Posts Tagged ‘X-Men’

Posted Monday, May 2nd, 2022 by Barry

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 120

Entering the lexicon of Four Color Holidays is National Brothers and Sisters Day.

When an unknown woman lost her brother, she realized the loss was a permanent one and wished to commemorate a day allowing siblings to remember the importance of one another.

This is not to be confused with National Siblings Day. That is defined as a day to bond with brothers and sisters.

For the site, we choose Jean-Paul Beaubier and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier as our co-hosts. The pair are better known by their trade names Northstar and Aurora, respectively.

Both debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men 120 along with their comrades Alpha Flight.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 120

Alpha Flight is basically the Canadian equivalent of the X-Men. It’s also Wolverine’s former (extended) family – of sorts.

Anyway, Northstar is the group’s speedster, able to whiz along at super sonic speeds as well as fire photonic blasts. He’s is also one of the first, openly gay super heroes. He was married to his husband, Kyle Jinadu, in Astonishing X-Men 51. It marked the first same-sex wedding in comic books.

Aurora has a dissociative identity disorder, leading two separate lives. Her Jeanne-Marie Beaubier identity is reserved while her super hero persona is much more flamboyant.

Like her brother, Aurora has superhuman speed and can fly. In addition, she has high endurance and stamina allowing her to attain and maintain her super speed.

Like 19 percent of their counterparts south of the border, Northstar and Aurora are completely different. Only about 10 percent of Americans say they are best friends with their sibling. Eight percent admit to having fought their sibling, leaving marks or even drawing blood.

Whatever your relationship, enjoy the day with the one you share a gene pool with – or not.

Maybe the best way to spend the day is to find a copy of Uncanny X-Men 120 and all the ones that follow through 166, curl up with some comfort food and tune out the world.

Posted Wednesday, February 9th, 2022 by Barry

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

Over three billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year reinforcing the need for today’s non-holiday:  National Pizza Day.

The origin for today’s celebration is unknown. What we do know is pretty much everyone loves pizza. In addition to the three billion ordered, another billion are purchased in the freezer section of grocery stores. That’s an average annual consumption of of 23 pounds of pizza per person.

In the United States, 17 percent of all restaurants are pizzerias. The first was opened in Naples, Italy, in 1738 with Gennaro Lombardi opening the first American counterpart in 1895 in New York City.

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

So, teaming one of the largest pizzerias with the biggest comic book act of the day wasn’t a stretch of the imagination for Pizza Hut and Marvel Comics in 1993.

The X-Men animated series premiered the previous year, October 31, on Fox Kids Network. The series was a commercial and critical success, reaching over 23-million households.

Initially, Marvel and Pizza Hut offered the 12-page promotional giveaway mini comic (4 5/8”X7 ¼”) featuring a full-color abridged retelling of the history of the X-Men. Professor X was the guide. Included were Pizza Hut coupons.

The Pizza Hut franchise began in Wichita, Kansas. Brothers Dan and Frank Carney were the founders. After six months, they opened a second restaurant and within a year had six franchises.

Pizza Hut was obtained by PepsiCo in November 1977. The Hut joined fellow PepsiCo restaurants Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken to form Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. In 2002 the company was rebranded as Yum! Brands.

The chain currently has over 18,000 restaurants worldwide.

To celebrate National Pizza Day, nab your favorite pie, pepperoni being the most popular, and settle in with some semi-old school X-Men comic books or the series currently streaming in Disney+.

Some comfort food with some comfort entertainment.

Pizza Hut Coupons (no longer valid)

Pizza Hut Coupons (no longer valid)

Posted Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 by Barry

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 308

Mixed Blessings doesn’t sound like much of a Thanksgiving story, but that’s what each of the X-Men are doing.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 308

Uncanny X-Men (1963) 308

Issue 308 ties up some extended story arcs allowing both players and readers some breathing space. Taking time to catch up on some personal matters or menial tasks, the book is broken down into relationships.

When they do come together, it’s for an impromptu football game mutant style. The book culminates with the announcement Scott Summers and Jean Grey are getting married.

This was also a time of great change in the comic book industry. The X-Men, long celebrated within the comic book field, were becoming sought after by investors. Readers were jumping bandwagons and most mutant properties were targets. Histories were retconned and characters plunged into chaos to keep the comics selling.

As the 1990s continued, much of what made the X-Men – and so many others – special waned. Gimmicks took precedence over character as companies attempted to grab as much money as they could.

The X-Men survived and continue to captivate and capture new readers having weathered reboots and fan’s fancies.

Maybe that’s what the comic book industry has become: a mixed blessing. Those of us who have been around for any length of time have weathered our share of knocks, but we still have hope every Wednesday.

Get ready to give more thanks. Tomorrow is a day for family, friends and football. Dig out the elastic waistband pants and polish that fork and knife.

Posted Thursday, July 29th, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 10

July 29 has been set aside to raise the awareness of the dwindling number of tigers, the biggest cats on Earth.

