Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Thursday, September 9th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 139

The Teddy Bear we have on tap as today’s mascot is not the cuddly kind found in beds and bedrooms of the young, but a disillusioned wrestler named Max Markham.

President Theodore Roosevelt is to thank, in a round about way, for National Teddy Bear Day today. In 1902, then sitting President Roosevelt declined to slaughter a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi. The media of the day picked up on the story and illustrator Clifford Berryman immortalized the gesture in pen and ink. The cartoon appeared in the Washington Post Nov. 16, 1902. It prompted New York store owner Morris Michtom to create what we now call the Teddy Bear.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 139

The stuffed animal has become a staple of most childhoods and a best-selling toy.

Markham’s inspiration came from Spider-Man enemy the Jackal who crafted a custom exoskeleton. The exoskeleton was covered in a faux grizzly hide in homage to Markahm’s ring persona.

The Grizzly attacked Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson for exposing Markham’s violence in the squared circle in a series of articles. Of course, Spider-Man stepped in to save his long-suffering nemesis only to face the Grizzly and Jackal in their next encounter.

The Grizzly has been a minor character in the Marvel Universe since his first appearance December 1974. Since then, he has made occasional appearances for rematches with Spidey and later became a crime fighter to aid the Web Head.

Markham would relapse and become a criminal again, often appearing in animal-themed gangs. He would eventually flip back to the light side, teaming with Scott (Ant-Man) Lang. Markham would work for Lang at the Ant-Man Security Solutions.

Three other versions of the Grizzly would populate the Marvel U:  Ace Fenton, an old west bank robber; Grizzly, an A.I.M. operative; and Theodore Winchester, a member of Cable’s Wild Pack.

No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for creating National Teddy Bear Day. Suggestions on how to celebrate include gifting someone a Teddy Bear, donating Teddy Bears to a local organization for children, hosting a Teddy Bear party and sharing memories of your Teddy Bear on social media.

Posted Monday, August 30th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 4

National Beach Day is a celebration of more than rest and recreation, but a reminder to preserve one of nature’s wonders.

Reminding everyone today is not only a (non) holiday, but a call to awareness is William Baker, aka Flint Marko, the Sandman.

Sandman was the fourth villain to challenge Spider-Man. He was also one of the most recurring enemies during the early years. He first battled the Web Head in issue four of Amazing Spider-Man before teaming with Sinister Six in the first annual, then battling in a doubleheader in issues 18 and 19.

Following his initial battles with Spider-Man, Sandman would venture into other titles to fight the Hulk and join forces with the Frightful Four against the Fantastic Four. His services would not be called upon to battle Spidey until the premiere of Marvel Team-Up in the early 1970s.

 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 4

His powers came courtesy of a nuclear mishap on a beach near Savannah, GA. When his body and radioactive sand bonded, his molecular structure turns to sand.

Sandman later is merged with Hydro-Man to form Mud-Thing. They later untangle their mingled bodies and go their separate ways.

Over the years Marko flirted with both sides of the law. He’s currently enjoying a taste of immortality until the next writer chooses to mess with the Marvel continuity.

Sandman has appeared in almost all the animated versions of Spider-Man beginning with the 1967 incarnation. He crossed over to the Fantastic Four’s cartoon as part of the Frightful Four before returning to both 1981’s versions of Spidey.

He was passed over for the 1990’s animated series due to a prior commitment. James Cameron had tagged Sandman for the long-awaited Spider-Man movie. That didn’t happen and Marko had to wait for the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon for his next appearance.

He was given his silver screen debut in 2007 for Spider-Man 3.

Sandman has also been a staple in the video game universe. Marko has appeared in Questprobe, The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six, Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man: The Battle Within, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Spider-Man Unlimited, Marvel: Future Flight, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

National Beach Day was established by the Knights of Columbus in 1929 as part of their convention plans. It was until 2014 Collen Paige, pet and family lifestyle expert, resurrected the defunct (non) holiday to celebrate beaches and the importance of keeping them clean.

