Archive for the ‘Unofficial Holidays & Observances’ Category

Posted Saturday, July 20th, 2019 by Barry

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.

Posted Thursday, July 11th, 2019 by Barry

7-11: Free Slurpee Day

Okay, this one may be a bit of a stretch, but I love Slurpees. I grew up with Slurpees. 7-Eleven and Slurpees with a comic book, or however many I could con mom and dad into from the rack.

I grew up in Middletown, VA. Back when it was abbreviated Va. In Middletown there was a 7-Eleven. That was where you went for snacks and one of the best two-fers ever created: comic books and Slurpees.

One of the first of those delicious semi-frozen treats I can remember came in a DC superhero cup. It may have been the Joker or Batman. Maybe Alfred, but it was one of the Bat family. Which suited me just fine. Batman was my favorite hero. Still is in the DC Universe.

7-11: Free Slurpee Day

7-11: Free Slurpee Day

I would beg to go back time and again. Get a Slurpee and a superhero cup. The bad thing is they failed to hold up in a dishwasher. The images and writing would fade after just one wash cycle.

If they survived that long.

Usually they were dropped and would break or shatter. Like our childhood, it was not meant to last.

If you remember these or have a mild interest in these oddities, check out The Dork Review:  1970s Slurpee Checklist for DC and Marvel.

If you don’t care and just want a free Slurpee, head to your local 7-Eleven and enjoy. They don’t carry comic books anymore, but the Coca-Cola slush mix will still freeze your brain if you’re not careful.

Posted Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 by Barry

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.

Posted Saturday, June 29th, 2019 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 2

National Camera Day may not be much reason for most to celebrate, but maybe it’ll give you an excuse to re-read some vintage Spider-Man comic books.

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 2

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 2

I’ll admit I’ve lost track of the Web Slinger. Calling him a Web Slinger may even date me. I wasn’t around for Amazing Spider-Man issue one, but I’ve been around for a lot of the others over the years. To be honest, I’m not sure where and what is going on with the Spider-Man titles these days.

Amazing Spider-Man 133 is, maybe, the first Spidey I remember reading. Maybe. That or the issue before.

Anyway, by issue 132 or 133 Spider-Man was fairly established. He had a substantial rogues gallery and had been working at the Daily Bugle since issue two.

That’s how we’re shoehorning in the second issue of Amazing Spider-Man for National Camera Day.

At the behest of Jolly J. Jonah Jameson himself, Peter Parker possibly started the selfie craze by photographing himself in action against the Vulture.

That was the beginning of Mr. Parker’s photojournalism career. As a freelancer, Peter was able to keep his aunt in medicine, himself in web fluid and just make the rent payment.

It also introduced an extended cast of characters including his first love, Betty Brant.

To observe National Camera Day, snap a photograph of someone you enjoy. Post photos on social media using #NationalCameraDay.

We suggest you toss in some choice issues of Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man.

Posted Friday, June 21st, 2019 by Barry

Franklin Richards: Summer Smackdown! (2008)

Today is the first day of summer. Not a Hallmark holiday – though there probably is a card you can buy – but, a true holiday on my calendar.

Today marks the triumph over another winter. Today is a reaffirmation of what we suffered under layers of clothing in the early days of this year. Today we can sing hosannas in the highest while bathed in the warming rays of another summer.

Franklin Richards: Summer Smackdown! (2008)

Franklin Richards: Summer Smackdown! (2008)

And, what better way to enjoy this day than with the first born of Marvel’s First family, the Fantastic Four?

Granted, this incarnation of Franklin Richards if out-of-continuity. This is not the Franklin born in FF annual six. But, a funner version. This Franklin, paired with the ever-faithful H.E.R.B.I.E., have a Calvin and Hobbes vibe as they adventure through the Marvel U.

This Franklin debuted in his first special, The Fantastic Four Presents Franklin Richards in November of 2005. His next appearance was April of 2006 in Everybody Loves Franklin, more of a Valentine’s Day tribute. From there Franklin became Marvel’s emcee of holidays with his first Super Summer Spectacular and Happy Franksgiving both the same year. Other holiday classics included Monster Mash in 2007, Spring Break and this Summer Smackdown for 2008 and April Fools in 2009.

Franklin hosted the unofficial March Madness holiday in 2007 and Fall Football Fiasco, a prelude to Super Sunday, in 2008. School’s Out is the last of the specials, released in 2009.

Other one-shots include World Be Warned in 2007 and the across-the-Marvel-Universe tie ins:  Not-So-Secret Invasion in July 2008 and It’s Dark Reigning Cats and Dogs in April of 2009.

Each special was broken down into four-to-five-page shorts. Mom, Dad, Uncle Johnny and Ben would make guest appearances as would other members of the Marvel Universe. Marc Steven Sumerak and Chris Eliopoulos handled scripting chores while Eliopoulos also took care of the penciling, inking, coloring and lettering.

Okay, now that you’ve fulfilled your commitment to us at Four Color Holidays, go enjoy this, the longest day of the year. When the sun finally dips below the horizon, maybe break out some Franklin Richards specials and remember what it is to be a kid again.