Archive for January, 2020

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.

Posted Saturday, January 25th, 2020 by Barry

Superboy (1949) 68

Superboy (1949) 68

Superboy (1949) 68

Today is National Opposite Day. Acting as the unofficial spokesperson is Bizarro Superman.

Otto Binder is credited with creating the cracked copy of Superman. Binder’s Bizarro was actually a broken copy of Superboy, appearing in the same titled book, issue 68.

Alvin Schwartz offered an adult version in the syndicated Superman newspaper strip shortly after. Schwartz claimed he had first visualized the backward nemesis. What is undisputed is the newspaperman provided the blueprint for Bizarro’s actions and speech patterns.

Binder brought Bizarro back the four-colored world of comic books in Action Comics 254. He proved a fan favorite and, according to Wikipedia, appeared 40 times between the Silver and Bronze ages, ending with Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Bizarro was reincarnated for the Modern Age surviving the original and subsequent Crisis.

So, don’t enjoy this, National Opposite Day. And, please don’t return.

Posted Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Super-Heroes Winter Special (Winter 1991)

In case you were wondering, yes, there is a Squirrel Appreciation Day. That day is today. Acting as ambassador is Marvel’s own Squirrel Girl.

Marvel Super-Heroes Winter Special (Winter 1991)

Marvel Super-Heroes Winter Special (Winter 1991)

Doreen Allene Green was introduced to readers in Marvel Super-Heroes Vol. 2 (number eight) cover-dated Winter 1991. Testing her mettle, Doreen takes on Iron Man. The tussle is interrupted by Doc Doom, whom Squirrel Girl defeats, and the story ends with she and Shell Head going their separate ways.

From there Squirrel Girl made cameos throughout the Marvel Universe, partnering in quasi versions of the Avengers, before earning her own mini in 2014. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl ran for eight issues before becoming an ongoing series beginning in October of 2015.

In 2016 Squirrel Girl received her own graphic novel.

Squirrel Girl was created by Will Murray and Steve Ditko. She has shared the spotlight with a variety of sidekicks, most notably squirrels Monkey Joe and Tippy-Toe.

The running joke earning Squirrel Girl her “unbeatable” title is her ability to defeat anyone she encounters.

Take time today to discover Doreen and her extended family as well as our furry compatriots we share our world with. Recommendations encourage feeding and ensuring their safety.

Posted Saturday, January 18th, 2020 by Barry

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 19

This Feb.-March 1947 cover-dated comic book was actually released the preceding December. Hence, Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman’s wave of their hands to silhouetted-Santa and hoist sacks full of goodies.

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 19

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 19

As with previous issues, Comic Cavalcade issue 19 is Christmasy in cover only. Of the seven interior stories, none deal with the holiday.

Wonder Woman’s ‘The Battle for Eternal Youth’ has the Amazon protecting her sister’s secret of immortality.

Flash races against time in a story of about the same name.

Foney Fairy Tales spells the heroes with some slap stick.

Mr. Nobody is featured in ‘The End.’

Hop Harrigan stars in ‘The Fog-Shrouded Demon’ and Cotton-Top Katie in ‘The Ball Game of the Year.’

Finally, Doiby Dickles makes a bet with Green Lantern-alter ego Alan Scott the cab driver can keep his calm while taxing folk around the city for a day.

Posted Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 by Barry

Batman (1940) 49

It’s January and cold. All the more reason to wear a hat. Coincidently enough, today is National Hat Day. And, what better way to celebrate than to recount Batman’s nemesis Jervis Tetch’s first appearance as the Mad Hatter.

Batman (1940) 49

Batman (1940) 49

Shunned as a child due to his appearance, Tetch buried himself in books and learning. Eventually he became a neuroscientist and turned to evil, developing mind-control technology.

In his first adventure, Tetch attempted to steal a trophy from the Gotham Yacht Club. Batman proved more than capable in halting any Tom foolery from the chapeaued criminal and Tetch soon found himself a guest of Arkham Asylum for the remainder of the Golden Age.

The Mad Hatter wouldn’t return until the Silver Age, even appearing in the 1966 Batman television series as portrayed by David Wayne.

Other multi-media appearances include voice acting by Roddy McDowall on Batman the Animated Series and Peter MacNicol in the Batman Arkham games. He was later played by Benedict Samuel in the Gotham series on Fox.