Posted Sunday, August 22nd, 2021 by Barry

Marvel Holiday Special 1996

Rather than celebrate Christmas as we’ve previously done with this special, we’re recognizing those persecuted for their religious beliefs for International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence on Religion or Belief.

Evan Skolnick and Josh Hood use nine pages in Unto Others to peek behind prejudice and the ugly reality of hate crimes. In this abbreviated tale of alienation, mutant Kitty Pryde helps a young girl attempt to understand why some peoples aren’t perceived as created equal.

Marvel Holiday Special 1996

Only by confessing her role as an outsider does Kitty make her young listener begin to understand how race, religious beliefs and heritage can be used against people.

The Universal Declaration for Human Rights serves as the foundation for the United Nation’s stance on religious persecution and violence. The organization strongly condemns acts of violence against religious groups. It is another reason why the UN recognized International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence on Religion or Belief.

Learning about various religions is strong suggested to observe today. Donate to other churches or pray for those of different faiths.

The International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence on Religion or Belief was established on May 28, 2019. The resolution was passed after the attacks on mosques in New Zealand and churches in Sri Lanka. Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz introduced the legislature.

Of all religions, Christians are the most persecuted facing adversity in 143 countries.

Kitty Pryde is both a mutant and a Jew. The X-Men were originally used to mirror social commentary against minorities. As mutants, they were feared as the next evolutionary step. Those hating the future saw themselves as dinosaurs soon to be deposed as unneeded and unwanted.

Issues touched upon include racism, anti-Semitism, diversity, LGBT themes, Communism and Socialism, religion, subculture and genocide.

Posted Sunday, July 11th, 2021 by Barry

7-Eleven: Free Slurpee Day

It may be hard to comprehend, but there was a time before super hero movies opened the floodgates to merchandising.

1977 7-Eleven Spider-Man Cup

Since Superman first rocketed to Earth, there have been crossover promotions and toys and apparel. Not on the scale it is today, but enough to allow the fanboy faithful to show their allegiance with the four-color counterpart of choice.

In the 1970s Marvel proved masters of merchandising. Just on the fringe. Superman the Movie may have proved popular at the box office, but the collectibles were still not forthcoming.

Let’s face it, if you wanted a super hero shirt, it was purchased from the ad pages of a comic book. You weren’t buying off the rack at the local department store.

That’s why promotions like the Marvel Slurpee cups were so welcomed. They provided another dimension to our worlds. We could not only read about our heroes, but drink from cups with their likenesses plastered on the front.

And, it was something our parents would buy us without much fuss. It was like a reverse Trojan Horse; you got your Slurpee, but it came in a super hero cup. A two-fer.

There were only 40-drinking glasses in the 1977 series. The 1975 collection featured 60. However, the ’77 offerings were visually more stimulating with an action sequence. Like the 1975 predecessors, the more popular characters are featured on more than one cup.

National 7-Eleven Day was first celebrated in 2002. The convenience store is widely regarded as the first of its type, established in 1927, then known as the Southland Ice Company. When the company expanded its hours in 1947, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., it changed its name.

Drink responsibly, don’t risk a brain freeze.

1977 Marvel Slurpee Check List

 

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 Sunday, July 4th, 2021 by Barry

Captain America (1941) 1

Before the hamburgers and hotdogs, before the sun-soaked dip in the pool and before the fireworks, take time to remember today is Independence Day; America’s day.

What better hero to represent the Fourth of July then the one draped in our nation’s stars and stripes, Captain America?

Cap has been called the living embodiment of America. Not because of his red, white and blue costume, but the ideals he has manifested. Captain America provided a prelude to the second World War when he socked Adolf Hitler on the jaw on the cover of his first issue, six months before the “…day of infamy…” speech.

Captain America (1941) 1

Captain America (1941) 1

Captain America became a casualty to the nation’s beliefs in the 1950s. As senators conducted witch hunts, Cap fell out of favor. His absence went unnoticed for a decade.

