Monthly Archives July 2020

The Punisher Summer Special (1991) 1

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As the summer blooms, the tans deepen and the grass grows, take a break and enjoy someone else sweltering in the heat.

The Punisher stars in this 48-page attack on peace. Pat Mills and Tony Skinner pen ‘Bombs “R” Us’ while Val Mayerik turns his talents to fleshing out the visuals.

An old acquaintance becomes the Punisher’s agenda. Lots of weaponry jargon as buyers look for the latest in killing modes.

‘Cross Purposes’ is a smart Peter David thriller with more Hitchcock tension than bloodshed. Mark Texeira and Michael Bair take care of the art chores.

Dan Slott does a credible job on a near dialog-free tale in ‘Independence Day.’ Art by Mike Harris who helps the good guys win this time.

Terrorists take on the thinly veiled, happiest place on Earth in Will Murray’s dark ‘Wish Granted.’ Much like a lighter-hearted The Mouse Who Roared, the tale looks at America from outside the box.

Art by Rodney Ramos.

Enjoy the equinoxes and solstices as the days run the longest, the nights the shortest and the temperatures the hottest.

The Punisher Summer Special (1991) 1

 

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The Tick Big Red-N-Green Christmas Spectacle (2001) 1

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Memories stretch long in this holiday tale of regret and revenge called ‘Rootin’ Tootin’ Christmas.’

The Tick Big Red-N-Green Christmas Spectacle (2001) 1

The Tick Big Red-N-Green Christmas Spectacle (2001) 1

The City needs a hero to save the season. One more powerful than the Tick. He and Arthur call up a saddle-sore trailblazer to handle the holiday hijacking. In typical Tick fashion, the day is saved as the new millennium takes hold.

Ben Edlund’s creation has peeked around the periphery of comic book fame for three decades.

Not quite an overnight sensation, the Tick did earn a spot in Fox’s Saturday morning line up in 1994. His cry of, “Spoon!” could be heard for two seasons. In 2001 he was given a live-action series on Fox starring Patrick Warburton.

It died after one season.

Amazon Video saw merit in the hero and green lit another live-action, web-TV series in 2016. It ended after two seasons.

But, the big, blue boob has never lacked for holiday specials. His first was in 1997 in Tick’s Big Yule Log Special. The sequel came in 1999 and a third installment in 2000. A fourth Yule Log Special was released in 2001 followed by the Big Red-N-Green Christmas Spectacle and the Tick Big X-Mas Trilogy released Dec. 1 through 3, 2002.

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Mister Miracle (1971) 1

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Granny Goodness is our glamor girl for Gorgeous Grandma Day.

Oh, yes, there is such a thing, and has been since 1984. Alice Solomon created the non-holiday to celebrate “women of certain age.” That age is not specified, but the grandmothers in the spotlight are to be honored for their accomplishments and abilities.

Mister Miracle (1971) 1

Mister Miracle (1971) 1

Jack Kirby’s Phyllis Diller inspired baddie may not be a prime example of what Solomon wanted, but she’s our centerfold.

The villainess is a master of brainwashing and torture used to mold her charges into ruthless warriors. All in the service of Darkseid’s name.

Her one disappointment is the escape of Scott Free from her orphanage. Free, or Mister Miracle, is the son of the Highfather of New Genesis. He had been used as bargaining chip for peace between New Genesis and Apokolips.

Beyond her superhuman strength and endurance, Granny is immortal. She has been schooled at hand-to-hand combat and is resistant to most physical attacks.

Ed Asner was tapped to voice her animated appearances in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

According to National Day Calendar, “Gorgeous Grandma Day embraces the age of the nana and encourages all women to flaunt their granny attitudes with purpose and style.”

To celebrate, grandmothers are encouraged to show the world their gorgeous selves.

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Sgt. Rock (1977) 350

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Before Sgt. Rock was relegated to seasonal stories and minis, he was the Top Kick of Easy Co. from 1959 to 1988.

During his time in service to his country, Frank Rock served from the shores of Italy across the Rhine and into the heart of the Fatherland. All the while shepherded by creator and chief scribe Robert Kanigher.

