Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Thursday, June 25th, 2020 by Barry

Spider-Man Kids julehefte 2009

This is just a fun looking Christmas comic book. C’mon, Spidey and the Green Goblin duking it out over Santa? How could it get any better?

Maybe with some translation and background?

Good luck with that.

About all I could glean from the cover was the Danish to English translation stating the book has “posters, activity pages and lots of Christmas fun.” Secondly, it’s a Christmas booklet.

Hanging 10 on the ‘Net, I’ve not been able to find much on this comic book. If you have any knowledge, please contact Jeff or I. We’d love to feature this with more information.

Thanks to Yet Another Comics Blog for the heads up.

Spider-Man Kids julehefte 2009

Posted Sunday, June 21st, 2020 by Barry

Journey into Mystery (1962) 86

For Father’s Day, let’s talk about the All-Father himself, Odin.

Thor’s daddy wasn’t part of the Thunder God’s initial Silver Age Marvel appearance in Journey into Mystery 83. Odin wasn’t even mentioned until Journey into Mystery 85 and, finally, revealed the following issue.

Journey into Mystery 86

He is the adoptive father of Loki and sired Balder by another woman. In addition to being the father of Thor, Odin is also ruler and protector of the Asgardian people. He has died three times in defense of Asgard.

Odin has incredible strength, stamina and extended lifespan. He is master of the Odin Force that can create illusions, force fields, levitat, molecular manipulation, telepathy, control of lightening and teleportation.

Sir Anthony Hopkins portrayed the All Father in all three Thor movies.

In the animated Marvel U he has been voiced by Bernard Cowan, The Marvel Super Heroes; Jess Harnell, The Super Hero Squad Show; Clancy Brown, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes; Frank Welker, Avenger’s Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.; Dwight Schultz, Ultimate Avengers 2; French Tickner, Hulk vs. Thor; and Christopher Britton, Thor: Tales of Asgard.

Father’s Day was first held July 5, 1908 in Fairmont, WV. It was not until the 1930s it began to gather national support, but it wasn’t until President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation it became official in 1966. President Richard M. Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Posted Saturday, June 20th, 2020 by Barry

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

Now that all the 20s have lined up – June 20, 2020 – let’s celebrate the end of another winter and the advent of good weather:  the first day of Summer. Last year we had Franklin Richards kick start the summer months. This year we’re calling upon the Impossible Man.

For those unfamiliar with the green and purple Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation, Impossible Man is, essentially, Marvel’s Mr. Mxyzptlk. Impossible Man first appeared in Fantastic Four issue 11. He would continue to conjure himself back on Earth primarily a foil for the FF. He eventually branched over to bother Spider-Woman, the X-Men, Excalibur, Avengers and Silver Surfer throughout the ensuing years.

By 1990 he was poised for his own special. Possibly the one promised by Stan way back in Fantastic Four 176. This was the time when Impossible Man invaded Marvel Comics offices. He refused to leave until Stan promised to print a special for him alone. If you have yet to read the book, stop, go find a copy and enjoy.

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

The Impossibles – no relation – decide it’s time to vacation. With the family. All however many of ‘em there are.

Anyway, the self-proclaimed summer spectacular is a series of vignettes following an ‘Improlog.’

First up is ‘How Green was my Villain?’ involving Impossible Man taking the guise of a carousal of Spider-Man baddies. Most already sporting the green and purple motif.

‘Girls Don’t Wanna Have Fun!’ features Madcap and Quasar.

Dr. Strange outlasts Impy in ‘Impossible but Strange.’

She-Hulk and Janet VanDyne, aka the Wasp, are beleaguered by Impossible Woman who destroys VanDyne’s fashion show.

‘A Night to Remember’ features the Punisher who is none too amused by Impossible Man’s antics.

Dr. Doom has the last laugh when he sends the Impossible kids packing to Dizzyworld.

Yes, you read that right:  Dizzyworld.

Remember, this was before Disney’s $4 billion Marvel buy out in April 2018.

This is 1990. And, scribe Peter David is having his way with Mickey and company. If you’re gonna pick this issue up, do it for this story alone. David is brilliant with his cracks at the mouse-eared empire. Gotta love a pants-less Howard the Duck in the background thumbing his beak at the legal decree he wear pants lest he resemble a certain Disney mallard.

The issue finally settles down as the Impossibles – again, no relation – make their next stop on the Skrull world to continue their vacation. At present, there has been no follow up.

Posted Thursday, May 28th, 2020 by Barry

Alpha Flight (1983) 105

‘The Bachelor Party!’

