Archive for June, 2020

Posted Monday, June 29th, 2020 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 6

Smile pretty and polish your lens, it’s National Camera Day.

Action Comics (1938) 6

Action Comics (1938) 6

Last year Peter Parker/Spider-Man emceed festivities. This year we’re tapping Jimmy Olsen as the freckled face of the (non) holiday.

The Daily Planet’s chief shutterbug’s first appearance is questionable. Action Comics issue six has a bow-tie wearing office boy, but his name wasn’t mentioned until the April 15, 1940, episode of the Superman radio show.

It wasn’t until Superman (1939) issue 13 in late 1941 the name Jimmy Olsen appeared in a comic book. His popularity grew enough that by 1954 Jimmy had his own book, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. It would last until 1974 when it was merged with The Superman Family book.

Crises and reboots have not been able to dislodge Olsen from Superman’s coattails. His character and (marginal) popularity continue to this day.

To celebrate the day, snap a photo of someone close to preserve the memory. Photos can be shared by using #NationalCameraDay.

Posted Thursday, June 25th, 2020 by Barry

Spider-Man Kids julehefte 2009

This is just a fun looking Christmas comic book. C’mon, Spidey and the Green Goblin duking it out over Santa? How could it get any better?

Maybe with some translation and background?

Good luck with that.

About all I could glean from the cover was the Danish to English translation stating the book has “posters, activity pages and lots of Christmas fun.” Secondly, it’s a Christmas booklet.

Hanging 10 on the ‘Net, I’ve not been able to find much on this comic book. If you have any knowledge, please contact Jeff or I. We’d love to feature this with more information.

Thanks to Yet Another Comics Blog for the heads up.

Spider-Man Kids julehefte 2009

Posted Sunday, June 21st, 2020 by Barry

Journey into Mystery (1962) 86

For Father’s Day, let’s talk about the All-Father himself, Odin.

Thor’s daddy wasn’t part of the Thunder God’s initial Silver Age Marvel appearance in Journey into Mystery 83. Odin wasn’t even mentioned until Journey into Mystery 85 and, finally, revealed the following issue.

Journey into Mystery 86

He is the adoptive father of Loki and sired Balder by another woman. In addition to being the father of Thor, Odin is also ruler and protector of the Asgardian people. He has died three times in defense of Asgard.

Odin has incredible strength, stamina and extended lifespan. He is master of the Odin Force that can create illusions, force fields, levitat, molecular manipulation, telepathy, control of lightening and teleportation.

Sir Anthony Hopkins portrayed the All Father in all three Thor movies.

In the animated Marvel U he has been voiced by Bernard Cowan, The Marvel Super Heroes; Jess Harnell, The Super Hero Squad Show; Clancy Brown, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes; Frank Welker, Avenger’s Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.; Dwight Schultz, Ultimate Avengers 2; French Tickner, Hulk vs. Thor; and Christopher Britton, Thor: Tales of Asgard.

Father’s Day was first held July 5, 1908 in Fairmont, WV. It was not until the 1930s it began to gather national support, but it wasn’t until President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation it became official in 1966. President Richard M. Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Posted Saturday, June 20th, 2020 by Barry

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

Now that all the 20s have lined up – June 20, 2020 – let’s celebrate the end of another winter and the advent of good weather:  the first day of Summer. Last year we had Franklin Richards kick start the summer months. This year we’re calling upon the Impossible Man.

For those unfamiliar with the green and purple Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation, Impossible Man is, essentially, Marvel’s Mr. Mxyzptlk. Impossible Man first appeared in Fantastic Four issue 11. He would continue to conjure himself back on Earth primarily a foil for the FF. He eventually branched over to bother Spider-Woman, the X-Men, Excalibur, Avengers and Silver Surfer throughout the ensuing years.

By 1990 he was poised for his own special. Possibly the one promised by Stan way back in Fantastic Four 176. This was the time when Impossible Man invaded Marvel Comics offices. He refused to leave until Stan promised to print a special for him alone. If you have yet to read the book, stop, go find a copy and enjoy.

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

The Impossibles – no relation – decide it’s time to vacation. With the family. All however many of ‘em there are.

Anyway, the self-proclaimed summer spectacular is a series of vignettes following an ‘Improlog.’

First up is ‘How Green was my Villain?’ involving Impossible Man taking the guise of a carousal of Spider-Man baddies. Most already sporting the green and purple motif.