Sgt. Rock (1977) 350

Sgt. Rock (1977) 350

Having survived the backlash from the Viet Nam conflict, Rock was moved from Our Army at War to his own title in 1977. He would continue through most of the 1980s to issue 422 only to fall victim to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

But, for the winter of 1980, Rock and Easy were on the front lines in ‘Home for Christmas.’

A missing G.I. takes the sergeant from his men during the holiday season. Most of the story is spent with Rock recounting his interaction with the AWOL soldier.

The missing man’s mantra throughout the war was to be “home for Christmas”. With the holiday fast approaching, Rock fears the wayward private has left the war early to be back with his family.

What he finds is a heartwarming sight that turns heart wrenching. However, in true DC war fashion both soldier and Easy are saved by story’s end.

The book is rounded out with a two-page Battle Album focusing on types of gases. Also included are stories ‘The Last Knight,’ ‘Roman Nose’ and ‘The Men of Easy Co.: Right Arm.’

Following his regular-series run, Rock returned for cameos and seasonal one-and-dones. He was also featured in a 21-issue run of reprints and two specials.

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Green Lantern (1960) 23

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If the idea of ever inking up ever crossed your mind, today may be the day. July 17 is observed as National Tattoo Day.

Green Lantern (1960) 23

Green Lantern (1960) 23

Singing the praises of indelible images inked on your body is Green Lantern’s arch nemesis, the Tattooed Man.

Tattooed Man began his career as a sailor-cum-burglar. Abel Tarrant was the victim of undisclosed chemicals bestowing upon him the ability to create three-dimensional objects from his ink.

His initial appearance was less than spectacular. To offset his losses, Tattooed Man joined the Injustice Gang seeking safety in numbers. Later he would be believed murdered by the Goldface mob.

He would return for the third volume of Green Lantern following Crisis on Infinite Earths. His brush with Guy Gardner, in issue two, didn’t deter his determination to go straight. Tarrant was not seen again until Hal Jordan’s funeral in issue 81.

John Oakes was the second to assume the Tattooed Man persona. His powers were of a more supernatural bent.

Mark Richards became the third incarnation. His tattoos bore his sins against humanity. His demise occurred during Heroes in Crisis.

Sailors bearing mementos of their journeys abroad brought the art to America. Early on they carried a stigma. Now there is a new found acceptance of tattoos which have become popular in the past 10 years.

Those considering a tattoo should remember to find a reputable artist. Decide upon a design. Check spelling if any is involved. Be prepared to pay.

To celebrate, share your ink on #NationalTattooDay.

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The Ren & Stimpy Show Holiday Special, Yah Lousy Bums! (1994)

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Mr. Yak channel surfs to the cadence of a twisted ‘‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ in this holiday hoot that parodies cable television of the 1990s holiday season.

A stop on ‘The Muddy Mudskipper Christmas Show’ offers a musical that merges with an advertisement, merges with his neighbors, Ren Hoek and Stimpson J. Cat, arguing about commercialism, ad nauseum.

The Ren & Stimpy Show Holiday Special, Yah Lousy Bums! (1994)

The Ren & Stimpy Show Holiday Special, Yah Lousy Bums! (1994)

Ren and Stimpy’s ‘Yule Time Log’ interlude is a send up – of sorts – of ‘The Gift of the Magi.’ If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s not forthcoming.

Back to Mr. Yak and more of the Muddy Mudskipper Christmas extravaganza followed by flipping through the late-night show, more commercials, trash-talk TV and a surreal look at the Ren and Stimpy Show.

Airing is ‘Black Mail, White Christmas, Green Moulah,’ a dark tale of Ren stealing Santa’s surveillance equipment and using it for evil. It ends with more channel surfing and the ugliest “snowman” conceived.

Dan Slott does a fine job of recreating the madness normally animated on television, but the special is disjointed. The flow would have been smoother had it been a television special.

The Ren and Stimpy Show debuted on Nickelodeon in 1991. Creator John Kricfalusi only lasted one year with the series, but the show ran until Dec. 16, 1995 airing 52 episodes.