By the early 1960s, America and its avatar were about to embark in a period of strife not seen since the Civil War. This struggle within the nation was mirrored in pages of Captain America. When he finally had had enough, Cap tossed aside his heritage and donned a black suit and new name reflecting his and other’s dissatisfaction with the country and its leaders.

As a new era dawned in the 1980s, Cap was asked to run for the presidency. His decision to stand aside was based on the greater good of America.

He later became a symbol for individuality during the nation’s second Civil War. His name has been smeared and death cheated, but Captain America remains the nation’s champion.

Unlike so many of Four Color Holiday’s observances, this is the real thing. The federally-sanctioned holiday has been commemorated since 1777 when 13 gunshots were fired in Bristol, RI. The salute was fired once in the morning and once in the evening recognizing the original 13 colonies.

In 1778 General George Washington remembered the day by toasting with his troops as the artillery sounded the celebration. In Europe, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, ambassadors, held a dinner party with fellow Americans in Paris, France.

The Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration in 1781.

In 1791 the first recorded use of the name Independence Day was noted.

In 1870 the United States Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.

Not until 1938 did the Fourth become a paid holiday for federal employees.

Dust off the Captain America’s and the pride in the nation to commemorate America’s day.

Posted Saturday, June 12th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 253

June 12 is a day to see red. Today is National Red Rose Day.

The red rose is a symbol of love and romance. It’s also the June birth flower.

However, the Rose can also be villainous. At least in the Marvel Universe.

Tom DeFalco penned Marvel’s first Rose story in Amazing Spider-Man 253. The original Rose was the son of the Kingpin of Crime, Richard Fisk. If that’s confusing, Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin and Richard is his son.

Young Fisk wanted to overthrow his crime lord father. He would later adopt a vigilante persona known as Blood Rose only to be shot by his mother.

The second Rose was another vengeance motivated vigilante. New York Police Officer Sergeant Blume went after the Kingpin for the murder of his brother. He, too, was shot and killed.

Jacob Conover became the third Rose. This incarnation was a former reporter for the Daily Bugle. He found himself a capo of crime lord Don Fortunato during one of the Kingpin’s absences from New York’s underworld. He would survive his tenure and be imprisoned by Spider-Man.

The fourth and, to date, final Rose is Phillip Hayes. He is currently jailed following his drug career that led to murder.

In the real world, red roses are known for their beauty and traditionally associated with love. They have adorned many a wedding and opened even more hearts when presented by a young lover.

To observe National Red Rose Day, plant a red rose shrub or vine, learn more about the types of red roses, visit a rose garden and/or show that special someone how much they mean by giving them one or a dozen.

Or, just do what we’re gonna do and pop open Amazing Spidey 253 for the nitty gritty.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 253

Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 4

We’re gonna stick with the X-Men brand (it worked for Marvel) as we commemorate National Running Day.

National Running Day is celebrated the first Wednesday in June and designed to encourage Americans to reaffirm their desire to run. Last year DC’s scarlet speedster hosted the day. This year it’s Marvel’s mutant of momentum, Quicksilver.

The X-Men (1963) 4

The X-Men (1963) 4

As evidenced from the cover, Pietro Maximoff first graced the Marvel U in the pages of the X-Men issue four. Like many Marvel comics heroes, Quicksilver began his public life as a villain. Joined with his sister, Scarlet Witch; leader of the pack, Magneto; the Toad; and Mastermind the quintet began their career harassing the X-Men.

Seeing the error of their ways, Pietro and sister, Wanda, left the Brotherhood and joined the Avengers. He further legitimized himself with marriage to the Inhumans’ Crystal.

Pietro remained an outsider in the MU for most of his tenure. He was introduced to a wider audience in 1966 on The Marvel Super Heroes animated series courtesy of Captain America’s segments. He further guest starred in three episodes of the 1990’s X-Men cartoon and was a recurring character in X-Men: Evolution.

