Posts Tagged ‘Superman’

Posted Saturday, February 13th, 2021 by Barry

Shazam (1972) 1

For the cheese enthusiasts out there prepare to celebrate, today is National Cheddar Day.

The birthday boy is a native of Cheddar in Somerset, England.

Shazam (1972) 1

Shazam (1972) 1

No, lie.

Cheddar is so popular it accounts for about a third of all cheese sales in the United States. Half the sales in the United Kingdom are cheddar.

The (non) holiday hails from Tillamook County, Oregon, where the cows outnumber the humans. It’s a relative newcomer to the calendar of days Hallmark doesn’t recognize. The first event was held Feb. 13, 2019.

Maybe of more interest is the history of our mascot, the Big Red Cheese himself:  Shazam.

While the character began at Fawcett Publishing in 1940 under the moniker Captain Marvel, he’s better known these days as a house hero for DC Comics.

How Shazam came into the DC fold has already been covered at Four Color.

Focusing on his reemergence, Shazam returned to spin racks in late 1972 with his self-titled book. Superman buried the hatchet with his former rival and appeared side-by-side on the cover, introducing the Big Red Cheese to a new era of comic book reader.

Not long after his return to the comic book world, Shazam became part of Saturday morning television in a live-action series by Filmation. The series ran from 1974 to 1977 on CBS. In in 1975 Shazam became a double feature with The Secrets of Isis.

Later the character would appear as part of Hanna-Barbera Productions Legends of the Superheroes in 1979.

Filmation optioned Shazam for an animated series on NBC from 1981 to 1982.

The former Captain Marvel remained in the DC animated universe appearing in animated films Superman/Batman: Public Enemies and Justice League: The New Frontier. In 2010 Superman and Shazam teamed for an animated short in The Return of Black Adam.

His 2019 feature film earned $74 million at the box office after expenses.

Oh, and if you’ve read this far and aren’t aware, Shazam was christened The Big Red Cheese by arch nemesis Dr. Sivana. Hence, he’s our ambassador du jour.

Posted Friday, January 1st, 2021 by Barry

New Year’s Evil (2019) 1

Rotten Tomatoes gives New Year’s Evil a 14-percent score.

I give New Year’s Evil at least a 90-percent score.

Wait, we’re talking about two different things. Apples and, well, tomatoes.

New Year’s Evil was originally a 1980, low-budget slasher starring Roz “Pinky Tuscadero” Kelly.

DC Comics adopted the title in 1997 releasing eight one-shot specials featuring a who’s who of rogues.

The most current incarnation of New Year’s Evil came in my stocking of comic books from Jeff in 2019. Yeah, a little late with this one, but I wanted to save it for the big day.

And, here it is.

New Year’s Evil (2019) 1

New Year’s Evil 2019 features another plethora of villainy from the DCU.

First up is the Joker in The Amateur. New Year’s Eve is spoiled by someone other than the Clown Prince of Crime. Batman and the Joker must come to terms with accountability.

Superman foils the Toyman in Slaybells Ring. His attempt at monopolization of Christmas is thwarted by those he hoped would follow.

Bright and Terrible shows a different side of Sinestro when his past is misconstrued.

Poison Ivy learns she can’t change people in Auld Lang Ivy.

Wonder Woman cautions Ares his mercy may be misguided in Winter’s Root.

A surprising show of good intentions allows Black Adam to bring some tenderness in A Coal in My Stocking.

Calendar Man remains in Arkham Asylum courtesy of his own demons in New Year, New You.

The best of the lot is a surprise unveiling of Chronos’ childhood in Father Christmas.

A Prankster New Year! is just as the title reads.

New Year’s Evil closes with Harley Quinn in Little Christmas Tree. An act of kindness does not go unpaid.

Posted Thursday, November 26th, 2020 by Barry

JSA (1999) 54

JSA (1999) 54

JSA (1999) 54

The JSA hosts the JLA in the Jan. 2004-cover dated issue.

Geoff Johns joins the two teams for their annual dinner in 20 pages that don’t seem rushed or over crowded. While drawing on some history between characters, the story doesn’t require any real background knowledge to enjoy. Johns focuses on characterization rather than action, though two minor-league villains pop in for a cameo. Their intrusion harkens back to DeMatties and Giffen’s tenure on the Justice League books from a decade earlier.

Johns’ encyclopedic knowledge of the DC Universe is evident as he has fun with the iconic heroes. Batman’s paranoia is rampant as he looks in every dark corner for trouble. Green Arrow and Hawkman spar with words and threats. Impulse and Jay Garrack stare across the great divide of the generational gap.

