Archive for the ‘DC Comics’ Category

Posted Monday, September 13th, 2021 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 23

Doff the hat, toss the bandanna, let the world see the chrome on the dome, today is National Bald is Beautiful Day.

More and more men are celebrating the freedom from morning grooming, trashing the combs and reveling in their new found time. No longer must they spend the extra time and money shampooing and coifing.

While Yule Brenner may be the first choice as spokesman, he never graced the cover or interior of a comic book. No, the logical choice is Superman’s number one archvillain Lex Luthor.

Luthor’s criminal career can be broken down into three eras. He began as a red-haired “mad scientist and manipulative warlord,” according to the forward in Lex Luthor A Celebration of 75 Years.

His follicelly-challenged appearance first came to be in the Superman newspaper strip then Superman issue 10, courtesy of artist Leo Nowak, though he first appeared in Action Comics 23 with a full head of red hair.

The loss of his hair was addressed in Adventure Comics 271. The Silver Age story also provided a new origin for Luthor. In the tale, young Luthor was a fan of Superboy, even building a club house/museum dedicated to the Boy of Steel’s exploits.

When an accidental fire began at the club house, Superboy put the blaze out with a puff of super breath. Luthor was uninjured, but his hair had fallen out due to a mixture of fumes from Kryptonite he was studying and the blow from Superboy.

The feud was on.

Luthor continued to battle Superman throughout the Silver and into the Bronze ages.

It wasn’t until after Crisis on Infinite Earths he became more of a business man. Writer/artist John Byrne retooled Superman and Luthor. The villain became a mashup of Ted Turner and Donald Trump with a dash of Marvel Comic’s Kingpin.

Using his considerable fortune for leverage, Luthor launched himself into the world of politics as the new millennium arrived. A botched attempt at weapon’s trading and a bounty on Superman’s head backfired leaving Luthor a fugitive and to abandon the Oval Office.

Writers continued to reinvent Luthor throughout the ensuing Crises, events and company reboots.

Luthor has accompanied the Man of Steel outside the printed page to the silver screen, the small screen and video games

While our choice for spokesman for National Bald is Beautiful Day has such a rich history, the day itself does not.

To celebrate, well, do whatever you want; read some back issues with Luthor as the protagonist, shave your head or compliment someone who has.

Posted Thursday, August 19th, 2021 by Barry

Showcase (1956) 22

On Dec. 17, 1903, mankind truly mastered three dimensions as the first controlled powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight took place.

While Dec. 17 would seem the logical choice for National Aviation Day, it’s really today. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into observance National Aviation Day using Orville Wright’s birthday, Aug. 19, 1871. Today is the day a grateful world recognizes the pioneers of flight.

Showcase (1956) 22

Acting as chairman for the day former test pilot Hal Jordan.

Introduced in Showcase issue 22, October 1959, Jordan embodied the Silver Age Green Lantern as brought to life courtesy of fathers John Broome and Gil Kane.

The writer/artist combo made Jordan a combat pilot cum test pilot for Ferris Aircraft. It was while training for the company he was summoned by a dying alien, Abin Sur, to become his replacement for Sector 2814 as part of the Green Lantern Corp.

Jordan appeared in two more issues of Showcase before granted his own title in July-August 1960. Gardner Fox would join Broome as co-author of the scripts beginning with issue 17. Together, with editor Julius Schwartz, they crafted adventures until 1970.

With issue 76, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams began the legendary Hard Traveling Heroes saga. The wunderkinds teamed Jordan with fellow Justice Leaguer Green Arrow and set them on a path across the United States. For two years, until issue 89, the green-garbed duo tackled such topics as overpopulation, bigotry and drug use.

As with the rest of the DC Universe, Jordan had to survive Crisis on Infinite Earths. He did and returned in the third volume bearing the Green Lantern title.

By the early 1990s Jordan was living on borrowed time in the DCU. A multi-part storyline turned him to the dark side. He adopted a new identity in Parallax and was replaced by Kyle Rayner.

In the new millennium, Jordan was allowed to wear the ring once more. He has continued to be the most recognized of the Green Lantern Corps, having lived through the New 52 and DC Rebirth.