Today is International Tiger Day.

The X-Men (1963) 10

Over the past 100 years, the number of tigers has dwindled from over 1 million to fewer than 4,000 in their 13 indigenous countries. Those include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

These nomadic felines tend to roam. Their turf can be as large as 386-square miles. They are the largest of the cat species and the third largest meat eater, only behind polar and brown bears. An adult tiger can consume up to 88 pounds of meat in one meal.

Representing the classy cat is a predecessor, Zabu the saber-toothed tiger.

Zabu first appeared in The X-Men issue 10 with his partner, Ka-Zar, born Kevin Reginald.

His parents discovered the Savage Land, where prehistoric creatures still roam and home to Zabu. It also became their final resting place.

Ka-Zar was subsequently raised by Zabu; Ka-Zar literally translates to “son of the tiger” in Savage Land speak. The tiger possesses near-human intelligence due to radioactive mists that caused a mutation.

Later, Zabu would become a member of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. The four-issue limited series was published from July to October 2009. It proved popular enough to go into a second printing. A sequel, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed hit comic book shops from May to August 2010.

A third series, Avengers vs. the Pet Avengers, began December 2010 and ran through March 2011.

Later they would guest in Power Pack, Thor and the Warriors Four and Guardians Team-Up issue five.

All have been collected in trade paperbacks.

The Pet Avengers are playable in Marvel Avengers Academy.

For more information on International Tiger Day, visit the Facebook page.

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2021 by Barry

Video Game Day

Need we say more?

Well, we’re gonna.

There’s no real history for the day, but there are a plethora of games that can be sampled. Rather than bore you with a lengthy dissertation, we’ll let Nixian’s YouTube offering on the Evolution of Superhero games give you a sampling.

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Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 4

We’re gonna stick with the X-Men brand (it worked for Marvel) as we commemorate National Running Day.

National Running Day is celebrated the first Wednesday in June and designed to encourage Americans to reaffirm their desire to run. Last year DC’s scarlet speedster hosted the day. This year it’s Marvel’s mutant of momentum, Quicksilver.

The X-Men (1963) 4

The X-Men (1963) 4

As evidenced from the cover, Pietro Maximoff first graced the Marvel U in the pages of the X-Men issue four. Like many Marvel comics heroes, Quicksilver began his public life as a villain. Joined with his sister, Scarlet Witch; leader of the pack, Magneto; the Toad; and Mastermind the quintet began their career harassing the X-Men.

Seeing the error of their ways, Pietro and sister, Wanda, left the Brotherhood and joined the Avengers. He further legitimized himself with marriage to the Inhumans’ Crystal.

Pietro remained an outsider in the MU for most of his tenure. He was introduced to a wider audience in 1966 on The Marvel Super Heroes animated series courtesy of Captain America’s segments. He further guest starred in three episodes of the 1990’s X-Men cartoon and was a recurring character in X-Men: Evolution.

Quicksilver reprised his membership in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for Wolverine and the X-Men and appeared in more kid friendly The Super Hero Squad Show.

His stock rose higher when he appeared in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016’s X-Men Apocalypse and 2019’s Dark Phoenix.

Taking the spandex-clad mutant as inspiration, lace up the sneakers and head out for a quick spin around the neighborhood or pace yourself across town. For more information on the non-holiday, visit glabalrunningday.org.

Posted Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 1

Here’s a cover Four-Color Holidays readers may recognize. We’ve used it for Angel and today we’re utilizing the ground-breaking issue again for the Beast who is our grand marshal during National Go Barefoot Day.

Celebrants are urged to doff their shoes in honor of June 1. Take a moment and run through the green grass.

The X-Men (1963) 1

The X-Men (1963) 1

For the scholars in the audience or those old enough to remember, Hank McCoy wasn’t always the “ferocious, furry Beast” we know today. Mr. McCoy started out as pink skinned as the rest of the original team.

His dad, Norton McCoy, was employed at a nuclear power plant. His job caused him to be exposed to a massive amount of radiation resulting in Hank’s unusually large hands and feet at the end of equally unusually long arms and legs. His high school nickname was Magilla Gorilla.

Due to his greater strength and agility, Professor Charles Xavier approached Hank for membership in the titular Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Hank became the Beast and one of the founding members of the original X-Men team:  Angel, Cyclops, Ice Man and Marvel Girl.

Hank left the X-Men and became an employee with the Brand Corp. following his 20th birthday. An experiment turned Hank furrier than Robin Williams. Over time, he has transformed back to a more human appearance only to grow his fur back.

During his heroic career, Hank would become a member of the Avengers, X-Factor and the X-Men again.

To help celebrate this early start to summer, participants are encouraged to donate a gently used pair of shoes to a charitable organization.

National Go Barefoot Day was created in 2004 by Soles4Souls following a Tsunami disaster. Donations have continued to this day amounting in over 40.5 million pairs worldwide.

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.