Archive for the ‘Unofficial Holidays & Observances’ Category

Posted Monday, June 29th, 2020 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 6

Smile pretty and polish your lens, it’s National Camera Day.

Action Comics (1938) 6

Last year Peter Parker/Spider-Man emceed festivities. This year we’re tapping Jimmy Olsen as the freckled face of the (non) holiday.

The Daily Planet’s chief shutterbug’s first appearance is questionable. Action Comics issue six has a bow-tie wearing office boy, but his name wasn’t mentioned until the April 15, 1940, episode of the Superman radio show.

It wasn’t until Superman (1939) issue 13 in late 1941 the name Jimmy Olsen appeared in a comic book. His popularity grew enough that by 1954 Jimmy had his own book, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. It would last until 1974 when it was merged with The Superman Family book.

Crises and reboots have not been able to dislodge Olsen from Superman’s coattails. His character and (marginal) popularity continue to this day.

To celebrate the day, snap a photo of someone close to preserve the memory. Photos can be shared by using #NationalCameraDay.

Posted Saturday, June 20th, 2020 by Barry

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

Now that all the 20s have lined up – June 20, 2020 – let’s celebrate the end of another winter and the advent of good weather:  the first day of Summer. Last year we had Franklin Richards kick start the summer months. This year we’re calling upon the Impossible Man.

For those unfamiliar with the green and purple Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation, Impossible Man is, essentially, Marvel’s Mr. Mxyzptlk. Impossible Man first appeared in Fantastic Four issue 11. He would continue to conjure himself back on Earth primarily a foil for the FF. He eventually branched over to bother Spider-Woman, the X-Men, Excalibur, Avengers and Silver Surfer throughout the ensuing years.

By 1990 he was poised for his own special. Possibly the one promised by Stan way back in Fantastic Four 176. This was the time when Impossible Man invaded Marvel Comics offices. He refused to leave until Stan promised to print a special for him alone. If you have yet to read the book, stop, go find a copy and enjoy.

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (1990) 1

The Impossibles – no relation – decide it’s time to vacation. With the family. All however many of ‘em there are.

Anyway, the self-proclaimed summer spectacular is a series of vignettes following an ‘Improlog.’

First up is ‘How Green was my Villain?’ involving Impossible Man taking the guise of a carousal of Spider-Man baddies. Most already sporting the green and purple motif.

‘Girls Don’t Wanna Have Fun!’ features Madcap and Quasar.

Dr. Strange outlasts Impy in ‘Impossible but Strange.’

She-Hulk and Janet VanDyne, aka the Wasp, are beleaguered by Impossible Woman who destroys VanDyne’s fashion show.

‘A Night to Remember’ features the Punisher who is none too amused by Impossible Man’s antics.

Dr. Doom has the last laugh when he sends the Impossible kids packing to Dizzyworld.

Yes, you read that right:  Dizzyworld.

Remember, this was before Disney’s $4 billion Marvel buy out in April 2018.

This is 1990. And, scribe Peter David is having his way with Mickey and company. If you’re gonna pick this issue up, do it for this story alone. David is brilliant with his cracks at the mouse-eared empire. Gotta love a pants-less Howard the Duck in the background thumbing his beak at the legal decree he wear pants lest he resemble a certain Disney mallard.

The issue finally settles down as the Impossibles – again, no relation – make their next stop on the Skrull world to continue their vacation. At present, there has been no follow up.

Posted Friday, June 19th, 2020 by Barry

Garfield (2012) 1

A year after his comic book debut, Garfield was syndicated in over 2,580 newspapers and journals.

Boom! Studios picked up the feline for a monthly title featuring Mark Evanier as scribe. Evanier supervised the animated Garfield and Friends and The Garfield Show.

The lasagna-guzzling cat began his career in the comic strips. Garfield went nationwide in 1978 and, by 2013, Garfield earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most widely syndicated strip on Earth.

With his recognition has come the desire to own a piece of the pussycat. The fictional feline is worth a cool $750 million to $1 billion annually in merchandising alone.

All of this has contributed to earning his (un)official holiday, National Garfield the Cat Day. June 19 has become that day.

It was originally celebrated in 1998 to commemorate Garfield’s 20th anniversary of the comic strip and his birthday.

Celebrate with a pan of lasagna and some favorite strips and comics of the nation’s top ranked cat.

Posted Monday, June 15th, 2020 by Barry

Joker (1975) 1

Who better to represent the non-holiday National Smile Power Day than one of comic book’s toothiest characters, the Joker.

No one else in the DCU has made it his mission to make others smile the way the Joker has. Since his first appearance in Batman (1940) issue one, the Harlequin of Hate has set his sights on chaos with a smile.

The Joker began as a psychopath before being toned down for the 1950s and into the ‘60s. The prankster persona was put to rest by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams in Batman 251, ‘The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge.’

Joker (1975) 1

Joker (1975) 1

The Clown Prince of Crime would continue down his dark path with The Killing Joke in 1988. In the prestige one shot, Joker would shoot and cripple Barbara Gordon. A year later he would kill Jason Todd, the second Robin, in ‘A Death in the Family.’

