Monthly Archives April 2020

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics (1941) 1

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One year after his first appearance on the big screen, Bugs Bunny hit the four-color world of comic books.

This is important to know to properly celebrate National Bugs Bunny Day today.

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics (1941) 1

Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics (1941) 1

Bugs has been represented in all forms of media. He has never been out of the public eye since he first appeared in 1940’s A Wild Hare. From the cartoon shorts Bugs moved into a more static medium with his appearance in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics issue one in 1941 courtesy of Dell Comics.

Bugs wouldn’t headline his own comic book until 1952. His fame led to the popularity of other characters who almost all of which would earn their own books through the 1950’s.

A year after his first appearance in comic books Bugs branched into newspapers with a comic strip that ran for more than 50 years.

To celebrate, host a Bugs Bunny cartoon marathon party. Birthday wishes may be sent using #NationalBugsBunnyDay.

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Superman (1939) 1

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A day to honor super heroes, real and fictional, National Super Hero Day was created in 1995 by Marvel Comics employees.

While it may seem odd to honor DC’s flagship character in light of who originally sponsored the day, Superman is the logical choice considering he was the OG Super Hero.

Without going into too much detail, the Man of Tomorrow was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster originally intended to be a newspaper strip character. Syndicated bosses thought differently. National Allied Publications accepted the submission and comic books were never the same.

Superman first appeared in Action Comics issue one. He received a self-titled book the following year. Both continue publication to this day.

Superman (1939) 1

Superman (1939) 1

The success of Superman in comic books allowed him to finally appear as a newspaper strip. Later he became a radio and television star. The silver screen has beckoned several times. Initially Superman appeared as an animated hero courtesy of Fleischer Studios. A movie serial appeared in matinees in 1948. It wasn’t until 1978 that Superman was really super. At least on the big screen.

Touted that audiences would believe a man could-fly, Superman earned three sequels with Christopher Reeve in the cape. Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh entered theaters 2006. Henry Cavill is the latest to don the tights, appearing in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.

In addition to all the media outlets Superman has conquered, he continues to see print on a monthly basis as new fans discover what so many have known for over 80 years.

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World’s Finest (1941) 215

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As if Superman and Batman didn’t have enough problems, Bob Haney and Dick Dillin saddled the superheroes with sons in World’s Finest 215.

World’s Finest (1941) 215

World’s Finest (1941) 215

The junior superheroes were near clones of their fathers down to their uniforms. The two appeared off and on in World’s Finest until issue 263 when Denny O’Neil revealed they were computer simulations created by Batman and Superman.

The concept would later be revisited in an Elseworlds book in 1999, then shelved until 2011 when the New 52 came about with Chris Kent and Damian Wayne living on Earth-16.

DC unveiled yet another incarnation in 2017. The super sons would go by Jonathan Kent, Superboy, a product of Clark Kent’s union to Lois Lane; and Damian Wayne, Robin, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul.

The series went 16 issues with one annual.

In August of 2018 a 12-issue mini was launched, helmed by Peter Tomasi with Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert handling art chores.

What does all of this have to do with Four Color Holidays? Just that today, April 23, is National Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day.

Enjoy the time you have with your children.

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Detective Comics (1937) 359

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Okay, this is not a federal holiday.

National Library Worker’s Day is recognized within schools and community organizations with lunches, donations to libraries and other biblio-themed functions.

To honor those trusted with the keeping of stories and adventures, Four Color Holidays uses Detective Comics (1937) as a banner for the librarians of the world.

This issue, of course, is the first appearance Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon. Bill Finger and Sheldon Modloff had originally created Betty Kane as the first Bat-Girl in 1961. Babs, as Police Chief James Gordon’s daughter, has become the more commonly recognized Daring Domino of the Bat-family.

Detective Comics (1937) 359

Detective Comics (1937) 359

Her comic book appearance was not by chance. When producers of the Batman television series decided to add the character on screen, she was given a home in the printed DCU as well.

Over time, Barbara/Batgirl has served beside the Dynamic Duo as well as shone in solo adventures. In 1988 Alan Moore stepped away from Swamp Thing and penned a one-shot in which the Joker shot and paralyzed Babs.

