Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Saturday, May 14th, 2022 by Barry

Tales of Suspense (1959) 57

Archery predates 2800 BC and is one of the oldest sports still in existence. It is also the focus of the day, National Archery Day.

The National Archery in Schools Program has helped tweak interest in the sport in recent years. NASP began in 2002 in Kentucky and has expanded to 47 states and 10 countries.

The NASP also petitioned for National Archery Day which was first recognized in March 2015. The second Saturday in May, when the day is celebrated, was chosen due to the proximity in dates as to when the NASP tourney is held annually.

 

Tales of Suspense (1959) 57

Last year we celebrated the day with DC Comic’s premier bowman. This year we tap Marvel’s marksman, Hawkeye.

He first appeared in Tales of Suspense issue 57, cover dated September 1964. He would guest twice more before becoming a full-time member of the Avengers in their second line up.

Hawkeye, or Clinton Francis “Clint” Barton, has become synonymous with Marvel’s premier anthology team; so much so he has appeared in all five incarnations. In addition, he has been featured in the Ultimates version and was founder and team leader of the West Coast Avengers.

Later he would jump ship and work for the Thunderbolts followed by the Secret Avengers.

A popular ensemble character, Hawkeye would earn three solo series, Hawkeye (2003) issues one through eight. Two other attempts were made, 2012 and 2015. Both lasted a handful of issues before cancelation.

He would also star in a handful of mini-series, the first of which was Hawkeye (1983), written by Mark Gruenwald and running four issues. Next was Hawkeye: Earth’s Mightiest Marksman issues one through four. Hawkeye & Mockingbird ran six issues in 2010. It spawned Widowmaker in 2010 and 2011 for four issues and Hawkeye: Blindspot in 2011 running four issues.

Jeremy Renner has brought life to the fictional character for Marvel’s cinematic universe. Hawkeye has appeared in Thor, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame.

Posted Saturday, May 7th, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 48

Much of the time we take a candid approach to the non-holidays observed on this site. Today is not one of those. National Barrier Awareness Day challenges those of us without physical limitations to become aware of those who do.

These barriers can be something as simple as being unable to access an entrance because of a wheelchair or complicated with inability to comprehend an everyday situation due to a mental disorder.

Today is the day to strip those handicaps away. To allow everyone an equal playing field whether it be building a ramp or taking time and patience to explain how to perform a task.

There are currently over 36-million Americans who are plagued with some form of disability. It is estimated 80 percent of Americans will experience a barrier of their own at some point in their life.

Now, to help visualize a what a barrier is, we’ve chosen Norrin Radd, more commonly known in the comic book world as the Silver Surfer.

Radd was an astronomer on his home planet of Zenn-La. He sacrificed himself to the world devouring Galactus to save his home planet; in return for allowing the continued survival of Zenn-La, Radd became Galactus’ herald.

Fantastic Four (1961) 48

Radd was infused with the power cosmic by his new master. As the Silver Surfer, he would now search out other worlds for Galactus to devour.

Earth was introduced to the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four issue 48. The herald had discovered a new world for his master to sustain himself with. After interacting with the inhabitants of planet Earth, the Surfer found himself sympathetic to their continued existence and turned on Galactus.

With the help of another celestial being, the Fantastic Four were able to deter Galactus, but to punish the Surfer for his betrayal, a barrier was established around Earth designed to keep the former herald from venturing beyond the shield.

The Surfer proved a fan – and Stan Lee – favorite returning for FF issues 55-61, 74-77 and earned a solo story in the back of annual five.

The following year, he was starring in his own book. The title lasted 18 issues, all penned by Lee, John Buscema penciling the first 17 and Jack Kirby the final book.

The Surfer would knock around the Marvel Universe through the 1970s with a Lee/Kirby graphic novel in 1978.

He received a second solo series in 1987 running 146 issues.

The Surfer would continue to star in limited series for the remainder of the old millennium and into the new, though often playing a pivotal role in various company crossovers.

He would further appear in other media with his own animated series in 1998 for Fox. In 2007 he would play a titular role in the second Fantastic Four movie.

Software Creations, Ltd., offered the Silver Surfer video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990.

So, while our spokesperson is fictional, he does offer a lesson that even those who face barriers are still important to society and success may often come in the face of those barriers.

National Barrier Awareness Day was inaugurated by Congress on May 7, 1986, by a House Joint Resolution (544). It authorized President Ronald Reagan to call for Americans to recognize the day with events and programs that would contribute to removing the obstacles facing those with disabilities.

Posted Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 by Barry

Star Wars (1977) 107

Do you remember the Star Wars Holiday Special? The Splinter of the Minds Eye? Kenner Star Wars Early Bird set?

