Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Friday, February 19th, 2021 by Barry

Night Nurse (1972) 1

Holidays Calendar defines National Caregivers Day as “a holiday that recognizes and honors all of the hard work and dedication that caregivers offer all year round. It’s a day that’s held on the third Friday of each February and helps to honor the millions of caregivers who work all over the world.”

The face we’re putting on the non-holiday is Linda Carter.

Night Nurse (1972) 1

Night Nurse (1972) 1

Not that Linda Carter.

Linda Carter, formerly Linda Carter Student Nurse, who graduated to Night Nurse.

The medical-drama comic book series lasted four issues. Featured were three female roommates – Carter, Georgia Jenkins and Christine Palmer – working the night shift at Metropolitan General Hospital in New York City.

Though the title failed, writer Brian Michael Bendis resurrected Carter in 2004 in Daredevil 58 as a nurse for super heroes. Former roommate Palmer was also given a makeover in Nightcrawler 1.

In 2015, Carter appeared in a one-shot titled Night Nurse. It reprinted all four issues of the original series as well as Daredevil 80.

She was upgraded to a surgeon in the 2016 Doctor Strange feature film, played by Rachel McAdams.

Coincidently (?) enough, National Caregivers Day began in 2015, the same year as the Night Nurse reprint.

To commemorate the day, take time out to thank these hardworking individuals for their dedication and selflessness. To promote on social media, use #NationalCaregiversDay and spread the word.

Posted Sunday, January 31st, 2021 by Barry

Celebrate the Holidays!!!

Marvel implored readers to “Celebrate the Holidays!!! with Marvel’s ‘”same as last year’s’ 42-Cent per issue prices!” in 1984.

A clunky looking Iron Man dressed in metal overcoat and Santa cap carries a bag of toys for this in-house ad. Participants could have a 13-issue subscription for a mere $5.50, a savings of 18 cents per issue or 30 percent.

Offer expires Jan. 31, 1985

Hurry, the offer expired Jan. 31, 1985.

Titles to choose from included Alpha Flight to X-Men. This was a time when only the original title and New Mutants were on the stands. Spider-Man had four including Amazing, Marvel Tales, Marvel Team-Up and Peter Parker. Barbarians Conan and Kull still had their books and LucasFilm had yet to remove Star Wars from the stands.

Special titles included Marvel Age, Conan the King, Marvel Fanfare, Savage Sword of Conan, Dreadstar, Alien Legion and Dr. Who before he became a household name in America.

Subscribers could even give the gift of Marvel Comics by adding titles and names and addresses of friends. Though no mention is made, Marvel probably wanted an additional $5.50 for each subscription.

Only the patient need apply. In small print subscribers were warned to wait 10 weeks for delivery.

Posted Saturday, January 16th, 2021 by Barry

X-Men (1963) 166

For whatever reason, today is National Appreciate a Dragon Day.

Normally the backgrounds of these non-holidays are easy to find. Some are just plain goofy in origin, but there is a beginning.

National Appreciate a Dragon Day seems to be shrouded in some mystery as the day seems to float through the various pages of the calendar based on what people wish to associate dragons with.

For those at Cornell University, it’s occurs the Friday before Spring Break. First-year architecture students create a giant likeness of a winged lizard and parade it around campus.

Dragon Day is celebrated by some on the 26th of November.

X-Men (1963) 166

X-Men (1963) 166

We’re recognizing it today: January 16.

With Lockheed as our official mascot this year.

That would be Kitty Pryde’s pet first mentioned in Uncanny X-Men 153 in Kitty’s Fairy Tale. For more information, look to our celebration of National Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

Today we’ll focus on Lockheed’s first canonical appearance.

This takes place in the final story arc of the Bronze-Age X-Men’s run. The cat-sized dragon-like extraterrestrial bonds with the teenage mutant and helps save the team.

Lockheed has been associated with Kitty since.

This is really a stellar swansong to the “new” X-Men’s early adventures. Their return to Earth is met by the New Mutants and the beginning of multi-mutant titles that continue to flourish today.

Forget Game of Thrones and the magical Pete and enjoy an old school adventure. Grab whatever comfort food or drink – or both – you need and spend a wintery day warming to a story of a girl and her dragon.

Posted Saturday, January 9th, 2021 by Barry

Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) 12

Today is National Static Electricity Day.

This year we’re shaking things up a bit. Instead of using Spider-Man’s arch nemesis Electro like we did last year, we’re using Spider-Man’s arch nemesis Electro; more specifically Ultimate Spider-Man’s arch nemesis Ultimate Electro.