She would remain in a wheelchair until the New 52 reboot in 2011. Between 1988 and 2011 Barbara served as Oracle, aiding the Bat-Family with information. Later, she would serve in the same capacity with the Birds of Prey.

While incapacitated the Batgirl cowl did not gather dust. It was donned by Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Helena Bertinelli and Charlotte “Charlie” Gage-Radcliff.

In the end, the mantle will always be Barbara Gordon’s.

So, happy National Library Worker’s Day. Read a book, preferably a Batgirl comic book, and visit your local library to thank those who toil away as the guardians of knowledge and entertainment.

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Tomb of Dracula (1972) 1

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Happy National Garlic Day.

According to nationaltoday.com, garlic was a god to the Egyptians. Even used as currency. The Greeks swore by its strength-enhancing properties. It warded off the evil eye and nymphs.

What garlic is mainly known for, other than adding to the taste of almost any dish, is its ability to make even the stoutest of vampires weak in the knees.

That’s why we present Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula issue one.

Tomb of Dracula (1972) 1

Gerry Conway and Gene Colan created Marvel’s king of vampires after the Comics Code Authority relaxed its stranglehold on the industry. Prior to 1972 vampires and other creatures of the night were verboten.

Given the rein, Marvel unleashed Dracula for the first time in comic books since 1951. The title would appear on stands until issue 70 in 1979.

In addition to its normal series, Dracula also starred in his own Giant-Size series in the mid-1970s and black and white magazine, Dracula Lives! for 13 issues from 1973 to 1975 and one annual.

Dracula returned in the 1990s with help from HYDRA who cloned his DNA.

As the new millennium dawned, he had an army of vampires based on the moon. Dracula was defeated by Excalibur – the sword, not the team.

By the first of the next decade he suffered defeat at the hands of the mutants.

Dracula would also guest in the animated exploits of Spider-Woman, Spider-Man (and his Amazing Friends), Avengers, Super-Hero Squad, Ultimate Spider-Man and Hulk and the Agents of Smash.

In 1980 Toei studios released Dracula: The Vampire Emperor of Darkness. It later aired on cable television in 1983 as Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned.

Most notably, Dracula, though in different form, appeared in the Blade trilogy based on the character of the same name.

Based on this information, readers may conclude the Lord of Darkness is not easily dispatched. All the more reason to give garlic it’s day and due.

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Detective Comics (1937) 400

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April is the best time of year to observe bats, as they begin to wake from hibernation. To honor the only mammal capable of true and sustained flight, today has been set aside as International Bat Appreciation Day.

Detective Comics (1937) 400

Detective Comics (1937) 400

Using Batman to represent the comic book industry would have been too easy. Instead, we’re looking at Robert Kirkland “Kirk” Langstrom, aka Man-Bat.

His first appearance was in Detective Comics 400. Neal Adams, Frank Robbins and Julius Schwartz are credited with his creation.

Langstrom is a zoologist specializing in the study of bats. A misguided test of his formula to develop sonar in humans turned the scientist into Man-Bat. Batman is able to develop a cure and restore him to his natural form.

The play as been acted out over and over. At times, Langstrom has even enlisted others including his wife, Francine Langstrom.

DC felt comfortable enough with the character to give him his own short-lived series in 1975. It lasted two issues.

Man-Bat has been part of the DCU in all its incarnations; still flying after the crises and reboots. He has also appeared in various animated versions of DC. He was featured in the first episode of Batman: the Animated Series that aired in 1992.

As a journeyman villain, Man-Bat serves his purpose; as a comic book anti-hero he’s an interesting diversion until one of Batman’s A-list foes finds a way out of Arkham.

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Showcase (1956) 79

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Showcase 79 is the bridge we’ll use to travel to National Dolphin Day today.

Jay Scott Pike created the waterborne waif in 1968 for Showcase comics in issue 79. Not until 1986 in Secret Origins (1986) 50, did her origin appear. According to Steve Bove and Richard Bruning, Dolphin was swept from a cruise ship deck at a very young age. Her subsequent survival is courtesy of aliens who abduct and experiment on her. She is transformed into an aquatic being with webbed fingers and toes, gills and white hair.

