Posts Tagged ‘Thing’

Posted Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Bet ya didn’t know there was a National Beer Day.

Well, there is. National Beer Day is a perennially celebrated non-holiday to honor the Cullen-Harrison Act, which made beer legal even before Prohibition ended December 1933.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

If you’re so inclined, crack a cold one and enjoy the following synopsis for ‘Time Runs Like Sand,’ as maudlin a sounding title as the story that follows.

Sandman, aka Flint Marko, has not had a good day. A good month for that matter. Well, a good coupla years. Not since he and Hydro-Man, aka Morris “Morrie” Bench, merged to form Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man 217.

A little radiation goes a long way and the two are able to disassociate their molecules. Each go their separate ways, Marko’s path leading to a local watering hole. The bartender recognizes his patron and contacts the Fantastic Four. As fate would have it, Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, answers.

Figuring the worst that can happen is he’ll get a cold beer out of the visit, Ben hops on his skycycle.

Rather than fight, the two former combatants share a few beers. Marko recalls his past and how it led him to his life of crime.

Kinda of a soap opera of an issue, but, deep down, aren’t they all?

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 Sunday, January 5th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

As the nights continue to outlast the days adding to the hangover of the holidays, maybe a movie marathon or binge watching a series is in order. While the actors and directors receive the lion’s share of the credit, the screenwriters should not be shortchanged. To honor those wordsmiths, today was created as National Screenwriters Day.

Using a more static medium, Four Color Holidays will remember the writers with Marvel Two-in-One issue 46.

Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, proves his baby blues can turn as green as Kermit when it comes to his old nemesis the Hulk upstaging him. All this is courtesy of the Hulk’s new television series.

Hopping one of the many Fantasti-vehicles, Ben packs his bags and heads to Hollywood.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

The Thing isn’t the only one tuned in to the show. Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego, is also watching. Dismayed at having his inner demon taken advantage of, Banner (literally) Hulks out and bounds to Hollywood himself.

The two titans meet, have their obligatory battle, resolve any issues and ring down the curtain on another adventure.

To celebrate this day of storytellers, visit nationalscreenwritersday.com. Observers may also post to #NationalScreenwritersDay on social media.

National Screenwriters Day was founded by ScreenwritingU.com, the leading education source for screenwriters worldwide. Its purpose is to recognize the talents behind the scripts coming out of the television and film world.

Posted Friday, November 29th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Readers received a late Christmas gift with the first taste of John Byrne’s treatment of She-Hulk in this May 1989 dated issue of Marvel Comics Presents.

Cyclops and Black Panther took the first two-story slots, neither holiday stories, but the book closed on a holiday note.

“X-Mas Tease” is an eight-page treat veiled in a Christmas Eve telephone conversation with Ben Grimm. Readers are rewarded in the final panels as Shulkie unwraps her present from Marvel. Under the Spider-Man paper are advance copies of the first issue of The Sensational She-Hulk (1989).

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Willie Lumpkin, mailman to the Fantastic Four, plays an unsuspecting Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Card” for a spoof of A Christmas Carol.

Downsizing and carelessness has the ghost of Christmas past, present and future all rolled into one visiting the wrong address. Willie must relive the failures of his life until Christmas morning when he realizes the season is over rated.

Marvel Comics Presents ran from 1988 to 1995, 175 issues, featuring various storylines by different authors and artists. Each issue offered four story lines. It was revived in 2007 for a one-year return. A third volume started in 2019.

She-Hulk’s second volume tallied 60 issues with John Byrne at the helm for the first 50. The title proved very quirky as She-Hulk would break the fourth wall on a regular basis. Plots were equally whimsical.

Posted Thursday, September 12th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

As if video gamers needed an excuse to play games all day, here is another. While not a legitimate holiday, National Video Game Day does make the list of odd observances.

National Video Game Day is recognized on Sept. 12. This is not to be confused with the previous Video Game Day celebrated July 8.

For those ready to play, we’ll observe today with Marvel Two-in-One issue 98 from April of 1983. For those old enough to remember, that year was a high-water mark for the video game industry. In 1981 video games consumed more money than concerts, theater tickets and record sales. And, it only kept growing over the next few years.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

David Micheleinie commemorated the video game movement with “Vid Wars!” Ron Wilson penciled the project and Frank Giacoia inked the tale that co-stared Franklin Richards.

For those who may not remember, Marvel Two-in-One was a vanity vehicle for Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.  Aunt Petuna’s favorite nephew would team with a fellow Marvel U resident each month. At least for 100 issues and seven annuals.

In this team up Ben is tired of his nephew thumping him in the arcades. As luck – and Michelinie – would have it Dr. Niles Given is seeking an audience with Reed Richards at the Baxter Building when the two return home. The good doctor has created a video game and he wants the endorsement of Dr. Richards. The story takes a darker turn when all involved are transported into a real game of life and death.