In 2011 ‘Death of a Family’ would exam the Joker’s relationship with not only the Dark Knight, but the rest of the Bat family.

The comic book pictured in conjunction with today’s non-holiday is the first issue of Joker’s all-too-short-lived, self-titled book. Joker ran nine issues beginning May-June, 1975 through September-October, 1976.

Each issue featured a one-and-done story, usually guest-starring a hero or villain from the DCU.

Issue 10 was scheduled to be published, the first part of ’99 and 99/100% Dead.’ It did not see print until Aug. 14, 2019.

To celebrate National Smile Power Day, challenge yourself to smile more often.

Posted Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 by Barry

National Donald Duck Day

Give the duck his due – and his day – National Donald Duck Day has dawned.

Donald made his debut in the animated ‘The Wise Little Hen’ in 1934. It wasn’t until 1937 the ill-tempered fowl first appeared in four color. This was in an Italian comic book. Donald did not make it to the English-speaking world until a year later with England’s Fleetway publication.

Four Color Comics 9

Four Color Comics 9

Not until 1942 did Western Publishing take over chronicling chores. One of the first stories was ‘Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold’ by Bob Karp. Other illustrators would follow including Jack Hannah and the man who became most associated with Donald and the duck, Carl Barks.

From Barks flowed most of the duck lore used today.

Donald has flourished over the years, appearing on television, in movies and every other media available. He continues to appear in four color as well as co-starring on the new incarnation of Duck Tales airing on Disney.

National Donald Duck Day is an annual event celebrated June 9 to commemorate his screen debut. Since then, Donald has been in more films than any other Disney character.

His national day began in 1984 in honor of Donald’s 50th birthday.

Posted Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020 by Barry

Showcase (1956) 4

Today is a day to commemorate something most of us do not care to participate in: National Running Day.

To recognize this unofficial-holiday we choose Flash. Not just any Flash, but the Flash who heralded in the Silver Age. The Flash who helped usher out the Bronze Age. The Flash who sped across two-and-a-half decades with a roster of villains who coined the phrase “Rogues Gallery.”

This is the Barry Allen Flash.

Barry Allen was introduced in Showcase issue 4, the brainchild of Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino. After Hiroshima and the world became measured in half life, the masked men of the Golden Age became after thoughts. Only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman survived cancellation.

Showcase (1956) 4

Mr. Allen became a test subject to see if the reading public were ready for mystery men again.

They were and Silver Age counterparts to their Golden Age predecessors debuted in Showcase before jumping to their own books.

Next, Flash would open the DCU to a multitude of universes via his cosmic treadmill. In Flash 123, Barry Allen brought not only the Golden Age of DC back, but mapped a path to other Earths.

His legs would carry him through personal and universal(s) crisis only to return courtesy of Geoff Johns and a loophole.

Barry Allen continues to speed through the DC imprint and has earned his own television series as well as co-starring on the Silver Screen.

It may seem counterproductive to sit down and reacquaint yourself with the Scarlet Speedster on a day of running, but, in my opinion, it’s a better option than tying on some running shoes and hitting the pavement

Posted Sunday, May 31st, 2020 by Barry

National Autonomous Vehicle Day

National Autonomous Vehicle Day is a time to observe the future of freedom behind the wheel.

To commemorate the (non) holiday, let’s take a look at the ultimate car. Forget Back to the Future’s Delorean, KITT and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we’re talking Batmobile.

The Batmobile has been part of the Bat lore since Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics issue 27. Granted, then it was a plain, red roadster with no gadgetry, but Batman had a means of conveyance.

Since its humble beginnings, the Batmobile has blossomed into a modern marvel. Slowly at first, but with vigor as the notion grew.

It wasn’t until Batman issue five, Spring of 1941, the Batmobile was given its trademark bat head on the front grill. It was about that same time it was christened as the Batmobile.

The car continued to evolve and by the 1966 live-action series, the Batmobile was already an icon. George Barris’ handiwork for the screen-used vehicle only immortalized the car.

Since then the Batmobile has continued to evolve in both comic book, television, movies and video games.

While National Autonomous Vehicle Day celebrates travel to come, we also remember what has gone before, “Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed.”

Evolution of Batmobiles

Posted Friday, May 15th, 2020 by Barry

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) 1

Cowabunga, dude, today is National Pizza Party Day.

Kinda feel like I need a shower after that sentence. Still, between the surfer slang and announcement of the non-holiday, it should be obvious today is also the day we talk about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) 1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1984) 1

First, the day.

National Pizza Party Day, not to be confused with National Pizza Day observed in February, is celebrated the third Friday in May. The origins of day harken back to ancient Greece when they smeared oils, herbs and cheese on their bread. The Romans created a sheet of dough topped with cheese and honey, then flavored with bay leaves.

Pizza as we know it began in Italy, a Neapolitan flatbread with only mozzarella cheese. The first pizza restaurant was opened in America in 1905. Service men returning home from World War II also brought back an appetite for the delicacy allowing its popularity to spread.

Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird generated the Turtles as a parody of popular comic book tropes in the early 1980s. Though a sartorial statement, the Turtles were a more mature book in the beginning.

