Monthly Archives July 2019

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

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Captain Marvel has one day on Earth. Good thing it’s for the holidays so she can save Santa Claus and Christmas.

Maybe.

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Depends on how you read the story.

Carol Danvers does return to Earth for 24 hours. During that time she visits a dear friend and mentor in the hospital. At least until she’s abducted, restrained and held with Santa Claus.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy. Not sure if it’s Christmas magic that turns a down-and-out Mr. Kringle into the real thing or not. All that’s certain is he’s trussed up like Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction. And, the gimp is coming.

All is well by book’s end and Captain Marvel is ready to return to her duties.

The issue is called “A Christmas Carol Part Two of Two,” but part one is just a vehicle to get Carol back home for the holidays.

It’s probably better if you’re a regular reader of the title. There’s enough history to keep someone like me clicking to Wikipedia for some background. Still, a nice Christmas tale.

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Jingle Belle: The Fight Before Christmas

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This 2005 one-shot is made up of three acts: the title, “Hot Rod Lemming” and “Oh, Christmas Tree.”

In “The Fight Before Christmas” Jingle heads up the North Pole Elves against long-time Bi-Polar Hockey League rivals Tibetan Snow Leopards. Jingle’s rivalry is with Tashi Ounce, team captain of the Leopards.

Jingle Belle: The Fight Before Christmas

Jingle Belle: The Fight Before Christmas

The two spend more time in the penalty box making small talk than on the ice scoring. That all ends when two-timing boyfriend Brad is found to be making time with a third opponent.

In the second story, Jingle gives Len the Lemming advice only to learn it doesn’t work both ways in “Hot Rod Lemming.”

Finally, creator Paul Dini serves up a none-to-flattering commentary on the second Bush Administration.

Belle is the spoiled teenage daughter of Santa Claus. She was created by Dini in 1999. Since then her appearances have been sporadic at best. Jingle has been corralled in five collected editions:  Jingle Belle: Naughty and Nice, Jingle Belle’s Cool Yule, Jingle Belle: Dash Away All, Jingle Belle and Jingle Belle: The Whole Package.

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Werewolf by Night (1972) 32

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In honor of National Moon Day, today, Four Color Holidays looks at Moon Knight.

Moon Knight first appeared in Werewolf by Night 32, August 1975. He returned in issue 33, then was granted a two-issue solo series in Marvel Spotlight issues 28 and 29. Ironically enough, Marvel Spotlight is where Werewolf by Night got his start.

Werewolf by Night (1972) 32

Werewolf by Night (1972) 32

After a two-year layoff, Moon Knight returned as a guest in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) issues 22 and 23. From there, Moon Knight bounced around appearing in Marvel Two-in-One issue 52. Later he would join the Defenders in issues 47-51.

His final outing before earning his own title came as back up stories in Hulk! (1978) issues 11-15, 17-18 and 20 and Marvel Preview (1975) 21.

Moon Knight received his own series in 1980 under the guidance of Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. It would last 38 issues and be followed by the Moon Knight – Fist of Khonshu six-issue mini-series in 1985.

The journeyman character would roam the Marvel U until 1989 when he received his second ongoing series, Marc Spector:  Moon Knight. This lasted through 60 issues ending in 1994.

Moon Knight would appear in one-shots and minis over the next 10 years. Not until 2006 would he receive another ongoing title. He would appear off-and-on throughout the remainder of the former decade and this in his own titles finally settling back with the Marvel Legacy numbering system reaching issue 200.

The Moon Knight character is as complicated as his publishing history. First introduced as a mercenary, he would embrace the label. Marc Spector became that personality. After his baptism by violence and moon light, Spector became a hero branching off into Steven Grant, the millionaire playboy who financed Moon Knight’s adventures and Jake Lockley, the cab driving everyman who earned the respect of the common people.

Those split personalities would manifest themselves over the years and become a point of contention with Moon Knight and those involved in his world.

To date, he is one of the few Marvel characters that has not been earmarked for a multi-media offshoot. His personality disorders and moon worship have often been cited as the cause.

National Moon Day is observed annually on June 20 to commemorate the first moon landing in 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two men to set foot on the moon.

In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day on July 20. Richard Christmas rallied to continue the day when no official proclamation followed. Through a letter-writing campaign Christmas persevered and June 20 is recognized by most states in the union.

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Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

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Ash bumps into his past on Christmas Eve.

This 2016 festival of fisticuffs proves the old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished,” is true. Especially for Ash Williams.

Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

Beer and softcore porn are the order of the night until Ash’s neighbor comes calling – loudly. Ash must play the hero again, but it’s his involvement that leads to a one-sided reunion.

Though he doesn’t remember, Ash has met Krampus before. Many times.

In the flavor of the season the two make nice over liquid spirits and Ash learns of his transgressions against Krampus. A peace is made though the Christmas demon does exact his revenge against his former protagonist.

Krampus is the antithesis of Santa Claus. The half goat, half demon has domain over the naughty children.

His origins were birthed in eastern European legend. The myth has seen a revival of recent, enjoying top billing in seasonal scare films.

Ash is more of a recent legend having been born from the fertile imagination of Sam Raimi. He was brought to life by Bruce Campbell in three feature films and a television series on Starz.

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Hallmark Holiday ornaments

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It’s too early for Christmas, but Four Color Holidays is not about judging anyone. Not to their face, anyway. So, let’s look at the new Hallmark ornaments available today at your finer Hallmark retailers.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Mini-DC Justice League Aquaman Ornament

Mini-DC Justice League Green Lantern Ornament

DC Comics Batman Ornament

DC Comics Wonder Woman Invisible Jet Ornament

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame Infinity Gauntlet Ornament with Light

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame Thanos Ornament

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame Captain America Ornament

Marvel Iron Man Metal Ornament

 

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7-11: Free Slurpee Day

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Okay, this one may be a bit of a stretch, but I love Slurpees. I grew up with Slurpees. 7-Eleven and Slurpees with a comic book, or however many I could con mom and dad into from the rack.