If you do, you probably remember the first issue of Marvel’s Star Wars comic book. You may not recognize today’s issue, though. Star Wars issue 107 was the final in the original installment of Marvel comic books. It almost seemed to pass unnoticed in July 1986.

For the first six issues, Marvel adapted Star Wars. Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino continued the adventures prior to issue 39 when The Empire Strikes Back was retold.

Another six issues for the second installment of the original trilogy and Marvel was turned loose again to create three more years of adventures before Return of the Jedi.

This time the adaptation would fall outside the main series and be told in four issues between the cover dates of October 1983 and January 1984.

Marvel soldiered on a while longer.

Jo Duffy took Luke, Leia, Han, Cheiwie and the remaining cast as far as she could. No easy task considering they were already far, far away.

Plus, she and Marvel were hamstrung by Lucas Films Limited and their decree that nothing meaningful happen. No commitment for Han and Leia beyond the fleeting, on-screen kisses. No teaching position at a new Jedi academy for Luke. No return to Malla on Kashyyk for Chewie.

Duffy took the gang as far as she could and was rewarded with what was basically a cease and desist from Lucas and company.

Granted, this was about the time the television specials were failing, Kenner’s action figure line was beginning to languish in the discount bins and talk of another trilogy was speculation.

So, it wasn’t with any fanfare the series came to an end.

Star Wars (1977) 107

Star Wars would be a cherished memory for the next few years. And, Marvel wouldn’t publish another Star Wars comic book until 2015.

Today is the day we remember the past. We remember the past, the present and the future.

Though the franchise seemed doomed to become a faded memory after conquering a generation of imagination, it returned, not with a whimper, but a flourish. And, with it, the return of the original magic. Or, at least the semblance, though new generations were swept up in the return of Jedis.

Today is Star Wars Day; May the Fourth (be With You).

There are so many ways to celebrate the day. Choose from one of 10 movies in the scheme of the original three trilogies.

Or, there’s Solo. The Mandalorian. The holiday special. Droids and Ewoks cartoons or the two Ewoks made-for-television one-shots.

Replay a favorite video game.

And, there are the comic books.

From Marvel to Dark Horse to Marvel.

The choices are nigh endless.

Whatever you choose, remember, “…the Fourth will be with you – always.”

Posted Monday, May 2nd, 2022 by Barry

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 120

Entering the lexicon of Four Color Holidays is National Brothers and Sisters Day.

When an unknown woman lost her brother, she realized the loss was a permanent one and wished to commemorate a day allowing siblings to remember the importance of one another.

This is not to be confused with National Siblings Day. That is defined as a day to bond with brothers and sisters.

For the site, we choose Jean-Paul Beaubier and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier as our co-hosts. The pair are better known by their trade names Northstar and Aurora, respectively.

Both debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men 120 along with their comrades Alpha Flight.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 120

Alpha Flight is basically the Canadian equivalent of the X-Men. It’s also Wolverine’s former (extended) family – of sorts.

Anyway, Northstar is the group’s speedster, able to whiz along at super sonic speeds as well as fire photonic blasts. He’s is also one of the first, openly gay super heroes. He was married to his husband, Kyle Jinadu, in Astonishing X-Men 51. It marked the first same-sex wedding in comic books.

Aurora has a dissociative identity disorder, leading two separate lives. Her Jeanne-Marie Beaubier identity is reserved while her super hero persona is much more flamboyant.

Like her brother, Aurora has superhuman speed and can fly. In addition, she has high endurance and stamina allowing her to attain and maintain her super speed.

Like 19 percent of their counterparts south of the border, Northstar and Aurora are completely different. Only about 10 percent of Americans say they are best friends with their sibling. Eight percent admit to having fought their sibling, leaving marks or even drawing blood.

Whatever your relationship, enjoy the day with the one you share a gene pool with – or not.

Maybe the best way to spend the day is to find a copy of Uncanny X-Men 120 and all the ones that follow through 166, curl up with some comfort food and tune out the world.

Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 by Barry

Journey Into Mystery (1952) 83

Welcome to National Doctors Day.

National Doctors Day is celebrated on March 30 each year to commemorate the anniversary of the first ether anesthetic for surgery administered by Doctor Crawford Long in 1842.

Today’s master of ceremonies is Dr. Donald Blake, aka Thor. Marvel’s first Thor. Marvel’s first superhero Thor.

Journey Into Mystery (1952) 83

Contrary to his origin in Journey into Mystery issue 83, Thor is the son of all fathers Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. He was also coming on the heels of the Hulk as Lee, Kirby and the soon-to-be christened Marvel Bullpen as they populated the Marvel Universe.

Readers were given a 13-page story and origin in which it was revealed Blake was not the human he believed himself be. Rather he was the punished son of Odin. The All Father had exiled his son to Midgard to teach him humility.

