Posted Friday, May 12th, 2023 by Barry

Nellie the Nurse (1945) 1

International Nurses Day commemorates the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, May 12, 1820.

While Nightingale is noted in name, the day celebrates the dedication and duty all nurses demonstrate. International Nurses Week is a week-long celebration in Australia, Canada and the United States.

Our four-color face on the day is Atlas Comics – better known as Marvel – Nellie the Nurse.

Nellie the Nurse (1945) 1

Nellie’s original title ran from December 1945 to October 1952 including 36 issues. Her profession was evident in title only on most covers and in most stories. Nellie didn’t appear in her nurse togs until issue six and then only appeared in them on half of the remaining issues, normally in a flirtatious fashion.

She would later be lumped with Marvel’s post-war, silly/sexy sirens of the workplace characters. Others included Tillie the Toiler, Debbie Dean, Dixie Dugan and Flyin’ Jean.

Nellie would make a return in 1957 for one issue, this time as a blond, but still the object of ogles from the male staff and patients.

Today we can appreciate nurses for their assiduity rather than appearance. The average nurse walks four miles a day in what is considered the most honest and ethical profession in the United States. For those seeking a career, nurses, on average, earn $73,300 a year.

Nightingale is held in regard for her essential work during the Crimean War of the 1850s. During her first assignment, Nightingale was appalled at the conditions of the hospital. She took it upon herself to ensure the facility was clean and stocked with medical supplies and food.

Her experiences there would lead to a life of health care reform and nursing. In 1860, she opened the Nightingale School of Nursing in St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.

International Nurses Day has been celebrated since 1965.

Posted Thursday, April 27th, 2023 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 140

National Administrative Professionals’ Day has a pedigree stemming from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer from way back in 1952.

Sawyer proclaimed June, though a month, National Secretary’s Day with June 4 set aside as the official day of celebration. With the new millennium, the name was changed to a more gender-, politically correct-friendly observance of Administrative Professionals Day and moved to April.

Today was designed to recognize the efforts put forth by the otherwise unsung heroes of the office. It recognizes the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists as well as offering umbrella coverage to all administrative support professionals.

Celebrate by rewarding those mentioned above with more than their paycheck. Some suggestions include flowers, gift certificates, gift baskets, candy or lunch.

Putting a face to the day is Gloria Grant.

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 141

Ms. Grant first graced the pages of Amazing Spider-Man 140 as Peter Parker’s neighbor. Her initial appearance is little more than five Ross Andru panels barely hinting at the role should would soon attain in the title.

With her modeling career on hold and needing work, Peter was able to find her employment at the Daily Bugle during Betty Brant/Leed’s honeymoon.

Grant would become more than just a supporting character when she fell in love with gangster Eduardo Lobo. The romance came to an end when she accidently shot Lobo while aiming at Spider-Man.

Later, she helped Spidey and a government agent capture voodoo witch Calypso. Her involvement with boss J. Jonah Jameson and the Spider-Man titles would end when she left JJJ’s mayoral staff after he was elected as mayor of Manhattan.

For those in the work setting with administrative professionals, mark the day on your calendar. Those on the other side the desk, don’t for forget to drop a hint just in case.

Just remember, National Boss’s Day is Oct. 15.

Posted Sunday, April 23rd, 2023 by Barry

Banana Splits (1969) 1

One banana, two banana, three banana, four…

If you can finish this theme song, you remember Saturday morning cartoons, psychedelia before the 80s tried to bring it back and prizes hidden at the bottom of sugar-laden breakfast cereals.


Banana Splits (1969) 1

You also know who the ambassadors for National Banana Day are.

Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky confound spellcheck, but are remembered for their technicolor facade. They were also the title hosts for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour that aired on NBC from Sept. 7, 1968 to Sept. 5, 1970. A total of 31 episodes were filmed alternating between live-action and animated portions.

In syndication, the show would become known simply as The Banana Splits running from 1971 to 1982.

