Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

Posted Monday, September 12th, 2022 by Barry

National Video Game Day

Not to be confused with Video Game Day, National Video Game Day is held Sept. 12 each year allowing the armchair enthusiast their day in the sun – so to speak.

Most video game historians consider 1971 the dawn of video games. In 1971 Computer Space was released by Nutting Associates for the commercial market. Pong followed the next year, released for arcades by Atari.

Spider-Man for the Atari 2600

It was also the year Magnavox released the Odyssey video game system. Pong followed suit in 1976 with the home-system release of Pong.

In 1977 Atari unveiled the Atari Video Computer System. The system allowed for individual games to be stored on cartridges which could be interchanged enabling the system to play more than one game.

Not until 1985 did the floodgates open with the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Over the years video games and comic book characters have intermingled. One of the earliest is Spider-Man for the Atari 2600. Marvel’s loveable web head battled the Green Goblin on a paltry 6502 microprocessor with an anemic 128 bytes of RAM on the Stella graphics chip.

The game was released in 1982 by Parker Brothers for the 2600 and Sears clone, the Sears Video Arcade. Spidey webbed his way to the top of high rise while defusing the Goblin’s bombs.

Not exciting by today’s standards, but the game was a success.

As of this writing, the most recent Spider-Man video game is 2018’s action-adventure game by Insomniac Games. The PlayStation 4 exclusive sold 3.3-million units in its first three days of release, earning an estimated $198 million.

So, take time to remember the superhero games that have come before and enjoy a day of vintage or current punch outs and puzzles as your favorite hero tackles their toughest villains.

Posted Thursday, September 8th, 2022 by Barry

Summer Fun with the Marvel Super Heroes (1985)

Summer has about a month of life left on the calendar, so let’s celebrate with the Marvel heroes circa 1985.

Summer Fun with the Marvel Super Heroes (1985) courtesy of mycomicshop.com

This $.99 ready to colorize adventure was written by Suzanne Weyn with art by Steve Geiger and Phil Lord. Participants were invited to “read along” while adding life to the two-dimensional, monochrome 48-page tome. Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and – surprisingly – Black Cat headline the book.

This is a tamer version of summer fun than the Marvel Illustrated Swimsuit editions published from 1991 to 1995 featuring the curvier heroes and villains frolicking in the sun and surf in swimsuits.

Marvel chose to “imitate” the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, even going so far on the first offering as to use font and other features. Future editions would become more independent of the format.

Marvel was not the first to offer a fanboy’s fantasy. Fantagraphics Books published the Amazing Heroes Swimsuit issue beginning in 1987.

The Marvel line offered a theme for each issue. The first outing showcased the MCU during the Super Olympics held in the Savage Land. Subsequent issues placed characters in Wakanda for T’Challa’s engagement party. Issue two took place on Monster Island courtesy of Pip the Troll and the Infinity gems. Swimsuit Special three commemorated the Water Festival of the Inhumans on the Moon and the final installment was designed as a tourism boost for Madripoor.

The books were met with mixed reviews, but remembered. Enough so the title was rumored to be resurrected in 2015 only to be halted in the sketchbook phase. The Marvel Summer Special, aka Marvel Swimsuit Special, was actually solicited only to be cancelled in 2019. Marvel failed to offer a reason for yanking the project.

Whatever your feelings on the books, mainline some more Vitamin D before the days shorten much more.

Posted Monday, July 11th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel’s Collector’s Edition The Secret of the Power Crown! (1981)

It’s that time of year again, one of my favorite non-holidays. Today is July 11, aka 7-Eleven Day.

Today is the day we celebrate with a free brain freeze courtesy of their signature Slurpee.

Any longtime reader of this page will know my passion for those summer slushies sucked down on a hot mid-year day. We’ve discussed 7-Eleven’s history and partnership with DC and Marvel Comics at length in 2019, 2020 and last year.

This year we continue by looking at their relationship with Marvel Comics and the 1981 The Secret of The Power Crown! Featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk and Spider-Woman for the good guys.

Marvel’s Collector’s Edition The Secret of the Power Crown! (1981)

The Enchantress, Wizard Rhino and Trapster make up the opposition.

This 36-page, full-size free comic book was a promotional collector’s item jam packed with punches, passion and product placement.

Peter Parker and Sue’s idyllic afternoon at the local 7-Eleven is interrupted by someone hijacking the Empire State Building in chapter one’s Mission of Gravity! The Wingless Wizard proves to be the unwitting dupe of the Enchantress who leaves him groveling for continued attention following the deed.

