Category Marvel Comics

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.

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Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

As if video gamers needed an excuse to play games all day, here is another. While not a legitimate holiday, National Video Game Day does make the list of odd observances.

National Video Game Day is recognized on Sept. 12. This is not to be confused with the previous Video Game Day celebrated July 8.

For those ready to play, we’ll observe today with Marvel Two-in-One issue 98 from April of 1983. For those old enough to remember, that year was a high-water mark for the video game industry. In 1981 video games consumed more money than concerts, theater tickets and record sales. And, it only kept growing over the next few years.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

David Micheleinie commemorated the video game movement with “Vid Wars!” Ron Wilson penciled the project and Frank Giacoia inked the tale that co-stared Franklin Richards.

For those who may not remember, Marvel Two-in-One was a vanity vehicle for Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.  Aunt Petuna’s favorite nephew would team with a fellow Marvel U resident each month. At least for 100 issues and seven annuals.

In this team up Ben is tired of his nephew thumping him in the arcades. As luck – and Michelinie – would have it Dr. Niles Given is seeking an audience with Reed Richards at the Baxter Building when the two return home. The good doctor has created a video game and he wants the endorsement of Dr. Richards. The story takes a darker turn when all involved are transported into a real game of life and death.

Much like Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One was ended to allow the Thing a solo series. It only lasted 36 issues while Spider-Man’s off-shoot following his team up book, Web of Spider-Man, proved much more popular lasting to issue 129.

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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.

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“Deck the Halls with Marvel Comics”

Before Black Friday was a thing, Marvel Comics Company tried to help the holiday shopper with this house ad for the perfect gift.

Apparently the thought of not having to fight holiday shoppers for the gifts is enough to set Magneto, Doc Ock and Dr. Doom caroling.

In addition to staying home, shoppers have the knowledge they may cancel their subscription at any time if not satisfied, orders are delivered right to their door, they will save a whopping $7.20 off newsstand prices and are offered the lowest price on renewals.

Santa Spidey continues to plug the ad by exhorting, “Your first two 12-issue subscriptions cost $6 each—or just $.50 per copy!

“Each additional 12-issue subscription you order for yourself or a friend costs only $4.50 each—or just $.38 per copy!”

This was a time when Marvel offered just 25-regular titles. Special titles included the Micronauts, Moon Knight, Ka-Zar, What If…?, King Conan and Marvel Fanfare.

Too bad the ad expired Jan. 31, 1983 considering what comic books cost today.

According to Wikipedia, Black Friday didn’t receive its name until recently even though the day after Thanksgiving has been considered the kick off for Christmas shopping since 1952.

“Deck the Halls with Marvel Comics”

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Amazing Fantasy (1962) 15

Based on today’s headline, any comic fan should be able to guess this is National Spider-Man Day.

Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy issue 15. Other stories included were “The Bell Ringer!,” “Man in the Mummy Case!” and “There are Martians Among Us!”

Amazing Fantasy (1962) 15

Amazing Fantasy (1962) 15

When sales figures returned for what was the final issue of the title, Spider-Man proved a financial success. He returned in his own book, The Amazing Spider-Man in March of 1963. Lee and Ditko continued to chronicle his exploits to issue 38 when Ditko left. Lee remained scripter until issue 100.

Though the Fantastic Four were recruited to help bolster sales for the first issue, it quickly became apparent the guest stars were not needed. In little time Spider-Man became the flagship of the Marvel Universe.

By mid-decade Spider-Man was as recognizable and popular as Bob Dylan. In 1972 he received a second series, Marvel Team-Up. As the title may indicate, Spider-Man would join other heroes for one-and-dones or story arcs.

In 1976 a third book was devoted to the character, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. This one dealt more into the Web Head’s alter ego.

In 1985 Marvel Team-Up ceased publication. Web of Spider-Man replaced it, focused solely on Spider-Man.

Since then titles have popped up or ceased publication, but always sold well.