Showcase (1956) 79

Showcase (1956) 79

In addition, Dolphin is granted superhuman strength allowing her to adapt to the pressures of the deep. Her aging process is also slowed.

Dolphin escaped her captivity and is later domesticated by a crew of an oceanology ship. They are the ones who dub her Dolphin.

Over time she has been integrated with the DC Universe, most notably with Animal Man (1988) during Grant Morrison’s run on the title.

National Dolphin Day is listed as part of the American Veterinary Medical Association Pet Health Awareness Events. Those wishing to acknowledge the day on social media may do so:  #NationalDolphinDay.

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Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 5

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Pre-crisis Earth-C provides our Easter comic book for 2020 with Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew.

This one has it all. Roy Thomas penned everything from seig heiling, anthropopmorphized-talking animal Nazis to an Indiana Jones knock off.

With a title like The Secret of Easter Bunny Island, this is an easy choice for pastel-colored holiday. But, these alien artifacts aren’t the pleasant surprise finds scattered about the yard. These Easter eggs are more akin to Starro and universal domination.

Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 5

Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 5

A harmless oversight brings about rampage on a city-wide scale.

The book closes just in time for a continuation – tune in April 4, 2021 for the finale – as President Mallard Fillmore signals the beginning of the annual Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn.

The good Captain and crew made their debut in a 16-page tryout in The New Teen Titans (1980) 16. A short-lived series was delivered from ’82 to 1983 featuring 20 issues.

Six-issues were on deck when the original series was cancelled. These became three double-sized issues, Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! The Oz-Wonderland War #1-3.

Captain Carrot and others would return after the crisis in Teen Titans (2003) 30 and 31 in ‘Whatever Happened to Captain Carrot?’ They were reunited once again for Countdown to Final Crisis in a cross-over titled Captain Carrot and the Final Ark mini-series.

Zoo Crew faithful were further rewarded with an appearance on the Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special with a funeral for Captain Carrot.

A fast and easy way to catch up on the Captain’s exploits would be the 2014 Showcase Presents edition collecting all 20-original issues.

Happy Easter from Four Color Holidays.

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The Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1986) 7

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Batteries Not Included is a Vision-centric story as he follows leads to his past.

Most of the seasonal spirit stems from Wanda Maximoff. Her apostle, Holly, is taught what midwinter and Christmas mean to witches.

The second Vision and Scarlet Witch mini is made up of 12 issues, beginning in 1985. Steve Englehart weaves a story allowing Wanda to become pregnant through magical means. The book is fairly self-contained and the children are discarded shortly after.

The series would have repercussions in the Marvel Universe years later in the mutant mini House of M. Scarlet Witch would suffer a mental breakdown from the loss of her children and try to resurrect them.

Vision and Scarlet Witch were wed in Giant-Size Avengers number four. Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi penned and penciled the duo’s first mini released in 1982.

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1986) 7

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Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

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Bet ya didn’t know there was a National Beer Day.

Well, there is. National Beer Day is a perennially celebrated non-holiday to honor the Cullen-Harrison Act, which made beer legal even before Prohibition ended December 1933.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

If you’re so inclined, crack a cold one and enjoy the following synopsis for ‘Time Runs Like Sand,’ as maudlin a sounding title as the story that follows.

Sandman, aka Flint Marko, has not had a good day. A good month for that matter. Well, a good coupla years. Not since he and Hydro-Man, aka Morris “Morrie” Bench, merged to form Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man 217.

A little radiation goes a long way and the two are able to disassociate their molecules. Each go their separate ways, Marko’s path leading to a local watering hole. The bartender recognizes his patron and contacts the Fantastic Four. As fate would have it, Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, answers.

Figuring the worst that can happen is he’ll get a cold beer out of the visit, Ben hops on his skycycle.

Rather than fight, the two former combatants share a few beers. Marko recalls his past and how it led him to his life of crime.

Kinda of a soap opera of an issue, but, deep down, aren’t they all?

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