Posted Friday, September 2nd, 2022 by Barry

Popsicle Comics (2015)

Marvel proves – again – there’s mucho money to be made in cross promotion and advertising.

Popsicle Comics (2015)

The House of Ideas pimped itself out once more in 2015 to co-create Flavor Force Popsicle Comics based on just what the title reads. The comic books featured a trio of factory manufactured flavors fighting evil done the Marvel way. The nine-part mini-series starred Ace Cherry, Popsicle Pete and Mandy Orange fighting against the evil Lord Weathervane.

The comic book was available in comic book stores or Popsicle.com (don’t bother, it’s long gone) or Marvel’s digital platform.

Apparently, this wasn’t the first combination of comics and flavored ice as Marvel and Popsicle teamed in 2003 featuring the frozen likenesses of Spider-Man and the Hulk as well as flying the colors of other Marvel heroes.

All of this to celebrate National Blueberry Popsicle Day. Though the flavor didn’t make the heroic line up of mid 2010’s Marvel merchandising, it does rate its own day.

Why?

‘Cuz someone somewhere decided it should exist.

Popsicles have been around since the 1920s, the frosty fevered dream of 11-year-old Frank Epperson. Young Master Epperson left his fruit drink sitting on the porch one cold night, complete with stirring stick. The next morning, he found it frozen and ready to lick. Epperson dubbed the creation the epsicle. It was changed to popsicle 18 years later.

While today is National Blueberry Popsicle Day, the most popular flavor is cherry. It’s day in the sun is August 26. Sorry we missed that one. Maybe next year.

 

Posted Tuesday, August 30th, 2022 by Barry

Pep Digital (2015) 152

National Beach Day was founded in 2014 by Collen Paige, the same pet and family lifestyle expert, conservationist, author and artist who brought us National Dog Day, National Cat Day, National Puppy Day and others.

A beach bunny in her youth, Paige chose to champion the conservation of beaches after saving a baby Pelican. The bird was starving due to fishing line wrapped around its beak and wing. Paige freed the Pelican and decided to start a day dedicated to saving beaches and the wildlife that called them home.

Best estimates place the number of beaches in America at 90,000. The most popular is Huntington Beach in southern California with 19-million annual visitors. St. Petersburg, FL, is next with 15 million.

In 2018 nearly 60 percent of 4,523 beaches tested across the US exhibited unsafe water pollution levels on at least one day based on a report by the nonprofits Environment American Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group.

Helping recognize the day are the gang from Riverdale. This environmentally friendly digital download features Betty, Veronica and the rest of the crew frolicking in the sun in this double-sized collection of reprints.

For those heading out for some fun in the sun remember, the light rays of the sun reflect off the ocean water, making it even more intense for your skin. Protect your skin by applying sunscreen.

If you don’t live near the beach, throw a beach-themed party. Turn the backyard into a beach-blanket bingo with towels, wading pools, cold drinks and summertime foods.

Pep Digital (2015) 152

Posted Friday, August 26th, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 45

For a third year, let’s pause and remember our four-legged friends.

Yes, today is National Dog Appreciation Day. We’ve remembered with two DC greats, Krypto and Ace. This year let’s look at the crosstown competition and celebrate with Lockjaw.

The Inhumans mascot first appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four 45 way back in December of 1965. That’s even before me. His creators were the immortal Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Lockjaw serves as loyal protector to the Royal Family. His ability to teleport makes him a handy addition to the Inhumans.

Fantastic Four (1961) 45

He would later co-star with fellow pet sidekicks Redwing, Ms. Lion, Zabu, Niels the Cat/Hairball and Throg as a member of the Pet Avengers. The group shared top billing in the four-issue mini series from 2009 of the same name. It proved popular enough, two more minis followed, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers: Unleashed in 2010 and Avengers vs. the Pet Avengers that same year and overlapping into 2011.

Lockjaw has appeared outside the four-color world, first on the 1978 Fantastic Four animated series in Blastaar, the Living Bomb Burst. He next guested in the 1994 version of the FF in Hopelessly Impossible. He has had recurring appearances on Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in Inhuman in Nature and Planet Monster part 2.

Spider-Man hosted the hound in Agent Web of the Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) cartoon. He also guest starred on the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series, Crystal Blue Persuasion.

But, enough about our host and more about the day itself.

National Dog Appreciation Day was founded in 2004 by Colleen Paige. To celebrate, adopt a dog, give yours a special treat or simply donate time or money a local animal shelter.

Posted Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022 by Barry

Django Unchained (2012) 1

Neither today’s non-holiday nor the accompanying “funny” book are pleasant topics.