Personally, I didn’t wanna like Ultimate Spider-Man. I stayed away from the title. Finally, I played the 2005 Ultimate Spider-Man video game. On the GameCube. Still an underrated system.

But, I digress.

I played this game and fell in love with it. The mechanics and the storyline, it was so different from the previous PlayStation offerings.

I had to know more about this character.

What better way than to go to the source material?

Most people would say they read them. I devoured them.

Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley were the perfect team. Their reimagining was just what we needed for the new millennium.

Rather than belabor a life twice lived, Bendis chose to remove Peter Parker from the Ultimate Universe by issue 200.

Oh, wait, we’re supposed to be talking about Electro. Okay, Electro was updated with bioengineered powers. His green and yellow suit was replaced. He continued to lose to Spider-Man.

As for the day, static electricity is observed for its unbalanced positive and negative electron charges.

Rather than discuss how to produce your own zap, the annoying tingle can be avoided by allowing for more humidity in the house during the dry days of winter. Moisturizing skin is another deterrent as is wearing natural fibers.

Beyond boning up on Electro, original or Ultimate, the day can be celebrated by exploring the ways static electricity is created. Have fun with that one.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man 12

Posted Thursday, December 31st, 2020 by Barry

Marvel New Year’s Eve (2017) 1

Top radio jock Charlamagne comes out at a New Year’s Eve party at Avenger’s Mansion.

 

Marvel New Year’s Eve (2017) 1

Do they still call it Avenger’s Mansion? It’s a tower now. Kinda like Wayne Tower back in the 1970s. Man, I’m old.

Anyway, this is a digital special send-off to 2016. As mentioned above, Charlamagne is everyone’s favorite DJ. Not sure if his show’s syndicated or not, but he has a lot of listeners. Important and influential listeners.

Not to mention some infamous ones as well.

This is where Charlamagne allows his mouth to write a check others wonder if he can cash.

The DJ has chosen Norman Osborne to talk about on the next-to-last-day-of-the-year. The super-villain-slash-CEO has threatened to move his last remaining factory overseas. Charlamagne is not a fan of the idea. Osborne is what he would consider a corporate pirate with greed his favorite color.

Calling Osborne out on the radio raises the hackles on the CEO’s neck. Enough so he and colleagues choose to crash the exclusive party Charlamagne is holding New Year’s Eve. The event is a charity fundraiser solicited by the best and most beautiful of the super hero and civilian set.

The surprise is, Charlamagne has been dosed with Terrigen Mist, freeing his hidden power. Not sure what that power is, but all the villains are left in a heap ready for deposit at the raft by Cap.

Gone are the days of Dick Clark counting down the ball drop on Times Square. If you can remember that time, join the old man club with me. Hope 2021 is better.

Posted Tuesday, December 29th, 2020 by Barry

Holiday Savings From Santa Paws

As we prepare to say goodbye to one year, let’s look back to when we said goodbye to not only the previous year, but decade.

Heathcliff, Alf, Count Duckula and Police Academy were the lone holdovers from Marvel’s Star Comics imprint. The spinoff started in 1984 had run its course by 1989. The last Star branded issue hit newsstands in December 1988.

The first title to bear the banner was issue one of The Muppets Take Manhattan in 1984. The remainder the Star Comics Magazine line were not released until five months later with more licensed properties. Those included Fraggle Rock, Heathcliff, Planet Terry, Strawberry Shortcake, The Ewoks, Get Along Gang, Muppet Babies, Royal Roy and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.

Royal Roy was the first casualty. Harvey Comics slapped an infringement suit against the title claiming it bore too close a resemblance to their Ritchie Rich. Roy was cancelled after six issues.

Droids was the second Star Wars title to come under the Star brand. It ran eight issues.

Holiday Savings From Santa Paws

Holiday Savings From Santa Paws

Though their initial imprint was defunct, the featured four continued under Marvel’s regular umbrella title. Other books offered in this deep discount of 50-percent off – after the purchase of one regular title – are Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Tales (featuring Spider-Man), Spectacular Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Captain America, G.I. Joe, Incredible Hulk and Transformers.

To take advantage of the offer, subscribers had to meet the January 31, 1990 deadline. A bit late for us, but still fun to remember as we entered a new era. It was the decade of the Gregorian calendar, grunge, the first Democratic president in over 10 years and the invasion of the World Wide Web into homes.

The ’90s would also usher out a century.

And, the comic book industry would nearly collapse under corporate and private greed.

Hopefully our incoming year will be a little calmer.

Posted Monday, December 21st, 2020 by Barry

A Merry-Marvel Season’s Greetings to One and All!

A seasonal greeting from the Marvel Universe.