‘Girls Don’t Wanna Have Fun!’ features Madcap and Quasar.

Dr. Strange outlasts Impy in ‘Impossible but Strange.’

She-Hulk and Janet VanDyne, aka the Wasp, are beleaguered by Impossible Woman who destroys VanDyne’s fashion show.

‘A Night to Remember’ features the Punisher who is none too amused by Impossible Man’s antics.

Dr. Doom has the last laugh when he sends the Impossible kids packing to Dizzyworld.

Yes, you read that right:  Dizzyworld.

Remember, this was before Disney’s $4 billion Marvel buy out in April 2018.

This is 1990. And, scribe Peter David is having his way with Mickey and company. If you’re gonna pick this issue up, do it for this story alone. David is brilliant with his cracks at the mouse-eared empire. Gotta love a pants-less Howard the Duck in the background thumbing his beak at the legal decree he wear pants lest he resemble a certain Disney mallard.

The issue finally settles down as the Impossibles – again, no relation – make their next stop on the Skrull world to continue their vacation. At present, there has been no follow up.

Posted Friday, June 19th, 2020 by Barry

Garfield (2012) 1

A year after his comic book debut, Garfield was syndicated in over 2,580 newspapers and journals.

Boom! Studios picked up the feline for a monthly title featuring Mark Evanier as scribe. Evanier supervised the animated Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show.

The lasagna-guzzling cat began his career in the comic strips. Garfield went nationwide in 1978 and, by 2013, Garfield earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most widely syndicated strip on Earth.

With his recognition has come the desire to own a piece of the pussycat. The fictional feline is worth a cool $750 million to $1 billion annually in merchandising alone.

All of this has contributed to earning his (un)official holiday, National Garfield the Cat Day. June 19 has become that day.

It was originally celebrated in 1998 to commemorate Garfield’s 20th anniversary of the comic strip and his birthday.

Celebrate with a pan of lasagna and some favorite strips and comics of the nation’s top ranked cat.

Posted Monday, June 15th, 2020 by Barry

Joker (1975) 1

Who better to represent the non-holiday National Smile Power Day than one of comic book’s toothiest characters, the Joker.

No one else in the DCU has made it his mission to make others smile the way the Joker has. Since his first appearance in Batman (1940) issue one, the Harlequin of Hate has set his sights on chaos with a smile.

The Joker began as a psychopath before being toned down for the 1950s and into the ‘60s. The prankster persona was put to rest by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams in Batman 251, ‘The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge.’

Joker (1975) 1

Joker (1975) 1

The Clown Prince of Crime would continue down his dark path with The Killing Joke in 1988. In the prestige one shot, Joker would shoot and cripple Barbara Gordon. A year later he would kill Jason Todd, the second Robin, in ‘A Death in the Family.’

In 2011 ‘Death of a Family’ would exam the Joker’s relationship with not only the Dark Knight, but the rest of the Bat family.

The comic book pictured in conjunction with today’s non-holiday is the first issue of Joker’s all-too-short-lived, self-titled book. Joker ran nine issues beginning May-June, 1975 through September-October, 1976.

Each issue featured a one-and-done story, usually guest-starring a hero or villain from the DCU.

Issue 10 was scheduled to be published, the first part of ’99 and 99/100% Dead.’ It did not see print until Aug. 14, 2019.

To celebrate National Smile Power Day, challenge yourself to smile more often.

Posted Friday, June 12th, 2020 by Barry

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2019) 5

Christmas 2019 would not be complete without IDW’s Disney holiday offering from afar.

The fifth installment brought something new with Topolino – or Mikey Mouse – 3239, originally printed in 2017. The opening tale, ‘Mickey Mouse and the Lost Toy,’ is a which-way story. Our titular hero loses his gift for Minnie. Mickey’s fate is determined by the choices made by readers. Most don’t end well.

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2019) 5

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2019) 5

This is followed by a one-page funny called ‘Christmas in Mouseton.’ Mickey falls victim to an expanding waistline. This from Topolino issue 3083, circa 2014.

‘Christmas in the Money Bin’ is another one-page excursion, this time with Uncle Scrooge. Technology helps Duckburg’s most prominent citizen with his electric bill, but does little to enlighten the town. This is reprinted from issue 3083, too.

Skipping forward to 2016 and issue 3187, readers are welcomed by ‘Uncle Scrooge and the Christmas Contest.’