Slavery Remembrance Day – or, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition – is observed on August 23 worldwide. Today has been chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to remember the transatlantic slave trade.

Django Unchained (2012) 1

Today is a day to commemorate the over 15 million men, women and children uprooted from Africa to be abused as slaves in a practice that lasted over 400 years. The slave trade began in the 15th century with the Portuguese as the first slave traders. Slaves were supplied to America from Africa and paid for by Europe.

Slaves first arrived in what would become the 13 colonies in 1619 in Jamestown, VA.

The first Slavery Remembrance Day was celebrated in Haiti in 1998.

August 23 was chosen due to its importance in deposing the trade. On August 22 to August 23, 1791, the first major slave uprising during the transatlantic slave trade happened in Saint Domingue in modern-day Haiti.

Dubbed the Haitian Revolution, it became a 13-year struggle lasting until 1804 when the natives wrested control of their island from French colonists.

America’s slave trade would not end until 1865 with the War Between the States.

Director Quentin Tarantino turned his eye to the old west in 2012 with Django Unchained. His Oscar winning movie focused on escaped slave and title character played by Jamie Foxx.

Django and bounty hunter cum savior Dr. King Schultz would spend the remainder of the movie searching for Django’s still enslaved wife.

Django Unchained would earn five Golden Globe Award nominations, but would go on to earn the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

The movie would earn $425 million on a $100 million budget and be Tarantino’s highest grossing movie to date.

DC’s seven-issue comic book adaptation was released to compliment the film, running through September of the following year.

Slavery continues to this day with an estimated 40 million people affected worldwide. Modern slavery is most prevalent in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Posted Saturday, August 20th, 2022 by Barry

Brightest Day, Blackest Night (2002)

Before television, before Internet, there was radio.

Radio was, literally, the voice that captured imaginations, entertained the masses and informed the world.

Today radio is more relegated to vehicles.

Brightest Day, Blackest Night (2002)

If Gugliemo Marconi couldn’t visualize what his creation was to become, neither could Nikola Tesla, who demonstrated the first radio in 1893. Hard as it may be to believe, radio wasn’t first envisioned as a communication device. It took many minds and hands to determine a functional use for the invention.

Lee de Forest made the first public transmission via the new device in 1910. In 1920, the first radio news program was broadcast out of Detroit, MI.

All of this has led to National Radio Day. Our host is Golden Age Green Lantern alias and radio announcer Alan Scott.

The 2002 Brightest Day, Blackest Night one-shot pre-dates the zombified and reunified titles of the later part of the decade.

This flashback showcases Scott and his golden oldie persona battling Nazis and Solomon Grundy at the behest of the Justice Society of America.

Radio station WGAH plays a minor character in the opening act setting the stage for the drama to come.

Scott was introduced in the pages of All-American Comics issue 16 in 1940. His skimpy eight-page introduction to the comic book reading universe was given the nod by legendary four-color pioneer Max Gaines.

Green Lantern would quickly become a member of the Justice Society and given a sidekick, taxi driver Doiby Dickles. Their exploits would continue to 1949 when disinterest in the mystery men would shelve the character for 12 years.

Radio would endure, even if Green Lantern would not – at least for a short publishing period.

Currently it is estimated 71 percent of the driving public listen to the radio while in their vehicle. At least 67 percent listen on a daily basis. Of those, 48 percent admit to singing along to the music broadcast; over half of them being women.

Today, turn on, tune in and drop the pretense: it’s National Radio Day. Spin the dial and find a good soundtrack for Brightest Day, Blackest Night.

Posted Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 by Barry

The Joker’s Joke Book (1988) Tor

For the music lover today marks the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ death. For the non-holiday enthusiast, today is National Tell a Joke Day; not to be confused with International Joke Day which is July 1.

It is thought jokes have existed as early as 1900 B.C. Palamedes is often cited as the grandfather of the joke, outsmarting Odysseus in the Trojan War. That’s just a theory, but as good an origin for the joke as any.

If the birth of the joke is a mystery, so is National Tell a Joke Day.

Eighteenth-century Cornish-born Samuel Foote is considered the first stand-up comedian. His troubled early life led him to London, England, where he became a fixture of coffee houses. Using his natural talent for impersonation and quick wit, Foote was dubbed The Coffee House Comedian.

He would die of a stroke in 1777.

The Joker’s Joke Book (1988) Tor

Since then, many have followed in his footsteps.

Our emcee is not so much a joker by profession, but in name.

Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the Joker of the DCU first appeared in Batman issue one, April 25, 1940.

His origin has been told and re-told, created and re-created. Just as his persona.

In the beginning there was a psychopath. The Joker would later be dumbed down to placate an audience that didn’t even read comic books. As mores changed, he would return to his murderous ways, in a chilling full circle.