Spider-Man first appeared on television during Saturday mornings. Spider-Man ’67, as it’s become known, ran from 1967-70. Spidey shared television time with himself in the early 1980s when Spider-Man and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends ran concurrently. Fox Kids studios would option a series in the 1990s running five seasons and 65 episodes. Spider-Man Unlimited followed.

A CGI series aired following the Spider-Man movie. Not until 2008 would he return in animated form. This time in The Spectacular Spider-Man beginning March 8. Ultimate Spider-Man followed on Disney XD in 2012.

The character’s two lone forays into live action on television were the Electric Company shorts and syndicated The Amazing Spider-Man starring Nicholas Hammond.

A Japanese version aired in 1978.

Spider-Man broke into Hollywood with a feature film in 2002. That was followed by two more before the franchise was rebooted in 2012. Spider-Man Homecoming, released in 2017, was a second retooling of the character on the silver screen. Most recently was Spider-Man: Far From Home.

In addition to the small and big screen appearances, Spider-Man has been featured in pretty much every medium there is to offer. His comic books continue to sell and his likeness is one of the best recognized in the world.

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Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Captain Marvel has one day on Earth. Good thing it’s for the holidays so she can save Santa Claus and Christmas.

Maybe.

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Depends on how you read the story.

Carol Danvers does return to Earth for 24 hours. During that time she visits a dear friend and mentor in the hospital. At least until she’s abducted, restrained and held with Santa Claus.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy. Not sure if it’s Christmas magic that turns a down-and-out Mr. Kringle into the real thing or not. All that’s certain is he’s trussed up like Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction. And, the gimp is coming.

All is well by book’s end and Captain Marvel is ready to return to her duties.

The issue is called “A Christmas Carol Part Two of Two,” but part one is just a vehicle to get Carol back home for the holidays.

It’s probably better if you’re a regular reader of the title. There’s enough history to keep someone like me clicking to Wikipedia for some background. Still, a nice Christmas tale.

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Werewolf by Night (1972) 32

In honor of National Moon Day, today, Four Color Holidays looks at Moon Knight.

Moon Knight first appeared in Werewolf by Night 32, August 1975. He returned in issue 33, then was granted a two-issue solo series in Marvel Spotlight issues 28 and 29. Ironically enough, Marvel Spotlight is where Werewolf by Night got his start.

Werewolf by Night (1972) 32

Werewolf by Night (1972) 32

After a two-year layoff, Moon Knight returned as a guest in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) issues 22 and 23. From there, Moon Knight bounced around appearing in Marvel Two-in-One issue 52. Later he would join the Defenders in issues 47-51.

His final outing before earning his own title came as back up stories in Hulk! (1978) issues 11-15, 17-18 and 20 and Marvel Preview (1975) 21.

Moon Knight received his own series in 1980 under the guidance of Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz. It would last 38 issues and be followed by the Moon Knight – Fist of Khonshu six-issue mini-series in 1985.

The journeyman character would roam the Marvel U until 1989 when he received his second ongoing series, Marc Spector:  Moon Knight. This lasted through 60 issues ending in 1994.

Moon Knight would appear in one-shots and minis over the next 10 years. Not until 2006 would he receive another ongoing title. He would appear off-and-on throughout the remainder of the former decade and this in his own titles finally settling back with the Marvel Legacy numbering system reaching issue 200.

The Moon Knight character is as complicated as his publishing history. First introduced as a mercenary, he would embrace the label. Marc Spector became that personality. After his baptism by violence and moon light, Spector became a hero branching off into Steven Grant, the millionaire playboy who financed Moon Knight’s adventures and Jake Lockley, the cab driving everyman who earned the respect of the common people.

Those split personalities would manifest themselves over the years and become a point of contention with Moon Knight and those involved in his world.

To date, he is one of the few Marvel characters that has not been earmarked for a multi-media offshoot. His personality disorders and moon worship have often been cited as the cause.

National Moon Day is observed annually on June 20 to commemorate the first moon landing in 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first two men to set foot on the moon.

