Posts Tagged ‘Fantastic Four’

Posted Saturday, May 7th, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 48

Much of the time we take a candid approach to the non-holidays observed on this site. Today is not one of those. National Barrier Awareness Day challenges those of us without physical limitations to become aware of those who do.

These barriers can be something as simple as being unable to access an entrance because of a wheelchair or complicated with inability to comprehend an everyday situation due to a mental disorder.

Today is the day to strip those handicaps away. To allow everyone an equal playing field whether it be building a ramp or taking time and patience to explain how to perform a task.

There are currently over 36-million Americans who are plagued with some form of disability. It is estimated 80 percent of Americans will experience a barrier of their own at some point in their life.

Now, to help visualize a what a barrier is, we’ve chosen Norrin Radd, more commonly known in the comic book world as the Silver Surfer.

Radd was an astronomer on his home planet of Zenn-La. He sacrificed himself to the world devouring Galactus to save his home planet; in return for allowing the continued survival of Zenn-La, Radd became Galactus’ herald.

Fantastic Four (1961) 48

Radd was infused with the power cosmic by his new master. As the Silver Surfer, he would now search out other worlds for Galactus to devour.

Earth was introduced to the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four issue 48. The herald had discovered a new world for his master to sustain himself with. After interacting with the inhabitants of planet Earth, the Surfer found himself sympathetic to their continued existence and turned on Galactus.

With the help of another celestial being, the Fantastic Four were able to deter Galactus, but to punish the Surfer for his betrayal, a barrier was established around Earth designed to keep the former herald from venturing beyond the shield.

The Surfer proved a fan – and Stan Lee – favorite returning for FF issues 55-61, 74-77 and earned a solo story in the back of annual five.

The following year, he was starring in his own book. The title lasted 18 issues, all penned by Lee, John Buscema penciling the first 17 and Jack Kirby the final book.

The Surfer would knock around the Marvel Universe through the 1970s with a Lee/Kirby graphic novel in 1978.

He received a second solo series in 1987 running 146 issues.

The Surfer would continue to star in limited series for the remainder of the old millennium and into the new, though often playing a pivotal role in various company crossovers.

He would further appear in other media with his own animated series in 1998 for Fox. In 2007 he would play a titular role in the second Fantastic Four movie.

Software Creations, Ltd., offered the Silver Surfer video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990.

So, while our spokesperson is fictional, he does offer a lesson that even those who face barriers are still important to society and success may often come in the face of those barriers.

National Barrier Awareness Day was inaugurated by Congress on May 7, 1986, by a House Joint Resolution (544). It authorized President Ronald Reagan to call for Americans to recognize the day with events and programs that would contribute to removing the obstacles facing those with disabilities.

Posted Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 1

“If I’d lived in Roman times, I’d have lived in Rome. Where else? Today America is the Roman Empire and New York is Rome itself,” John Lennon.

More has been said and thought about the city that never sleeps, but today is about more than just the most populated city in America. Today is about the state itself. Today is National New York Day.

New York state is 54,555-square miles, while its namesake city is a mere 302.6-square miles housing 8,175,133 people.

It’s also, arguably, the home of the world’s greatest super heroes. Not just the Fantastic Four, though they’ve been tagged as such. No, this is about all the mystery men and women who call New York City their home.

Fantastic Four (1961) 1

When super heroes first graced the four-color pages of comic books, they hailed from Metropolis and Gotham and Central City. Granted these cities were modeled after real-life counterparts, but they were still fiction.

Young Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel envisioned their hometown of Cleveland as Metropolis. Gotham was New York City, but with an alias.

And, so on.

When Stan Lee wanted to settle his first heroes, the Fantastic Four, he looked around him and saw New York City. So, the FF lived in NYC. Pretty much all who followed did too.

If they didn’t live in the city, they lived close by.

Over time other titles showcased different parts of America, but New York was always the birthplace for Marvel’s heroes. This is why the Fantastic Four represent National New York Day. They were the first to call the sprawling metropolis home. It has been the backdrop to many adventures and refuge after all of them.

Again, today is not about the city, but the state as a whole. Remember the 11th state for its history, elegance and grace, but mostly for the heroes who call it home.

Posted Sunday, April 25th, 2021 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

The last Sunday of April plays host to International Sculpture Day. To usher in this year’s non-holiday is the celebrated fictional Marvel U artist, Alicia Masters.

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Despite her blindness, Masters became a talented sculptor. Many of her works were modeled after the heroes husband Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, and his fantastic family palled with.

Her disability was caused by her stepfather and supervillain the Puppet Master.

Masters and Grimm enjoyed a rocky romance until the Thing chose to stay on an alien planet following the events of Secret Wars. She fell in love with Johnny Storm, aka, the Human Torch and the two married in Fantastic Four 300.

In true comic book soap opera form, it was later discovered Masters had been replaced by a Skrull prior to her relationship with Storm. Upon her return, Masters found solace with the Silver Surfer.

Returning from her spacefaring days, Masters and Grimm found each other again; this time to marry.

The word “sculpture” originates from the Latin word sculpere, meaning to carve. Today the three-dimensional art form utilizes a variety of materials including wood, stone, metal, and even Legos.

International Sculpture Day debuted in 2015. The day continues to grow in recognition each year.

Posted Sunday, December 6th, 2020 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1996) 4

This is simply a variant cover for the season.

Inside is The Heart of Darkness, guest-starring the Black Panther, a reimagining of Fantastic Four (1961) 52.

Reed and Sue are the main characters in this issue as they travel to Wakanda to investigate a strange crash site. They learn, too late, it’s a ploy by Dr. Doom who capture the crew and the story is continued next issue.