Quicksilver reprised his membership in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for Wolverine and the X-Men and appeared in more kid friendly The Super Hero Squad Show.

His stock rose higher when he appeared in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016’s X-Men Apocalypse and 2019’s Dark Phoenix.

Taking the spandex-clad mutant as inspiration, lace up the sneakers and head out for a quick spin around the neighborhood or pace yourself across town. For more information on the non-holiday, visit glabalrunningday.org.

Posted Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 1

Here’s a cover Four-Color Holidays readers may recognize. We’ve used it for Angel and today we’re utilizing the ground-breaking issue again for the Beast who is our grand marshal during National Go Barefoot Day.

Celebrants are urged to doff their shoes in honor of June 1. Take a moment and run through the green grass.

The X-Men (1963) 1

The X-Men (1963) 1

For the scholars in the audience or those old enough to remember, Hank McCoy wasn’t always the “ferocious, furry Beast” we know today. Mr. McCoy started out as pink skinned as the rest of the original team.

His dad, Norton McCoy, was employed at a nuclear power plant. His job caused him to be exposed to a massive amount of radiation resulting in Hank’s unusually large hands and feet at the end of equally unusually long arms and legs. His high school nickname was Magilla Gorilla.

Due to his greater strength and agility, Professor Charles Xavier approached Hank for membership in the titular Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Hank became the Beast and one of the founding members of the original X-Men team:  Angel, Cyclops, Ice Man and Marvel Girl.

Hank left the X-Men and became an employee with the Brand Corp. following his 20th birthday. An experiment turned Hank furrier than Robin Williams. Over time, he has transformed back to a more human appearance only to grow his fur back.

During his heroic career, Hank would become a member of the Avengers, X-Factor and the X-Men again.

To help celebrate this early start to summer, participants are encouraged to donate a gently used pair of shoes to a charitable organization.

National Go Barefoot Day was created in 2004 by Soles4Souls following a Tsunami disaster. Donations have continued to this day amounting in over 40.5 million pairs worldwide.

Posted Saturday, May 15th, 2021 by Barry

Motion Picture Funnies Weekley (1939) 1

Forget the beach body; just grab the trunks and water wings, today is National Learn to Swim Day.

The master of ceremonies is Namor, the Sub-Mariner, originally slated to appear in the innocuously named Motion Picture Funnies Weekley number one. When the book failed to reach newsstands, he was moved to the more appropriate Marvel Comics issue one.

The ruler of Atlantis may be the first comic book mutant. He’s a hybrid of a human sea captain and princess from the undersea capital.

As the Golden Age faded, Namor floundered until Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought him back to the fold in Fantastic Four (1961) issue four. His return was popular enough, Subs made frequent cameos in the FF’s book as well as others in the Marvel U.

He began cohabitating with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish issue 70. The Hulk settled into his own book when the title ended, but Namor shared the one-shot Iron Man and Sub-Mariner number one before landing his own title.

Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner ran a respective 72 issues. After, he would co-star in the Super-Villain Team-Up title for it’s first 13 issues before becoming a guest in his own universe again.

In 1984, Namor returned to the spotlight with a four-issue mini written by J.M. DeMatteis and penciled by Bob Budiansky. Four years later his mini was expanded to 12 issues, titled The Saga of the Sub-Mariner. In 1990 he was given his second ongoing book. This one ran five years and 62 issues.

In 2003, he returned for a 12-issue maxi-series and a six-issue mini in 2007.

His next ongoing book, Namor: The First Mutant, lasted less than a year.

Following that, Sub-Mariner shared titles such as The Defenders in 2011 and the New Avengers in 2013.

Marvel’s legacy books and clean sweep beginning in 2017 have moved him around like a pawn, but has yet to return him to a self-titled book again.

Anyway, back to today. National Learn to Swim Day is recognized on the third Saturday in May. It is designed to bring water safety awareness to the forefront before summer and swimming begin.

Swimways Corp founded National Learn to Swim Day in 2014.