They didn’t realize it at the time, but 1975 was a big year for Marvel. It was the year they would launch Giant-Size X-Men number one in May. If you don’t know what that is, please leave. Just go.

In July, Chris Claremont would take over writing chores on the X-Men. He would remain the head scribe and mutant curator for the next 17 years.

February 20 would prove to be a sad day for the Marvel faithful with the passing of Artie Simek. Born Jan. 6, 1916, the calligrapher would best be known for his lettering during the Silver Age of comics and birth of the Marvel Age. He was also responsible for helping design many of the logos.

The first Mighty Marvel Con was held March 22 through 24 at the Hotel Commodore in New York, NY.

New releases that year included The Defenders, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, The Inhumans, The Invaders, Kull and the Barbarians, Marvel Feature, Marvel Presents, Marvel Preview, Masters of Terror, Skull the Slayer, Super-Villain Team-Up and Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction.

The tabloid-size pin-up is courtesy of Rich Buckler and John Romita and can be found on the backside of Marvel Treasury Edition 8. This is the second of the holiday trinity offered by Marvel.

A Merry-Marvel Season’s Greetings to One and All!

Posted Saturday, December 19th, 2020 by Barry

A Colorful Christmas from the Merry Marvel Bullpen

Marvel didn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the season and spread cheer with their own, unique brand of Christmas wishes. They were just as brilliant in 1983 with a multitude of the Marvel U helping Santa Thing.

By this time, Jim Shooter was midway through his reign as the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men was starting to pay dividends with spin-offs appearing. Frank Miller’s Daredevil was received to financial and critical success. The first mini, Contest of Champions had launched and the Marvel-wide crossover, Secret Wars, was in the wings.

The Christmas card would be nearing its 500th year of existence, the first recorded document in 1611 from Michael Maier to James I of England and his son, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales.

In 1874, Prang and Mayer of England were the first printers to offer Christmas cards in America. Postcards eventually substituted, but by the 1920s, cards and envelopes experienced a renaissance and continue today.

Email can now be seen as a contributor to the decline in Christmas card exchange. However, the card business is far from extinct with nearly two billion sent every year.

A Colorful Christmas from the Merry Marvel Bullpen

Posted Saturday, December 12th, 2020 by Barry

Super-Sized ALF Holiday Special (1989) 2

Star Comics published the second, and final, ALF Holiday special in 1989.

Super-Sized ALF Holiday Special (1989) 2

Super-Sized ALF Holiday Special (1989) 2

The follow up continued the format of the previous year with a few Christmas stories before finishing with a New Year’s tale.

In Don’t Toy With Me!, ALF saves a soul from turning Christmas sour for himself and the Tanners.

Crazy Critter returns in The Last Crusade. ALF suits up for another adventure on the sidelines. That leads to the ice as the youngest Tanner’s hockey team needs a boost.

Taking a break from the holiday fare, ALF gives a skewed history lesson in Marx My Words.

Have Yourself a Melly Little Christmas is ALF dreaming of a way to help Santa keep his Christmas schedule.

Next up, ALF departs from the holidays to put a Melmacian spin on the X-Men.

For Goodness Snakes turns the Tanner household upside down as ALF attempts carryout a Melmac tradition.

Posted Thursday, December 10th, 2020 by Barry

Super-Size ALF Holiday Special (1988) 1

Marvel’s Star Comics imprint picked up the license for ALF in 1987. The series ran 50 issues with several specials, including two focused on Christmas.

Super-Size ALF Holiday Special (1988) 1

Super-Size ALF Holiday Special (1988) 1

Super-Size ALF number one begins with Shop Around the Clock. Kate takes ALF on his first Christmas shopping trip.

Snoman is an Island! follows. Not everyone is dreaming of a white Christmas, but the doesn’t stop ALF from helping Mother Nature.

The Return of Crazy Critter! has ALF back on the sidelines in a sequel to issue six.

The Gift of the Melmagi (with apologies to O. Henry) tells a Melmacian tale of giving.

Wotif the 12 Days of Christmas Happened on Melmac? Another Earth custom that doesn’t translate well.

ALF does his Lassie impersonation in 23 Ski-Doe’s and Don’ts! The Tanners are buried in an avalanche with only ALF of save them.

Finally, the Tanners say goodbye to 1988 in ALF Lang Syne.

ALF was a television sensation from 1986 to 1990. Of the 99-regular episodes, ALF featured an on-air Christmas Special, as well.

The series peaked in season two with its highest ratings. ALF would remain popular enough settled in at the number 15 spot in the Nielsen’s for season three, but dropped significantly by season four. NBC declined to renew the show for a fifth season.