Archive for the ‘Holiday Specials’ Category

Posted Thursday, December 26th, 2019 by Barry

Jingle Belle: The Homemades’ Tale

A piece of Jingle Belle’s past seeks revenge in the 2018 installment of Paul Dini’s Christmas-time creation.

The day after Christmas dawns like a hangover for some. Those handmade gifts discarded as unwanted find their way in with ripped paper and bows never to be seen again. Though crafted with love and patience, they are cast away in favor of bright and shiny creations bearing foreign trademarks.

Jingle finds she isn’t the only one who has presents of Christmas past return. Homemade gifts find a home with Little Jingle who raises an army of renegade toys. Her intention is nothing less than subjugation of Santa’s work shop and empire.

Another holiday romp with the dysfunctional Claus family at the busiest time of year.

Jingle Belle: The Homemades’ Tale

Posted Thursday, November 28th, 2019 by Barry

Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Beyond the cover and the second story’s title, there’s no real Thanksgiving material to be found.

“Slice of Life” is the opening tale. Ghost Spider just wants some pie. Pure and simple. So does Venom. The difference is only one of the two have money to buy said pie.

In what appears to be the only pie shop in New York, or at least the most popular one, Ghost and Venom cross paths. A short battle later, Ghost Spider finds crime does pay; at least for the victor.

The two stories are interrupted by a swipe at the Sunday funnies. Page 12 offers a spread as it would appear in the Daily Bugle.

Next up is “Thankful.” Spoiler:  Loki is the guest villain.

Thor can’t find his hammer. Spidey happens to be nearby and the two team to search. The little Lord of Mischief proves to be the culprit. Spider-Man tricks the trickster and everyone goes off happily ever after – except for Spidey who can’t find his fries.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, sharing it with family and friends.

Posted Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 by Barry

The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle

The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle

The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle

A 2006 one-shot, The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle is another romp through a Paul Dini-demented Christmas season.

Santa Dad hijacks Jingle for another Christmas Eve spin. As usual his pixie-offspring is less than enthusiastic about the annual around-the-world romp. During one stop Jingle makes a break for it and finds herself mistaken for a last-minute nanny for the night.

To prove she’s really Santa’s daughter, Jingle steals Santa’s sleigh and takes the tykes to the North Pole. There they revel in the magic that is Christmas while their parents fight last-minute shoppers at the mall.

By book’s end the mood is mellow as seasonal magic sooths fraying nerves and flaring tempers.

Jingle first appeared in 1999 for Oni Press in “Sanity Clauses.” The short story led to a two-issue mini entitled “Miserable on 34th Street”/“Santa’s Little Hellion.”

Dini’s creation has bounced from distributor to distributor, most recently landing with IDW. The company released a collection entitled Jingle Belle: The Whole Package! and a one-shot for the 2018 Christmas season, Jingle Belle: The Homemades’ Tale.

Posted Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 by Barry

DCU Halloween Special 2010

Though it never reached the heights its predecessor achieved, the 2010 DCU Halloween special made a respectable showing.

It followed more of a supernatural Brave and the Bold or DC Comics Presents format. Batman and Robin co-star with I…Vampire, Flash and Frankenstein team together, Wonder Woman meets Deadman, the Teen Titans side with Klarion the Witch Boy and Superman is aided by the Demon.

DCU Halloween Special 2010

DCU Halloween Special 2010

The Scarecrow is on the other side of his fear toxin in “Trick for the Scarecrow.”

Damian Wayne sides with Batman to take on a legion of vampires.

Flash and Frankenstein work together to stop a killer in “Time or Your Life.”

“A Night to Remember” gives Deadman a chance to experience some of his past life courtesy of Wonder Woman.

Teen Titans team with Klarion, the Witch Boy, in “Medusa Non Grata.”

The Demon helps Superman in “Fears of Steel.”

Again, not on par with the previous year, but still worth the time.

Posted Saturday, October 26th, 2019 by Barry

DC Universe Halloween Special ‘09

Unlikely book emcee Bizzaro Superman proved to be a very officious host for the 2009 special. His “Unhappy Halloween” story arc bracketed the remaining 12 tales of terror.

“Halloween the Guy Way” takes a deeper and more disturbing look at the Guy Gardner’s past. An ass of astronomical proportions at times, the story reveals a life paved with disappointments and degradation. It’s actually a very good story about a man who isn’t very nice.

DC Universe Halloween Special ‘09

DC Universe Halloween Special ‘09

The Creeper stars in a one-page throw away that can be skipped.

“Seeing is Believing” resurrects the vampire myth with the Outsiders starring as the Van Helsings.

Absent from the Outsiders in the tale that came before, Batman takes center stage for “Trick and Defeat.” The Killer Moth returns to rob Wayne Manor. Unmasking the heroes proves a surprising turn of events.

Damian Wayne is the Robin in the next story, “Cavity Search.” Kinda wish this one was longer. It has the makings of a good psychological thriller. Damion earns a spot at home with this one.

Red Robin’s “Our Father’s Sins” is a bit sappy for the holiday.

“Lady Down the Lane” stars Ravager. Her reputation precedes her.

The rest of the book finishes strong. Anabolic steroid strong.

