Posted Wednesday, April 20th, 2022 by Barry

Archie’s Weird Mysteries (2000) 4

Déjà vu – again – as we do a double take after seeing ourselves somewhere other than in a reflection.

April 20 is National Look Alike Day; a day to celebrate our clones. They can be a monozygotic (identical) twins or simply a day the gene pool became overloaded and two persons squeaked out close enough alike they could be a twin.

The odds of having a look alike are unknown. Science hasn’t pegged that down with a number, but admit the limited genetic characteristics available allow for similarities in appearances. Exact duplicates are an impossibility.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries (2000) 4

Archie Squared tackles the possibility in the lead story of Archie’s Weird Mysteries issue four.

When Mr. Andrews makes three dates with three different women for the same night, he must find a way out of his semi-menage a trois. He does so with a little help from eavesdropping and science. A series of misadventures at the movies brings the tale to a close.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries began as an animated series in 1999. Only one season aired, though it went into syndication and reruns in 2001.

The comic book series began in February of 2000. The title ran 34 issues, dropping Weird from the title after issue 25. Its premise was the same as the television series with the Riverdale gang finding themselves in X-Files type situations.

National Look Alike Day was created in the 1980s by Jack Etzel, a television reporter. While walking in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, Etzel found a man who looked like Humphrey Bogart. He decided to interview the man and the next day, contacted the Chase Calendar of Events and created the non-holiday.

Posted Sunday, April 17th, 2022 by Barry

The All New Flintstones and Pebbles (1970) 45

Happy Easter.

This ever-shifting holiday is observed on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. If spending the day in church with spiffy new threads, you already know this is Christianity’s most important day. Today represents the resurrection of Jesus on the third day following his crucifixion and death.

For those sitting at home stuffing their faces with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps, this may not have the same significance, so we’ll turn our attention to more secular traditions.

The comic of choice for today has little to do with Easter other than the cover. Interior tales in this cover-dated May 1976 The All New Flintstones and Pebbles issue include It’s Tough to Be a Genius, The Great Lover, The Bedrock Bullet, No Smart Talk and Happy New Year?

The All New Flintstones and Pebbles (1970) 45

This incarnation of the Flintstones in four-color ran a total of 50 issues, from November 1970 to February 1977.

Dell was the first publisher to feature the stone-age family in comic books with six issues distributed between December 1961 and August 1962. From there the license was picked up by Gold Key Comics who continued the numbering. The series ran from issue seven to 60 covering the remainder of the 1960s.

Charlton printed Fred, family and friends’ exploits for much of the 1970s before Marvel Comics retitled the franchise Hanna-Barbera’s Flintstones to close out the decade.

The title was excavated nearly a decade later for The Flintstones 3-D presented by Blackthorn Publishing in April of 1987. Marvel Comics turned out 11 issues of The Flintstone Kids beginning the same year and running through 1989.

Harvey and Archie Comics chronicled on their crusades for the first half of the 1990s while DC Comics brought the old millennium to a close. The same company would bring them back in 2016 for 12 issues.

The Flintstones originated on ABC Sept. 30, 1960, and aired until April 1, 1966. It was the first prime-time animated series earning the distinction as the most financially successful and longest-running network animated television series until The Simpsons.

The show was met with mixed reviews; reviled by critics, but loved by the viewing audience. Even today, it is derided as drivel with limited animation and plots.

Yet, the show survived and has continued to live on through the decades in reruns

Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 by Barry

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

Doctor Doom does not appear this Holy Week as we lead up to Easter Sunday.

Well, just on the cover. What we’re interested in for this Spidey Super Stories issue nine is the back-up story, Spidey Fights the Funny Bunny!

Yes, complete with exclamation mark.

Actually, this book packs a punch for its 35-cent cover price. Readers receive 32 ad-free pages. Opening the book is …The Day of Doom! It closes with Guess What’s Coming to Dinner!

In between is our Easter tale.

Spidey, as seen on the Electric Company, learns of the evil Funny Bunny while reading the evening paper. Though Spidey is not privy to the corrupt cottontail’s origin, readers learn she was a “…nice, normal person…until a bully sat on her Easter Basket.”

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

So scarred was she that she, “…turned to a life of crime…stealing from kids’ Easter Baskets.”

Ol’ Web Head deduces her next move will be to ruin the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. Spider-Man takes a train to Washington D.C. where he apprehends the heinous hare and all ends well.

Spidey Super Stories was a four-color spin off of the live-action shorts of the same name airing on the Electric Company. The television version ran from 1974 to 1977 with 29 episodes.