All-in-all, JSA 54 is a fun read. Johns proves equal to the task of combining the Golden and Modern Age families for a sit-down meal.

Posted Sunday, October 25th, 2020 by Barry

Super Friends (1976) 28

Masquerade of Madness is a true Halloween story.

Super Friends (1976) 28

Super Friends (1976) 28

Published Oct. 25, 1979, E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon craft some late Bronze Age cheesiness. Basically, werewolf Jimmy Olsen, Jayna and Zan end Felix Faust’s plans to defeat the Super Friends once and for all.

The Super Friends began as Saturday morning fodder for sugar-addled brains starved for a more kinetic version of their comic books. The original series premiered in 1973 after the Dynamic Duo tested on Scooby-Doo and Wonder Woman on the animated Brady Kids.

It was rechristened as The All-New Super Friends Hour from 1977-78. Further name changes included Challenge of the Super Friends from ’78 to ’79, The World’s Greatest Super Friends ’79 to ’80 with a return to simply Super Friends from 1980 to 1983.

Hanna-Barbera finished out its run with Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show from 1984 to 1985 and, finally, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, 1985-86.

While loosely based on the Justice League of America comic book, Super Friends did not translate into a comic book itself until 1975. Even that relied heavily on the JLA. Super Friends began as part of the Limited Collector’s Edition (C-41) series, reprinting JLA issues 36 and 61 with Bridwell penning a bridging tale to bind the stories together. Alex Toth provided pencils.

DC finally greenlit a Super Friends comic book series in 1976. The title ran till 1981. The comic complimented the cartoon rather than rely on JLA continuity.

Not sure if this is a trick or treat, but if you happen across it in a back-issue bin, enjoy some past history.

Posted Saturday, October 24th, 2020 by Barry

You Can’t Beat This Halloween Treat!

DC rolled out the red carpet for Halloween 1979.

Featured in the house advertisement are Secrets of Haunted House 20, House of Mystery 276, Weird War Tales 83 and Ghosts 84. Showcased was Super Friends 28 touted as a “Hair Raising Chiller!”

According to the hype, “The Super Friends Battle 5-Fearsome Foes…and their Mysterious Master!”

To learn more about the issue, tune in tomorrow for the full synopsis.

In the meantime, continue to dig out DC’s anthology House books and Marvel’s serialized monster soaps with Universally-recognized names. Let them take you back to the days of Ben Cooper costumes, plastic Jack o’ Lantern candy buckets and gobs of sugary candies.

You Can’t Beat This Halloween Treat!

You Can’t Beat This Halloween Treat!

Posted Monday, September 7th, 2020 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 159

Today we celebrate a day of work by not working; today is Labor Day.

Action Comics (1938) 159

Action Comics (1938) 159

As evidenced by the cover of Action Comics 159, Superman is going to be doing the heavy lifting.

This August, 1951, dated issue comes from a simpler time. One when readers would plunk down a dime for a story in which Lois Lane convinces Superman to sign a promissory note agreeing to perform all her wishes over a three-day period. The paper is lost, only to be found by Oscar Whimple, who proceeds to work the Man of Steel like a dog.

Also, included in this issue is Showdown in Suez! Starring Congo Bill. The character would later become a full-fledged ape known as Congorilla appearing in DC Comics Vertigo imprint.

Tommy Tomorrow appears in The Planeteer from the Past! The journeyman comic book character bounced through different DC titles from 1947 to 1963.

The Vigilante takes justice into his own hands in The Trigger Trail of ‘Wild’ Eddie Meeks! Greg Sanders, aka Greg Saunders, was the original Vigilante, riding the trails in the old west beginning in Action Comics 42.

An early origin of Labor Day is attributed to the Knights of Labor in 1882. Central Labor Union Secretary Matthew Maguire is credited with the proposal of a national holiday to celebrate the worker.

A second theory is Peter J. McGuire, vice president of the American Federation of Labor is the father of Labor Day.

Whichever the case, President Grover Cleveland backed a September commemoration and Labor Day became officially recognized as a federal holiday in 1894.

Posted Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 by Barry

Adventure Comics (1938) 210

Krypto the Super Dog represents our four-legged friend for National Dog Day.

Whether purebred or a mutt from the street, dogs bring love to peoples lives. It is only fitting our canine compatriots are given their day.

To observe, consider adopting your own pooch. If that’s a bit extreme for your lifestyle, we suggest some virtual pet ownership through reading. More specifically, with Superboy/Superman’s dog, Krypto.