Musical segments during the first season were filmed at Six Flags Over Texas, near Arlington, TX. For the second season, filming was done at the Coney Island amusement park near Cincinnati, OH.

The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana) was written by N.B. Winkless Jr., though Ritchie Adams and Mark Barkan are credited. It would break the Billboard Top 100 at 96 in February of 1969.

Though the series ended in 1970, a made-for-television movie was released on ABC in 1972 called The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park.

The Banana Splits Movie was released in 2019 at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Gold Key published eight issues of the Banana Splits’ adventures from 1969 through 1971 with a crossover in Suicide Squad in 2017.

National Banana Day is recognized the third Wednesday in April.

Bananas are seen as a low-fat, low-calorie snack filled with fiber, potassium and vitamins.

Posted Thursday, April 6th, 2023 by Barry

Plop! (1973) 5

For those who go back as far as I do, here’s a little blast from the past to tide you over till Easter.

Plop! was a short-lived humor title National Periodicals rolled out to newsstands in 1973. The New Magazine of Weird Humor! as it billed itself, ran 24 issues finally bowing to the bicentennial and disinterest in the waning days of 1976.

Plop! (1973) 5

Like the EC books of old and DC House books of, then, current day, Plop! featured horror hosts. Cain and Able moonlighted from Houses of Mystery and Secrets, respectively. Eve, joined the duo, as their mother or cousin, depending on what DC retcon you follow. She debuted in Secrets of Haunted House, replacing Destiny.

Plop! is a spinoff of Steve Skeate’s short-story The Poster Plague published in House of Mystery. Publisher Carmine Infantino christened the book and Sergio Aragones blessed it with his talent.

Aragones was only one of the many talented writers and artists who graced the pages. Berni Wrightson, Basil Wolverton and Wally Wood were also part of the package that delivered on a bi-monthly basis.

In issue five, Aragones provides the bookends featuring a mentally handicapped hare attempting to understand what Plop! is as defined by Cain, Able and Eve.

Their efforts provide three short stories and several one- or two-and-done pages of jokes to entertain and enlighten the Easter Bunny.

The Ultimate Freedom allows man to finally fly even if he ultimately is grounded by his own complaints.

Politicians are disparaged even more in His Honor the Mayor with Molded in Evil bringing down the curtain. The final tale is a showcase for Wrightson and billed as a Valentine’s story told in a special Easter issue.

The last page had the Easter Bunny finally understanding what Plop! was and responding with a bunny hop of his own.

The first 10 issues were advertisement free. Poor sales meant ads had to be sold, but even then, the book continued to lose money.

Though largely ignored by the public, the title was lauded within the industry including the Shazam Award for Best Humor Story in issue one, Best Writer (Humor Division) in 1973 to Skeates and the Eagle Award for Favourite Comic in 1977.

So, enjoy Easter and if you have the opportunity, enjoy a little Plop! The early ones are the best, but the series deserves more recognition than it has ever received.

Posted Monday, April 3rd, 2023 by Barry

Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985)

This truly is a Hallmark holiday.

Rainbow Brite is the child of many fathers: Gary Glissmeyer, Hallmark’s Vice President of Creative/Licensing; Cheryl Coza, head of artists; Dan Drake, editorial director of writers of Hallmark; and Hallmark’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Lanny Julian.

Once the team created the prefab character, Jim McDowell of Hallmark’s marketing division wrote her back story.

Hallmark plowed ahead with a toy contract to Mattel and animated rites to France’s DIC. She debuted June 27, 1984, with a prime-time special entitled Peril in the Pits. The Mighty Monstromurk Menace and The Beginning of Rainbowland, both two-part specials, aired later.

Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer (1985)

By 1985, Rainbow Brite was popular enough to land an animated feature on the big screen. Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer was released by Warner Bros. The following year, it, with the made-for-television specials became the keystone for DIC’s Kideo TV programing that began airing April of 1986.