Posted Sunday, January 12th, 2020 by Barry

52 (2006) 33

It’s ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ in the new DC Universe during week 33 of 52.

Various DC notables, Alfred Pennyworth, Nightwing, Batwoman, Lex Luthor etc. are in evidence as Christmas approaches. To keep the storyline intact and provide context for the season, all are seen participating in holiday activities. Maybe the most notable is Nightwing’s presentation of an official Batarang to Batgirl. The symbolism is not lost on the latest Gotham siren as she is ushered into the Bat Family.

Luthor even finds the Christmas spirit as he gives Infinity, Inc. new cars leaving no trope unturned.

52 was a weekly comic penned by Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Mark Waid and Greg Rucka explaining the missing year after DC’s second crisis Infinite Crisis. The series was followed by Countdown to Final Crisis.

52 (2006) 33

Posted Thursday, January 9th, 2020 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 9

Believe it or not, today is National Static Electricity Day. Yeah, big whoop. Well, it kinda is. This gives us a chance to introduce a way under used Spider-Man foe:  Electro.

The high-voltage villain makes with the crimes early on in the story while our hero, Peter Parker, tends to his ever-ailing aunt. One of the kilowatt capers occurs in front of J. Jonah Jameson. He distorts the evidence and convicts Spider-Man in his newspaper.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 9

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 9

Readers learn Electro is Max Dillion, a former electrical engineer and lineman. In one of those freak comic book accidents, Dillion is zapped after saving a fellow worker. The strike causes his body to become charged with electricity. With his new-found powers, Dillion chooses the dark side and turns to villainy.

After recounting Electro’s origin, the story returns to Aunt May’s hospital bed where Peter learns she will live another day – and several decades – giving him renewed interest in Electro. Spidey humiliates JJJ by proving him wrong and even winds up with the girl at the end.

Electro returned several times to fight Spider-Man and other members of the Marvel Universe. For a time, he served as one fourth of the Frightful Four. He was also a founding member of the Sinister Six.

Jamie Foxx portrayed Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released in 2014.

So, happy National Static Electricity Day and have a shocking good time.

 

Posted Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 by Barry

Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

Readers returned a last time to witness Marvels in 2019.

Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross recall a time when the X-Men were not a household name. Phil Sheldon is the host allowing us a glimpse – from the public’s-eye view – at Uncanny X-Men issue 98. Or, at least the beginning of the story.

Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

This time Sheldon’s daughters accompany him for the snow-covered trip to Rockefeller Center circa Christmas 1975. The story, ‘Merry Christmas, X-Men’; was also the launching pad for ‘A Few blocks Down from 34th Street’ as featured in the Marvel Holiday Special 1991.

Busiek and Ross began their journey through the Marvel Universe in 1994 with the four-issue series Marvels. Warren Ellis followed the act with Marvels Ruins. The original creative pair reunited in 2008 for a six-part storyline entitled Marvels: Eye of the Camera.

Epilogue was released as a 25th-anniversary swan song for the partnership and concept that witnessed the world as it changed.

Posted Sunday, January 5th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

As the nights continue to outlast the days adding to the hangover of the holidays, maybe a movie marathon or binge watching a series is in order. While the actors and directors receive the lion’s share of the credit, the screenwriters should not be shortchanged. To honor those wordsmiths, today was created as National Screenwriters Day.

Using a more static medium, Four Color Holidays will remember the writers with Marvel Two-in-One issue 46.

Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, proves his baby blues can turn as green as Kermit when it comes to his old nemesis the Hulk upstaging him. All this is courtesy of the Hulk’s new television series.

Hopping one of the many Fantasti-vehicles, Ben packs his bags and heads to Hollywood.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

The Thing isn’t the only one tuned in to the show. Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego, is also watching. Dismayed at having his inner demon taken advantage of, Banner (literally) Hulks out and bounds to Hollywood himself.

The two titans meet, have their obligatory battle, resolve any issues and ring down the curtain on another adventure.

To celebrate this day of storytellers, visit nationalscreenwritersday.com. Observers may also post to #NationalScreenwritersDay on social media.

National Screenwriters Day was founded by ScreenwritingU.com, the leading education source for screenwriters worldwide. Its purpose is to recognize the talents behind the scripts coming out of the television and film world.