Archive for the ‘Unofficial Holidays & Observances’ Category

Posted Saturday, January 16th, 2021 by Barry

X-Men (1963) 166

For whatever reason, today is National 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 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 Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 by Barry

Flash (1959) 110

All you red-headed step children can enjoy the next 24 hours ‘cuz today is Kiss a Ginger Day.

Our official ambassador is Wally West, nephew of Iris West/Allen.

Young Master West first appeared in Flash 110. Aunt Iris had promised a meeting with the youth’s idol, the Flash. Courted by Barry Allen, the request was not hard to fulfill.

By chance or mathematics, Wally was bathed in a similar chemical concoction as the Flash, gaining his own fleet-footed powers. Flash bestowed his protégé with a smaller version of his red togs and made the boy his sometime sidekick.

Flash (1959) 110

Flash (1959) 110

Kid Flash would receive a different costume in Flash 135 and later join the junior justice league, better known as the Teen Titans. The Titans originally included Kid Flash, Robin, Wonder Girl and Aqualad.  Green Arrow clone Speedy would guest star.

When Barry Allen appeared to die during Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally West became a reluctant heir apparent as DC regrouped. His series lasted 247 issues.

When DC rebooted once again with The New 52, Walley West was erased from memory and Barry Allen given back the red suit.

He was reintroduced during DC Rebirth. Readers learned Wally had been trapped in the Speed Force for 10 years.

Some more stuff happened, but with the state of comic books, it’s hard to follow. Maybe it’ best to remember the ginger-haired boy of the Silver age who became the jokester of the Bronze Age. His legacy as part of the speedsters is cemented among the DC faithful.

To observe Kiss A Ginger Day, find your favorite red head and plant a big wet one on ‘em. If you don’t know any and don’t want to risk a restraining order – or worse – just find a back issue with Wally as Kid Flash or the Flash.

Derek Forgie founded Kiss a Ginger Day in 2009.

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.

Posted Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 by Barry

What If…? (1976) 26

Today is a day of decision. Whether we, the people, make it, the Electoral College or sinister societies hinted at in the best episodes of the X-Files.

Today is Election Day. The day many will file to the booths, tap their choice on a touch screen and go away feeling they may have made a difference.

Whatever the case, Four Color Holidays presents our candidate for President: Captain America.

What If…? (1976) 26

What If…? (1976) 26

True, Cap chose not to run in Captain America 250. But, this is What if…?, the series that explores other avenues not traveled in the Marvel U.

In this issue, Cap makes the fateful decision to toss his cowl into the political ring. Mike W. Barr, Herb Trimpe and Mike Esposito tell a tale in which Captain America is a symbol, but Steve Rogers is the figure.

Under the leadership of a man of honor, America prospers. As it does, the concentric circles of prosperity spread. Most notably to a small, South American country. With material aid, a dictatorship is overthrown and democracy established.

President Rogers makes a goodwill tour only to find an old evil waiting to destroy his dreams.

As with any of the What if…? stories, What if Captain America Were Elected President? is summed up in verse: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy, 4:7.

Trivia: Jack Kirby is featured as Chief Justice of the United States swearing in Cap on the cover.

Though not touted on the cover, What if…The Man-Thing had Regained Ted Sallis’ Brian? is a back story.

Posted Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 by Barry

Secret Origins (1986) 44

It’s time to get a little muddy today – in honor of National Mudpack Day.

Mud Pack is the colloquial name for Basil Karlo, Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller, the four original Clay Face personalities. That’s how we’re tying in National Mudpack Day and comic books.

The unofficial holiday celebrates the practice of mixing water and dirt to smear on one’s self. Mud packs are reputed to be therapeutic. Rumored benefits include increased circulation, the easing of muscle tension, releasing of toxins and boosting of immunity.

Secret Origins 44

Secret Origins 44

Our Mud Pack is a fictional group of Batman villains.

The Golden Age Clay Face is Karlo, first introduced in Detective Comics (1937) 40. The addled and aging actor was not invited to reprise a movie role and goes on a murder spree.

He next appeared in Batman (1940) issue 208 and Detective 496.

Matt Hagen is the heir apparent, first appearing in Detective Comics 298. Rather than acting, the second Clay Face is a treasure hunter. His discovery of a radioactive ooze does not go well and he finds himself a literal clay being.

Preston Payne is next in line for the title. His first appearance is Detective 477. A STAR Labs employee, his is a more tragic origin. The search for a cure goes unfulfilled and ending in tragedy.

