New York.

Though normally teamed with Abraham Lincoln in most states for a joint birthday party, George is paired with Thomas Jefferson in Alabama and Daisy Bates in Arkansas.

To honor Mr. Washington, we present Rip Hunter…Time Master issue 23.

Rip Hunter…Time Master (1961) 23

Rip Hunter…Time Master (1961) 23

Rip must exonerate the Father of our Country from aspersions cast upon his character. The hard part is debunking a letter written and signed by General Washington himself.

Rip, Bonnie Baxter, Jeff Smith and Corky Baxter find themselves hopscotching through time as they attempt to disprove the very words of George Washington and restore his good name.

Rip Hunter…Time Master began his historical journey in Showcase (1956) issue 20. He appeared three more times, issues 21, 25 and 26; before being granted his own book. The title ran 29 issues.

Rip and company were resurrected in 1990 with an eight-issue mini simply called Time Masters. He later appeared as Booster Gold’s mentor and son in the 2007 book.

Gotta love time travel.

Happy George Washington’s Birthday. Celebrate with a cherry pie and big sales designed to remember the Father of our Country.

Posted Sunday, February 14th, 2021 by Barry

Sugar and Spike (1956) 39

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Another year, another visit from Cupid. At least there better be cupid in the picture if there’s a significant other.

Valentine’s Day, aka Saint Valentine’s Day or Feast of Saint Valentine, as defined by Wikipedia, originated as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is recognized worldwide as a romantic and commercial non-holiday.

Sugar and Spike (1956) 39

Sugar and Spike (1956) 39

Paper Valentines became popular in 19th-century England. Despite postage costs, they were even sent via mail. In 1868 Cadbury created what it called Fancy Boxes or chocolates in a decorated, heart-shaped box.

Esther Howland began mass-production of Valentine’s in America about the same time. Currently, around 190 million valentines are sent each year in the United States alone. In 2013 the individual cost of Valentine’s Day per person in America was estimated to be $131.

Costs weren’t as extravagant in 1962 when Sugar and Spike were trying to decipher Valentine’s Day in The Big Mail-Box Mystery.

What began as the discovery and misunderstanding of mail, led to a Valentine’s Day lesson. One that neither grasped by stories end.

For the holiday savvy readers, a page of Valentine’s cards in prose follow.

Included in the book are two non-related seasonal stories of snow and activities. The first is Ski-Wheeee that opens the comic. The New Kid closes.

Again, happy Valentine’s Day. We here at Four Color hope it is as magical as the books that ignited this Web site. Spend it with those you love and cherish.

Posted Saturday, February 13th, 2021 by Barry

Shazam (1972) 1

For the cheese enthusiasts out there prepare to celebrate, today is National Cheddar Day.

The birthday boy is a native of Cheddar in Somerset, England.

Shazam (1972) 1

Shazam (1972) 1

No, lie.

Cheddar is so popular it accounts for about a third of all cheese sales in the United States. Half the sales in the United Kingdom are cheddar.

The (non) holiday hails from Tillamook County, Oregon, where the cows outnumber the humans. It’s a relative newcomer to the calendar of days Hallmark doesn’t recognize. The first event was held Feb. 13, 2019.

Maybe of more interest is the history of our mascot, the Big Red Cheese himself:  Shazam.

While the character began at Fawcett Publishing in 1940 under the moniker Captain Marvel, he’s better known these days as a house hero for DC Comics.

How Shazam came into the DC fold has already been covered at Four Color.

Focusing on his reemergence, Shazam returned to spin racks in late 1972 with his self-titled book. Superman buried the hatchet with his former rival and appeared side-by-side on the cover, introducing the Big Red Cheese to a new era of comic book reader.

Not long after his return to the comic book world, Shazam became part of Saturday morning television in a live-action series by Filmation. The series ran from 1974 to 1977 on CBS. In in 1975 Shazam became a double feature with The Secrets of Isis.

Later the character would appear as part of Hanna-Barbera Productions Legends of the Superheroes in 1979.