Beyond the comic book adaptation of Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, Hallmark’s handiwork was limited to a Dyanmite’s more recent attempts to bring her to the four-color universe. The 2018 series lasted five issues with a trade in 2019 and another in 2021.

So, all of the above to announce National Find a Rainbow Day.

April 3 has been set aside, again, this non-holiday’s origins are lost to time; to look to the sky and find a “colorful ray of hope cast across it,” as stated by National Day Calendar.

If the history of the day is unknown, the scientific cause is not. Rainbows are caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets in the Earth’s atmosphere. They appear opposite of the sun.

The sequence of colors is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

The Bible further states rainbows are a promise from God that he will never destroy the Earth by water again, Genesis 9:11.

God had destroyed the Earth due to “…the wickedness of man.”

However, you commemorate the day, just remember, if you find the end of the rainbow, don’t forget to share the wealth.

Posted Saturday, April 1st, 2023 by Barry

Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards Son of a Genius April Fools! (2016)

Here’s a quick reminder: today is April 1st. April Fool’s Day.

This is not joke.

April Fools has been celebrated for centuries, but its origins are guessed work. One of the more fascinating involves France changing from the Gregorian Calendar to the Julian. The change meant New Year’s Day moved from April 1 to January 1. Many failed to recognize the switch and celebrated through the last week of March. Those who did were labeled as victims of a hoax or joke.

Whatever its origin, the day became recognized in Britain in the 18th century. The commemoration spread to Scotland soon after.

Today April Fools Day is widely recognized worldwide.

To celebrate our prankster is Reed and Sue Richards’ little boy, Franklin, in his 2016 April Fools special.

In Sick Day, Franklin fails to study for his math test. To avoid taking the quiz, he raids his father’s infectious disease lab. Finding a jar marked “flu,” Franklin decides a sick day is in order to avoid taking the test. What he fails to realize is this flu is no ordinary virus, but the Pandorian strain capable of rendering him purple, growing sentient acne and finally dissolving to a green puddle of vocal ooze.

His saving grace is the fact it only lasts 24 minutes.

Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards Son of a Genius April Fools! (2016)

Restored to health, Franklin realizes he still has to attend school and take his test.

Brain Game is a one-page gag allowing Franklin’s father, Reed Richards, to co-star.

School nemesis Kristoff attempts to foil Franklin’s hard work in Diorama Dilemma! with a gimmicked Gummy Bear. The plot backfires, literally, giving Marvel’s first family’s first offspring a night off without homework.

Lockjaw joins H.E.R.B.I.E. and Franklin in Roswell Rescue!  The trio team up for a little alien investigation in 1947 and some retcon history.

H.E.R.B.I.E.’s thrown under the bus in Whodunnit?!

The finale is the holiday tale, April Fools Fiasco!

Franklin gets carried away with his father and Uncle Johnny during some April first Tom foolery. He’s relieved and miffed to find he’s not the only one who can play the game.

Spring is on the horizon, but there’s still some gloom in the air, so shake it off with a joke or two, but keep them clean and fun.

Posted Wednesday, March 8th, 2023 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 176

“To write is human; to edit is divine,” Stephen King.

Again, for the Four Color Holidays veteran, you’ll remember really is a National Proofreading Day. Last year we celebrated with The Marvel No-Prize Book.

If case you’re a newbie, National Proofreading Day was created by Judy Beaver in 2011 in memory of her mother, Flo. Much like Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) she was a person who relished correcting others mistakes. To commemorate, daughter Judy chose March 8 to mark the day with her mother’s birthday.

Fantastic Four (1961) 176

Proofreading may take a backseat in today’s world of texting where punctuation and abbreviating words is common practice.

It shouldn’t.

There is still a place for proofreading. To those of you who have read more than one of these missives. To those of you who still like to crack open a book or read the news or a magazine. Mistakes can be ugly. They can be confusing.

In 1962, NASA lost contact and control with Mariner 1. It blew up 293 seconds after launch. It is believed a missed hyphen in the guidance code was the cause. A mistake that could have been caught by proofreading.

