Archive for the ‘Holiday Specials’ Category

Posted Monday, March 25th, 2019 by Barry

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

Bugs and friends starred in the self-titled Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies from 1950 to 1958 under the Dell imprint.

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

The fifth installment includes:

  • Bugs saving Christmas from the Old Man of the Mountain;
  • Porky Pig finding the error of his ways in the Bizzaro world of Backward’s Valley;
  • Tweety and Sylvester tearing a department store apart as the hungry cat tries to fulfill the flighty bird’s wishes;
  • Elmer and Daffy squaring off with explosive results as a parade loses its float;
  • Bugs and Elmer headlining in a one-page gag;
  • Petuna Pig with piggy bank woes that Pork cannot fix;
  • Little used Henery Hawk making an appearance and earning a shiner;
  • Mary Jane and Sniffles forming an unusual bond to locate their run away gifts;
  • Porky and Petuna returning for a mashed up, mix up; and
  • Bugs isn’t the only one to suffer when his pretending becomes pretentious.

All in 100 pages for a quarter.

While a bargain today, a quarter in 1955 is currently the equivalent of $4.70. Of course a regular comic book runs four dollars. Maybe it’s still a bargain.

Posted Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 by Barry

Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1

Frank Castle can’t stop the Massacre of Innocents, but does save the life of one in “And on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men.” Don Maranzano is the King Herod in this Christmas passion play.

The Castellano family is about to sire another heir to the criminal empire. Maranzano wishes to halt the birth and orders the slaughter of all children in the birth ward. The intended one not yet born, Baby Castellano escapes the carnage.

The story takes an even more Biblical turn when the Punisher hides the parents-to-be at a race track stable. Would be attackers are thwarted once more and the baby is given a chance at a normal life.

The X-MAX title hit comic book shops for the 2008 season.

The Punisher was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 129. He was created by Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr and Ross Andru. The MAX imprint was launched by Marvel in 2001 and aimed at adult readers. That said, Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1 is not for the faint of heart.

Posted Friday, March 15th, 2019 by Barry

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

This 2016 offering featured 150 pages of Archie and gang antics. Holiday hijinks sandwiched normal fare.

Celebrating the season were “Spinner Winner,” a cautionary tale of stubbornness and sledding; “Fresh Idea,” in which Archie drags Jughead about the country side to find the perfect tree; and “Clean Sweep,” with school custodian Mr. Svenson’s lesson in the true meaning of Christmas.

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

Other Christmas tales included “Engage the Enemy.” A misunderstanding the scale of any Three’s Company episode ensues when Veronica mistakes Archie’s musings for marriage.

“The Season of Magic,” has Jingles the Elf skedaddling back north courtesy of a gaggle of Santas.

Miss Grundy reminisces about her favorite gifts from students in “The Presents.”

“Aid Parade” is a one-page Mr. Lodge gag proving you’re never too old to believe in Santa.

Veronica and Betty have their “Santa Claws” out over a fashion faux pau.

Hot Dog is featured in a one-page skit entitled “Wrap Flap.”

Finally, “Holiday Prone” has Archie making amends Santa style for a stay of execution.

Posted Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 by Barry

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

IDW included a homespun tale for the 2018 Christmas offering while importing the rest of the book.

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

“The Coat of Christmas Magic” came from the 2011 Italian Topolino issue 2926. Mickey takes center stage in a coat that knows the wearers heart.

Gyro Gearloose’s latest invention proves too much for him and his home. The story is pulled from Italian Topolino 2405, 2002.

The Dutch provided “Donald’s Cold War.” From the pages of Donald Duck Weekblad 51, 1980, Donald terrorizes his nephews in a snowball fight until the tables are turned.

“Very Merry Christmas” is a retread from Brazilian Natal Disney de Ouro issue seven from 1985, starring the Beagle Boys who steal a page from Alice in Wonderland.

Breer Wolf stars in the lone American offering “Fir Tree Fermata.”