In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day on July 20. Richard Christmas rallied to continue the day when no official proclamation followed. Through a letter-writing campaign Christmas persevered and June 20 is recognized by most states in the union.

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Hallmark Holiday ornaments

It’s too early for Christmas, but Four Color Holidays is not about judging anyone. Not to their face, anyway. So, let’s look at the new Hallmark ornaments available today at your finer Hallmark retailers.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Mini-DC Justice League Aquaman Ornament

Mini-DC Justice League Green Lantern Ornament

DC Comics Batman Ornament

DC Comics Wonder Woman Invisible Jet Ornament

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame Infinity Gauntlet Ornament with Light

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame Thanos Ornament

Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame Captain America Ornament

Marvel Iron Man Metal Ornament

 

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Marvel Treasury Special Featuring Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976) 1

As the fireworks color the sky in flashes of brilliant hues and loud retorts let’s remember the King: Jack “King” Kirby.

Kirby’s name is synonymous with comic books. So much so he was one of the original three inductees into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1987.

Most will remember Kirby as co-creator of the Marvel Universe. Depending on how you feel ownership should be distributed, he and Stan Lee partnered in the formation of such properties as the Fantastic Four, Hulk, early members of the X-Men, etc.

Prior to working with Lee, Kirby was co-creator on Captain America in 1941.

It’s this creation, whom he partnered with Joe Simon to give life, that Kirby takes on this Bicentennial pilgrimage to the heart of America. All courtesy of an odd guide named simply Mr. Buda.

Through his own eyes and the eyes of those he comes in contact with, Captain America is truly allowed to learn what the nation whose name he boasts really is about. The journey takes the star-spangled hero through time; past, present and future.

Cap becomes entwined with the formation of our nation through struggle and strife. The pain of others is passed on to him. More importantly, so is the hope. The hope for a new way of life.

The journey takes Cap through some of the most turbulent of times including the Revolutionary War, slave trade and World War I. The persecution of the American Indians and great Chicago Fire. In each era Cap was allowed to experience life as it happened.

This tabloid-sized treasury was created after Kirby’s return to Marvel Comics in 1975. Kirby was already working the monthly Captain America comic book at the time.

During this second stay at Marvel, Kirby would dabble in more science fiction-grounded characters and titles. Creations at this time included the Celestials and The Eternals.

By the end of the decade Kirby left Marvel for a second and final time.

The book was originally published under the Marvel Treasury imprint, but as a special. Since then it has been reprinted in the first Captain America omnibus, Essential Captain America trade volume five, King-Size Kirby Slipcase, Marvel Masterworks: Captain America volume 10 and the self-titled trade.

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Hulk (1968) 182

What do Hulk 182 and National Eat Your Beans Day have in common?

The most obvious feature of issue 182 is the third appearance of Wolverine. Just one page. Only three panels, but still the official third appearance of the mega popular character.

Yet that’s not what causes Hulk 182 to make the list for July 3. No, it’s another character. One that only appears in this issue:  Cracka-Jack Jackson.

Hulk (1968) 182

Hulk (1968) 182

Well, Cracka-Jack and his meal of choice: beans.

Having failed to capture the Hulk in the previous two issues, Wolverine is dispatched back to headquarters. The Hulk is subdued with gas, but awakens only to escape once more. During his aimless travels, the Hulk discovers Cracka-Jack.

The homeless minstrel welcomes the green-skinned stranger and offers him what is left of dinner, beans.

The Hulk takes a liking to the meal and it becomes his request as the two share their travels until scribe Len Wein amps up the action.

Hulk remembers the meal throughout future issues giving us license to use this book as a commemoration of the day.

National Eat Your Beans Day is described as “a ‘live healthy’ holiday observed on July 3. This day celebrates the bean vegetable in all sizes, shapes and colors. Beans (legumes) are one of the longest-cultivated plants dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE.

Celebrate with a bean-based recipe, but maybe do it alone.

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