Anyway, enough with the boring stuff.

Today’s representation of the non-holiday is Fantastic Four (1961) issue 176 showcasing the then editor-in-chief of Marvel himself Stan the Man Lee.

While Stan is no stranger to typos, again, see The Marvel No-Prize Book, he was head honcho, even starting out as a proofreader at Marvel originally.

Plus, he was co-creator of the book’s guest star, the Impossible Man. In addition, half the Marvel Bullpen make cameos. Included with Stan are Jack King Kirby, George Perez, Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott, John Verpoorten, Marv Wolfman, Archie Goodwin, Gerry Conway and Marie Severin.

Thomas, Wolfman and Goodwin were all former editors themselves.

The Impossible Man takes a tour of the Marvel offices after returning to Earth in the aptly named Improbable as it May Seem – The Impossible Man is Back in Town!

His unauthorized visit turns into a siege of sorts as Impossible Man decides he wants to be immortalized in the four-color Marvel Universe. Using his morphing ability and the illustrations of heroes and their tools of the trade, Impossible Man terrorizes the bullpen until Stan promises him his own comic book.

It may not have been published until 1991 with the Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular 1.

Hopefully this reads well and there are no misspellings or miscues with the punctuation. But, if there’s a post where it would be appropriate, this would be the one.

Posted Wednesday, March 1st, 2023 by Barry

Aliens: Pig (1997)

Aliens: Pig

Aliens: Pig

In case your forgot to mark your calendars, today is National Pig Day – again.

Today is the day to celebrate all things swine. From the banks with our childhood life savings to the side order that complimented breakfast.

In case this is your first rodeo with the day, Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne are the co-creators of National Pig Day inaugurated in 1972. Their wish was to recognize an underappreciated member of the animal kingdom and the most intelligent of the domesticated farm animals. Ones who have been the stars of books, cartoons and movies.

Granted this is a non-holiday more remembered in the heartland of America where today’s guests of honor are gathered for our future consumption. Surprisingly, it is also a popular pastime for many nursing homes. Residents are encouraged to present their collections of porcelain porcine or other sundry keepsakes.

Using Peter Porker, Porky Pig and, well, Porky again, it’s time to move on with a master of ceremonies.

This year we celebrate with a simple porcus.

In 1997 Dark Horse Comics continued their Alien franchise with Aliens: Pig. The one-shot was conceived by Chuck Dixon, maybe better remembered for all his work on the Batman family of books at DC Comics.  Henry Flint illustrated the tale and Andrew Pepoy inked.

The plot was simple enough: scavengers set out to raid a juicy ore tug wreck before its rightful owners arrive. One problem; a hive of Aliens have already staked claim at the site.

The solution was simple enough; release a pig with a low-yield nuclear device strapped to its back. Once inside the hive, detonate the gadget and partake of the plunder.

Of course, the best laid plans of mice, men and outlaws rarely go smoothly.

Aliens was one of Dark Horse Comics building blocks. The company licensed the rights to the franchise in 1988, two years after formation of the comic company.

Its first foray was simply Aliens, a six-issue mini followed by 37 further entries either in mini-series or one-shot format. That’s not including appearances in Dark Horse Presents or the Aliens vs. Predator outings.

Also outside the self-titled minis were Aliens vs. Predator vs. The Terminator, Batman/Aliens, Green Lantern Versus Aliens, Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens, Superman/Aliens, Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator and WildC.A.T.s/Aliens.

Not to overshadow the day, enjoy the other white meat however you like.

Posted Thursday, February 9th, 2023 by Barry

X-Men Pizza Hut Marvel Collector’s Edition (1993) 1-4

Pre-heat the ovens or punch the buttons, but get that pie on the table for National Pizza Day.

Last year we discussed the Pizza Hut promo with Marvel Comics; more precisely the X-Men. We re-warming the same idea this year, but with new material.