By the late 1980s word of a major motion picture starring the Dark Knight and featuring his grinning nemesis unleashed a tsunami of merchandise.

Mort Todd, writer, illustrator, filmmaker, editor and publisher, brought The Joker’s Joke Book to the mass market in 1988.

Todd has a pedigree ranging from comic books to the music industry, drawing album covers, directing music videos and producing music. He launched Marvel Music at Marvel Comics, personally working with such artists as Mick Jagger, Gene Simmons, AC/DC and the estates of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley.

The 128-page paperback retailed for $1.95 featuring funnies your father would tell on a Sunday drive to church.

Today the book can be found on most of the primary secondary markets. Finding an audience may be harder.

Posted Saturday, August 13th, 2022 by Barry

Archie Annual (1973) 25

Looking for that bargain, whatever it is? Today is your day. Today is National Garage Sale Day.

Today is the day you find out if that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Hopefully your treasure. Found at a reasonable price.

Garage Sale Day is the brainchild of Daniel Rhodes of Alabama. The day was inaugurated in 2001 based on his observation of his neighbors hauling out potential treasure every weekend.

These clearing house sales have a rich history dating back over 100 years. In the 1890’s, these sales were known as rummage sales and a weekly part of the community. Rummage sales were usually sponsored by churches and other charitable organizations to generate money for the needy.

However, by the 1950’s and 1960’s America was still celebrating its ascendancy to super power on the global scene and the U.S. of A celebrated an age of excess. To make room for the new, out went the old and into someone else’s home.

Today, Americans continue the tradition of cleaning out to make room for new. And, there is a market as others swoop down on the old hoping to find a deal.

Archie and the gang are as American as the rummage sales of old and the garage sales of now. They reflect our society with the cover of Archie Annual issue 25. While there are no actual sales inside, there are 50 pages worth of clean cut fun and frolic beginning with…

Archie Annual (1973) 25

Ready…Set…GO! Archie dresses for the part, but makes everyone else crazy.

Next up is Li’l Jinx feeling Baseball Fever as her friend, Greg, explains his love of the sport.

Curtain Going Down is the last chapter story for the next five pages. In this story too much adlibbing brings down the curtain on the school play.

The following are all one-page gags:

Tip-Top Tape! gets Archie to school on time;

Claim to Fame! shows off Archie’s athleticism.

Fight Delight has Archie coming clean on how to defuse an argument.

Saw Corps! Puts Reggie out on a limb to entertain Archie.

and, Flee Spree! introduces the bear necessities of camping.

The book finishes with 1st in Progress as Archie and crew become the first to start an arms race, and The Real Thing, which, as they say, isn’t always as real as it seems.

So, hit the road and see if you can find something you can’t live without. You may even run across the comic book at a good price.

Posted Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 123

Quick, name the vice president.

Don’t worry if you can’t. Nearly a third of all Americans have no idea who is one misstep away from the Oval Office.

So, why celebrate the office?

Fantastic Four (1961) 123

Vice presidents do have a purpose. They are second in command. It is their duty to step up if the sitting president dies or resigns while in office.

That’s what National VEEP Day is celebrating. The day commemorates Aug. 9, 1974, when President Richard Milhous Nixon stepped down from the Oval Office and Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States of America.

No one is exactly sure when the day began to be commemorated, but its origins stem from Nixon’s resignation.

Nixon was a vice president, serving under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. He lost his initial White House bid to President John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential campaign. He sought, and received, the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968, winning with his slogan “Nixon’s the One.”

June 17, 1972, was the beginning of the end of Nixon’s presidency when five men were caught breaking into the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. The public eventually learned of Nixon’s involvement in the cover up and the president resigned rather than face impeachment.

Due to the time frame in which these events occurred and the relevancy of comic books as a mainstream medium, we can serve up the man who made this non-holiday happen: Richard Nixon.

The comic book we’re holding up as a beacon is Fantastic Four 123. The heroes are caught in their second struggle against Galactus. Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, has hijacked the world eater’s ship threatening to destroy it unless Galactus leaves.

Earth is saved by the Silver Surfer who agrees to become Galactus’ herald again. The two are then dispatched to the Negative Zone.

During the confrontation, Richard Nixon is depicted as the president reminding Reed 1972 is an election year and to settle the matter so life could go on for the voting public.

Nixon had made an appearance one year prior in the Marvel U, this time in Captain America 144.

He and Vice President Spiro Agnew guested in Incredible Hulk 147 in 1972 in addition to the FF’s 123.

Nixon would make one more appearance that year, this time in DC’s From Beyond the Unknown issue 17. As with FF 123, the president would be featured on the cover and interior of the book.