Thor dominated Journey into Mystery and the title was changed to reflect the stars status by issue 126. The book would showcase a talented group of artists and writers beginning with Kirby’s replacement, Neal Adams. John Buscema took over penciling chores after Adam’s two-issue stint.

Walt Simonson began guiding the book with issue 337. His run would last three years and showcase some of the Thunder God’s most memorable stories including the introduction of Beta Ray Bill and Thor as a frog.

Thor was rebooted following the Heroes Reborn saga. His second volume began in 1998 and ran till 2004. A third volume appeared in 2007.

He was given several new titles as the first Thor movie hit theaters in 2011. Thor would be part of the ensemble Avengers movies in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019 as well as starring in his own films in 2013 and 2017.

The first National Doctors Day was observed in Winder, GA. Dr. Charles B. Almond’s wife, Eudora, wanted to have a day to honor physicians. For the inaugural event, greeting cards were mailed and flowers placed on the graves of deceased doctors. The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors Day.

Posted Saturday, March 12th, 2022 by Barry

Tales to Astonish (1959) 13

Marigolds and Daffodils are the flowers of March and today is National Plant a Flower Day, but the miracle of Mother Nature we’re celebrating is of a stouter nature.

For all the Guardians of the Galaxy fans and those of Groot in particular, today is your day. Groot is our poster child for National Plant a Flower Day.

While most know the anthropmorized woody perennial as a lovable sapling reeking CGI havoc on the big screen, he began as a one-and-done extraterrestrial villain created by Stan Lee, Larry Leiber and Jack Kirby.

Tales to Astonish (1959) 13

Tales to Astonish (1959) 13

The Flora colossus hailed from Planet X. Groot was sent to Earth as part of an invasion force to capture humans for experimentation. In 1950’s BEM fashion, he was defeated with the help of – honestly – termites.

Groot would return to the Marvel U in 2006 as a hero in Annihilation Conquest. Following the crossover, Groot was inducted into the spin-off revival of Guardians of the Galaxy.

While given new life, he was also given a new origin. Rather than part of a blood-thirsty race of space trees, Groot was now the victim. As the last remaining member of the Flora colossi, Groot was a prisoner of the Kree. He would escape with the help of Star Lord with whom he joined forces.

When Marvel and Walt Disney studios released Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, the public’s response was overwhelming. The movie netted $333.7 million on the United States alone and an estimated $773.3 million worldwide. It’s sequel, Vol. 2, earned $863.8 million worldwide.

As with so many non-holidays, National Plant a Flower Day’s origins are muddy. Rather than dig for the roots of the day, enjoy what God as wrought and add to the color of the season with your vegetation of choice.

Posted Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 by Barry

The Marvel No-Prize Book (1983)

We all make mistakes, but clicking here isn’t one of those.

Today is a day we celebrate those who watch over our printed matter, whether it be ourselves or someone else. Today is National Proofreading Day.

A short history for the non-holiday is as follows: Corporate Trainer Judy Beaver decided the public needed to be more vigilant when it came to what they wrote. This led her to declare March 8 as National Proofreading Day in honor of her mother’s birthday.

Today we tap someone who guided so many of us through out recreational reading time: Stan Lee.

Like anyone else, Stan was fallible. Rather than cringe and hide from his literary mistakes or the gaffs of his artists, he chose to recognize fans who pointed out these errors.

Their reward?

The coveted No-Prize.

Other publishing companies instituted a similar policy before Marvel, but the House of Ideas made it famous.

The Marvel No-Prize Book (1983)

The Marvel No-Prize Book (1983)

The difference between the other companies and Marvel was they provided real rewards when their continuity errors were pointed out. Marvel, or Stan Lee, chose to issue an empty envelope with a congratulatory salutation overseen by the Hulk.

The role of the No-Prize would later extend to other fan feats such as the largest comic book collection. It was also expanded so readers could be recognized for finding other errors beyond those in continuity.

In 1983 Marvel and Lee published a comic book filled with some of the company’s errors over the years. Early goofs include Lee referring to Peter Parker as Peter Palmer (not once, but twice) in Amazing Spider-Man issue one. Maybe a bigger error was actually dubbing him Super-Man in Amazing Spider-Man issue three.

Even the Jack “King” Kirby isn’t free of mistakes as Reed Richards is seen with two left hands in Fantastic Four issue 88. The issue is also accorded another entry for the lack of the Thing with the FF. However, by next issue Bashful Benjy is fighting alongside his teammates without explanation of how he got there.

Whether worried about Marvel’s miscues or not, this is a fun book.

To celebrate the day, though, learn some ways to improve your proofreading skills such as allowing time for the project to settle before revisiting it with fresh eyes.