The companion comic book ran from 1974 to 1982 with 57 issues aimed at the six- to 10-year olds. Jean Thomas and Jim Salicrup authored the books with art by Win Mortimer. Each comic was reviewed by the staff at Marvel and Children’s Television Workshop.

Today’s offering comes the day before Maundy Thursday, remembering Jesus’s last supper. This coming Friday is known as Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Holy Saturday follows and is the period between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Easter is celebrated in a variety of ways by both those of the Christian faith and those outside the church. The first will largely choose to participate in church services on Easter Sunday while the later may be more comfortable sitting the sermon out and coloring eggs.

However you choose to commemorate, here’s an interesting fact. The Easter Bunny hails from medieval Germany. The Osterhase, or Easter Hare, became known for spreading about his colorful eggs in nests prepared by children. The tradition traveled to America with those now known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Join us Easter Sunday for a less enthused celebration. I know, ‘cuz I wrote that one first and it just didn’t come easy.

Posted Sunday, April 10th, 2022 by Barry

Sandman (1989) 8

National Siblings Day was founded six years after Sandman was introduced to readers.

The two intertwine in that one celebrates brothers and sisters while the other tolerates those same life mates forced on us by blood.

In 1995, Claudia Evart began Siblings Day to celebrate brothers and sisters. She had lost two siblings earlier in life and wished to impress upon others the importance of enjoying those we’re surrounded by before it’s too late.

April 10 was selected in remembrance of her sister, Lisette’s, birthday.

Sandman (1989) 8

Sandman, or Dream, of the DC Universe is bonded by his siblings as anthropomorphic representatives of ideals and natural states. Known as the Endless, as christened by creator Neil Gaiman, they are comprised of Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium/Delight and Destruction.

While constructs of ideas, each serve to fulfil a function in the lives of those they serve.

Death is the first of the Endless to be introduced by Dream. Her appearance in issue eight marks a departure for the title. Gaiman begins the end journey for Dream as he seeks to regain his existence.

She, of course embodies the end of life.

Destiny is the oldest of the family and the keeper of the Cosmic Log. The book includes the sum of existence, past, present and future.

Destiny was first introduced by Marv Wolfman and Bernie Wrightson as a host for DC’s horror anthology Weird Mystery Tales.

Desire is the androgynous sibling accounting for the baser cravings in the world.

She is twin to Despair, the cold representation of melancholy, misery and wretchedness.

Delirium is the youngest and flightiest of the Endless. Prior to an undisclosed tragedy, she was known as Delight.

Destruction was the last of the Endless to be introduced. Dream and Delirium set across the DC Universe to find their long-lost brother who abandoned his post so as not to assume responsibility for the ruination caused by advances in science.

Whether close of distant in feelings or distance, today is the day to remember the bond of DNA.

If not close, maybe find a copy of Brief Lives, a trade collecting Sandman issues 41-49, as Dream and Delirium seek out Destruction. Then find the rest of the title and read it if you haven’t already.

Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2022 by Barry

The Comic Book Story of Beer (2015)

The official title of the comic book is The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution.

That’s a hefty name for a hefty book; at 170 pages this is not bathroom reading. Even if that’s where you find yourself after one beer or a six pack.

All of this prelude is to introduce National Beer Day.

Today is the day to crack open a cold one, if so inclined, and down what is literally the world’s most consumed alcoholic beverage. Behind only water and tea, beer is the third most popular drink in the world.

High praise for a libation based on fermented cereal.

The Comic Book Story of Beer (2015)

This non-holiday is rooted in April 7, 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law allowing people to brew and sell beer again after 13 years of a “dry” America. The caveat was it could contain no more than four-percent alcohol by volume. This led to the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed Dec. 5, 1933.

Skip ahead to 2009 when Craft Beer Examiner Justin Smith of Richmond, VA, and friend Mike Connolly of Liverpool, England, created a National Beer Day Facebook page.

On April 7, to commemorate the Cullen-Harrison Act, naturally.

National Beer Day was officially recognized in by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2017. In 2018, House Joint Resolution 90 was introduced in Virginia General Assembly to officially recognize National Beer Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Comic Book Story of Beer was researched and written by Jonathan Hennessey, Mike Smith and Aaron McConnell and illustrated by McConnell.

Much acclaim has been awarded the New York Times Best Seller.

Readers learn how beer has literally transformed world history and shaped human affairs.

So, before tipping back a cold one, make sure you’re not going anywhere. If planning to delve into this tome, you probably won’t be for some time to come.

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2022 by Barry

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a reminder to those fortunate enough not to have been burdened by the tragedy of sexually abused children – 15 to 25 percent of all females and five to 15 percent of all males – Marvel Comics Group partnered with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse and the NEA in 1987 to promote awareness.