I grew up in Middletown, VA. Back when it was abbreviated Va. In Middletown there was a 7-Eleven. That was where you went for snacks and one of the best two-fers ever created: comic books and Slurpees.

One of the first of those delicious semi-frozen treats I can remember came in a DC superhero cup. It may have been the Joker or Batman. Maybe Alfred, but it was one of the Bat family. Which suited me just fine. Batman was my favorite hero. Still is in the DC Universe.

7-11: Free Slurpee Day

7-11: Free Slurpee Day

I would beg to go back time and again. Get a Slurpee and a superhero cup. The bad thing is they failed to hold up in a dishwasher. The images and writing would fade after just one wash cycle.

If they survived that long.

Usually they were dropped and would break or shatter. Like our childhood, it was not meant to last.

If you remember these or have a mild interest in these oddities, check out The Dork Review:  1970s Slurpee Checklist for DC and Marvel.

If you don’t care and just want a free Slurpee, head to your local 7-Eleven and enjoy. They don’t carry comic books anymore, but the Coca-Cola slush mix will still freeze your brain if you’re not careful.

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Marvel Treasury Special Featuring Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976) 1

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As the fireworks color the sky in flashes of brilliant hues and loud retorts let’s remember the King: Jack “King” Kirby.

Kirby’s name is synonymous with comic books. So much so he was one of the original three inductees into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1987.

Most will remember Kirby as co-creator of the Marvel Universe. Depending on how you feel ownership should be distributed, he and Stan Lee partnered in the formation of such properties as the Fantastic Four, Hulk, early members of the X-Men, etc.

Prior to working with Lee, Kirby was co-creator on Captain America in 1941.

It’s this creation, whom he partnered with Joe Simon to give life, that Kirby takes on this Bicentennial pilgrimage to the heart of America. All courtesy of an odd guide named simply Mr. Buda.

Through his own eyes and the eyes of those he comes in contact with, Captain America is truly allowed to learn what the nation whose name he boasts really is about. The journey takes the star-spangled hero through time; past, present and future.

Cap becomes entwined with the formation of our nation through struggle and strife. The pain of others is passed on to him. More importantly, so is the hope. The hope for a new way of life.

The journey takes Cap through some of the most turbulent of times including the Revolutionary War, slave trade and World War I. The persecution of the American Indians and great Chicago Fire. In each era Cap was allowed to experience life as it happened.

This tabloid-sized treasury was created after Kirby’s return to Marvel Comics in 1975. Kirby was already working the monthly Captain America comic book at the time.

During this second stay at Marvel, Kirby would dabble in more science fiction-grounded characters and titles. Creations at this time included the Celestials and The Eternals.

By the end of the decade Kirby left Marvel for a second and final time.

The book was originally published under the Marvel Treasury imprint, but as a special. Since then it has been reprinted in the first Captain America omnibus, Essential Captain America trade volume five, King-Size Kirby Slipcase, Marvel Masterworks: Captain America volume 10 and the self-titled trade.

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Hulk (1968) 182

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What do Hulk 182 and National Eat Your Beans Day have in common?

The most obvious feature of issue 182 is the third appearance of Wolverine. Just one page. Only three panels, but still the official third appearance of the mega popular character.

Yet that’s not what causes Hulk 182 to make the list for July 3. No, it’s another character. One that only appears in this issue:  Cracka-Jack Jackson.

Hulk (1968) 182

Hulk (1968) 182

Well, Cracka-Jack and his meal of choice: beans.

Having failed to capture the Hulk in the previous two issues, Wolverine is dispatched back to headquarters. The Hulk is subdued with gas, but awakens only to escape once more. During his aimless travels, the Hulk discovers Cracka-Jack.

The homeless minstrel welcomes the green-skinned stranger and offers him what is left of dinner, beans.

The Hulk takes a liking to the meal and it becomes his request as the two share their travels until scribe Len Wein amps up the action.

Hulk remembers the meal throughout future issues giving us license to use this book as a commemoration of the day.

National Eat Your Beans Day is described as “a ‘live healthy’ holiday observed on July 3. This day celebrates the bean vegetable in all sizes, shapes and colors. Beans (legumes) are one of the longest-cultivated plants dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE.

Celebrate with a bean-based recipe, but maybe do it alone.

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Jingle Belle (2004) 4

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When readers last saw Jingle, she was being extorted by Leo Gatch to turn over 40-percent of the Santaville Casino profits to him.

Picking up the action, Jingle goes to war with Gatch. Not only does the gangster own most of Lake Tahoe, but controls pretty much all of the services needed to maintain a resort.

Jingle Belle (2004) 4

Jingle Belle (2004) 4

Jingle is not intimidated. Rather she ups the ante. Entertainment is imported. Food is found. Most importantly, Gatch’s machines are rigged to pay out. Pay out big.

As Gatch crumbles, so does the resolve of Bud Coleman, park manager. Santaville is no longer a fun land for the kiddies and he misses the old days. Jingle is thrown under the bus by Coleman who calls Santa lamenting the loss of the former theme park’s innocence.

To add insult to injury, Jingle is retained to help as the park reopens and gets back on its feet.

The whole issue is hilarious. Paul Dini directs the dialog with precision. Each character is fleshed out in a mere 20-some pages and the jokes are prevalent. This is a series that must be read.

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