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Hallmark Unleashes New Ornaments for 2020

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Amid everything that is going on, Christmas is still coming. Hallmark hasn’t forgotten that (especially since it’s a big part of their bread and butter) and is rolling out their first round of superhero ornaments for the year. Included are:

Mini Marvel Studios Ant-Man Ornament, 1.7″

Marvel Captain America Metal Ornament

DC Comics Aquaman and Storm Ornament

Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy O Christmas Groot Ornament

DC Comics Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman Ornament

DC Comics Wonder Woman 1984 Princess Diana Returns Ornament

DC Comics Aquaman and Storm Ornament

DC Comics Aquaman and Storm Ornament

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7-Eleven: Free Slurpee Day

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The fireworks may have faded, but we can still celebrate the summer with a free Slurpee at 7-Eleven.

Last year I extolled the virtues of a youth spent sucking down half-frozen Cokes – earning a brain freeze every time – and reading the latest Marvel had to offer. The memory is still as fresh and inviting as when I related it 366 days ago.

1975 Captain America Slurpee Cup (slim style)

1975 Captain America Slurpee Cup (slim style)

In 1973, 7-Eleven was all about DC Comics, but by 1975 Marvel was stealing the show. Both at the convenience store and spin racks.

For 1975, 7-Eleven and Marvel partnered to offer 60-different cups. The series featured the character with name and/or logo on the front with a headshot and bio on the back. The bio was cleverly done in a word balloon.

All cups featured a contemporary image of the character. Spider-Man, the Thing and Hulk each had three-different cups.

Like the 1973 DC series, the drinking vessels have become desirable to both those who bought ‘em to begin with and those just discovering the colorful cups. Collectors should beware, though. There are two different sizes. Both feature the same images and information, but one series is more the size of the DC cups while the others are shorter and wider. This is the same style 7-Eleven would use in the 1977 series.

The Slurpee debuted in 1966. Could be why it’s a favorite of mine: 1966 is my birth year. The company modified the Knedik Icee machine to suit their needs and branded the new drink.

A side effect of the beverage is the dreaded brain freeze. To survive, remember the following: put down drink, sip from a warmer liquid, if warmer liquid is not available press tongue to roof of mouth, cover mouth and nose with hand, breath through nose allowing warmer air to circulate through sinus passages. Finally, return to your Slurpee, drinking at a slower pace.

To celebrate, grab your favorite flavor and down at a responsible speed.

1975 Marvel Slurpee Check List

1975 Marvel Slurpee Check List

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Sugar and Spike (1956) 44

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Sugar and Spike find parenting isn’t as hard as grown-ups would have them believe in ‘Santa’s Parents.’

Sugar and Spike (1956) 44

Sugar and Spike (1956) 44

In another misunderstanding, the two tykes find themselves fending for themselves. Finding a remote control only brings more confusion to the holiday season as Santa does his job only too well courtesy of Sugar and Spike.

All is forgiven when the unexpected publicity brings mountains of money.

‘Little Arthur’s War’ is the second act. Santa dispenses justice rather than coal for the bratty Arthur.

Arthur gets his revenge – briefly – as he wreaks havoc with the push of a few buttons in act three. His reign of terror is ended and his destruction tallied in dollars and sense.

The final part of the four-act adventure is a lesson for the parents, who are taught they are never too old to learn.

Tucked between stories are some one-page funnies and a chance to make some greeting cards.

Maybe the sum and total of the book is another December survival.

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Elvira’s House of Mystery (1986) 8

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No real 4th of July celebration this issue; just three-tired tales to stretch out the 18 pages between covers.

In addition to DC, Elvira also appeared in Eclipse and Claypool comics. Her residence at DC was short-lived, a mere 11 issues and a Christmas special.

Elvira is the alter ego of Cassandra Peterson. The Mistress of the Dark first appeared on KHJ-TV as a horror host in 1981. By 1985 her fame spread as she released a series of VHS tapes of her show. In 1988 she starred in her first film, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. It wasn’t until 2000 she appeared in a sequel, Elvira’s Haunted Hills.

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, commemorates the Declaration of Independence. The federal holiday is traditionally observed with picnics, fireworks and patriotic displays.

Elvira’s House of Mystery (1986) 8

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