Paste Pot Pete, aka the Trapster, stars in Peril on the Potomac! in chapter two.

Captain America greets fans in front of a 7-Eleven near the Washington Monument. The Trapster as been entrusted to dig up a relic for the Enchantress. Like the previous chapter, Pete is left lonesome as the Asgardian turns her affections to the Rhino and the next chapter.

Spider-Woman stars in Shakedown! Set in sleepy San Francisco, the Rhino goes after artifact number two hidden in Alcatraz. The Hulk leaps in to help, ushering in chapter five, Beauty and the Beast!

As the name suggests, the Hulk falls under Enchantress’ spell, serves up the secret power crown now constructed of the resurfaced pieces and defends his mistress from both the heroes and villains who take umbrage for having been played fools.

After a heated battle, the Enchantress escapes while the bad guys are taken into custody. The heroes rendezvous at, where else, a 7-Eleven before going their separate ways.

To cool down after that red hot review, head down to your local 7-Eleven for that free Slurpee. Remember, things are little different now. To prevent people from taking advantage of the offer, participants will receive one, free coupon for a small Slurpee courtesy of their 7Rewards ap.

So, take it easy on the 95-year-old franchise that started convenience stores.

Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 by Barry

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

Doctor Doom does not appear this Holy Week as we lead up to Easter Sunday.

Well, just on the cover. What we’re interested in for this Spidey Super Stories issue nine is the back-up story, Spidey Fights the Funny Bunny!

Yes, complete with exclamation mark.

Actually, this book packs a punch for its 35-cent cover price. Readers receive 32 ad-free pages. Opening the book is …The Day of Doom! It closes with Guess What’s Coming to Dinner!

In between is our Easter tale.

Spidey, as seen on the Electric Company, learns of the evil Funny Bunny while reading the evening paper. Though Spidey is not privy to the corrupt cottontail’s origin, readers learn she was a “…nice, normal person…until a bully sat on her Easter Basket.”

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

So scarred was she that she, “…turned to a life of crime…stealing from kids’ Easter Baskets.”

Ol’ Web Head deduces her next move will be to ruin the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. Spider-Man takes a train to Washington D.C. where he apprehends the heinous hare and all ends well.

Spidey Super Stories was a four-color spin off of the live-action shorts of the same name airing on the Electric Company. The television version ran from 1974 to 1977 with 29 episodes.

The companion comic book ran from 1974 to 1982 with 57 issues aimed at the six- to 10-year olds. Jean Thomas and Jim Salicrup authored the books with art by Win Mortimer. Each comic was reviewed by the staff at Marvel and Children’s Television Workshop.

Today’s offering comes the day before Maundy Thursday, remembering Jesus’s last supper. This coming Friday is known as Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Holy Saturday follows and is the period between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Easter is celebrated in a variety of ways by both those of the Christian faith and those outside the church. The first will largely choose to participate in church services on Easter Sunday while the later may be more comfortable sitting the sermon out and coloring eggs.

However you choose to commemorate, here’s an interesting fact. The Easter Bunny hails from medieval Germany. The Osterhase, or Easter Hare, became known for spreading about his colorful eggs in nests prepared by children. The tradition traveled to America with those now known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Join us Easter Sunday for a less enthused celebration. I know, ‘cuz I wrote that one first and it just didn’t come easy.

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2022 by Barry

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a reminder to those fortunate enough not to have been burdened by the tragedy of sexually abused children – 15 to 25 percent of all females and five to 15 percent of all males – Marvel Comics Group partnered with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse and the NEA in 1987 to promote awareness.

Spider-Man and Power Pack each provide a message, Spidey’s more personal than the members of the supporting story.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Web Head’s timely intervention stops a babysitter from continuing a sick game of make believe. To ease the victim’s conscious, Spider-Man confesses a time when his alter ego suffered at the hands of an older boy.

Power Pack help a friend trying to run from the abuse dealt by her father and a world she fears won’t believe her.

Both stories are sappy and strong at the same time, seeking an audience at risk both first hand and as by standers.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is dedicated to raising the awareness of the crimes against law books and humanity. The plight was first recognized during the month of April in 1983.

To report abuse, call Darkness to Light’s Helpline, 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (https://www.d2l.org/get-help/reporting/ to be routed to resources within your community. Or, call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline:  1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Posted Monday, February 7th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

Before the fools and bunnies; before taxes and fireworks is Valentine’s Day. A day for flowers and flowery words; confection and affection.

