Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

Posted Thursday, September 9th, 2021 by Barry

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The Teddy Bear we have on tap as today’s mascot is not the cuddly kind found in beds and bedrooms of the young, but a disillusioned wrestler named Max Markham.

President Theodore Roosevelt is to thank, in a round about way, for National Teddy Bear Day today. In 1902, then sitting President Roosevelt declined to slaughter a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi. The media of the day picked up on the story and illustrator Clifford Berryman immortalized the gesture in pen and ink. The cartoon appeared in the Washington Post Nov. 16, 1902. It prompted New York store owner Morris Michtom to create what we now call the Teddy Bear.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 139

The stuffed animal has become a staple of most childhoods and a best-selling toy.

Markham’s inspiration came from Spider-Man enemy the Jackal who crafted a custom exoskeleton. The exoskeleton was covered in a faux grizzly hide in homage to Markahm’s ring persona.

The Grizzly attacked Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson for exposing Markham’s violence in the squared circle in a series of articles. Of course, Spider-Man stepped in to save his long-suffering nemesis only to face the Grizzly and Jackal in their next encounter.

The Grizzly has been a minor character in the Marvel Universe since his first appearance December 1974. Since then, he has made occasional appearances for rematches with Spidey and later became a crime fighter to aid the Web Head.

Markham would relapse and become a criminal again, often appearing in animal-themed gangs. He would eventually flip back to the light side, teaming with Scott (Ant-Man) Lang. Markham would work for Lang at the Ant-Man Security Solutions.

Three other versions of the Grizzly would populate the Marvel U:  Ace Fenton, an old west bank robber; Grizzly, an A.I.M. operative; and Theodore Winchester, a member of Cable’s Wild Pack.

No one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for creating National Teddy Bear Day. Suggestions on how to celebrate include gifting someone a Teddy Bear, donating Teddy Bears to a local organization for children, hosting a Teddy Bear party and sharing memories of your Teddy Bear on social media.

Posted Monday, August 30th, 2021 by Barry

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National Beach Day is a celebration of more than rest and recreation, but a reminder to preserve one of nature’s wonders.

Reminding everyone today is not only a (non) holiday, but a call to awareness is William Baker, aka Flint Marko, the Sandman.

Sandman was the fourth villain to challenge Spider-Man. He was also one of the most recurring enemies during the early years. He first battled the Web Head in issue four of Amazing Spider-Man before teaming with Sinister Six in the first annual, then battling in a doubleheader in issues 18 and 19.

Following his initial battles with Spider-Man, Sandman would venture into other titles to fight the Hulk and join forces with the Frightful Four against the Fantastic Four. His services would not be called upon to battle Spidey until the premiere of Marvel Team-Up in the early 1970s.

 

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His powers came courtesy of a nuclear mishap on a beach near Savannah, GA. When his body and radioactive sand bonded, his molecular structure turns to sand.

Sandman later is merged with Hydro-Man to form Mud-Thing. They later untangle their mingled bodies and go their separate ways.

Over the years Marko flirted with both sides of the law. He’s currently enjoying a taste of immortality until the next writer chooses to mess with the Marvel continuity.

Sandman has appeared in almost all the animated versions of Spider-Man beginning with the 1967 incarnation. He crossed over to the Fantastic Four’s cartoon as part of the Frightful Four before returning to both 1981’s versions of Spidey.

He was passed over for the 1990’s animated series due to a prior commitment. James Cameron had tagged Sandman for the long-awaited Spider-Man movie. That didn’t happen and Marko had to wait for the Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon for his next appearance.

He was given his silver screen debut in 2007 for Spider-Man 3.

Sandman has also been a staple in the video game universe. Marko has appeared in Questprobe, The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin, Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six, Spider-Man 2: The Sinister Six, Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro, Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man: The Battle Within, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Spider-Man Unlimited, Marvel: Future Flight, Marvel Puzzle Quest, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

National Beach Day was established by the Knights of Columbus in 1929 as part of their convention plans. It was until 2014 Collen Paige, pet and family lifestyle expert, resurrected the defunct (non) holiday to celebrate beaches and the importance of keeping them clean.

Posted Monday, July 26th, 2021 by Barry

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Yes, another holiday featuring Spidey or someone in the Spider Family.

 

Amazing Fantasy (1961) 15

This time its Ben and May Parker, uncle and aunt to nephew Peter Parker. Together they’ll represent the non-holiday National Aunt and Uncle’s Day.