Filmation optioned Shazam for an animated series on NBC from 1981 to 1982.

The former Captain Marvel remained in the DC animated universe appearing in animated films Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Justice League: The New Frontier. In 2010 Superman and Shazam teamed for an animated short in The Return of Black Adam.

His 2019 feature film earned $74 million at the box office after expenses.

Oh, and if you’ve read this far and aren’t aware, Shazam was christened The Big Red Cheese by arch nemesis Dr. Sivana. Hence, he’s our ambassador du jour.

Posted Thursday, February 11th, 2021 by Barry

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

February 11 is the day we commemorate the people who have made our lives easier, more interesting or just plain cool. February 11 is National Inventors’ Day. A day to remember those who allowed us to fly, to communicate with anyone anywhere on Earth and beyond, to allow Jeff and I into your homes without worrying about cleaning the bathroom or put out finger foods before our visit.

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

Whiz Comics (1940) 2

The inventors we want to remember are not as keen on advancing mankind. They prefer their own personal advancement. Normally associated with world domination.

Today Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is in the spotlight.

For those unfamiliar with the multi-syllabic honoree, he is Captain Marvel/Shazam’s arch villain. Much like Batman’s main nemesis, the Joker, Doctor Sivana shared his debut in the shade of Captain Marvel’s in Whiz Comics 2.

He would continue to co-star as Fawcett’s most notorious bad guy, appearing in half of Marvel’s adventures. That included the first four of the Captain’s stories.

Sivana wasn’t born bad. He became embittered when big business blocked his every attempt to help humanity.

The doctor followed Marvel from Fawcett to National Comics in 1972.

He continued to be a force in the DCU surviving Crisis on Infinite Earths and Final Crisis. In the New 52 Sivana is different in that he pursues magic to aid in his scientific endeavors. And, after the DC Rebirth, became  a resident of the Rock Falls Penitentiary following continued battles with the Marvels.

Back to reality.

To properly observe National Inventors’ Day, recognize someone who has made your life easier. Research who made the world wide web a reality. There will be many answers. Or, whatever invention you can’t live without. It’s origins stem from somewhere.

Those so inclined may use the day as inspiration to become part of the society celebrated today. Explore and expand. See what game changer you can create.

When you need a break, learn from the hard-earned lessons presented by Doctor Sivana.

Posted Sunday, February 7th, 2021 by Barry

Brave and the Bold (1955) 57

Just because there is such a thing as National Periodic Table Day, Four Color Holidays is gonna honor it since that allows us to dust off the little used, much misunderstood Metamorpho.

Let’s start with the hero of the piece; Metamorpho is the love child of Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon. Metamorpho and alter ego Rex Mason first appeared in Brave and the Bold issue 57 in 1965. Mason became a walking periodic table after being cursed by an ancient artifact the adventurer had retrieved.

Brave and the Bold (1955) 57

Brave and the Bold (1955) 57

The morphing elemental man proved popular enough in the beginning to be given his own title. It folded after 17 issues in 1968 and Mason became a wandering guest throughout the DC universe.

His Silver and Bronze Age journeys passed him through the pages of the Justice League of America, Aquaman, and Superman titles. He finally became a founding father of the original Outsiders in 1983 and emerged from Crisis on Infinite Earths as a member of Justice League Europe.

Since then, Mason has continued to make guest appearances with the occasional self-titled mini series tossed in to keep his name copyrighted.

As for the (non)holiday, National Periodic Table Day is celebrated Feb. 7 of each year. It is designed to recognize the first table of elements created in the 19th century. It was first celebrated (?) in 2016 when chemistry teacher and inventor David T. Steineker decided the creation needed to be recognized.

To celebrate, spend some time researching the history of the table or toss around some trivia regarding Johann Dobereiner’s creation.

Yeah, right.

Go find some of Keith Giffen’s and J.M. DeMatteis’s JLEs. These are some of the most fun and funniest comic books ever crafted. The same is true of their entire Justice League catalog that ended all too soon. Metamorpho is one of the inmates and is given a speaking role on the cover to JLE issue one.