Spider-Man and Power Pack each provide a message, Spidey’s more personal than the members of the supporting story.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Web Head’s timely intervention stops a babysitter from continuing a sick game of make believe. To ease the victim’s conscious, Spider-Man confesses a time when his alter ego suffered at the hands of an older boy.

Power Pack help a friend trying to run from the abuse dealt by her father and a world she fears won’t believe her.

Both stories are sappy and strong at the same time, seeking an audience at risk both first hand and as by standers.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is dedicated to raising the awareness of the crimes against law books and humanity. The plight was first recognized during the month of April in 1983.

To report abuse, call Darkness to Light’s Helpline, 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (https://www.d2l.org/get-help/reporting/ to be routed to resources within your community. Or, call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline:  1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Posted Friday, April 1st, 2022 by Barry

The Three Stooges April Fools’ Day Special (2017) 1

Though they disbanded in 1970, the vaudeville comedy team of Moe, Larry and Curly have never been far from public consciousness.

Founded in 1922, original line up was known as Ted Healy and His Stooges. The team consisted of Healy and Moe Howard. Later, Howard’s brother Shemp would join the group followed by Larry Fine.

They would appear in the feature film Soup to Nuts before Shemp struck out on his own. Younger Howard brother Jerome “Curly” Howard would replace his sibling in 1932. Healy would leave by 1934 finalizing the lineup.

They would appear in 90-short films for Columbia pictures from 1934 to 1946, when Curly suffered from a stroke. Unable to continue working, Shemp returned, replacing the younger brother. He would die of a heart attack in 1955.

By the 1960s, the Stooges were back in the public eye enjoying success in a new medium: television. Joe DeRita became the new third man, Curly Joe.

Larry Fine would be the next Stooge to suffer medical problems. He would suffer a paralyzing stroke in 1970, finally dying in 1975.

The Three Stooges April Fools’ Day Special (2017) 1

The Stooges appeared in 220 films during their careers. Since their first appearance on television in 1949, their work has never stopped airing.

In this American Mythology Productions one shot, the three are reunited in The Brothers Dim. Moe, Larry and Curly find themselves muddling through a medieval mashup. In true Stooge fashion, the trio save the day much to their disbelief.

The main feature is followed by a reprint from Dell Four Color 1187 or Three Stooges issue five from 1961. The Duped Deputies is another misadventure in the mild west as the trio save the town bank vault.

Their first foray in the four-color world was courtesy of St. John in 1949. The company published two issues of the self-titled Three Stooges book. They rebooted the franchise in 1953 and featured the slap-stick trio in another seven books.

Dell offered a mid-series replacement with four issues of The Three Stooges from 1961 to 1962 numbered six through nine. The Three Stooges Meet Hercules would appear as a one-shot adaptation of the movie in 1962.

Gold Key assumed ownership next. They published 45 issues from 1962 to 1972.

Not much was heard from the Stooges until Malibu published The Three Stooges in The Knuckleheads Return! in 1989 followed by The Three Stooges in 3-D and The Three Stooges in Full Color, both in 1991.

NBM featured the Stooges in two issues for 2012 entitled The Best of the Three Stooges Comicbooks.

American Mythology Productions is the latest to bring them to the printed page. In 2016 the Stooges were featured in Curse of Frankstooge, Halloween Hullabaloo, Stooge-A-Palooza and Merry Stoogmas; all one shots.

They would be teamed with Laurel and Hardy in 2020.

Happy April Fools’ Day.

Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 by Barry

Journey Into Mystery (1952) 83

Welcome to National Doctors Day.

National Doctors Day is celebrated on March 30 each year to commemorate the anniversary of the first ether anesthetic for surgery administered by Doctor Crawford Long in 1842.

Today’s master of ceremonies is Dr. Donald Blake, aka Thor. Marvel’s first Thor. Marvel’s first superhero Thor.

Journey Into Mystery (1952) 83

Contrary to his origin in Journey into Mystery issue 83, Thor is the son of all fathers Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. He was also coming on the heels of the Hulk as Lee, Kirby and the soon-to-be christened Marvel Bullpen as they populated the Marvel Universe.

Readers were given a 13-page story and origin in which it was revealed Blake was not the human he believed himself be. Rather he was the punished son of Odin. The All Father had exiled his son to Midgard to teach him humility.

Thor dominated Journey into Mystery and the title was changed to reflect the stars status by issue 126. The book would showcase a talented group of artists and writers beginning with Kirby’s replacement, Neal Adams. John Buscema took over penciling chores after Adam’s two-issue stint.

Walt Simonson began guiding the book with issue 337. His run would last three years and showcase some of the Thunder God’s most memorable stories including the introduction of Beta Ray Bill and Thor as a frog.