This perennial day of recognition falls on July 26 of each year. Its origins are unknown. It does serve to honor parent’s siblings who sometimes prove to be huge parts of other’s lives.

In the case of Peter Parker, they became his surrogate parents after his biological ones died.

Uncle Ben’s death became the catalyst launching a newly (super) empowered Peter into his life of heroism. Aunt May would continue to support and nurture her charge as he grew into adulthood.

Ben began his fictional life in Brooklyn, NY, as did May. Both attended the same school, but did not become romantically involved until later in their lives. When Ben’s brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Mary, were killed in a plane crash, he and May adopted their nephew.

Peter would repay the debt by allowing a burglar to escape while he sought fame. That same criminal would murder Ben. Peter donned his Spider-Man costume and set out to bring the murderer to justice.

It was then he learned the man he allowed run past him earlier was the same man who killed his Uncle Ben.

Aunt May became his sole custodian and continued to care for her nephew.

Since the first telling of Spider-Man’s origin in 1962, little has been changed. Even his rebirth under the Ultimate Spider-Man imprint and later movies would remain true to the original telling.

The only notable change was in What If…? (1977) issue 19. It postulated a story where Aunt May had been killed rather than Uncle Ben.

While most aunts and uncles don’t play as pivotal a role in our lives, they still should be recognized. Take time to drop a text, actually call or visit.

Posted Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 124

An estimated one sixth of the Earth’s population in 1969, 600 million, watched as Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on a stellar body other than Earth.

That was 52 years ago today.

June 20 has been set aside to remember the effort put forth by a nation and generation to put a total of 12 men on the moon with National Moon Day.

Last year Moon Knight was Four Color Holiday’s master of ceremonies. This year we celebrate with John Jonah Jameson III.

Jameson is the son of Daily Bugle owner/publisher J. Jonah Jameson II. The younger Jameson is also a former astronaut. He appeared in Amazing Spider-Man issue one, but is better known for his lycanthropic Man-Wolf persona.

Prior to his full-moon fever, Jameson was infected with space spoors that gave him super-human strength. Those were contained and on a subsequent mission to the moon, he found a space gem he kept and had fashioned into a necklace.

 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 124

The gem was later reveled to be the Godstone, a ruby from another dimension.  It embedded itself to his throat causing Jameson to be transformed into a werewolf in the moonlight.

Spider-Man first battled the Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man issues 124 and 125. Spidey was able to rip the pendent from Jameson’s throat saving everyone involved.

Morbius, the Living Vampire would later re-attach the pendant in an effort to find a cure for his blood disease. He did not and Spider-Man was forced to confront the monster duo and save Jameson a second time.

Man-Wolf would head up Creatures on the Loose from issues 30 to 37. He then returned to Amazing Spider-Man by the end of the decade for another two-issue story arc.

Jameson would bounce around the Marvel U after that. He would date She-Hulk, help Captain America prior to and during Civil War and return to space for the nation of Wakanda.

To observe National Moon Day, participants may recall where they were when Apollo 11 first made landfall. Break out the telescope and gaze at the moon for yourself. Discuss space travel.

President Richard Nixon was the first to proclaim June 20 as Moon Day in 1971. The observance stalled until Richard Christmas began a writing campaign. By 1975 he had 12 states making their own proclamations.

In 2019, President Donald Trump proclaimed July 20 as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing. Again, the tradition has not be continued.

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2021 by Barry

Video Game Day

Need we say more?

Well, we’re gonna.

There’s no real history for the day, but there are a plethora of games that can be sampled. Rather than bore you with a lengthy dissertation, we’ll let Nixian’s YouTube offering on the Evolution of Superhero games give you a sampling.

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Posted Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 36

This is the last time this month we will use a Spider-Man villain to represent the day.

Mainly ‘cause it’s the last day of the month and, well, that’s why.

Today is National Meteor Watch Day. Yes, June 30 is the night we are to turn o

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ur eyes heavenward with hopes in seeing a falling star.

Does that always happen?

No, but it does make for a romantic evening under the stars.

Less romantic is the host for the day/evening. Norton G. Fester was originally called The Looter. He began his crooked career seeking funding for his scientific endeavors.

Spider-Man defeated him in Amazing Spider-Man 36. After his escape from prison, Fester laid low until he could steal another meteor. Valkyrie and Spider-Man tackled the rechristened Meteor Man whom they recaptured.

In a scathing indictment of the prison system, Fester escaped again. This time he faced off against Bill Foster/Giant Man (II) and Spidey. Meteor Man’s then current invention literally blew up in his face causing the appearance of his death.

