Monthly Archives November 2019

“Santa Claus: Comic Book Origins and Powers”

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Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

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Readers received a late Christmas gift with the first taste of John Byrne’s treatment of She-Hulk in this May 1989 dated issue of Marvel Comics Presents.

Cyclops and Black Panther took the first two-story slots, neither holiday stories, but the book closed on a holiday note.

“X-Mas Tease” is an eight-page treat veiled in a Christmas Eve telephone conversation with Ben Grimm. Readers are rewarded in the final panels as Shulkie unwraps her present from Marvel. Under the Spider-Man paper are advance copies of the first issue of The Sensational She-Hulk (1989).

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Willie Lumpkin, mailman to the Fantastic Four, plays an unsuspecting Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Card” for a spoof of A Christmas Carol.

Downsizing and carelessness has the ghost of Christmas past, present and future all rolled into one visiting the wrong address. Willie must relive the failures of his life until Christmas morning when he realizes the season is over rated.

Marvel Comics Presents ran from 1988 to 1995, 175 issues, featuring various storylines by different authors and artists. Each issue offered four story lines. It was revived in 2007 for a one-year return. A third volume started in 2019.

She-Hulk’s second volume tallied 60 issues with John Byrne at the helm for the first 50. The title proved very quirky as She-Hulk would break the fourth wall on a regular basis. Plots were equally whimsical.

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Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

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Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Beyond the cover and the second story’s title, there’s no real Thanksgiving material to be found.

“Slice of Life” is the opening tale. Ghost Spider just wants some pie. Pure and simple. So does Venom. The difference is only one of the two have money to buy said pie.

In what appears to be the only pie shop in New York, or at least the most popular one, Ghost and Venom cross paths. A short battle later, Ghost Spider finds crime does pay; at least for the victor.

The two stories are interrupted by a swipe at the Sunday funnies. Page 12 offers a spread as it would appear in the Daily Bugle.

Next up is “Thankful.” Spoiler:  Loki is the guest villain.

Thor can’t find his hammer. Spidey happens to be nearby and the two team to search. The little Lord of Mischief proves to be the culprit. Spider-Man tricks the trickster and everyone goes off happily ever after – except for Spidey who can’t find his fries.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, sharing it with family and friends.

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Variant Comics: Could the Flash Become Santa Claus

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Spoof (1970) 4

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A short-lived parody series from the Marvel bullpen, Spoof asked the question, “What if…Famous People were Santa Claus?” for Christmas 1972.

Spoof (1970) 4

Steve Gerber penned the seasonal story showcasing, then, Vice President Spiro Agnew as Santa before assigning the role to John Lennon. The hawk and dove approach to Christmas was peppered with caricatures of popular figures of the time like John Wayne and Charlie Brown.

Wrapped around the Christmas take was pop culture send ups of Blackula entitled Blechhula! written by Stu Schwartzberg and penciled by Marie Severin.

The book closed with Maykus Wellby, M.D., a take on Marcus Welby.

The title would last one more issue before cancellation.

Prior attempts at humor magazines included Marvel’s first stab in 1953 with Crazy. The title ran for seven issues before folding. It was resurrected in 1973 with reprinted material from the 1960’s Not Brand Echh! book. The comic book version lasted three issues before transforming into a black and white magazine. That version lasted from October 1973 to April 1983.

Not Brand Ecch! was a humor comic book mainly lampooning the super hero industry. It would run from August of 1967 to issue 13 in May 1969. Issue 14 would be published as part of Marvel’s Legacy numbering in 2017.

Marvel made another attempt at a humor title in 1974 with Arrgh! The book lasted five issues focusing on horror.

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1989 Marvel Universe Thanksgiving Parade Performance and Spiderman Balloon

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Willard Scott and Deborah Norville introduce Marvel’s 1989 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. Melba Moore dishes out a performance of her “Holding Out for a Hero” amid Cap, Spidey and the Silver Surfer posing. Emma Frost tosses in a few kicks for good measure.

Costumes look like a rehash from the 1987 offering.

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Spawn (1992) 39

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It’s a case of mistaken identity that gives a little boy his best Christmas ever.

Spawn 39 is lacking in the title character, but that’s what makes “Noel” a seasonal story. Christmas Eve is a waiting game for most children. It’s a toss-up as to whether the evening is longer waiting on Santa to arrive or for the night to pass to morning.

Five-year old Gregory is passing Christmas Eve 1995 alone. Mom, Phyllis, is trying to make ends meet and sis, Nadine, has snuck out hoping to meet a man. Gregory is left with the Christmas classic Rudolph to babysit him.

As the time draws near Gregory hears commotion on the rooftop of the apartment building where he lives. Creator and writer Todd McFarlane and penciler Greg Capullo alternate the action to show what is happening with what Gregory believes is happening.

A careless crook drops some of the ill-gotten booty which Gregory finds and gifts to his mother believing Santa had left it for her.

By story’s end, all are happy by the hearth, but the titular character who remembers what his life used to be.

 

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1987 Marvel Comics Parade Float

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Leaves are turning, stores are pimping Christmas and sale ads are hawking turkeys. Must be Thanksgiving.

And, it is.

Almost.

Along with football from the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, there’s the over eating and family squabbles. To kick the day off is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As the culinary bouquet wafts from the kitchen, those not involved beyond devouring the dinner are watching the second-oldest American parade unfold in the living room.

For three hours.

The parade began in 1924 in Newark, NJ, then transferred to Macy’s in New York City. Character balloons began appearing in the parade in 1927. It went on hiatus during World War II, 1942 to 1944. The parade was first broadcast on network television in 1948.

Being a part of New York City, Marvel Comics was represented by Spider-Man in 1987. Attached was a camera that has become known as the Spidey-Cam.

Also introduced that year was a Marvel Universe float featuring a multitude of heroes and villains.

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Thank You, Veterans

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Thank you, Veterans

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History of the Superman Parade Balloon

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Scott Niswander offers a history of The Superman Parade Balloon featured in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For more of Scott’s insightful videos, click the Nerdsync button.

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