The second coming of the FF comes on the heels of Heroes Reborn. Franklin Richards has saved his fantastic family, the Avengers and Dr. Doom during their battle with Onslaught. The Richard’s first-born cocoons them in a pocket universe where Franklin everything but those he rescued.

The short-lived escape from the regular Marvel U lasted a total of 13 issues. The mini-series Heroes Return introduced them back courtesy of Franklin’s powers.

Fantastic Four (1996) 4

Posted Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 by Barry

What If…? (1976) 26

Today is a day of decision. Whether we, the people, make it, the Electoral College or sinister societies hinted at in the best episodes of the X-Files.

Today is Election Day. The day many will file to the booths, tap their choice on a touch screen and go away feeling they may have made a difference.

Whatever the case, Four Color Holidays presents our candidate for President: Captain America.

What If…? (1976) 26

What If…? (1976) 26

True, Cap chose not to run in Captain America 250. But, this is What if…?, the series that explores other avenues not traveled in the Marvel U.

In this issue, Cap makes the fateful decision to toss his cowl into the political ring. Mike W. Barr, Herb Trimpe and Mike Esposito tell a tale in which Captain America is a symbol, but Steve Rogers is the figure.

Under the leadership of a man of honor, America prospers. As it does, the concentric circles of prosperity spread. Most notably to a small, South American country. With material aid, a dictatorship is overthrown and democracy established.

President Rogers makes a goodwill tour only to find an old evil waiting to destroy his dreams.

As with any of the What if…? stories, What if Captain America Were Elected President? is summed up in verse: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy, 4:7.

Trivia: Jack Kirby is featured as Chief Justice of the United States swearing in Cap on the cover.

Though not touted on the cover, What if…The Man-Thing had Regained Ted Sallis’ Brian? is a back story.

Posted Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 by Barry

Franklin Richards Monster Mash (2007) 1

Franklin sets out to prove his classmates wrong in Ready, Steady, Yeti.

With H.E.R.B.I.E. in tow, the two teleport to Mount Everest. The quickly complete their mission, to find the Abominable Snowman. The results are not what either expected.

Intestinal distress releases a monster no one expected as Franklin tackles his Little Monster; it’s not as dirty as it sounds.

Franklin Richards Monster Mash (2007) 1

Franklin Richards Monster Mash (2007) 1

Not until help from an unexpected source intercedes does Franklin learn to control the forces insides him.

Ghost in the Machine is not only the best album by the Police, but the third story in the book.

Franklin uses one of his father’s machines to turn the tables on his doubting dad. The story quickly degenerates into a Casper clone complete with the Ghostly trio. In the end, it’s Franklin who learns the lesson.

Under the Bed has Franklin taking matters in hand, behind his father’s back. He and H.E.R.B.I.E. return an interdimensional monster back to its home.

Power Trip shows Franklin how dirty the super hero business can be at times.

Another fun trip into the world of the FF’s heir apparent.

Posted Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 by Barry

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

A 1978 inhouse ad from the House of Ideas – and merchandising – showcased the beginning of the graphic novel and trade paperback era.

Aside from The Incredible Hulk 1979 calendar, the advertisement promoted the Fireside books published from 1974 to 1979.

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

Have a Merry Christmas – Marvel Style

Fireside was an imprint of publishing house Simon & Schuster. Stan Lee’s vision was to offer a more traditional format featuring Silver Age stories at affordable prices.

Fireside and Marvel teamed for 24 such books during the six-year association. Origins of Marvel Comics hit bookshelves in 1974 followed by Son of Origins of Marvel Comics in 1975. Bring on the Bad Guys and The Superhero Women were published in 1976.

The return of Jack Kirby to Marvel was heralded by The Silver Surfer The Ultimate Cosmic Experience. It also marked a reunion with collaborator Lee.

Other books included The Best of Spidey Super Stories, The Incredible Hulk, Marvel’s Greatest Battles, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange Master of the Mystic Arts, Captain America Sentinel of Liberty, The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Fun books one through five, The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book, The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, Marvel Mazes to Drive you Mad, The Mighty Marvel Pin-Up Book, Marvel Word Games and The Might Marvel Jumbo Fun Book.

All stocking stuffers to be sure.

Posted Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Today is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day. That said, Willie Lumpkin is the most deserving master of ceremonies for the day in our universe.

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Willie was originally created by Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo for a newspaper comic strip. Stan resurrected the character in Fantastic Four (1961) 11 in ‘A Visit With the Fantastic Four.’

Readers are treated to a more idyllic story as the famous foursome go about daily activities. They are greeted by Willie as he delivers a bag of fan mail. The short introduction ends with an offer by Mr. Lumpkin to join the team; his hidden power is the ability to wiggle his ears.

The mail carrier makes a final appearance in the last panel of the first story with an even larger bag of mail to be delivered.

Mr. Lumpkin would continue to make cameos in The Fantastic Four through the ensuing years. In 1989 Willie was given his own short in Marvel Comics Presents issue 18 in a parody of ‘A Christmas Carol.’

He would later become a beau of Aunt May Parker until one of her many perceived deaths.

After his retirement, Willie became a biology teacher for the Future Foundation with the FF.

In a touching tribute to his creation, Stan Lee portrayed the beleaguered mailman in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.

Posted Monday, October 28th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Zombies (Halloween Special)

Kudos to the team who mated Night of the Living Dead with Rankin and Bass stop motion “Animagic.”

Marvel Zombies began as a five-issue limited series cover dated December 2005. Robert “Walking Dead” Kirkman wrote the series while Sean Phillips added the viscera visuals. Arthur Suydam provided covers.

The mini proved popular enough it has spawned a continuing franchise appearing as further short series and one-shots.

 

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.