Posts Tagged ‘Fantastic Four’

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 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, 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.