He, of course, did survive and battled Spider-Man – again. The Web Head went it alone this time and sent Meteor Man back to prison – again.

Before we all become dizzy from this merry-go-round of imprisonment and release, let’s remember the day for more interesting hot gasses.

Meteors are debris from space, often rock, the enter Earth’s atmosphere. The friction as they enter causes the surrounding air to burn. The flaming hot air around the debris is what laymen call a shooting star.

Meteors are usually seen at night when they are between 34 to 70 miles above the Earth. They usually disintegrate between 31 and 51 miles. Their glow time is about a second.

National Day Calendar has created a nine-step program for optimal meteor viewing.

Let’s all wish upon a falling star that Marvel finds a more interesting villain and quits trotting out Meteor Man.

Posted Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 by Barry

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Enjoying a cool and refreshing beverage is the order of the day as we observe National Hydration Day.

This non-holiday was founded in honor of football Coach Victor Hawkins, the creator of a mouthguard that releases electrolytes that kept his players hydrated during practices and games. SafeTGard Corporation founded National Hydration Day to increase awareness of the importance of proper hydration to athletes. It also honors the coach who has contributed to the wellbeing of his players.

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While the hero of the day was looking out for others, our host is much more self-serving. Morris Bench was a crewman on the U.S.S. Bulldog way back in Amazing Spider-Man 212. His villainous origins began when Spider-Man accidently knocked him overboard and he took a swim in an irradiated section of ocean.

As a result, Bench found himself the watery equivalent of the Sandman; able to transform his body into water and water-shaped weapons. Blaming Spidey for his condition, the newly minted Hydro-Man sought revenge.

Using the heated day and lack of moisture, Spider-Man was able to – literally – dry up his hot-headed opponent. Bench eventually evaporated into the New York skyline.

Like any good villain, Hydro-Man would return. Over time he would seek help and join such groups as the Sinister Syndicate, Frightful Four and Masters of Evil.

Bench participated in a minor role in the Civil War and Spider-Island storylines. Later he was defeated and handed over to the employees of Horizon Labs. He is utilized in a blackmail plot to drown New York City. Spider-Man and Deadpool teamed to defeat him.

Hydro-Man knocked around for a bit in the Marvel U to finally be used by Namor against the surface world.

Bench has seen action on the small screen in Spider-Man: the Animated Series, the Fantastic Four cartoon and back to Spider-Man in The Spectacular Spider-Man episode Shear Strength. His final small-screen appearance was on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.

He has also been used as a major villain on the big screen in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

So, enjoy the day. Make sure to replenish with fluids and make time for a little Hydro-Man.

Posted Monday, June 21st, 2021 by Barry

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Check the HMO and co-pay before strapping on the helmet and elbow and knee pads to celebrate the non-holiday du jour, Go Skateboarding Day.

Someone in the 1950’s decided it was a good idea to use a board braced with four wheels as a mode of transportation. Others decided it was a good idea to challenge gravity and hard surfaces by performing tricks on this same board.

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Years, and mounds of medical bills later, the skateboard is still considered a recreational device.

For those of us not accustomed to this primarily urban form of entertainment, maybe Spider-Man’s throw away villain was our initiation into skateboarding.

The first of two daredevils on wheels was Robert Ferrell. This Brooklyn, NY, native was the oldest of seven children forced to become the breadwinner after his mother became sick.

Ferrell ran afoul of both Spider-Man and powerful characters not above seeking revenge. The Web Head saves the day and finally convinces Ferrell to turn his back on his life of crime and go back to school.

He would return several times over the years, this time as a hero, before being replaced by Henry Sleeman. Sleeman would pose as Ferrell’s friend then steal the Rocket Racer gear. The second Racer’s career ended faster than it began.

Ferrell further appeared in an episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. His origin was tweaked a bit and the story subtly changed for the different format, but was basically the same as his first appearance.

Now, if you’re still set on celebrating today, remember to wear the appropriate safety apparel. And, be careful.

Go Skateboarding Day was founded in 2004 by the International Association of Skateboard Companies in California. The first skateboards were stunted versions of surfboards with wheels. Over time they have been modified to accommodate the needs of users.

The once simple wish for mobility has morphed into a competition of sophisticated tricks and gravity defying leaps.

Posted Saturday, June 12th, 2021 by Barry

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June 12 is a day to see red. Today is National Red Rose Day.

The red rose is a symbol of love and romance. It’s also the June birth flower.

However, the Rose can also be villainous. At least in the Marvel Universe.

