To mix it up a little, let’s toss in some Marvel “horror” for this Halloween ’19. Avengers Assemble Season Three, Episode Seven is worth a sit back in your most comfy chair with a bowl full of Halloween candy.
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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.
What do Hulk 182 and National Eat Your Beans Day have in common?
The most obvious feature of issue 182 is the third appearance of Wolverine. Just one page. Only three panels, but still the official third appearance of the mega popular character.
Yet that’s not what causes Hulk 182 to make the list for July 3. No, it’s another character. One that only appears in this issue: Cracka-Jack Jackson.
Well, Cracka-Jack and his meal of choice: beans.
Having failed to capture the Hulk in the previous two issues, Wolverine is dispatched back to headquarters. The Hulk is subdued with gas, but awakens only to escape once more. During his aimless travels, the Hulk discovers Cracka-Jack.
The homeless minstrel welcomes the green-skinned stranger and offers him what is left of dinner, beans.
The Hulk takes a liking to the meal and it becomes his request as the two share their travels until scribe Len Wein amps up the action.
Hulk remembers the meal throughout future issues giving us license to use this book as a commemoration of the day.
National Eat Your Beans Day is described as “a ‘live healthy’ holiday observed on July 3. This day celebrates the bean vegetable in all sizes, shapes and colors. Beans (legumes) are one of the longest-cultivated plants dating back to the early seventh millennium BCE.
Celebrate with a bean-based recipe, but maybe do it alone.Read More
Comic book shops were common place by the beginning of the 1990s, but original graphic novels and trade paperbacks were not.
The Might Marvel holiday Wish List, sporting a caroling Spidey, Hulk and Cap, was a festive gift guide for the comic book fan. What could be simpler? Make a check beside the corresponding title, hand it to the gift giver and wait for Christmas morning.
Looking back at this pre-internet solicitation reminds me of how far the industry has come. Of course I forget this is 30 years ago.
The year 1990 doesn’t seem that long ago. Saying 30 years does.
Anyway, 30-years ago trades and collections were not the norm. Marvel had its high-end Masterworks and DC its Archive editions. Those were available in most comic book shops and retail book chains. They were just pricey for the day.
Trades were much more reasonable, but still a novelty. That’s why it’s so odd looking at the ad paper and seeing so few story arcs collected.
Readers must also remember this was a time when stories were written from beginning to end with no worries about how they would fit in a trade.
As much as I love Neil Gaiman and Sandman, I blame the wordsmith for the advent of trade-length story arcs. He invented the four- to six-issue story arc with a few one-and-dones in between that seem to have become the industry standard for trades.
So, sit back and check out the Mighty Marvel holiday Wish List – in full – courtesy ComicBookDaily.com. It’s a nostalgic look at the not-so-distant past.Read More
DC beat Marvel to the holiday punch with the first of the Christmas specials beginning in 1974.
The Marvel Treasury Special was released Nov. 26 of that year on the heels of DC’s Limited Collector’s Edition (C-34) that hit newsstands Nov. 7.
Whereas DC had decades of material to draw from, Marvel had a little over 10-years worth of stories to plumb.
Naturally “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!” led the list.
It was a reprint from Marvel Team-Up issue one starring Spider-Man and the Human Torch battling Sandman. A sappy story that brought out the season in both heroes who allowed Sandman to visit his mother on Christmas Eve. The good deed does not go unpunished leading both heroes to a continuation of the story in issue two.
The remainder of the book is what the title promised: a grab-bag.
In “Mortal Combat with…Sub-Mariner” is reprinted from Daredevil issue seven. Namor makes land fall to seek out Matt Murdock to serve as his lawyer. The sea prince wishes to sue the surface world for its exploitation of the other three quarters of the Earth. Murdock’s alter ego is called upon when he refuses to take the case.
Black Widow stars in the next story taken from Amazing Adventures (1970) issue five. An unremarkable story. Maybe the most noteworthy of the book is Neal Adam’s assumption of penciling chores on the Inhuman’s story.
Fantastic Four issues 25 and 26, a two-part tale, finish out the book. The Thing and Hulk go toe-to-toe in issue 25 with the Avengers guest starring in the second part.
Far from the holiday specials to come in the 1990s, but at least setting a precedence for the company.Read More
Remember where you were in 1984?
For me it was my final year of high school. Van Halen was about to unleash their last album with David Lee Roth. The Police were about to break up. George Orwell’s dystopian novel of political fiction was a buzz word.
Comic readers/collectors/enthusiasts were paying 60 cents a book at the news stand. Specialty shops were still in their infancy. Yet, if you heeded Hulk’s offer, subscribers would receive a 14-issue subscription for “only $6.00. That’s just 43 cents a copy!”
As a “special bonus” if two titles were bought at the low, low price of six bucks, the subscriber would then be eligible to add a third title for – get this – five bucks. “That’s just 36 cents a copy! You save 40-percent on your third title!”