Issue four goes back across the big pond for the final two stories, “Pearl Jams and Secondary Clauses,” from the Dutch Donald Duck Weekblad issue 51, from the year 2000; and “Quick Solution,” a Finnish offering from Aku Ankka 52 originally published in 1992.

Posted Sunday, March 10th, 2019 by Barry

Ghostbusters: Past, Present and Future

For $4 million dollars, will the Ghostbusters capture the spirit(s) of Christmas?

IDW released this Rob Williams/Diego Jouran Pireira production for December of 2009. The company had acquired rights to the franchise the year before offering both one shots and a mini-series.

Ghostbusters has a long history in comic book form beginning with NOW Comics in 1988. The – no pun intended – now defunct company based its adaptation on the then current Real Ghostbusters syndicated cartoon. The two volume series has been collected in trade format by IDW.

Concurrently Marvel UK published a Ghostbusters series that ran 193 issues beginning in 1988. A reprint of the foreign series made its way into issue 21 of Real Ghostbusters due to NOW Comics production problems.

Further incarnations were also witnessed from Welsh Publishing Company and 88MPH Studios out of Canada. Tokyopop issued a one-shot manga comic book called Ghostbusters:  Ghost Busted.

The film itself was a 1984 tour de force directed by Iven Reitman and co-written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis. In its initial theater run the movie grossed $242 million domestically and $295 worldwide.

Posted Thursday, March 7th, 2019 by Barry

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2017) 3

IDW continued to outsource for material in the third of, to date, four Christmas specials featuring Disney adventures from abroad.

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2017) 3

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2017) 3

The first, “The Secret Santa Spell,” is from Italian Topolino 2405, 2002. Magica De Spell calls upon a little-known spell to seize Scrooge McDuck’s first dime. The scheme is scuttled through the interference of a small child. The end is sweet.

Minnie Mouse is kidnapped and her talent to unscramble jumbled words used as the Beagle Boys attempt another nefarious scheme. This from Italian Almanacco Topolino 159, on newsstands in 1970.

“Warm Friendship” is a one-page feature. Donald has a change of heart when he finds heat is more important than a lesson.

Gladstone Duck makes a cameo in “Tree Ring Bind,” a 1995 Dutch-told tale from Donald Duck Weekblad 51. The fortuitous fowl is able to make time with Daisy when Donald strikes out on finding a fir.

“Bin and Gone” is a 2014 find from Italian Topolino 3083. Uncle Scrooge’s legacy looms long over Duckburg despite his good intentions.

Posted Monday, March 4th, 2019 by Barry

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2016) 2

IDW looked abroad to find the bulk of the material found in the second installment of Christmas collected comics.

“’Tis No Season” makes up the bulk of the book. Originally published in 2013, the Swedish sampling was pulled from Kalle Ankas Pocket issue 422.

Mickey, Donald, Uncle Scrooge and the nephews tackle time travel to save Christmas. The non-linear tale has readers skipping from present to past to somewhat near future in the span of one story.

“Economy Class” is a one-page Uncle Scrooge gag from Italian Topolino 2915 published in 2011.

Brer Wolf attempts a roast pig dinner for Christmas only to have his plans foiled by the three little pigs. The Badfellow Club makes an appearance in this Dutch reprint from Donald Duck issue four originally published in 1974.

“Tree-mendous” is another one-page gag. Donald and nephews are featured out decorating their neighbor from issue 51 of the Dutch Donald Duck comic book circa 1997.

Italy provides the final installment in the book. “Vacation Ingenious” showcases Donald and Gyro Gearloose as they take to the slopes for a much needed vacation. This is pulled from Italian Topolino issue 2617 originally on newsstands in 2007.

Posted Thursday, February 28th, 2019 by Barry

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

DC opened the new millennium with a gift-wrapped Christmas trade in both cover and manner. Readers traverse holidays from the Golden to Modern Age of comic books in 160 pages.

As diverse as the stories, the characters chosen for the Tanenbaum tome are even more so. From the old west with Bat Lash to World War I Enemy Ace to wayward West waif Impulse back from the future.

Story wise are Frank Miller’s first take on the Dark Knight, “Santa Claus – Dead or Alive!”