Proclamation USC 36:I:A:1:118 allows the sitting president to proclaim August 19 as National Aviation Day each year. If desired, the President’s proclamation may direct all federal buildings and installations to fly the U.S. flag on that day.

Posted Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 by Barry

Superboy (1949) 27

Continuing with National Hobo Week is the Golden Age Superboy.

With a cover date of August, 1953, Superboy 27 romances the bindlestiff lifestyle. The third and final story of the issue, Clark Kent and adoptive parents have a verbal disagreement finalized with the youth running away from home in the appropriately titled Clark Kent, Runaway!

Also offered for your reading pleasure are The Pied Piper of Smallville and The Movie Star of Tomorrow.

The Pied Piper is a formulaic tale of a clarinetist who mesmerizes the youth of Smallville. Movie Star is a time travel tale whisking Superboy to the future to save Tinsletown.

Superboy did not appear until 1944, but Jerry Siegel pitched the idea of a super-powered prankster as early as 1938. Another attempt was made in 1940, but again fell on deaf ears.

Superboy debuted in More Fun Comics issue 101 in 1944. Joe Shuster was the artist, but Siegel was unable to provide scripting due to his stint in the Army during World War II.

Siegel filed suit against DC Comics and was awarded the initial decision. However, that was overturned and Siegel was forced to agree Superboy was the sole property of National (DC) Comics.

Not until 2006 did the District Court for the Central District of California issue a ruling that the Siegel heirs were rightful owners of the Superboy character and related indicia. Yet, Time Warner was granted continued ownership of the trademark meaning neither could benefit from the property solely.

National Hobo Week is celebrated the second week of August to coincide with the National Hobo Convention held the second weekend of the month in Britt, Iowa.

Hobos set up a camp, also known as a hobo jungle, for the convention and peddle their wares as well as offer entertainment.

The convention is the largest gathering of hobos in the national. A king and queen are even chosen.

Superboy (1949) 27

Posted Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 337

Welcome to National Hobo Week, Aug. 10-13.

While most of you – more than likely all – won’t be traveling to Britt, Iowa, for the National Hobo Convention, you can celebrate, commemorate, commiserate vicariously. Let’s start with the Man of Steel’s first foray into the vagrant life in Action Comics issue 337.

A nursery rhyme causes Superman to cosplay after performing various deeds. His first has him halting a crime while acting as a man of means. He follows the act by feigning poverty to petition the government for support of a slum project.

Next, he apprehends two thieves while dressed as an Indian chief. His fourth foray is as an attorney to stop a killer and, finally, as Clark Kent, fakes an operation as a doctor.

Prior to what will be his last act, Superman warns the FBI he plans to commit a robbery. The G-men procure some Kryptonite to thwart the attempt. Superman steals the Green K and explains the odd proceedings.

As a baby on Krypton, young Kal-El had been exposed to a comet while reciting the rhyme, “rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief.” Somehow the comet caused a hypnotic effect causing Kal to act out the verse when exposed a second time.

Supergirl followed in her own story, The Green Sun Supergirl!

For those wishing to learn more about National Hobo Week, research famous hobos such as Leon Ray Livingston, T-Bone Slim or Alexander Supertramp.

More to follow as we take the week and recognize the heroes who have donned the patchwork suit, taken possessions in bindle and hiked across the United States.

Action Comics (1938) 337

Posted Saturday, August 7th, 2021 by Barry

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

National Lighthouse Day is celebrated annually Aug. 7 to spotlight the beacon that has meant salvation to mariners for hundreds of years.

Defining safety, a lighthouse marks treacherous shoreline, providing safe passage to harbors. In addition to maritime use, they are aerial guidance markers.

They’re style may vary depending on region and purpose. The top of the lighthouse is known as the lantern room. America’s first lighthouse was built in St. Augustine, FL, in the 1600s. Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey is the oldest existing lighthouse in America.

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

While today’s host was birthed during the Golden Age of comic books in More Fun Comics issue 73, it was his Silver Age rebirth of sorts that cemented him as the son of a lighthouse keeper.

