X-Men tagged posts

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

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Following up yesterday’s celebration of kindness is today’s day of freedom as man stretched in another dimension and conquered a new frontier. Today is National Ride the Wind Day.

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

One of those who truly is a wind rider, at least in the Marvel Universe, is Ororo Munroe, or Storm.

Her ascension to the clouds was born of a natural ability to shape the elements to her whim. When Len Wein and Dave Cockrum introduced Ororo in Giant-Size X-Men issue one, she was as much a mystery to her audience as her teammates. She shed her goddess honorific mistakenly bestowed upon her and became more.

In reality Storm became the first major black female character in comic books. In fiction she was one of the first of the new X-Men soon-to-be-scribe Chris Claremont would catapult to legendary status.

Claremont and Cockrum, later John Byrne, and Cockrum again, laid a literary foundation that became a golden goose for Marvel Comics. The X-Men earned much deserved credit through the 1980s until exploding in the 1990s as a flagship title not only in comic books, but the outside world as well.

Ororo – Storm – belonged to every incarnation of the mutant standard bearers. She would earn another honorific when she married T’Challa, aka Black Panther leader of Wakanda.

Storm has appeared in X-Men, X-Men: Evolution, Wolverine and the X-Men and Marvel Super Hero Squad. Other animated appearances include Black Panther, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men, Spider-Man: The Animated Series and Ultimate Spider-Man.

On the big screen, Storm was in the original X-Men trilogy as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. She made cameos in X-Men: First Class and Deadpool 2.

It will be harder for us mere mortals to “take to the air” as suggested by National Day Calendar’s site, but we can live vicariously through Ororo in all forms of media.

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X-Men (1963) 1

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With his golden locks and alabaster wings, Warren Worthington III is the logical choice to host National Be An Angel Day.

X-Men (1963) 1

X-Men (1963) 1

First appearing in X-Men 1, Warren was more of an antagonist within the group in the love triangle that included Scott Cyclops Summers and Jean Marvel Girl Grey. This would continue through the book’s run of original stories with issue 66. The book went into a short hiatus only to be revived as a reprint title.

When the original team was ousted – with the exception of Cyclops – in favor of fresh blood, Angel and former X-Men teammate Iceman began anew in California. Their new team, the Champions, didn’t fare well and lasted a mere 17 issues.

Angel would return to the X-Men in guest appearances. Not until X-Factor was he member of a mutant team again. As before, he found himself gone when a new team came onboard in issue 70.

He returned to his original fold with volume two of Uncanny X-Men. He had a home there for most of the 1990s as well as a few team ups in mini-series.

Angel bounced around for a time after the new millennium dawned until finally abandoning the hero business in favor of personal business.

Other incarnations have been present in television, first with the 1966 Saturday morning Marvel Super Heroes animated feature. He appeared in two episodes of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, but was a prominent player in X-Men: Evolution. He was Archangel in the popular 1990s X-Men Fox cartoon.

Angel was a character in several video games, but only appeared briefly on the big screen.

National Be An Angel Day is the 1993 creation of Howard Feldman to encourage acts of kindness.

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Obnoxio the Clown (1983) 1

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Continuing to observe International Clown Week, Four Color Holidays presents Obnoxio the Clown in his first – and only – special.

Obnoxio the Clown (1983) 1

Obnoxio the Clown (1983) 1

Alan Kupperbert is judge, jury and executioner in this one-shot. He has everyone chewing the scenery like a Stan Lee-scripted comic book in Something Slimey This Way Comes.

A classic misunderstanding has the protagonists pummeling each other for a majority of the book. When the real villain is discovered, he is quickly dispatched in one panel and a witty retort.

Something Slimey is followed by Jury Duty or: “Oy, the Jury.” More slapstick and abusive asides make up the short story. The tale of tropes is not as entertaining as its predecessor, but suffices.

The book is rounded out with a few one-page puzzles and gags and wrapped up in a neat bow of homage in the form of a Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up.

Obnoxio was created by Larry Hama as a mascot to Crazy magazine. He’s described as “slovenly, vulgar and middle-aged.”

His career would cross over into comic books after Crazy. His first appearance in four color was What If..? (1977) issue 34. The second his special recounted above. Following that, the clown was basically forgotten until What The–? in 1992.

Outside of the printed world, Obnoxio made a guest appearance in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Fear Itself episode. His likeness was used for robots in the Spider-Man and the X-Men game Arcade’s Revenge video game.

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Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

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Readers returned a last time to witness Marvels in 2019.

Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross recall a time when the X-Men were not a household name. Phil Sheldon is the host allowing us a glimpse – from the public’s-eye view – at Uncanny X-Men issue 98. Or, at least the beginning of the story.

Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

This time Sheldon’s daughters accompany him for the snow-covered trip to Rockefeller Center circa Christmas 1975. The story, ‘Merry Christmas, X-Men’; was also the launching pad for ‘A Few blocks Down from 34th Street’ as featured in the Marvel Holiday Special 1991.

Busiek and Ross began their journey through the Marvel Universe in 1994 with the four-issue series Marvels. Warren Ellis followed the act with Marvels Ruins. The original creative pair reunited in 2008 for a six-part storyline entitled Marvels: Eye of the Camera.

Epilogue was released as a 25th-anniversary swan song for the partnership and concept that witnessed the world as it changed.

