Posts Tagged ‘X-Men’

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.

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.