Also recommended is to remove all distractions while perusing the project, learn your limitations and look for those first, turn off the autocorrect tool so as not to become too reliant on it, read aloud to hear mistakes, read it backward for a new perspective or even just use a different font when printing it out to see the work differently.

I promise I have looked this over – more than once – and hope it is error free so as not to serve as an ironic example of why proofreading is important. I did find two errors during the initial read through.

No-Prize

Posted Thursday, February 24th, 2022 by Barry

From the Ren & Stimpy Show The Powdered Toast Man Special

Originating in the United Kingdom, National Toast Day has migrated to the United States as part of the non-holiday calendar.

National Toast Day is the brainchild of The Tiptree World Bread Awards celebrating toast and all the breads made with it. The non-holiday was inaugurated in 2014 and is celebrated on the last Thursday of February.

Emceeing the event is Powdered Toast Man of Ren & Stimpy fame.

PTM began as a background commercial on Nickelodeon’s animated series airing from Aug. 11, 1991 to Oct. 20, 1996. Serving as the spokesman for the cereal of the same name that, “tastes just like sawdust,” Powdered Toast Man was based on a Frank Zappa character from his song Billy the Mountain.

He stepped beyond his recurring, background role to star in episodes Powdered Toast Man vs. Waffle Woman and Powdered Toast Man.

PTM would appear in the Marvel Comics licensed adaptation of Ren & Stimpy even fighting Spider-Man once in issue six. Two years later in 1994 he would receive his own 48-page one-shot, The Powdered Toast Man Special. The book was written by Dan Slott with pencils by Ty Templeton.

So, with the pseudo hero in hand, drop the handle on the toaster and toast the toast we honor today.

From the Ren & Stimpy Show The Powdered Toast Man Special (1994)

Posted Wednesday, February 9th, 2022 by Barry

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

Over three billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year reinforcing the need for today’s non-holiday:  National Pizza Day.

The origin for today’s celebration is unknown. What we do know is pretty much everyone loves pizza. In addition to the three billion ordered, another billion are purchased in the freezer section of grocery stores. That’s an average annual consumption of of 23 pounds of pizza per person.

In the United States, 17 percent of all restaurants are pizzerias. The first was opened in Naples, Italy, in 1738 with Gennaro Lombardi opening the first American counterpart in 1895 in New York City.

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

So, teaming one of the largest pizzerias with the biggest comic book act of the day wasn’t a stretch of the imagination for Pizza Hut and Marvel Comics in 1993.

The X-Men animated series premiered the previous year, October 31, on Fox Kids Network. The series was a commercial and critical success, reaching over 23-million households.

Initially, Marvel and Pizza Hut offered the 12-page promotional giveaway mini comic (4 5/8”X7 ¼”) featuring a full-color abridged retelling of the history of the X-Men. Professor X was the guide. Included were Pizza Hut coupons.

The Pizza Hut franchise began in Wichita, Kansas. Brothers Dan and Frank Carney were the founders. After six months, they opened a second restaurant and within a year had six franchises.

Pizza Hut was obtained by PepsiCo in November 1977. The Hut joined fellow PepsiCo restaurants Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken to form Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. In 2002 the company was rebranded as Yum! Brands.

The chain currently has over 18,000 restaurants worldwide.

To celebrate National Pizza Day, nab your favorite pie, pepperoni being the most popular, and settle in with some semi-old school X-Men comic books or the series currently streaming in Disney+.

Some comfort food with some comfort entertainment.

Pizza Hut Coupons (no longer valid)

Pizza Hut Coupons (no longer valid)

Posted Monday, February 7th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

Before the fools and bunnies; before taxes and fireworks is Valentine’s Day. A day for flowers and flowery words; confection and affection.

It’s also a time for Marvel to march out some of its sweethearts, well and lesser known, to entertain and pass along a little wisdom.

Mary Jane and Peter spend a romantic day in a cocoon of webs and memories.

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

While enjoying a text book and good weather, Peter sees himself. His teenage self when his future wife was still a set up date between their aunts.

Deciding to help, Peter gives the nebbish grad student fashion and dating tips.

The opening Valentine volley – My Fair Spidey – comes to a close when Mary Jane helps Peter realize it wasn’t who he was trying to be, but who he was she fell in love with. Donning his union suit, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, saves the day and the couple’s future.

Love Hurts is a much more serious look at love.

Daredevil and girlfriend Karen Page work to save a young woman’s life from an abusive boyfriend.

Venus and Goom return readers to more of a comfort zone in Atom-Age Amore. The story is a whimsical stab at world domination through a dating agency.

The Greatest Gift is another fun fable showcasing Absorbing Man and Titania.

Crusher Creel is caught in his past while trying to find the perfect gift for his wife. With her help, together they find what that is; one that doesn’t come in a box nor need wrapped.

Valentine’s Day is coming. Better start thinking of what your main squeeze would love most.