The Silver Age Aquaman debuted in Adventure Comics 260 in 1959. He is the son of human Tom Curry and Atlanna of Atlantis. He later became king of the undersea capitol.

A retcon had his father remarrying and siring a second son, Orm. The half-brother would become the Ocean Master and battle Aquaman for control of the seas.

Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Aquaman was given a four-issue mini in 1986 and a one-shot in 1988.

Not until 1994 under the tutelage of Peter David did Aquaman receive his most popular ongoing series. It ran a total of 75 issues ending in January 2001.

He would guest in the reformed JLA title, but not appear in a self-titled comic book until Dec. 2002. This sixth series would last 59 issues. He would receive his own title under the New 52 and Rebirth imprints that followed.

In addition to boning up the history of DC’s King of the Seven Seas, National Lighthouse Day celebrants may also watch Give A Day in the Life of Lighthouse Keeper and/or Behind The Lighthouse: Lighthouse Keepers documentaries, share lighthouse experiences or visit lighthouse museums.

National Lighthouse Day was established Aug. 7, 1879, but Congress did not designate it officially for another 200 years.

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2021 by Barry

Video Game Day

Need we say more?

Well, we’re gonna.

There’s no real history for the day, but there are a plethora of games that can be sampled. Rather than bore you with a lengthy dissertation, we’ll let Nixian’s YouTube offering on the Evolution of Superhero games give you a sampling.

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Posted Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 by Barry

Justice League (1986) 1

Celebrate those closest to you with Best Friends Day.

Take time to cherish the people who are there for the best of times and the worst of times. The people – and, maybe pets – who you can count on no matter what. This is the day to reward that loyalty, remember the smiles and revel in the tears.

Representing the day are Ted Kord and Michael Carter, maybe better known as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. The odd couple first met in Justice League (1986) issue one.

In the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC’s editors, writers and artists worked to piece the universe back together. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis teamed for concept and dialog chores. Kevin Maguire was the perfect choice for penciler and the quirky take on the tried and true super hero team took off.

Unlike so many comic books, the title gained speed as issue after issue rolled onto the comic book racks. Giffen and DeMatteis’s unique take added some much-needed humor to the DCU and served as a behind-the-scenes book of super heroing.

Justice League (1986) 1

Justice League (1986) 1

Two of the main jokesters, whether intentional on their part or not, proved to be Kord and Carter. Ted was a Charlton Comics re-tred updated for the times. Carter was 25th-century reject who stepped back in time to earn a reputation as a hero.

Together they became known as the “Blue and Gold” team. While serving their country and world, their main objective was to discover how to get rich quick. Their schemes escalated to the point where they “appropriated” League funds and purchased an island getaway.

Booster and Beetle would later join the short-lived Extreme Justice off-shoot of the Justice League, but eventually part ways.

They were rejoined in the 2003 Formerly Known as the Justice League reunion of Justice League International. That was followed up a year later with the six-issue story arc in JLA: Classified issues four through nine.

Both made separate guest appearances in the years that followed.

Beetle would be murdered by former employer, Maxwell Lord, in the 80-page special Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

Booster earned his own title following DC’s One Year Later. In it, he would become a time master with Rip Hunter. His heroics went – mostly – unnoticed during the venture.

One event Booster attempted time and again to mend was the untimely death of his dear friend, Beetle. Over and over he learned the hard, hard lesson some events are just meant to be and his friend could not be saved.

Giffen and DeMatteis’s five years, and subsequent returns, with their Justice League helped true comic book fans enjoy the medium as speculators began to infiltrate the hobby. Like Booster and Beetle, investors hoped to get-rich-quick by purchasing multiple issues of certain issues nearly sinking the industry.

These comic books would be a fine way to share Best Friends Day, by turning someone close to you on to these gems of books. They are as good today as they were in the waning 1980s and early 1990s.

Other ways to celebrate the day include pretty much any form of sharing and just spending quality time with that special someone or someones.