Tom DeFalco penned Marvel’s first Rose story in Amazing Spider-Man 253. The original Rose was the son of the Kingpin of Crime, Richard Fisk. If that’s confusing, Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin and Richard is his son.

Young Fisk wanted to overthrow his crime lord father. He would later adopt a vigilante persona known as Blood Rose only to be shot by his mother.

The second Rose was another vengeance motivated vigilante. New York Police Officer Sergeant Blume went after the Kingpin for the murder of his brother. He, too, was shot and killed.

Jacob Conover became the third Rose. This incarnation was a former reporter for the Daily Bugle. He found himself a capo of crime lord Don Fortunato during one of the Kingpin’s absences from New York’s underworld. He would survive his tenure and be imprisoned by Spider-Man.

The fourth and, to date, final Rose is Phillip Hayes. He is currently jailed following his drug career that led to murder.

In the real world, red roses are known for their beauty and traditionally associated with love. They have adorned many a wedding and opened even more hearts when presented by a young lover.

To observe National Red Rose Day, plant a red rose shrub or vine, learn more about the types of red roses, visit a rose garden and/or show that special someone how much they mean by giving them one or a dozen.

Or, just do what we’re gonna do and pop open Amazing Spidey 253 for the nitty gritty.

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Posted Saturday, May 1st, 2021 by Barry

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Obesity is a chronic disease affecting 100-million adults in America. Seeing the need for awareness, Kim Bielak founded National Fitness Day in 2017 to encourage healthier lifestyles. It is observed the first Saturday in May every year.

So dire is the current obesity rate, it ranks above smoking has a health hazard. About 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States have been associated with excessive weight. People with obesity in the US have higher heath care costs than those of normal weight; 27-percent more for physician visits and outpatient costs, 46-percent more for inpatient costs and 80-percent more for prescription drugs.

Common causes for obesity include genetics, physiological influences, food intake and eating disorders, sedentary lifestyle, weight history, pregnancy, drugs like steroid hormones and drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions.

Long before obesity became an epidemic, Fireside Books, coupled with Marvel, published The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book. Agile Ann Picardo authored the tome while Jumpin’ Joe Giella illustrated the book.

Basically, it was just a fun book filled with normal exercises, most isometric, to help youngsters feel like they were training like a super hero. Or, training to be a super hero.

Marvel’s stable of heroes provided their own recommendations to help tone.

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Included was Peter’s Perpendicular Leg Extensions. Instructions were as follows:  1. Lie on the floor leaning on your right elbow, feet straight out. 2. Bend the knee of your left and grab the heel of your left foot with your left hand. 3. Extend your leg straight up. Hold for a few seconds and return to your starting position. Repeat with your right leg.

Bashful’s Brutish Bottom Basher, from the Thing, instructed participants to 1. Sit on floor with your knees bent and grab your ankles 2. Rock back and forth, until you start to feel seasick.

The (J. Jonah) Jameson Roar went something like this: 1. Kneel on the floor with your bottom resting on your heels and your hands on your thighs, palms down. 2. Bend forward, open your eyes as wide as you can, and tense up every muscle in your body 3. Stick your tongue out as far as you can, spread your fingers wide apart and hold tense for a count of 12. 4. Slowly relax, bring your tongue back where it belongs and return to your starting position.

Not sure what good this one did, other than to contribute to premature balding, but Medussa’s instructions for Firey’s Furious Follicle Flourisher: 1. Sit cross legged on the floor and take hold of as much as near the scalp as you can. 2. Pull your hair forward so you can actually feel your scalp move, and then pull backward.

Other heroes contributing were Ghost Rider with his Bizarre Bicycles, the Hulk with Jade-Jaws’ Just-So Sit Ups and Banner’s Bellicose Bench Presses (without a bench), Thor with Goldilocks’ Greatest Isometric Arm Invigorators, Luke Cage’s Super Dude’s Free Squats and Luke’s Lying Down Limb Lifter, Sue Storm – when she was still the Invisible Girl – with The Fantastic One-Two-Three-Four, Captain America and the Falcon’s All-American Give and Take, Human Torch’s The Torchie Twist, Spider-Man’s Little Miss Muffet and Spread-Legged Foot Pull among others.

Some of the above worked in the fight against obesity, but other alternatives include healthy recipes, substituting fries for a salad, walking the stairs rather than taking the elevator, taking the dog for a walk, ordering from the light side of the menu, setting the alarm 20-minutes earlier to allow for some light exercising prior to beginning the day, etc.