Pizza Hut and Marvel proved a powerful pairing as they brought diners the Pizza Hut Super Savings Book featuring the X-Men. That only prepared the way for four, original 16-page X-Men comic books.

For the price of a personal pizza, diners received the free comic book.

The timing was no coincidence with the critically and commercially acclaimed X-Men animated feature airing on Fox Kids Network every Saturday morning beginning in October of 1992.

With Marvel’s mutant franchise on the rise, licensing was proving very lucrative. From the source comic books to the small screen and into the hands of eager youngsters with action figures and video games, the once stagnant title was proving a cash cow.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first created the X-Men in 1963. The book did little on the bookshelves and was relegated to reprints by decades end. Not until Len Wein and Dave Cockrum revamped the team title in 1975 did dividends begin to pay off.

Having introduced a new team in Giant-Size X-Men issue one, Wein stepped back allowing a young Chris Claremont to helm the book for the next 20 years.

In 1989, Pryde of the X-Men, an animated television pilot, aired on the Marvel Action Universe. It was not well received and plans for an animated X-Men series was ignored – until 1992.

By the time Marvel and Pizza Hut partnered, the series was airing in over 23 million homes.

Currently Pizza Hut has over 18,000 restaurants worldwide while Americans alone consume, on average, over four billion pizzas a year. That includes both pizzerias and the grocery-store, frozen variety. As related last year, that’s an average of 23 pounds of pizza per person in an annual basis.

To commemorate, order or warm up your pie of choice, then settle in to some X-Men goodness. Be sure to wash your hands so as not to get the pages greasy.


Posted Friday, February 3rd, 2023 by Barry

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

We’ve called on him before, and we’re doing it again today. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew are helping celebrate National Carrot Cake Day.

While carrots may seem an odd choice for cake flavoring, the confection has been around since the middle ages. It is believed carrots were selected as a sweet substitute for sugar. Most likely carrot cake was developed from a carrot pudding.

A carrot cake is a form of quick bread; a mixture of wet and dry ingredients done separately then combined. The finished product is coarser than a traditional cake. Cinnamon and nutmeg compliment the natural sweetness of carrots. Nuts and raisins are sometimes added.

Having offered more information on carrot cake then probably needed, let’s delve into the origins of Captain Carrot.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

The Captain and crew were created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw. They were given a 16-page tryout as a special insert in The New Teen Titans issue 16. A 20-issue series followed beginning the same year.

Superman discovered the parallel Earth, C, while investigating a ray causing the citizens of Metropolis to act like primates. While flying to the source of the ray, Superman encountered a barrier. The Man of Steel attempted to smash through with a meteor only to find he had skipped to another dimensional plain. There he found Earth C where fragments from the meteor caused members of that Earth to gain super powers.

Together they formed the Amazing Zoo Crew.

Various crises have caused the demise and rebirth of the characters over time. Their most recent reincarnation came in Final Crisis issue seven when Monitor Nix Uotan restored the Zoo Crew to their former selves.

Team members include Roger Rodney Rabbit. His alter ego is Captain Carrot. He gains his powers by consuming a cosmic carrot allowing his superpowers to last 24 hours.

Felina Furr, aka Alley-Kat-Abra who helps with her magic wand.

Peter Porkchops, aka Pig-Iron. A freak accident caused his skin to harden like steel.

Byrd Rentals, or Rubberduck, who is also known as the malleable mallard due to his stretching abilities.

Rova Barkitt, aka Yankee Poodle, can project a force beam consisting of stars.

Timmy Joe Terrapin, also known as Fastback, who can run at superfast speeds.

Chester Cheese, or Little Cheese. Cheese can shrink to atomic sizes

Johnny Jingo, aka The American Eagle. He has no super powers, but functions like Batman.

Though only 20 issues, Captain and crew earned a rogue’s gallery to rival Flash’s as well as Starro the Conqueror and Gorilla Grodd, both of Earth-One.

So, enjoy the day with a piece of cake, topped with a cheesy title.