Posted Monday, May 31st, 2021 by Barry

Help Superman Crush Nick O’Teen

World No Tobacco Day is observed around the globe every year on May 31, according to National Day Calendar. The day is designed to encourage 24 hours of abstinence from any form of tobacco.

Attention is also to be focused on the reported adverse health issues from extended tobacco use. Currently seven-million deaths are attributed to tobacco use a year; 480,000 of those are Americans. Another 890,000 deaths are said to be a result of second-hand smoke.

It is estimated over one-billion persons are regular tobacco users. An estimated 34.3 million are adult smokers in the United States. Those numbers are on the decline with 21 in 100 people used to be smokers.

West Virginia has the highest rates of smoking in the United States. The Mountain State is followed by Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Alaska. Broken down farther, 14 percent of the US smokes.

Superman has long loaned his name and likeness to many a cause of his long-lived career. This public service announcement is another reminder the fictional do-gooder is saving the world one person at a time.

World No Tobacco Day

Posted Saturday, May 8th, 2021 by Barry

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

When Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow revealed his origin in More Fun Comics 89 in November of 1941, the bowman was then a cheap imitation of Batman.

Through the reimaging and craftmanship of writers and artists, Queen has become our official spokesman for National Archery Day.

Star City’s premier resident was obviously based on Robin Hood, though he himself was as rich as one Bruce Wayne when he first appeared in issue 73 of More Fun Comics. Queen learned to become a preeminent archer after being shipwrecked on a deserted island.

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

Upon his return home, Queen adopted the Green Arrow moniker and a sidekick, Speedy. The colorful pair tooled around town in their Arrowcar and responded to emergencies when called via the Arrow Signal. Their chief nemesis was Bulls Eye, a clown-like villain.

His fortunes changed in 1969 when artist Neal Adams updated his appearance with a goatee and mustache as well as new costume. Compatriot Denny O’Neil had him lose his wealth and become a political liberal  as a new common man.

O’Neil and Adams partnered Arrow with Green Lantern in GL’s own book. Together they became the Hard Travelin’ Heroes from issues 76 to 89 and issue 89. Green Arrow continued his own adventures as a back up in Flash’s 217-19 and 226.

Arrow finally appeared in his own mini-series in 1983. In 1987 he earned a second mini-series called Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. Mike Grell authored and penciled both the mini and following ongoing series.

After Grell’s departure, Arrow became more involved in the DCU, eventually leading to his death.

Kevin Smith brought the bowman back in a talented 15-issue run. Judd Winick took the reins and continued the spirited storytelling for four years.

Arrow was allowed to reunite with former lover Black Canary and the two would marry. Their happiness was interrupted by Blackest Night only to return anonymously in Brightest Day.

The New 52 was an opportunity to bring combine the ageless archer with modern society and what is now known as the Arrowverse.

Arrow premiered on The CW in October 2012. The show aired through January 2020.

Green Arrow’s history is a bit more complicated than the day it represents. National Archery Day was proclaimed to be commemorated the second Saturday of May, annually.

Posted Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 by Barry

Batman Brave and the Bold (2009) 4

Batman and Aquaman spend Earth Day chasing around the time stream, fixing what Dr. Cyber has undone. Rip Hunter, Time Master, makes a guest appearance.

Menace of the Time Thief!, a Matt Wayne, Andy Suriano production; is a bittersweet reminder of Batman: Brave and the Bold that ran on Cartoon Network from Nov. 14, 2008 to Nov. 18, 2011.

Brave and the Bold may have seemed an odd choice to follow Batman the Animated Series, but, at the opposite end of the spectrum, proved cathartic. The tongue-in-cheek, deadpan humor, as delivered by Diedrich Bader, leapt from television screens and into fanboy’s hearts.

The series lasted three seasons with 26 episodes for seasons one and two and 13 episodes for season three.

Fans were treated to a reunion – of sorts – in 2018 when a feature-length animated movie went straight to video co-staring Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc.

Earth Day was established March 21, 1970 by peace activist John McConnell. His mission was to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. Earth Day is celebrated annually April 22 around the world.

Be kind to mother Earth and let’s all pause a moment to remember a series that shown a bright light on the Dark Knight in the best possible way.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4