Archive for the ‘DC Comics’ Category

Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 by Barry

Sugar and Spike (1956) 44

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.

Posted Saturday, July 4th, 2020 by Barry

Elvira’s House of Mystery (1986) 8

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

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

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 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 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

Posted Sunday, May 31st, 2020 by Barry

National Autonomous Vehicle Day

National Autonomous Vehicle Day is a time to observe the future of freedom behind the wheel.

To commemorate the (non) holiday, let’s take a look at the ultimate car. Forget Back to the Future’s Delorean, KITT and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we’re talking Batmobile.

The Batmobile has been part of the Bat lore since Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics issue 27. Granted, then it was a plain, red roadster with no gadgetry, but Batman had a means of conveyance.

Since its humble beginnings, the Batmobile has blossomed into a modern marvel. Slowly at first, but with vigor as the notion grew.

It wasn’t until Batman issue five, Spring of 1941, the Batmobile was given its trademark bat head on the front grill. It was about that same time it was christened as the Batmobile.

The car continued to evolve and by the 1966 live-action series, the Batmobile was already an icon. George Barris’ handiwork for the screen-used vehicle only immortalized the car.

Since then the Batmobile has continued to evolve in both comic book, television, movies and video games.

While National Autonomous Vehicle Day celebrates travel to come, we also remember what has gone before, “Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed.”

Evolution of Batmobiles

Posted Monday, May 25th, 2020 by Barry

Unknown Soldier (1977) 237

Two stories for the “Immortal GI” this issue.

The first, No God in St. Just, is more racially driven. The Unknown Soldier must convince African-American soldiers to kill Nazis.

Christmas Dinner is Janus Mitchell and Tenny Henson’s holiday offering. The title says it all.

Unknown Soldier (1977) 237

Unknown Soldier (1977) 237

The Unknown Soldier takes his name from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, VA. The character was created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert, debuting in Our Army at War 168.

It would be another four years before he would receive his own book, Star Spangled War Stories in 1970. Starting with issue 151 and running through issue 204 when the book was retitled The Unknown Solider. The comic would last until October 1982 ending with issue 268.

The Unknown Soldier would return in 1988 with a 12-issue maxi-series as done by Jim Owsley and Phil Gascoine. He reupped in 1997 with Garth Ennis calling the shots and earned a final – as of this writing – appearance as a back up to G.I. Combat in 2012.

Posted Thursday, May 21st, 2020 by Barry

Sugar and Spike (1956) 38

Mysterious Secrets have Sugar and Spike worried their parents are mad at each other.

Sugar is dropped at Spike’s house while her parents do some last-minute shopping. She shares her concerns about the strange goings on at both homes.

The suspicions mount and the tots decide to hide presents so Spike’s parents will conspire to solve the mystery and not be mad at each other. As fate – and creator Sheldon Mayer – would have it, the garbage men are collecting trash.

Sugar and Spike (1956) 38

Sugar and Spike (1956) 38

Finding the presents, they assume they are rewarded for their services throughout the year as mail men and delivery men are.

The two sprites help solve the misunderstanding, but are relegated to a corner for their misdeeds.

Nanty Minerva’s Adventure with Santa Claus is another misunderstanding on both sides. She can’t understand why she scares Spike and Spike can’t understand why she doesn’t like him.

A Santa suit pulls both sides together in an unexpected way.

Foot Trouble has no Christmas spirit, but does question the choices we make.

Christmas Eve Battle shows there is justice in childrens’ worlds after all.

Another holiday offering from Mr. Mayer and his childish charges.

Posted Monday, May 18th, 2020 by Barry

Looney Tunes (1994) 10

The Looney Tunes revamp with DC offered its first of several seasonal outtings with issue 10.

Bugs and Daffy are struggling chimney sweeps in How the Wabbit Saved Christmas. Elmer is just struggling with his Christmas spirit. To buoy Fudd’s flagging festiveness, the duo decorates the fretting homeowners’ abode. That ends in disaster with demolition bringing Santa down.

To save Christmas – and give the story’s title credence – Bugs dons the red union suit and Daffy the red reindeer nose. Their travels take them to Tasmania, Paris and Mexico for special gifts before returning home.

Looney Tunes (1994) 10

Looney Tunes (1994) 10

The story has a happy ending for all but the Jolly One himself.

Sylvester’s is Trapped Up in the spirit of snooping in the second yuletide offering.

Bugs tortures Elmer in an untitled final funny of the book. Daffy has a walk-on guest appearance.

Readers were also treated to ‘A Carrot Christmas.’ This counting exercise helps Bugs learn how many carrots were left under his tree.

Tweety’s Twee Twimming Tips is a word search for items normally adorning the annual Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas from the denizens of the Looney Tunes universe – even if the big day is seven months off.