Category Unofficial Holidays & Observances

Secret Origins (1986) 44

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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.

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Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

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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.

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National Comics (1949) 1

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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.

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Care Bears (1985) 1

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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.

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Whiz Comics (1939) 2

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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.

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1994) 1

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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.

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Adventure Comics (1938) 210

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Krypto the Super Dog represents our four-legged friend for National Dog Day.

Whether purebred or a mutt from the street, dogs bring love to peoples lives. It is only fitting our canine compatriots are given their day.

To observe, consider adopting your own pooch. If that’s a bit extreme for your lifestyle, we suggest some virtual pet ownership through reading. More specifically, with Superboy/Superman’s dog, Krypto.

Adventure Comics (1938) 210

Adventure Comics (1938) 210

(Super)man’s best friend first appeared in Adventure Comics 210. He was Kal-El’s dog on Krypton. Jor-El tapped Krypto to test an earlier model of rocket. A quirk of fate brought the forlorn Fido to Earth to be reunited with his master.

Under the yellow sun, Krypto’s abilities were enhanced as well. The crime-fighting canine was given a yellow collar with the “S” emblem and a red cape to complement Superboy’s.

Krypto would go on to become a member of the 30th century’s Legion of Super Pets and the Space Canine Patrol Agents. He would have his own feature beginning in The Superman Family issue 182. This ran for 10 issues.

Krypto no longer existed after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Not at first. He would be reintroduced, as would so much of what had been erased during the original crisis. Krypto would go from an ordinary dog with augmented powers to a canine from Krypton once again. The New 52 would take those powers away only to have them restored with DC Rebirth.

The world’s mightiest dog has appeared in most incarnations of the animated DCU beginning with cameos in 1966’s The Adventures of Superboy. In 2005 Cartoon Network gave Krypto his own series simply titled Krypto the Superdog.

He was also mentioned in the live action Smallville.

Krypto has further appeared in DC Universe Online, Lego Batman 2: DC Super heroes, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Infinite Crisis and Lego DC Super Villains games.

Use #NationalDogDay to recognize your love of dogs today.

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Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

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Following up yesterday’s celebration of kindness is today’s day of freedom as man stretched in another dimension and conquered a new frontier. Today is National Ride the Wind Day.

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

One of those who truly is a wind rider, at least in the Marvel Universe, is Ororo Munroe, or Storm.

Her ascension to the clouds was born of a natural ability to shape the elements to her whim. When Len Wein and Dave Cockrum introduced Ororo in Giant-Size X-Men issue one, she was as much a mystery to her audience as her teammates. She shed her goddess honorific mistakenly bestowed upon her and became more.

In reality Storm became the first major black female character in comic books. In fiction she was one of the first of the new X-Men soon-to-be-scribe Chris Claremont would catapult to legendary status.

Claremont and Cockrum, later John Byrne, and Cockrum again, laid a literary foundation that became a golden goose for Marvel Comics. The X-Men earned much deserved credit through the 1980s until exploding in the 1990s as a flagship title not only in comic books, but the outside world as well.

Ororo – Storm – belonged to every incarnation of the mutant standard bearers. She would earn another honorific when she married T’Challa, aka Black Panther leader of Wakanda.

Storm has appeared in X-Men, X-Men: Evolution, Wolverine and the X-Men and Marvel Super Hero Squad. Other animated appearances include Black Panther, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Ultimate Spider-Man.

On the big screen, Storm was in the original X-Men trilogy as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. She made cameos in X-Men: First Class and Deadpool 2.

It will be harder for us mere mortals to “take to the air” as suggested by National Day Calendar’s site, but we can live vicariously through Ororo in all forms of media.

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X-Men (1963) 1

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With his golden locks and alabaster wings, Warren Worthington III is the logical choice to host National Be An Angel Day.

X-Men (1963) 1

X-Men (1963) 1

First appearing in X-Men 1, Warren was more of an antagonist within the group in the love triangle that included Scott Cyclops Summers and Jean Marvel Girl Grey. This would continue through the book’s run of original stories with issue 66. The book went into a short hiatus only to be revived as a reprint title.

When the original team was ousted – with the exception of Cyclops – in favor of fresh blood, Angel and former X-Men teammate Iceman began anew in California. Their new team, the Champions, didn’t fare well and lasted a mere 17 issues.

Angel would return to the X-Men in guest appearances. Not until X-Factor was he member of a mutant team again. As before, he found himself gone when a new team came onboard in issue 70.

He returned to his original fold with volume two of Uncanny X-Men. He had a home there for most of the 1990s as well as a few team ups in mini-series.

Angel bounced around for a time after the new millennium dawned until finally abandoning the hero business in favor of personal business.

Other incarnations have been present in television, first with the 1966 Saturday morning Marvel Super Heroes animated feature. He appeared in two episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, but was a prominent player in X-Men: Evolution. He was Archangel in the popular 1990s X-Men Fox cartoon.

Angel was a character in several video games, but only appeared briefly on the big screen.

National Be An Angel Day is the 1993 creation of Howard Feldman to encourage acts of kindness.

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Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 204

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Last year we celebrated Black Cat Appreciation Day with Amazing Spider-Man 194 and 195. This year let’s follow the non-holiday up with Felicia Hardy’s second appearance, Amazing Spider-Man 204 and 205.

Using one of her nine lives, Felicia has survived her plunge from Amazing Spider-Man 195. As the Black Cat, she toys with Spider-Man stealing romantically-themed works of art over the next two issues.

It is revealed the thefts were made to complete a shrine Felicia is constructing to her love: Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man 204

Amazing Spider-Man 204

The infatuation would grow throughout the decade, mostly in the issues of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man. Not only grow, but become mutual.

As history has proved, Peter and Felicia were not meant to be. That fate was reserved for Mary Jane Watson.

Instead, Black Cat would go on to make various guest appearances. In 2002, she received her own mini-series.

Felicia would also co-star with Wolverine in a mini and the follow up in 2011 with a sequel. She was one of the headliners in the 2006-07 Heroes for Hire title.

In 2019 Jed Mackay began scripting her solo series.

Black Cat was introduced to viewers in the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon. She was a major player in several episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Black Cat was shelved – on television – until The Spectacular Spider-Man and brought back in the 2017 Spider-Man series on Disney XD.

To date she has only appeared as Felicia Hardy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on the silver screen.

As fans have come to appreciate Spider-Man’s former foe, many of us have come to love Felis catus. The same nocturnal creatures that prowl our homes and yards are celebrated around the world.

However, today has been set aside to acknowledge the ebony-adorned portion of the population. August 17 has been set aside to, according to National Day Calendar Web page, “…to dispel all myths surrounding black cats.”

To observe, consider adopting a black cat.

Black Cat Appreciation Day is not to be confused with National Black Cat Day, Oct. 27.

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