Other authors and artists would dredge up the disgraced president after his departure from the White House.

To observe National VEEP Day, you can dig up some information of the vice presidency or just find the Fantastic Four-story arc 123 belongs to and enjoy yourself more.

Posted Saturday, August 6th, 2022 by Barry

CLUE (2017) 1

Next to the fact mustard has no calories, maybe it having its own day is the second least known fact about the condiment.

The first Saturday in August has been set aside to honor the Brassica or Sinapis genera sibling. It is related to cauliflower, cabbage, turnips and broccoli and is the first condiment to be used by humans. Egyptian pharaohs stocked their tombs with mustard seeds for use in the afterlife. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that mustard had medicinal qualities. Greeks used it to treat scorpion stings.

Mustard is the second most popular spice in America, behind only pepper.

So, it seems only fitting this long-time favorite have its own day.

CLUE (2017) 1

To commemorate today, most people would simply pile gobs of mustard on their food of choice. Not us, though. We’re looking to the entertainment field, more particularly a license to a popular bard game franchise.

Celebrating National Mustard Day will be done by diving into a six-issue mini provided by IDW in 2017 called CLUE.

Our Mustard of choice will be the highly ranked ex-military officer who acts as one of six suspects in the death of Mr. Boddy in the board game Clue.

The murder mystery game began as a byproduct of World War II. Anthony E. Pratt needed something to occupy his time and mind during the London bombings. While hunkered down, he remembered games he played as a youth and the mystery authors he enjoyed.

In 1944 Pratt applied for a patent for a game called Murder. He then presented it as an exclusive to game manufacturer Waddington’s. They changed the name to Cluedo, an amalgam of clue and Latin for I play.

A patent was awarded in 1947, but post-war shortages meant it wouldn’t see shelf space till 1949. It was sold to Parker Brothers for release in the United States the same year. The name was also changed to Clue for the North American release.

In 1985, Paramount Pictures released a less than well received film version starring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren.

The movie earned a little over $14 million at the box office on a $15-million budget.

However, we’re looking at IDW’s take on the doomed dinner party.

IDW featured the regular cast with a twist at the end of the first issue. Three alternate endings were featured to the first issue across the regular and subscription variants to help solve the case.

After finishing the series, it should be time to refuel with sandwich or hotdog. Make sure to top it off with a heaping, helping of mustard.

If eating prior to reading, make sure to wash your hands before handling the comic books.

National Mustard Day was created by the Mustard Museum in 1991. The first physical Mustard Museum opened in 1992 and was hosted by Mount Horeb, WI. It moved to Middleton, WI, in 2009.

Posted Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022 by Barry

Micronauts (1979) 18

Playday is an annual United Kingdom event held the first Wednesday in August designed to keep fun activity alive and well for children.

Mick Conway, Paul Bonel and Kim Holdaway began their campaign in 1986 for a day of play to be recognized. The first events were held in 1987. Those grew to more than a dozen in London by 1989. It became a national event in 1991 and is currently the largest celebration of its kind in Europe.

Playday fare include street parties, festivals and community events of all kinds.

Representing the day is Micronauts issue 18.

Micronauts (1979) 18

The Micronauts return from a two-issue mission guest-starring the Fantastic Four, crash landing in a backyard. They find themselves under the thumb of a child wishing to make up new adventures for the action figures.

Her fun is ended when the mother tears the child away from her play and near destruction of the titular heroes.

The Micronauts began as a Mego toy line in 1976 in the United States, but were put to rest by Kenner’s licensed Star Wars franchise by 1980.

To bolster sales, Marvel began a series of the same title in 1979. It would continue through 1986 with 59 issues printed. Two annuals were also included in the run.

It would become exclusive to comic book shops with issue 38. Other titles going the direct route included Moon Knight and Kazar the Savage.

Overseas, in the UK, Micronauts appeared as a second feature in Star Wars Weekly. It was then moved into the first nine issues of Star Heroes Pocketbook with Battlestar Galactica. Later it was relegated to Future Tense, a reprint anthology.

Marvel dredged a few more dollars from the original material with a five-issue Micronauts Special Edition reprinting issues 1-12.

In 1984, the book was retitled The New Voyages and continued for another 20 issues into 1986.

Image Comics procured the license in 2002 for 11 issues. Devil’s Due Publishing attempted to relaunch the franchise in 2004. It ran three issues.

IDW is the present license holder having published the first issue in 2016.

For those who remember the line of toys from the Me Decade, these might be worth digging out for a nostalgic trip.

If you don’t have the figures or don’t remember, there are many other activities available to recognize the day set aside for play.