Thor was rebooted following the Heroes Reborn saga. His second volume began in 1998 and ran till 2004. A third volume appeared in 2007.

He was given several new titles as the first Thor movie hit theaters in 2011. Thor would be part of the ensemble Avengers movies in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019 as well as starring in his own films in 2013 and 2017.

The first National Doctors Day was observed in Winder, GA. Dr. Charles B. Almond’s wife, Eudora, wanted to have a day to honor physicians. For the inaugural event, greeting cards were mailed and flowers placed on the graves of deceased doctors. The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors Day.

Posted Sunday, March 27th, 2022 by Barry

G.I. Joe (1982) 1

Today’s emcee and the non-holiday have nothing in common beyond their name, but that’s good enough for us.

National Joe Day is geared toward the caffeine-laded morning libation that seems to fuel most of the United States. As gathered from the pic to the side and the title of the comic book, we’re focusing on the general issue Joe Hasbro built a company on in 1964.

Two of the most common nicknames for coffee are java and cup of joe. Java refers to the region where the earliest coffee plantations were established.

“Cup a…” is a little more mysterious.

G.I. Joe (1982) 1

One of the earliest origins stems from a revolt sailors showed against Secretary to the Navy for World War I Josephus Daniels. The federal employee banned coffee from naval ships in hopes of higher moral standards. This backfired and seamen began downing huge quantities of the black liquid in retaliation.

Another theory is joe is an abbreviated form of jamoke, a slang term mashing java and mocha together.

A third possibility is rooted in WWI, too. George Constant Louis Washington invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. An important supplier during the War to End all Wars, it is believed George was shorted to Geo and – possibly – misread as Joe.

Whichever your preference, enjoy the day with your own blend of morning brew and Joe of choice.

As for the master of ceremonies, GI Joe began as a 12-inch representation of America’s fighting forces Feb. 2, 1964, developed by Stanley Weston. When war fell out of favor during the Viet Nam conflict, Joe became more of an adventurer.

As the 1980s dawned and President Ronald Reagan rallied around old glory and increased defense spending, Joe returned to his fighting man mode. Albeit in smaller stature. With rising oil prices and the success of Kenner’s three-and-three-quarter-inch line of Star Wars figures, the Real American Hero shrank to a more affordable height.

While Hasbro had licensed out the name for comic books as early as 1967, Marvel became the publishing company most associated with his four-color exploits.

They would publish 155 issues.

Posted Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022 by Barry

Krazy Komics (1942) 1

Nothing about the comic book featured or title of the book offers a clue as today being International Day of the Seal, but it is.

Unlike so many of our featured non-holidays, International Day of the Seal has an origin we can trace. In 1982, the United States Congress declared an International Day of the Seal to draw attention to the cruelty of seal hunts and to halt the extinction of the species.

On a lighter note, our seal of honor made his public debut in 1942 as a back-up feature in Krazy Komics issue one. Silly Seal began as a solo act along with Super Rabbit, Toughy Cat and soon-to-be cohort Ziggy Pig.

Silly Seal was part of a new bred of personality, originating in the fresh comic book medium rather than bouncing there from a newspaper strip or cartoon. Silly was the creation of Al Jaffee for Timely Comics. Timely would-be rechristened Marvel Comics two decades later.

Krazy Komics (1942) 1

Jaffee would later be better known as one of the original mad men of Mad Magazine. His career began with Seal and would earn him the title of longest-ever career comic book artist running to 2020. In his half century of work with Mad, only one issue would be published without his material.

Silly proved popular enough he would be teamed with Ziggy and the two received their own book in 1944. They would share the title for six issues, through September 1946.

Prior, they had already appeared as a team on the cover of Krazy Komics since January of 1943. They would continue as the featured characters on the cover through the final issue, 26, in 1946.

They would also be featured in Animated Funny Comic-Tunes and Silly Tunes while sharing star status in Ideal Comics and in All Surprise Comics as well as Comic Capers.

They would make one final Golden Age appearance in Animal Fun 3-D in 1953.

Silly would be revived briefly in 2009 for a guest shot in Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four and, again in 2018 and 2019 in Deadpool’s ongoing series.

As for International Day of the Seal, celebrate with some fun facts about the pinnipeds:

A group are called a raft, there are 33 species of seals, their whiskers help them detect prey in murky water, they can live 25 to 30 years and can weigh over 7,000 pounds.

Seals have been hunted for centuries for their meat, blubber and fur coats. Due to the unsupervised slaughter, some species have become endangered including Saimaa of Finland, Ungva of Quebec, Mediterranean monk seals and Hawaiian monk seals.

Take time to reflect on the genocide of a species before enjoying more fun aspects of the day like an animated feature or four-color fantasy.