Not a name you’d associate with a Christmas issue. It is what you get, courtesy of Scott Lobdell and Tom Morgan for the 1991 season.

It’s Christmas Eve and snowing. It’s also a night for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Alpha Flight (1983) 105

Alpha Flight (1983) 105

The boys decide to down their pints at Corky’s Tavern. The girls choose a rowdier atmosphere at Cloisters, a male strip club run by former foil Pink Pearl.

The Christmas spirit comes from the guys who stop a robbery and show mercy on a suffering soul. The girls wind up in jail.

If you were a regular reader, this might be a fun story. Not on par with Incredible Hulk 417, but still a quirky excuse for some peace on Earth.

I am not a regular reader.

So, this issue is confusing and with little charm beyond what is perceived.

Alpha Flight is an early X-Men spin off. The team’s first appearance was in Uncanny X-Men (1963) 120.

Volume one ran from 1983 to 1994. It was relaunched with new characters in 1997. The team and title were revamped once again in 2004 with the All New, All Different Alpha Flight. In 2007 it became Omega Flight and, in 2011, became Alpha Flight again in volume four.

Posted Tuesday, May 12th, 2020 by Barry

Captain America (1968) 250

In this election year and all the turmoil surrounding the office, maybe it’s time for an official we can all trust.

Who better than Captain America? At least before he was revealed to be a Hydra operative. Is that still canonical?  I don’t keep up with all the hype anymore.

Captain America (1968) 250

Captain America (1968) 250

Well, even if he is, it may be more appropriate the current political landscape considered.

Four Color Holidays – meaning Jeff and I – are based in West Virginia and today is our primary. Or, would have been if not for the CCP virus.

Andy, let’s use today to showcase Captain America 250.

For those not familiar with the story, Cap saves the New Populist Party from a terrorist attack. Samuel T. Underwood, the NPP Convention Chairman, invites the Star Spangled Avenger to serve as their presidential candidate. Cap demurs, but Underwood is persistent.

After much soul searching and advice, Cap realizes he serves America in a much better way as the Sentinel of Liberty.

‘Cap for President’ is the midway point for John Byrne’s collaboration with Roger Stern on, in hindsight, a remarkable collaboration from the beginning of the 1980s. Much of the run was reflective, allowing Steve Rogers/Captain America to remember where he came from as he entered a new era.

So, having read this, go vote your hearts – or at least for the lesser of two evils.

 

Posted Monday, May 4th, 2020 by Barry

Star Wars (1977) 1

Former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter has never spared credit that Star Wars was the salvation of the company during a hard time in 1977 and 1978.

So, to celebrate Star Wars Day let’s take a look at the history of the space fantasy in the four-color universe.

Lucasfilm Publicity Supervisor Charles Lippincott first approached Marvel figurehead Stan Lee in 1975 about publishing an adaptation prior to the film’s release. Lee declined, citing he would do nothing until the movie was completed. Roy Thomas, a writer at Marvel and key figure in licensing Conan for Marvel, arranged a marriage between the publishing company and fledging movie maker.

Star Wars (1977) 1

To sweeten the pot, Lucas agreed not to accept royalties until sales exceeded 100,000 issues. The first issue hit spin racks April 12, 1977. When the movie was released, the comic went into several reprintings. The boost in sales got Marvel over a hump during a hard time in the industry.

The series continued from 1977 to 1986 with 107 issues and three annuals.

Star Wars issues one through six adapted the movie. With issue seven, Roy Thomas began penning original adventures. Archie Goodwin replaced Thomas with issue 11 and teamed with penciller Carmine Infantino. Together, they crafted adventures to keep the faithful placated until the cover-dated September 1980 issue 39. In that publication the adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back began.

Following the six-issue retelling, Marvel returned to its original stories with David Michelinie and Walt Simonson acting as the new creative team with issue 51. Ron Frenz took over artistic duties with issue 71.

Marvel deviated from its normal practice when adapting Return of the Jedi. The third installment of the original trilogy was printed outside the chronological order of comic books in a four-issue mini-series.

Following Return, Jo Duffy took over writing chores with art by Cynthia Martin. LucasFilms chose to discontinue the series by 1986.

As part of Marvel’s Legacy numbering, issue 108 was released in 2019 continuing original issue 50’s ‘The Crimson Forever’ story.

It’s hard to imagine a time when Star Wars was hard to find. For those who were there, Marvel’s continuation of the saga was a God send. For those who weren’t, it’s a hard read and a curiosity.