It’s also a time for Marvel to march out some of its sweethearts, well and lesser known, to entertain and pass along a little wisdom.

Mary Jane and Peter spend a romantic day in a cocoon of webs and memories.

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

While enjoying a text book and good weather, Peter sees himself. His teenage self when his future wife was still a set up date between their aunts.

Deciding to help, Peter gives the nebbish grad student fashion and dating tips.

The opening Valentine volley – My Fair Spidey – comes to a close when Mary Jane helps Peter realize it wasn’t who he was trying to be, but who he was she fell in love with. Donning his union suit, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, saves the day and the couple’s future.

Love Hurts is a much more serious look at love.

Daredevil and girlfriend Karen Page work to save a young woman’s life from an abusive boyfriend.

Venus and Goom return readers to more of a comfort zone in Atom-Age Amore. The story is a whimsical stab at world domination through a dating agency.

The Greatest Gift is another fun fable showcasing Absorbing Man and Titania.

Crusher Creel is caught in his past while trying to find the perfect gift for his wife. With her help, together they find what that is; one that doesn’t come in a box nor need wrapped.

Valentine’s Day is coming. Better start thinking of what your main squeeze would love most.

Posted Friday, February 4th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) 25

With the 2022 Winter Olympics starting today, hosted by Beijing, China; it’s only appropriate we present Spider-Man vs. the Hulk at the 1980 Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid, NY, 42 years ago.

The Olympic games can be traced back to competitions held in 776 in Olympia, Greece. Representatives from city-states and kingdoms were selected to participate in athletic and combat sports.

As the Romans came to power, the Greek-sponsored event fell out of favor. It wasn’t until 1821 interest was renewed after the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. Greek-Romanian philanthropist Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first Olympic Games in 1859, held in Athens.

He also funded restoration on Panathenaic Stadium. It housed the 1870 and 1875 Olympics. No attendance records exist for the 1875 event, but 30,000 are said to have attended the 1870 contests.

The International Olympic Committee was formed and the first Olympics under their auspices was held in 1896. The success of the games became the foundation for the current popularity of both the summer and winter Olympics.

The Olympics currently feature over 21,000 competitors representing 207 nations.

Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) 25

Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) 25

The most expensive Summer Games were hosted by Beijing in 2008, costing an estimated $40-$44 billion. The most expensive Winter Games were held by Sochi in 2014 costing an estimated $51 billion.

How much Marvel’s 25th Treasury Edition cost or recouped is unknown. Probably less than the created carnage caused by the Mole Man and Kala who unleash the “outcasts” at the 1980 Olympics. Olympians team with Spider-Man and the Hulk to stop the chaos.

What makes the book even more than a novelty – in addition to its size, a monstrous 10”x14” worthy of hosting the Olympics and Marvel’s two power houses – is it presents a new story. Most Treasury editions, beyond Howard the Duck and Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles, consisted of reprint material. Even the Howard the Duck had just one original story.

Marvel’s 1976 Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag used new framing material provided by Roger Stern to set up reprints of Marvel Team-Up issue six, The Avengers 58, Tales to Astonish 93 and Daredevil 86.

Maybe the most memorable piece of Olympic lore from the 1980 Winter Olympics was U.S.A.’s upset of the Soviet Union in the hockey competition.

Posted Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

It’s February 1 and time for National Serpent Day.

Again.

Last year we celebrated the non-holiday by focusing on the first appearance of the Serpent Squad in Captain America 163 and the group’s history. This year we return with another tale of the slithering society, but in a much more kid friendly version.

Spider-Man teams with an awestruck Ms. Marvel and Lockjaw to teach the importance of not falling in with the wrong crowd.

The flashback story takes the wayward wallcrawler across state lines to New Jersey. There he finds The Serpent Society preparing to loot the dockyards for a cool million in cash.

This being Ms. Marvel’s neighborhood, the Joanny-come-lately leaps on the scene to help Spidey and teach new Society member Garden Snake she doesn’t need to follow where others lead.

Marvel Super Hero Adventures began as an animated series in an attempt to wrangle a younger audience for the Marvel franchise. It has aired for four seasons with 10 specials and the four-color version complimenting the series consisting of five number one issues written by Jim McCann and illustrated by Dario Brizuela.

Marvel Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Marvel Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Hasbro provided a toy line.