Sondra Fuller is the fourth installment in the line-up. She first appeared in Outsiders (1983) 21, transformed into a shape changer by Kobra technologies.

Cassisus “Clay” Payne is the love child of Payne and Fuller. He first appeared in Batman 550.

Clay Face number six also debuted in Batman 550. Dr. Peter “Claything” Malley is a clone of Cassius Payne.

Todd Russell premiered in Catwoman (2002) issue one. Russell is more of a serial killer preying on prostitutes.

Finally, to date, is Johnny Williams. Williams first appeared in Gotham Knights 60 and was a former firefighter who became the mud monster after a mishap at a chemical plant fire.

Several other versions have cropped up throughout the DCU and in other media.

So, if you’re getting dirty, make sure your hands are clean before reading any comic books featuring the above-mentioned villains.

Posted Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

For a brief time in almost as brief a life, Timothy Harrison is given an opportunity to meet his hero.

Roger Stern writes a doubleheader in this issue, but it’s not “And He Strikes Like a Thunderball” that’s remembered. Cover story and second feature, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” is the focus of the book. It also makes a strong case for today’s observance:  National Tackle Kids Cancer Day.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

After reading a column in the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is made aware of a fan. While readers won’t learn the real reason for the rare visit till story’s end, we are able to enjoy the wide-eyed innocence of the fan and the bittersweet revelations made by the hero.

With an unprecedented gesture Spider-Man leaves his young fan to face another day. If one is granted. The final panels reveal Timothy has leukemia. His time is short.

Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. The American Cancer Society estimates leukemia will claim 22,840 lives this year. About three out of four leukemias among children and teens are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Most of the remaining cases are acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

For more information, log onto the ACS Web site.

Posted Sunday, September 13th, 2020 by Barry

National Comics (1949) 1

The original Uncle Sam and comic book hero each have a colorful story. One we celebrate today with the presidentially proclaimed Uncle Sam Day.

Uncle Sam began as slang to identify barrels of meat supplied to soldiers during the War of 1812. The recently formed United States of America was shortened to the stamped U.S. on the barrels. Soldiers began to identify these as being from Uncle Sam, aka meat packer Samuel Wilson of New York.

National Comics (1949) 1

National Comics (1949) 1

The first depiction of Uncle Sam appeared in Harper’s Weekly for a political cartoon. Thomas Nast is credited with the version we know today, bedecked in top hat and striped pants.

Montgomery Flagg was the artist who portrayed the steely-eyed, stern Sam on the iconic “I Want You for the U.S. Army” posters proliferating America during World War I.

Our Uncle was originally published by Quality Comics in 1940. This four-colored Sam was rumored to be the ghost of a Revolutionary War soldier who died fighting for the new nation from England.

Sam jumped ship for DC in 1950 when National Periodicals bought out Quality and its stable of characters. He wouldn’t see much print before the 1970s when he became a supporting member of the Justice League of America.

As the U.S. began obsessing over the bicentennial, Sam returned leader of the Freedom Fighters.

The character continued to undergo various incarnations over the years, based on the whims of writers.

On Sept. 13, 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed Uncle Sam Day into existence. Samuel Wilson’s birthday was used as the date, which coincided with the bicentennial of his birth city Troy, NY.

Posted Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 by Barry

Care Bears (1985) 1

For the diabetics in the audience make sure your insulin is handy, today is Care Bears Share Your Care Day.

The Care Bears were created as a painting for greeting cards in 1981. By 1983 they had a firm claw hold in merchandising with plush animals. The licensing onslaught was enabled by television specials The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings and The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine.

Care Bears (1985) 1

Care Bears (1985) 1

Half-hour advertisements – cartoons – aired from 1985 to 1988. Three movies were also forthcoming.

Care Bear likenesses were plastered on everything from toys to school supplies. That included comic books. Marvel Comics jumped on the gravy train with the Star Comics imprint for 20 issues from 1985 to 1989.

Like all fads, the Care Bears faded from public consciousness until the youth who worshipped came full circle wishing to return to their childhood again. The Care Bears were revived in 1991, again in 2002, 2007, 2012 and, to date, 2019.

To celebrate with these undying denizens of plush cuddliness, “…spread the caring and encourage fans to spread caring, love, friendship, acceptance, fun and happiness to those you love every day.”

Care Bears Share Your Care Day has been recognized as a non-holiday since May of 2015.