Much like Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One was ended to allow the Thing a solo series. It only lasted 36 issues while Spider-Man’s off-shoot following his team up book, Web of Spider-Man, proved much more popular lasting to issue 129.

Posted Thursday, February 7th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Treasury Special (1974)

DC beat Marvel to the holiday punch with the first of the Christmas specials beginning in 1974.

The Marvel Treasury Special was released Nov. 26 of that year on the heels of DC’s Limited Collector’s Edition (C-34) that hit newsstands Nov. 7.

Whereas DC had decades of material to draw from, Marvel had a little over 10-years worth of stories to plumb.

Naturally “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!” led the list.

It was a reprint from Marvel Team-Up issue one starring Spider-Man and the Human Torch battling Sandman. A sappy story that brought out the season in both heroes who allowed Sandman to visit his mother on Christmas Eve.  The good deed does not go unpunished leading both heroes to a continuation of the story in issue two.

The remainder of the book is what the title promised:  a grab-bag.

Marvel Treasury Special (1974)

Marvel Treasury Special (1974)

In “Mortal Combat with…Sub-Mariner” is reprinted from Daredevil issue seven. Namor makes land fall to seek out Matt Murdock to serve as his lawyer. The sea prince wishes to sue the surface world for its exploitation of the other three quarters of the Earth.  Murdock’s alter ego is called upon when he refuses to take the case.

Black Widow stars in the next story taken from Amazing Adventures (1970) issue five. An unremarkable story. Maybe the most noteworthy of the book is Neal Adam’s assumption of penciling chores on the Inhuman’s story.

Fantastic Four issues 25 and 26, a two-part tale, finish out the book. The Thing and Hulk go toe-to-toe in issue 25 with the Avengers guest starring in the second part.

Far from the holiday specials to come in the 1990s, but at least setting a precedence for the company.

Posted Saturday, December 22nd, 2018 by Barry

Marvel Treasury Edition 13

As America packed away its bicentennial banners and fervor, Marvel began packaging its third, and final, Holiday Grab-Bag. And, that’s what it was, a holiday-less hodge podge of reprints pulled from Avengers (1963) issue 58, Daredevil (1964) number 86, Marvel Team-Up 6 and Tales to Astonish (1959) 93.

Roger Stern was a lowly assistant editor in charge of choosing reprint material for Marvel’s stable of twice-told-tale books. He was tasked to fill the last of the holiday specials with suitable material. Having already used what little was available the previous two years, Stern was faced with a daunting task.

Marvel Treasury Edition 13

Marvel Treasury Edition 13

As Stern told Back Issue magazine, issue 85, Christmas in the Bronze Age, from 2015; he pulled the most tear jerking stories he could find to fill the book. Choices made, he found the book was still 10 pages short. Stern approached Editor Archie Goodwin who freed money for what Stern termed a “framing sequence” for the stories.

Fanboys were given the Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag Nov. 16, 1976, complete with a Gil Kane/Joe Sinnott cover featuring the Marvel mainstays. Stern penned the opening story, “Tis the Season,” showcasing the super heroes playing in the snow. Reprints included “…As Those Who Will Not See!” with Spider-Man and the Thing, “Even an Android Can Cry” featuring the Avengers, Hulk and Silver Surfer shared “He Who Strikes the Silver Surfer” and “Once Upon a Time – The Ox!” showcasing Daredevil and Black Widow.

This was the final Marvel holiday special until the 1990s. By then the House of Ideas would have a better catalog to choose from, even tossing in original material.

For me, nothing will ever beat the original specials from the 1970s. They were the perfect size to lie stomach down on the floor and marvel – pun intended – at the craftsmanship of those earlier Marvel Age stories.

Posted Monday, December 17th, 2018 by Barry

Marvel Holiday Special 2011

Marvel Holiday Special 2011

Marvel Holiday Special 2011

Marvel dusted off previously released material offered through Comixology in digital format for the 2011 Christmas Special offering a mixed bag of holiday cheer.

Spider-Man stars in “Cold Hearted Christmas.” Family is missed the most when gone from the holidays. Justice and compassion do work in unison, though.

“Logan’s Lost Lesson” is pretty much what the title suggests. Wolverine doffs his work clothes to teach hockey and a lesson to the naughty at Xavier’s School for Gifted Students.

“Ol’ Saint Nick” is Nick Fury handing out a Christmas pummeling to the agents of Hydra while on an important mission to show a man his future.

“Chinese Food for Christmas” has a meeting of the non-Gentiles of the Marvel Universe. Together they prove there’s more than one way to celebrate Christmas.

Posted Friday, November 23rd, 2018 by Jeff

Happy Holidays

Marvel’s holiday card, circa 2010.

Marvel 2010 card