Posts Tagged ‘Human Torch’

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 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 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 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 Friday, January 31st, 2020 by Barry

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

Science tells us time travel doesn’t exist.

But, it does.

At least in our minds. Here’s a prime example.

The holidays may be over, but here’s a look – 39 years – back at “Marvel’s Big Money…,” well, just re-read the title of today’s offering.

This one hurts my heart a bit. This was the end of an era. This was the final full year we lived back home; Virginia.

No, I didn’t order from this ad. We were fortunate enough to have one of the early comic book shops in Winchester. If I couldn’t make it there – these were the days before a driver’s license – there were newsstands and a 7-Eleven within pedaling distance.

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

When the advertisement first appeared, it was just another page to flip past for more action. Looking at it now, the wreath is a portal to a time when adventures came at $.40 (plus tax) right off a spin rack.

Less if you subscribed for a year. Just read the hype: “The first subscription costs $5 – A big $1 savings off the regular sub price of $6!”

Read a little further and you could have saved an additional dollar with each subsequent subscription.

Whatta bargain.

It might have been nice, but there was – and still is – a thrill that comes when you pick up your pull box stack or find one on the wall that calls out; looking at those lavish covers and being drawn into the story without turning a page.

Hope your holidays were wonderful and the memories made will be good ones in the years to come. Jan. 31, 1981, has come and gone; buried by a lotta years. But, we can still remember.

Posted Monday, December 24th, 2018 by Jeff

Peace on Earth…

Settling into Christmas Eve with Marvel Team-Up (1972) #1. Pencils by Ross Andru and inks by Mike Esposito.

Peace on Earth

Posted Friday, November 30th, 2018 by Barry

Spider-Man Holiday Special 1995

Spider-Man Holiday Special 1995

Spider-Man Holiday Special 1995

For me, Spider-Man has an expiration date. From 1962 to sometime in the late 1980s.

These are the magic years for me. The ones covering my initial discovery of the character; the books I read growing up.

By the time this holiday collection of Spidey and his amazing friends and family emerged, I’d ceased to read any of his titles. It wouldn’t be until Brian Michael Bendis created the Ultimate Spider-Man would I return. That was still years away.

After meandering through that lead, I’ll say it’s an okay read. The Holiday Special. Sure, there are some plot devices that baffle me. With little background after five or six years away many things had happened. Especially the Clone Saga that seeped into some of the stories.

Black Cat and Venom’s popularity are in evidence as each star in their own story. Aunt May – who is dead (?) at this point – guides former beau Willie Lumpkin to romance.

But, the shortcomings are forgiven with “Merry Christmas, Mr. Storm.” The final tale told, it’s touching and sweet as the new Spider-Man (?) meets the Human Torch for their annual gift exchange atop the Statue of Liberty Christmas morning.

Sholly Fisch crafted a flashback to stir memories of Spider-Man in his younger days. The sequence is bookended in the current Spider-Man timeline, again, hearkening back to the clone era. Actually, the clone storyline is the basis for the story.

As stated, the remainder of the book is dedicated to some sappy storytelling with “A Matter of Faith,” “The Venom Claus,” “The Cat Who Stole Christmas” and “Companions.”