By 1987 Eastman and Laird’s creation had a strong following in the comic book community. Enough so, the two were approached concerning licensing of their product. Mark Freedman shopped the product around and soon had interest from Playmates Toys for action figures.

This being the 1980s, the toys were coupled with an animated afternoon feature acting as a half-hour advertisement. Both snowballed and a plethora of merchandise followed as did a live-action Hollywood offering in 1990.

The Turtles continue to capture and captivate new audiences today as the merchandising multiplies and animated features follow.

To celebrate today, throw a pizza party and pop in some Turtles.

Posted Monday, May 4th, 2020 by Barry

Star Wars (1977) 1

Former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter has never spared credit that Star Wars was the salvation of the company during a hard time in 1977 and 1978.

So, to celebrate Star Wars Day let’s take a look at the history of the space fantasy in the four-color universe.

Lucasfilm Publicity Supervisor Charles Lippincott first approached Marvel figurehead Stan Lee in 1975 about publishing an adaptation prior to the film’s release. Lee declined, citing he would do nothing until the movie was completed. Roy Thomas, a writer at Marvel and key figure in licensing Conan for Marvel, arranged a marriage between the publishing company and fledging movie maker.

Star Wars (1977) 1

To sweeten the pot, Lucas agreed not to accept royalties until sales exceeded 100,000 issues. The first issue hit spin racks April 12, 1977. When the movie was released, the comic went into several reprintings. The boost in sales got Marvel over a hump during a hard time in the industry.

The series continued from 1977 to 1986 with 107 issues and three annuals.

Star Wars issues one through six adapted the movie. With issue seven, Roy Thomas began penning original adventures. Archie Goodwin replaced Thomas with issue 11 and teamed with penciller Carmine Infantino. Together, they crafted adventures to keep the faithful placated until the cover-dated September 1980 issue 39. In that publication the adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back began.

Following the six-issue retelling, Marvel returned to its original stories with David Michelinie and Walt Simonson acting as the new creative team with issue 51. Ron Frenz took over artistic duties with issue 71.

Marvel deviated from its normal practice when adapting Return of the Jedi. The third installment of the original trilogy was printed outside the chronological order of comic books in a four-issue mini-series.

Following Return, Jo Duffy took over writing chores with art by Cynthia Martin. LucasFilms chose to discontinue the series by 1986.

As part of Marvel’s Legacy numbering, issue 108 was released in 2019 continuing original issue 50’s ‘The Crimson Forever’ story.

It’s hard to imagine a time when Star Wars was hard to find. For those who were there, Marvel’s continuation of the saga was a God send. For those who weren’t, it’s a hard read and a curiosity.

Posted Saturday, May 2nd, 2020 by Barry

Free Comic Book Day

In light of current events, Free Comic Book Day has been postponed at best. However, there are some of us not willing to forget what the day normally is like. This is also a good time to remember our local comic shops, their owners and how they are faring.

Free Comic Book Day is celebrated the first Saturday of May. Comic shop owners have a choice whether to participate or not. If so, they may purchase, at a steeply discounted rate, any or all of the 47 titles chosen by a committee of shop owners.

Titles are representative of what the market has to offer each year. Included this year are:

Blue Ribbon titles: Archie: Riverdale, the Ties that Bind; Power Rangers: Slayer; Critical Role & Norse Mythology; DC: a top secret offering; My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; Fire Power issue one; Investi Gators Take the Plunge; X-Men issue one; Only a Matter of Space Time!; Jack Kirby: Epic Life King of Comics; Valiant 2020: Year of Heroes; and Zelda: Twilight Princess Splatoon Squid Kids.

Silver Ribbon Comics: Dark Ark Instinct; Hillbilly Lizard of Rusty Creek Cave; The Resistance; Lady Mechanika; Lumberjanes Farewell to Summer; Captain Canuck & Captain Battle issue one; Stranger Things & Minecraft; DC secret project; Little Lulu: No Boys Allowed; Manhwa Contemporary Korean Comics; The Boys issue one; Disney Masters: Donald Duck Special; The Richard Fairgray Monster Showcase; Enter the Incal issue one; Usagi Yojimbo; Invincible issue one; Mean Girls: Senior Year; Sue & Tai-Chan Preview; Spider-Man Venom issue one; The Tick; Super Mercado Mix Tape; Asterix FCBD Special; Loud House FCBD Special; Patrol Squad Kingdom Caper; Best of 2000 AD issue zero; Stepping Stones & Max Magnificent; Donut the Destroyer; Owly the Way Home; Blade Runner 2019; Horizon Zero Dawn; Bibi Miyu & Little Tanuki; Street Fighter issue 100 Ryu vs. Chun Li; Brandon Sanderson: Dark One issue one; Naruto Samurai 8 Viz Manga; Weirn Books; CBLDF & Boom Defend Comics and 2020 Overstreet Guide to Collecting.

So, ask not what your comic shop for you, but what you can do for your comic shop. Visit, browse, but don’t take more than you need. Plus, see what else the shops have available beyond the free tables

Free Comic Book Day