Adventure Comics (1938) 210

Adventure Comics (1938) 210

(Super)man’s best friend first appeared in Adventure Comics 210. He was Kal-El’s dog on Krypton. Jor-El tapped Krypto to test an earlier model of rocket. A quirk of fate brought the forlorn Fido to Earth to be reunited with his master.

Under the yellow sun, Krypto’s abilities were enhanced as well. The crime-fighting canine was given a yellow collar with the “S” emblem and a red cape to complement Superboy’s.

Krypto would go on to become a member of the 30th century’s Legion of Super Pets and the Space Canine Patrol Agents. He would have his own feature beginning in The Superman Family issue 182. This ran for 10 issues.

Krypto no longer existed after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Not at first. He would be reintroduced, as would so much of what had been erased during the original crisis. Krypto would go from an ordinary dog with augmented powers to a canine from Krypton once again. The New 52 would take those powers away only to have them restored with DC Rebirth.

The world’s mightiest dog has appeared in most incarnations of the animated DCU beginning with cameos in 1966’s The Adventures of Superboy. In 2005 Cartoon Network gave Krypto his own series simply titled Krypto the Superdog.

He was also mentioned in the live action Smallville.

Krypto has further appeared in DC Universe Online, Lego Batman 2: DC Super heroes, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, Infinite Crisis and Lego DC Super Villains games.

Use #NationalDogDay to recognize your love of dogs today.

Posted Monday, June 1st, 2020 by Barry

Summer’s Here and the Time is Right…

…for dancing in the streets.

At least, that’s how Martha and the Vandellas finished the line.

DC appropriated the lyric, finishing it with…”for DC comics.”

According to the ad, they’ve got “all the action this summer with hot titles like New Teen TitansSupermanHawkmanBooster GoldSwamp Thing.”

All for nine dollars a subscription. No deals for buying more than one.

This offer was available about the time David Bowie and Mick Jagger charted with their duet of ‘Dancing in the Streets’ shortly after Live Aid. Series like Hex and Adventures of the Outsiders were short lived as the DCU headed into its first crisis.

Though summer isn’t a holiday, the last day of school always seemed like one. So, no matter who sang your favorite version of Marvin Gaye, William Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter’s chart topper, enjoy the warm weather and take some time to relax.

‘Dancing in the Streets’ was also covered by the Mamas & the Papas, Van Halen, Grateful Dead and Black Oak Arkansas.

Summer's here...

Posted Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 by Barry

Superman (1939) 1

A day to honor super heroes, real and fictional, National Super Hero Day was created in 1995 by Marvel Comics employees.

While it may seem odd to honor DC’s flagship character in light of who originally sponsored the day, Superman is the logical choice considering he was the OG Super Hero.

Without going into too much detail, the Man of Tomorrow was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster originally intended to be a newspaper strip character. Syndicated bosses thought differently. National Allied Publications accepted the submission and comic books were never the same.

Superman first appeared in Action Comics issue one. He received a self-titled book the following year. Both continue publication to this day.

Superman (1939) 1

Superman (1939) 1

The success of Superman in comic books allowed him to finally appear as a newspaper strip. Later he became a radio and television star. The silver screen has beckoned several times. Initially Superman appeared as an animated hero courtesy of Fleischer Studios. A movie serial appeared in matinees in 1948. It wasn’t until 1978 that Superman was really super. At least on the big screen.

Touted that audiences would believe a man could-fly, Superman earned three sequels with Christopher Reeve in the cape. Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh entered theaters 2006. Henry Cavill is the latest to don the tights, appearing in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.

In addition to all the media outlets Superman has conquered, he continues to see print on a monthly basis as new fans discover what so many have known for over 80 years.

Posted Thursday, April 23rd, 2020 by Barry

World’s Finest (1941) 215

As if Superman and Batman didn’t have enough problems, Bob Haney and Dick Dillin saddled the superheroes with sons in World’s Finest 215.

World’s Finest (1941) 215

World’s Finest (1941) 215

The junior superheroes were near clones of their fathers down to their uniforms. The two appeared off and on in World’s Finest until issue 263 when Denny O’Neil revealed they were computer simulations created by Batman and Superman.

The concept would later be revisited in an Elseworlds book in 1999, then shelved until 2011 when the New 52 came about with Chris Kent and Damian Wayne living on Earth-16.

DC unveiled yet another incarnation in 2017. The super sons would go by Jonathan Kent, Superboy, a product of Clark Kent’s union to Lois Lane; and Damian Wayne, Robin, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul.

The series went 16 issues with one annual.

In August of 2018 a 12-issue mini was launched, helmed by Peter Tomasi with Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert handling art chores.

What does all of this have to do with Four Color Holidays? Just that today, April 23, is National Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day.

Enjoy the time you have with your children.