Scrooge sets his sites on the season’s hottest toy in hopes of closing a business deal. His holiday lesson is individuality is a valuable trait.

‘Christmas at the Farm,’ with Donald and Mickey, is another one-page affair. Mickey’s memory is longer than Donald’s in this retelling from Topolino 3083.

Peg Leg Pete gets top billing in ‘Christmas Spirit.’ One kind act can offer far reaching benefits, especially during the holidays. This from Topolino 3187, 2016.

The book finishes with two one-page funnies.

‘Christmas in Duckburg,’ with Donald and nephews, jumps the calendar by several months.

‘Christmas at Grandma Duck’s’ is another Donald vehicle featuring Uncle Scrooge.

The first of the last two was originally published in Topolino 3239, 2017 and Topolino 3135, 2015.

Posted Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 by Barry

National Donald Duck Day

Give the duck his due – and his day – National Donald Duck Day has dawned.

Donald made his debut in the animated ‘The Wise Little Hen’ in 1934. It wasn’t until 1937 the ill-tempered fowl first appeared in four color. This was in an Italian comic book. Donald did not make it to the English-speaking world until a year later with England’s Fleetway publication.

Four Color Comics 9

Four Color Comics 9

Not until 1942 did Western Publishing take over chronicling chores. One of the first stories was ‘Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold’ by Bob Karp. Other illustrators would follow including Jack Hannah and the man who became most associated with Donald and the duck, Carl Barks.

From Barks flowed most of the duck lore used today.

Donald has flourished over the years, appearing on television, in movies and every other media available. He continues to appear in four color as well as co-starring on the new incarnation of Duck Tales airing on Disney.

National Donald Duck Day is an annual event celebrated June 9 to commemorate his screen debut. Since then, Donald has been in more films than any other Disney character.

His national day began in 1984 in honor of Donald’s 50th birthday.

Posted Saturday, June 6th, 2020 by Barry

Unexpected (1956) 220

‘Santa Claus is a Killer!’

Robin Snyder and Sarah Gregory phoned this one in and stayed home for the holidays.

Work beckons daddy Denny, leaving mommy Margaret and daughter home alone. It just so happens a madman has escaped from a local asylum and is sporting a Santa suit. A literary shell game ends with an arrest, a surprise and salutation from the real man of the North Pole.

Horror veteran Ernie Colon provides the proper atmosphere with pencil and pen.

The opening salvo is the only holiday offering for this issue. Three more shorts, ‘The Bride is Aglow,’ ‘The Strange Guide’ and ‘Trollbridge’ close out the book.

Unexpected is a continuation of National Periodical’s Tales of the Unexpected running until issue 222 in 1982.

It was brought back as an eight-issue mini in 2006.

Unexpected began as a sci-fi title before giving up spaceships for ghosts. It became part of DC’s stable of horror-anthology titles that closed out the 1960s and ran till the early 1980s.

Unexpected (1956) 220

Posted Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 by Barry

Showcase (1956) 4

Today is a day to commemorate something most of us do not care to participate in: National Running Day.

To recognize this unofficial-holiday we choose Flash. Not just any Flash, but the Flash who heralded in the Silver Age. The Flash who helped usher out the Bronze Age. The Flash who sped across two-and-a-half decades with a roster of villains who coined the phrase “Rogues Gallery.”

This is the Barry Allen Flash.

Barry Allen was introduced in Showcase issue 4, the brainchild of Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino. After Hiroshima and the world became measured in half life, the masked men of the Golden Age became after thoughts. Only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman survived cancellation.

Showcase (1956) 4

Mr. Allen became a test subject to see if the reading public were ready for mystery men again.

They were and Silver Age counterparts to their Golden Age predecessors debuted in Showcase before jumping to their own books.

Next, Flash would open the DCU to a multitude of universes via his cosmic treadmill. In Flash 123, Barry Allen brought not only the Golden Age of DC back, but mapped a path to other Earths.

His legs would carry him through personal and universal(s) crisis only to return courtesy of Geoff Johns and a loophole.

Barry Allen continues to speed through the DC imprint and has earned his own television series as well as co-starring on the Silver Screen.

It may seem counterproductive to sit down and reacquaint yourself with the Scarlet Speedster on a day of running, but, in my opinion, it’s a better option than tying on some running shoes and hitting the pavement