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Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

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Riding high on the speculator market soon to go bust – the company would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year later – Marvel released its 1995 Holiday Special trade paperback.

Flagship character Spider-Man carried the book with three stories beginning with A Spider-Man Christmas Carol. The Web Head saves a hospital ward full of sick children with a little help from Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson.

A Miracle a Few Blocks down from 34th Street showcases the X-Men in the oft reprinted Christmas tale outing Santa as the world’s most powerful mutant.

Spider-Man returns in another seasonal fan favorite, Down and Out in Forest Hills. The story is miss-billed as Star Of the Show that appears later in the book.

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

Down and Out features Peter and Mary Jane as they are ousted from their condominium on Christmas Eve. Uncle Ben is the Ghost of Christmas Past who provides wisdom in Peter’s decision to return to his roots. The story originally appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 314.

Zounds of Silence is a textless tale featuring Wolverine – of sorts – in an imaginative dream of consumerism during the holidays.

Hopes and Fears sees the return of Spider-Man in a test of faith against Mephisto.

Free Will is lifted from Peter David’s run on The Incredible Hulk. Banner Hulk questions the holidays and choices.

Star of the Show finally appears as a one-page, textless story with the jolly, fat one making a guest appearance.

The Punisher is shoehorned into the book with customary bullets flying and body count in The Spirit of the Season.

Finally, The Big X-Mas Black Out brings Spidey back for an encore appearance as he dukes it out with Electro using Rockefeller Square as a backdrop.

Slap an $8.95 price tag on the title and Marvel made itself and readers a little merrier in ’95.

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Lighting the Menorah

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In season 2, episode 9 of X-Men Evolution – “On Angel’s Wings” – Kitty Pryde lights the menorah with her family.

Lighting the Menorah

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Have Yourself a Very Uncanny X-Mas

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Based on art by Marc Silvestri, you’ll find this Merry Marvel house ad in Uncanny X-Men (1963) #256.  According to Chris Haizlip’s blog – The UnPublished X-Men – the Santa hats were added after the original art for purposes of the advertisement.

If you’re an X-Men fan, be sure to give The UnPublished X-Men a perusal.  I’m sure you’ll find more than a few surprises.

X-Mas Savings

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Marvel Holiday Special (2007) TPB

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Marvel Holiday Special 2011 TPB

Marvel Holiday Special 2011 TPB

The early days of the Christmas Treasury Editions and their skimpy Santa’s bag of holiday stories were long past when Marvel published this volume.

Each of the offerings is a reprint beginning with “Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas” from Marvel Team-Up 1 followed by “Demon” from Uncanny X-Men 143. The remainder of the book pulls from either the 2004 and 2005 Marvel Holiday Specials.

Of course the first two stories are a glimpse of Merry Marvel of old, but the newer offerings provide a look at how far the House of Ideas has come.

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Uncanny X-Men 143

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Uncanny X-Men 143

Uncanny X-Men 143

Uncanny X-Men 143 is the final issue of the incredible collaboration between Chris Claremont and John Byrne and a thoughtful Christmas gift to readers.

Yet it’s not a holiday issue beyond the well wishes of a Merry Christmas on the cover and the seasonal backdrop. Even the main character, Kitty Pryde, is Jewish.

What “Demon” is, is an unabashed retelling of Alien with Kitty as Ripley.

That’s not a bad thing.

Claremont even makes reference to “that movie” without mentioning any names as Kitty tries to kill N’gari originally unleashed in Uncanny X-Men 96.

Still, it’s one of my favorites and deserves a spot in any Christmas stocking.

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Marvel Holiday Special (1991)

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Marvel Holiday Special (1991)

Marvel Holiday Special (1991)

By the early 1990s the comic book industry was becoming inundated by investors. Promises of high returns for pennies on the dollar had outsiders taking a serious look at what before was considered juvenile entertainment.

Within a few years, the bubble would bust leaving us true believers wondering if the medium could continue. Thanks to some well-done animated series and successful toy lines, comic books would survive.

However, in the pre-bust days readers would have to solider on.

DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths had provided some interesting reboots and the soon-to-be christened Vertigo franchise was holding my interest. Todd MacFarlane’s much heralded arrival on Spider-Man was not. Nor, were many of the flash in the pan titles Marvel was pumping out.

What did catch my attention, aside from Peter David’s run on The Incredible Hulk, was the return of the Holiday specials. For the first time in 15 years, Marvel decided to unleash a Christmas-themed one-shot filled with original material.

Some of the stories are almost unreadable after all this time, but a few still hold up.

Marvel chose some unlikely stories from the bankable characters at the time including the Punisher and Ghost Rider, but it’s the stalwart stables Spider-Man, Captain America and X-Men who provide the real treasures.

Of course any mutant title at the time was hot. Chris Claremont had made the outcasts unheralded successes paving – and paying – for the continued publishing onslaught that had overtaken rival DC many years past.

Scott Lobdell, unofficial Marvel historian, dusted off X-Men 98 and provided a prequel before George Lucas invented the word with “A Miracle a Few Blocks Down From 32nd Street.” The talented scribe shamelessly hinted that even the mighty Santa may be a mutant.

More subdued and predating any reference to the Winter Soldier, Captain America relearned the meaning of Christmas in “Precious Gifts.”

The final gem is the last story in the book starring Spider-Man and Jolly J. Jonah Jameson in “A Spider-Man Carol.” Danny Fingeroth did his homework for this one.

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