Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

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

Posted Thursday, September 9th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 139

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

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 4

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.

 

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 4

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

Amazing Fantasy (1961) 15

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.