Titles available ranged from Alpha Flight to X-Men. In all, 25-regular monthly books were offered. Included were such titles as G.I. Joe, Crystar, Indiana Jones and ROM.
Only the venerable Savage Sword of Conan still existed under the magazine imprint and considered one of the “special” titles each month. The book boasted a hefty $17 price tag. Other “special” books included the in-house ad book Marvel Age, Ka-Zar, Micronaughts, Moon Knight, What If…?, Conan the King, and Marvel Fanfare.Read More
As America packed away its bicentennial banners and fervor, Marvel began packaging its third, and final, Holiday Grab-Bag. And, that’s what it was, a holiday-less hodge podge of reprints pulled from Avengers (1963) issue 58, Daredevil (1964) number 86, Marvel Team-Up 6 and Tales to Astonish (1959) 93.
Roger Stern was a lowly assistant editor in charge of choosing reprint material for Marvel’s stable of twice-told-tale books. He was tasked to fill the last of the holiday specials with suitable material. Having already used what little was available the previous two years, Stern was faced with a daunting task.
As Stern told Back Issue magazine, issue 85, Christmas in the Bronze Age, from 2015; he pulled the most tear jerking stories he could find to fill the book. Choices made, he found the book was still 10 pages short. Stern approached Editor Archie Goodwin who freed money for what Stern termed a “framing sequence” for the stories.
Fanboys were given the Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag Nov. 16, 1976, complete with a Gil Kane/Joe Sinnott cover featuring the Marvel mainstays. Stern penned the opening story, “Tis the Season,” showcasing the super heroes playing in the snow. Reprints included “…As Those Who Will Not See!” with Spider-Man and the Thing, “Even an Android Can Cry” featuring the Avengers, Hulk and Silver Surfer shared “He Who Strikes the Silver Surfer” and “Once Upon a Time – The Ox!” showcasing Daredevil and Black Widow.
This was the final Marvel holiday special until the 1990s. By then the House of Ideas would have a better catalog to choose from, even tossing in original material.
For me, nothing will ever beat the original specials from the 1970s. They were the perfect size to lie stomach down on the floor and marvel – pun intended – at the craftsmanship of those earlier Marvel Age stories.Read More
Marvel’s Giant Superhero Holiday Grab Bag hit newsstands Nov. 25, 1975 on the heels of DC’s Limited Edition (C-43) Christmas With the Super-Heroes.
This second tabloid-sized special featured a collection of already told tales from the Bullpen’s fertile imagination. Having mined the few holiday stories the House of Ideas had floating around the previous year, this second book proved more Christmas in cover and theme than interior stories.
Nick Fury opens the book with “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” taken from Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. issue 10 published in 1969. Nick’s night with surprise guest Laura is interrupted by a call to save the free world from the Hate Monger. Any seasonal spirit is forgotten as Fury does his best 007 impression to foil world domination. He’s rewarded for his efforts with his blond bombshell waiting for him at his apartment to watch the sun rise on Christmas morning.
There’s as much holiday spirt in the story “Spider-Man Goes Mad!” as there is in the name. Pulled from Amazing Spider-Man issue 24, the reprint marks the first time the story saw print since it was originally published.
“Jingle Bombs” uses a snowy backdrop and a few Christmas decorations to give the impression of the holidays for Luke Cage.
An abbreviated reprint of Incredible Hulk 147 is next. Entitled “Heaven is a Very Small Place,” the Hulk believes in a mirage where even he is accepted.
Dr. Strange battles Nightmare on New Year’s Eve in “Eternity, Eternity” reprinted from Dr. Strange 180.Read More
Marvel’s 1972 holiday card featuring artwork by Herb Trimpe.Read More
Okay, Marvel phoned this one in. But, it’s still worth the original $3.99 price tag if for no other reason than “Fin Fang Foom saves Christmas.” It’s even the title of his tale so no spoilers there.
“A.I.M. Lang Syne” is told in stages. Readers meet Joel and Peggy as New Year’s Eve unfolds during the annual A.I.M. end of year party. Peggy is employed by the evil agency and an unsuspecting Joel is her plus one. To say he’s a bit overwhelmed by the festivities would be an understatement.
Following their one-page introduction, “How Fin Fang Foom Saved Christmas” unfolds. This imaginative romp features Dr. Strange’s faithful servant Wong as he meets the legendary lizard of old. Wong learns wisdom does come with age and contemplates the loneliness of the last of a species.
“A.I.M. Lang Syne” picks up a few hours after our initial meeting with Peggy and Joel and is interrupted by the Thing and Annihilus sharing a knock down over the ABC’s of battle – literally.
Another brief interlude with Peggy and Joel before the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry for Santa Claus. Then, back to the young couple as they share a kiss amid a Hulk rampage.
The final panel promises the romance will be continued the following year. Marvel lied.
Ralph Macchio adds a final note thanking all who bought the book which closes with reprints of covers from previous holiday specials.Read More