Posted Sunday, April 19th, 2020 by Barry

Tomb of Dracula (1972) 1

Happy National Garlic Day.

According to nationaltoday.com, garlic was a god to the Egyptians. Even used as currency. The Greeks swore by its strength-enhancing properties. It warded off the evil eye and nymphs.

What garlic is mainly known for, other than adding to the taste of almost any dish, is its ability to make even the stoutest of vampires weak in the knees.

That’s why we present Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula issue one.

Tomb of Dracula (1972) 1

Gerry Conway and Gene Colan created Marvel’s king of vampires after the Comics Code Authority relaxed its stranglehold on the industry. Prior to 1972 vampires and other creatures of the night were verboten.

Given the rein, Marvel unleashed Dracula for the first time in comic books since 1951. The title would appear on stands until issue 70 in 1979.

In addition to its normal series, Dracula also starred in his own Giant-Size series in the mid-1970s and black and white magazine, Dracula Lives! for 13 issues from 1973 to 1975 and one annual.

Dracula returned in the 1990s with help from HYDRA who cloned his DNA.

As the new millennium dawned, he had an army of vampires based on the moon. Dracula was defeated by Excalibur – the sword, not the team.

By the first of the next decade he suffered defeat at the hands of the mutants.

Dracula would also guest in the animated exploits of Spider-Woman, Spider-Man (and his Amazing Friends), Avengers, Super-Hero Squad, Ultimate Spider-Man and Hulk and the Agents of Smash.

In 1980 Toei studios released Dracula: The Vampire Emperor of Darkness. It later aired on cable television in 1983 as Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned.

Most notably, Dracula, though in different form, appeared in the Blade trilogy based on the character of the same name.

Based on this information, readers may conclude the Lord of Darkness is not easily dispatched. All the more reason to give garlic it’s day and due.

Posted Friday, April 10th, 2020 by Barry

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1986) 7

Batteries Not Included is a Vision-centric story as he follows leads to his past.

Most of the seasonal spirit stems from Wanda Maximoff. Her apostle, Holly, is taught what midwinter and Christmas mean to witches.

The second Vision and Scarlet Witch mini is made up of 12 issues, beginning in 1985. Steve Englehart weaves a story allowing Wanda to become pregnant through magical means. The book is fairly self-contained and the children are discarded shortly after.

The series would have repercussions in the Marvel Universe years later in the mutant mini House of M. Scarlet Witch would suffer a mental breakdown from the loss of her children and try to resurrect them.

Vision and Scarlet Witch were wed in Giant-Size Avengers number four. Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi penned and penciled the duo’s first mini released in 1982.

The Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1986) 7

Posted Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Bet ya didn’t know there was a National Beer Day.

Well, there is. National Beer Day is a perennially celebrated non-holiday to honor the Cullen-Harrison Act, which made beer legal even before Prohibition ended December 1933.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

If you’re so inclined, crack a cold one and enjoy the following synopsis for ‘Time Runs Like Sand,’ as maudlin a sounding title as the story that follows.

Sandman, aka Flint Marko, has not had a good day. A good month for that matter. Well, a good coupla years. Not since he and Hydro-Man, aka Morris “Morrie” Bench, merged to form Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man 217.

A little radiation goes a long way and the two are able to disassociate their molecules. Each go their separate ways, Marko’s path leading to a local watering hole. The bartender recognizes his patron and contacts the Fantastic Four. As fate would have it, Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, answers.

Figuring the worst that can happen is he’ll get a cold beer out of the visit, Ben hops on his skycycle.

Rather than fight, the two former combatants share a few beers. Marko recalls his past and how it led him to his life of crime.

Kinda of a soap opera of an issue, but, deep down, aren’t they all?

Posted Friday, April 3rd, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008)

Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008)

Marvel Digital Holiday Special (2008)

Marvel offered the Marvel Digital Holiday Special as an exclusive to their online subscription service Dec. 17, 2008.

In the first story, the X-Men herald the holidays and service with ‘If the Fates Allow.’ Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Angel, Beast Cyclops, Colossus, etc. celebrate with a bittersweet loss of Kitty Pryde for the first Christmas without their youngest member.

‘Last Christmas’ is a prelude to Secret Invasion.

‘Werewolf by Eve’ is a one-page slapstick story of the Russell home.

Finally, the jolly, fat one borrows the Infinity Gauntlet in ‘Santa Claus vs. The Illuminati.’ The results are not good.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited was launched Nov. 13, 2007 with over 25,000 issues at the ready for fanboys.