Posted Friday, September 4th, 2020 by Barry

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

In case any readers out there still remember what a newspaper is, today is National Newspaper Carrier Day.

Standard bearer for the day will be Billy Batson, aka Captain Marvel.

Not that Captain Marvel.

The one who starred in Shazam.

Captain Marvel was created by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. Fawcett Comics debuted The Big Red Cheese on the cover of Whiz Comics issue 2 and within a couple years was the best-selling super hero of the 1940s. Even more so than Superman.

Captain Marvel is the alter ego of newsboy Billy Batson. A wizard bestowed the ability to gain the combined best attributes of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury by saying his name: Shazam.

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

Whiz Comics (1939) 2

Design of Captain Marvel was based on the late actor Fred MacMurray. Whiz Comics issue two was published in late 1939 with the Captain as the headliner. His main foil, Doctor Sivana also premiered in this issue.

In 1941 Republic Pictures presented a serial, the Adventures of Captain Marvel.

Detective Comics, better known as DC Comics today, filed a lawsuit against Fawcett in 1941 citing Captain Marvel was too similar to their bread winner, Superman. It wasn’t until 1948 the case actually saw the inside of a courtroom. Captain Marvel was found to be a near clone, but DC was also found to have been negligent in copyright laws allowing Superman, and his concept, to fall under public domain.

Fawcett won the decision passed down in 1951.

DC appealed and the initial verdict was overruled. The Captain Marvel character was not found to be an infringement, though certain of his characteristics could be considered infringements. The matter would have to be retried.

Rather than continue the endless litigation, Fawcett settled with DC out of court. In 1953, they agreed to cease publication of super hero comic books and paid $400,000 in damages.

Fawcett closed its doors that same year.

DC obtained the rights to Captain Marvel and, under the leadership of Carmine Infantino, brought him back to the four-colored page in 1972. Marvel Comics had grabbed the unused Captain Marvel moniker meaning DC now had to use Shazam as the book’s title.

Initially, the book was called Shazam! with the sub-title The Original Captain Marvel, but the cross-town rival took umbrage and filed a cease and desist order. The subtitle was changed to The World’s Mightiest Mortal with issue 15.

Though never regaining the popularity he enjoyed in the 1940s, Marvel and family have endured through each of DC’s crises and incarnations. Most recently the good Captain starred in own self-titled movie that grossed $364 million world-wide. A sequel is in production.

To celebrate today, add something special for your carrier’s delivery route.

Posted Friday, August 28th, 2020 by Barry

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994) 1

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers helped launch the Fox Kids entertainment schedule in 1993 so let’s launch National Power Rangers Day with issue one.

This Japanese import is based on the Super Sentai franchise. Super Sentai is a television series based on a band of heroes and produced by the Toei Company and Bandai.

The Americanized version premiered Aug. 28, 1993. The afternoon airings spawned a merchandising juggernaut with toy sales alone totaling $6 billion by 2001.

Hamilton Comics was the first to pick up the rights. Three separate series were published from 1994 to 1995 totaling 13 issues.

Marvel Comics pumped out an adaptation of the movie along with two series equaling another 13 issues in 1995.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994) 1

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994) 1

Image Comics acquired the rights in 1996 and released Power Rangers Zeo. Four issues were released.

Acclaim Comics was the next publishing company to produce material. In 1997 three issues of a magazine, Power Rangers Turbo, were released. One was a crossover with Bettleborgs Metallix.

As the new millennium began, Tokyopop took over and for a year produced several photo-comic books of episodes. These included Power Rangers Ninja Storm and Power Rangers Dino Thunder.

Disney Publishing Worldwide were next with a strip in the Disney Adventures magazine.

Future Publishing also featured the Power Rangers in a strip format in its existing United Kingdom Jetix magazine from 2004 to 2009.

Egmont Group published a Power Rangers magazine from 2004 to 2010. The UK-based company focused on Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Power Rangers S.P.D., Power Rangers Mystic Force, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, Power Rangers Jungle Fury and Power Rangers RPM.

Bandai was responsible for a mini-comic book based on Power Ranges Jungle Fury that came with figures in 2008.

Panini Comics was responsible for publication from 2012 to 2015 with two issues based on Power Rangers Samurai, Power Rangers Super Samurai, Power Rangers Megaforce and Power Rangers Super Megaforce.

Papercutz published three issues in 2014.

Currently Boom! Studios has the contract.

Hasbro established National Power Rangers Day on Aug. 28, 2018 for the 25th anniversary of the franchise.