“Mirror Games” is another that wouldn’t have suffered from a higher page count. Kid Flash, Mirror Master and a group of teenage girls take on the myth of Bloody Mary. Writer Joe Harris knows his stuff.

Beast Boy has a quick gag page in “Never Too Old.” He shares the spotlight with Cyborg.

Wonder Woman is spooked by reality television and the gentler gender of the Teen Titans in “Haunted or Hoax?”

Maybe not a word associated with Halloween, cute is the best term to describe “To the Finish Line.” Superman and Flash race one more time.

“My Turn to be Scary” is a fun read. The cliché ending makes the reader wonder if they would be disappointed with or without it.

Overall, Halloween 2009 was represented in a grand manor. Maybe the best of all Halloween specials.

Posted Sunday, October 20th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Super Hero Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 1

Marvel Super Hero Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 1

Marvel Super Hero Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 1

Ya know what? This is just cute.

Sometimes it’s just nice to get back to something simple. A quick read for the bathroom or before bed. MSH Adventures Halloween Spooktacular 2018 is fun. No pretense. No drama. Clever story telling, told in a simple fashion.

“Sanctum Spooktorum” showcases Marvel’s current cinematic stars on an uninvited and ill-advised trip to Doctor Strange’s house.

Next up is “Spidey’s Super-Scary Stories,” which are anything, but scary.

Quitting the quips for a bit, Spider-Man becomes a story teller to a trio set on Halloween hijinks. Spidey spins three tales aimed more at the funny bone than the neck’s hackles.

Also included are the Daily Bugle funnies, Spider-Man maze and Iron Man coloring page.

Posted Thursday, October 10th, 2019 by Barry

Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! (2015) 1

Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! (2015) 1

Donald Duck’s Halloween Scream! (2015) 1

IDW dusted off two Donald and nephews stories for its 2015 Halloween ComicFest offering.

The first, “It’s in the Bag!” is a retread from Donald Duck Adventures (1990) 7 and the second, “Public Ugly #1” from the same title an issue later.

In the first story Donald goads his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie into betting who can collect the most candy. Donald doesn’t realize the age prejudice he won’t be able to overcome.

A fortunate turn of events has Donald the hero and the recipient of 13 tons of candy – on his front lawn.

By the second story Donald and the boys have had their fill of chocolate goodness. So has the town. Donald is slapped with a town order to dispose of the sweetness or face a fine.

Gyro Gearloose comes to the rescue with a new invention allowing Donald to transport the candy to an abandoned mine. Or, that’s the plan. Instead, the scheme goes afoul and Donald is on the lam to Bolivia.

Posted Monday, October 7th, 2019 by Barry

Uncle Scrooge Very Special Halloween

This digital one-shot was released Oct. 23, 2013.

Huey, Dewey and Louie attempt to circumvent Gyro Gearloose’s latest invention in an effort to relieve Uncle Scrooge of some of his candy. This Halloween tradition will continue to fail unless the triplets can find a way to scare their uncle.

For 2013 Gyro has created a machine that allows Scrooge to see each visitor’s true identity. Roles and settings are reversed leaving too many of Scrooge’s worst nightmares roaming the money bin.

A quick and satisfying read while sorting through the candy this Halloween.

Uncle Scrooge Very Special Halloween

Posted Sunday, September 29th, 2019 by Barry

The Puppet Master Annual 1 (2015)

What began as an independent horror film became a franchise birthing 12 films after the original in 1989.

Malibu, under the Eternity Comics imprint, picked up the first comic book license running four issues. A two-issue mini followed in 1991.

The Puppet Master Annual 1 (2015)

The Puppet Master Annual 1 (2015)

The four-color franchise sat idle until 2015 when Action Lab Entertainment, under the Danger Zone imprint, resurrected the title. From March of that year through November 2016, 20 issues were published. Including The Puppet Master annual one or Halloween Special.

The annual itself focuses on younger, scantily clad women – are there any other kind in horror movies? – and a visit from Neil Gallagher.

Mr. Gallagher delivers a bag of puppets that come to life and kill all but their benefactor. His ultimate plan is to discover the secret of immortality the puppets possess. Somehow the killing spree is supposed to revel that.
Whatever.

A quick and decent read to bring in Halloween 2019.

Posted Monday, August 19th, 2019 by Barry

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

Steven Grant and Eric Fein take the Punisher down two very, un-Merry Christmas trails.

“Red Christmas” is the quest to bring Little Tony Caruso what he wants for Christmas. What he wants is the Punisher’s head in return for the death of his father.

Pleasant Valley Mall becomes the battleground.

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

It’s interesting to turn the clock back. Look at the backdrop with the drapings of 1993. At this writing, that was about 25 years ago. A time when compact discs still housed our music. Cordless telephones were high tech. Malls were still in vogue.

Maybe the best of the flashbacks was Stan’s Soapbox. Even after several months it’s hard to believe the man who raised so many of us has passed. It’s nice to know he’ll never be completely gone.

No seasonal glad tidings from The Man. No, Stan was at his best when huckstering. He was laying it on with a shovel in this issue. Marvel had conquered the United Kingdom and Stan wanted the Marvel Zombies in the colonies to know they could have a piece – for a nominal fee of course.

Rounding out the book, the body count drops in “Armed Salvation.” The Punisher teaches a little boy family is the more important than any petty grievances.