Flash stars in the first of two “Present Tense” stories.

“The Story of the Fir Balsam” is a Golden Age story from Sensation (Mystery) Comics (1941) issue 14 involving Nazi spies.

Superman shines in “The Gift.”

One holiday tale that always pops up is “A Swingin’ Christmas Carol” featuring The Teen Titans. The original Teen Titans. Complete with hip and mod slang for the times. Those times were the 1960s; 1966 to be exact.

Darkseid appears in the second “Present Tense” story, guest starring Santa.

Captain Marvel Adventures (1941) issue 69 is been reprinted featuring “Billy Batson’s Xmas!”

“Alone for the Holidays” proves Robin will always have family.

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

DC Universe Christmas TPB (2000)

The Legion of Super Heroes star in “Star Light, Star Bright…Farthest Star I see Tonight!”

“The Present” teams Green Lantern and Green Arrow again.

“Night Prowler!” is from House of Mystery (1951) 191.

“The Harley and the Ivy” is a lush retelling from The Batman Adventures Holiday Special.

Sandman and Sandy take readers back to the Golden Age of comic books again with “Santa Fronts for the Mob.” The story originally appeared in Adventure Comics (1938) issue 32.

“An Eye for Detail” showcases old west dandy Bat Lash.

Enemy Ace takes a break from the hell of war in “Silent Night.”

Impulse plays Santa’s helper in “No, Bart, This is No Santa Claus.”

Finally, Superman closes out the book with what could possibly be DC’s first super-powered driven Christmas story in “Superman’s Christmas Adventure” from 1940.

Posted Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 by Barry

Batman Noel (2011)

Often listed in the top-10 best Batman stories, Noel is a lushly illustrated Christmas Carol.

Batman Noel (2011)

Batman Noel (2011)

Lee Bermejo is a true artist. In every sense of the word. From his staccato narration to the loving brushstrokes that create a yester-world not glimpsed for two centuries. A work Charles Dickens would enjoy himself.

Batman is the Scrooge. Bob is one of the Joker’s henchmen. His son is Tiny Tim and the Joker is, well, the Joker. Catwoman is the Ghost of Christmas Past and Superman the Ghost of Christmas Present. Jacob Marley is represented by a generic Robin.

Fans of the Batman: Arkham Origins video game were offered the Noel Bat-suit as one of the skins available for play.

Dickens’ original novella was first published in 1843 in a London scrutinizing its own traditions. So popular was the story when it was released Dec. 19, it sold out by Christmas Eve. To this day, A Christmas Carol has never been out of print.

Like Dikens’ work, Bermejo has crafted a perennial tradition with this elseworld’s work.

Posted Monday, February 18th, 2019 by Barry

Scooby-Doo (2010) 66

Scooby-Doo and gang encounter a foursome of presidential ghosts in this, a true President’s Day Special. While the cover boasts a bold proclamation, the story itself – released Feb. 10, 2016 – never mentions the federal holiday.

The lead, and only original story, “All the President’s Ghosts” showcases the spirits of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and George Washington. Those meddling kids and their dog solve the mystery in 10 pages leaving ample room for two more features.

Scooby-Doo (2010) 66

Scooby-Doo (2010) 66

The remainder of the book features already printed material. Reprinted from Scooby-Doo (1997) issue 131 is “Velma’s Monsters of the World.” Acheri, the Indian legend of a murdered little girl, is related. Shaggy dons a Santa suit owing to the color red is the only protection from her wrath.

“You Want Frights With That?” is pulled from Scooby-Doo (1997) issue 111.

Scooby-Doo was first affiliated with President’s Day Feb. 19, 2001, when Cartoon Network aired an eight-hour marathon of Scooby-Doo, Where are You! from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

President’s Day, originally cited as Washington’s Birthday, is celebrated the third Monday of February. It is the occasion to honor the incumbent president and all persons who have served as president, not just our founding father.

The food most traditionally associated with the day is cheery pie, owing to Washington’s legendary act of chopping a cherry tree down and throwing himself under the bus when confronted.