Some quick snakey facts include:

Only 1/8 of the known species are venomous,

Snakes eat their prey whole,

Most snakes are nocturnal,

They smell with their tongue,

Snakes are cold-blooded and sun themselves to regulate body temperature, and

While most snakes lay eggs, some give live birth.

To learn more about today’s celebrants, research them with the normal methods and use #NationalSerpentDay to post info on social media.

Posted Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42

It seems so unfair to pack away the lively colors of Christmas during the blandest time of the year. To liven the month up a bit, let’s celebrate Kiss a Ginger Day.

Only two-percent of the world’s population can claim to be natural red heads. The shock of red tresses has been lauded and mocked, but always stand out in a crowd.

Maybe the most famous red head in comicdom, at least in the Marvel Universe, is Mary Jane Parker, formerly Mary Jane Watson.

MJ’s first appearance is technically Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 25, but normally considered Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42.

In issue 25, the wily Steve Ditko, then penciling the book, hid her visage behind a plant. It was former romance artist John Romita, Sr., who immortalized her look in issue 42. In later interviews, the elder Romita admitted he patterned her after Ann Margret as she appeared in the movie Bye Bye Birdie.

Mary Jane would become Peter’s best girl until he could persuade Gwen Stacy to leave friend Harry Osburne. Following Gwen’s death at the hands of the Green Goblin, MJ and Peter entered a tumultuous relationship.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42

By Amazing Spider-Man 182, Peter had asked Mary Jane to marry him.

She declined the offer.

The pair would drift apart for several years only to reunite. In Amazing Spider-Man 257 MJ admitted to knowing Peter’s secret identity.

They would continue to date and Peter would pop the question again in Amazing Spider-Man 290. This time Mary Jane would accept and the two were married in Amazing Spider-Man annual 21.

Married life was no less troubled than their previous dating one. MJ became pregnant, but complications due to the Clone Saga and editor’s whims left the baby stillborn.

Further marital problems ensued and Mary Jane left for the west coast. Eventually they reconciled only to be caught up in the Civil War storyline.

That was followed by the One More Day story arc in which Mary Jane accepts Mephisto’s offer to disappear from Peter’s life for the return of Aunt May who was killed during the previous marathon of a story.

This was followed by A New Life, Spider-Island, Ends of the Earth, Dying Wish and The Superior Spider-Man. MJ returned, but as a friend.

Peter and Mary Jane are reunited under Marvel’s Fresh Start relaunch event.

Mary Jane has been part of the Amazing Spider-Man landscape and Peter Parker’s life in every incarnation of the character. Her opening line for their introduction in Amazing Spider-Man 42 has proved truer than Stan Lee or John Romita, Sr., could have ever known,” Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot.”

So did we.

Welcome to Kiss a Ginger Day.

If you are fortunate enough to know one, plant a wet one on their cheek and let ‘em know they are appreciated.

Posted Monday, December 6th, 2021 by Barry

Marvel’s Merry Christmas Present to You!

Marvel Comics trumpeted its Marvel Value Stamps in the debut of the latest in-house promotional machine, the Bullpen in comic books covered dated March 1974.

Touted as an early holiday present the now (in)famous Marvel Value Stamps, an off-beat promotion mirroring the main stream’s Green Stamps or other bartering badges, readers were regaled with the wonders to come.

The article went on, in true Marvel idiom, “…one of these glitzy mini-posters—each featuring a different Marvel star or starlet—will appear in virtually every one of our mixed-up original-material mags—and in many of our collectors’-item reprints, to boot!”

Marvel Value Stamps ran in two series. The first offered renderings of readers favorite heroes and villains. The second, series B, were smaller pieces of a larger image to make up 10 different posters. Each were spread through various Marvel Comic Book titles.

Both series consisted of 100 pieces. The first could be pasted in an official 16-page Marvel stamp album offered in-house for 50 cents, to cover postage and handling. Included was a free, full-color poster.

What made the promotion so sinister was the fact anyone wishing to participate would need to cut up their comic books. Maybe the most infamous instance is Incredible Hulk 181. Philatelists traded the grade of their Hulk 181 to clip a Shanna stamp. Basically, the choice cost collectors an estimated 80-percent of what the unscathed book would be worth normally.

When all 100 stamps were collected, the album could be returned to Marvel Comics for a discount for entry to various comic book shows around the country. In addition, completists could take 10-percent off official Marvel merchandise sold by the company. This could be done in perpetuity.

And, in theory.

The two promotions ran from 1974 to 1976.

Visit Marvel Value Stamps The Unofficial Index for more information.

Marvel Stamp Album