Posts Tagged ‘X-Men’

Posted Saturday, January 16th, 2021 by Barry

X-Men (1963) 166

For whatever reason, today is National Appreciate a Dragon Day.

Normally the backgrounds of these non-holidays are easy to find. Some are just plain goofy in origin, but there is a beginning.

National Appreciate a Dragon Day seems to be shrouded in some mystery as the day seems to float through the various pages of the calendar based on what people wish to associate dragons with.

For those at Cornell University, it’s occurs the Friday before Spring Break. First-year architecture students create a giant likeness of a winged lizard and parade it around campus.

Dragon Day is celebrated by some on the 26th of November.

X-Men (1963) 166

X-Men (1963) 166

We’re recognizing it today: January 16.

With Lockheed as our official mascot this year.

That would be Kitty Pryde’s pet first mentioned in Uncanny X-Men 153 in Kitty’s Fairy Tale. For more information, look to our celebration of National Tell a Fairy Tale Day.

Today we’ll focus on Lockheed’s first canonical appearance.

This takes place in the final story arc of the Bronze-Age X-Men’s run. The cat-sized dragon-like extraterrestrial bonds with the teenage mutant and helps save the team.

Lockheed has been associated with Kitty since.

This is really a stellar swansong to the “new” X-Men’s early adventures. Their return to Earth is met by the New Mutants and the beginning of multi-mutant titles that continue to flourish today.

Forget Game of Thrones and the magical Pete and enjoy an old school adventure. Grab whatever comfort food or drink – or both – you need and spend a wintery day warming to a story of a girl and her dragon.

Posted Saturday, December 19th, 2020 by Barry

A Colorful Christmas from the Merry Marvel Bullpen

Marvel didn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the season and spread cheer with their own, unique brand of Christmas wishes. They were just as brilliant in 1983 with a multitude of the Marvel U helping Santa Thing.

By this time, Jim Shooter was midway through his reign as the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men was starting to pay dividends with spin-offs appearing. Frank Miller’s Daredevil was received to financial and critical success. The first mini, Contest of Champions had launched and the Marvel-wide crossover, Secret Wars, was in the wings.

The Christmas card would be nearing its 500th year of existence, the first recorded document in 1611 from Michael Maier to James I of England and his son, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales.

In 1874, Prang and Mayer of England were the first printers to offer Christmas cards in America. Postcards eventually substituted, but by the 1920s, cards and envelopes experienced a renaissance and continue today.

Email can now be seen as a contributor to the decline in Christmas card exchange. However, the card business is far from extinct with nearly two billion sent every year.

A Colorful Christmas from the Merry Marvel Bullpen

Posted Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 by Barry

X-Men (1991) 165

Hark How the Bells–! marks the end of the year and the end of an era as Chris Claremont departs the title.

Again.

X-Men (1991) 165

X-Men (1991) 165

X-23’s transgression in the beginning is forgiven by books end. Between, Claremont ties up a few loose ends and tantalizes what may come. All is witnessed by Xavier and Magneto who see the festivities of promises made and kept.

The X-Men were maybe the least of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s creations at the beginning of the Marvel Universe. By issue 67 the title was limping along with reprints of earlier exploits.

Not until Giant-Size X-Men (1975) one, by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, did the book publish new material. Claremont took over writing chores with issue 94, picking up where the original series left off.

As the second coming picked up speed, Claremont would expand the mutant universe with titles like The New Mutants and Excalibur. In 1991 he and Jim Lee teamed for the adjective less X-Men which remains the best-selling comic book of all time.

Claremont would leave shortly after.

He later returned to helm the Fantastic Four. The X-Men beckoned as well and he would return in 2004.

The X-books continue to be mega sellers. With or without Claremont, but it is he who pioneered the popularity.

Posted Sunday, August 23rd, 2020 by Barry

Giant-Size X-Men (1975) 1

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.

Posted Saturday, August 22nd, 2020 by Barry

X-Men (1963) 1

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.

Posted Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 by Barry

Obnoxio the Clown (1983) 1

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.

Posted Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 by Barry

Marvels: Epilogue (2019)

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.

Posted Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 by Barry

Marvel Holiday Special 1995 TPB

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.

Posted Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 by Jeff

Lighting the Menorah

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

Lighting the Menorah

Posted Monday, December 18th, 2017 by Jeff

Have Yourself a Very Uncanny X-Mas

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