Posted Friday, December 1st, 2023 by Barry

Plop! (1973) 10

Welcome to December and the Christmas rush.

Well, the Christmas rush has already begun, but this is as good a day as any to celebrate, commiserate and/or commemorate the buying season.

Who better to greet the season than some old friends from the Bronze Age, Cain, Able and Eve?

By issue 10, the triumvirate of terror had been hosting the humor/horror anthology nearly two years. It would also mark the final issue sans advertisements.

For the uninitiated, Cain, Able and Eve are raconteurs plying their skills on any who will listen – and, even more so on those who won’t.

This time, the three have stolen away in Santa’s sleigh as he makes his Christmas Eve journey. When the finally reveal themselves – and intent – Santa is less than gracious, but hears their stories anyway.

Plop! (1973) 10

Not that he has much choice.

Cain opens the trio of tales with androclutz and the Lion.

  1. Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando take much liberty with The Lion and the Thorn fable all while David Maniak illustrates.

“Androklutz is the nicest kid on the block,” so say Bridwell and Orlando. The protagonist would stop at nothing to champion what he felt was right. From risking his life to save drowning persons to pulling an annoying thorn from a strange lion’s paw.

No matter the deed, small or big, Androklutz always learned no good deed goes unpunished. Even unto death.

Eve tortures Santa next with …A Change of Diet!!

Creator and friend learn that pets will bite the hand that feeds them.

Able is the final tale teller with The Secret Origin of Grooble Man.

Steve Skeates and Sergio Aragones serve up John Jacobson’s story of word power. The four-page account is as long as it needs to be as good intentions are dashed with one utterance.

Each recital is interspersed with one- and two-page joke panels while the stories are bookended with Sergio Aragones art and wit. All are tied up with the South American showman’s usual disposal of the hosts as they lament the lack of appreciation for their craft and themselves.

For a more detailed history of Plop!, please refer to our earlier offering for Easter with issue five.

Posted Friday, October 20th, 2023 by Barry


Marvel’s Hulk began as a grey monster, turned green, went grey and settled back into his green motif. He has been simple minded, brilliant, a gangster and many other things, but in 2020 he became a cosplayer.

Hulk’s horror homage was N’Kantu, the Living Mummy for Marvel’s 2020 series of variant Halloween covers.

IMMORTAL HULK (2017) 38 variant cover by Del Mundo

Plumbing the depths of the monster pantheon Marvel had Dracula, a werewolf and the Frankenstein monster filling comic pages in the early 1970s; all that remained to resurrect was a mummy.

Beginning in Supernatural Thrillers (1972) issue five, Steve Gerber and Rich Buckler unleashed the 3,000-year-old living mummy, N’Kantu.

Initially intended as a one-and-done, N’Kantu’s story proved popular enough to return in Supernatural Thrillers seven. From there, it ran till issue 15 when the title was cancelled.

N’Kantu was laid to rest until 1983 when he joined Ben Grimm in the Thing’s team-up title Marvel Two-in-One issue 95.

Since then, N’Kantu has been silent on the comic book front, but has earned appearances on The Super Hero Squad, This Man-Thing, This Monster!

He also guested in two Ultimate Spider-Man episodes, Blade and The Howling Commandos. In Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., the Living Mummy guest starred in Hulking Commandos, Days of Future Smash, Part 3: Dracula and Planet Monster: Part 2.

The Mummy was introduced to mass audiences in 1932 during the Golden Age of monster movies under Universal’s imprint.

Boris Karloff appeared as Ardeth Bey/Imhotep/The Mummy. Others would portray the antagonist in subsequent non-direct sequels.

The Mummy’s Hand was released in 1940 starring Tom Tyler.

Lon Chaney, Jr., became the mummy in 1944’s The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse.

Abbott and Costello met the Mummy in 1955 with Eddie Parker playing the title monster.

British Hammer Film Productions picked up the torch in 1959 with The Mummy. The Mummy’s Tomb followed in 1964, The Mummy’s Shroud in 1966, and Blood from The Mummy’s Tomb in 1971.

Universal tried to remake the series beginning in 1999 with The Mummy. A sequel, The Mummy Returns was released in 2001 and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in 2008.

Posted Tuesday, October 17th, 2023 by Barry

Captain Marvel (2018) 22

Marvel’s stable of monster comic books rivaled that of its Distinguished Competition in the 1970s. Continuing the horror homage for October 2020, Marvel chose to remember its trepidatious tome Monsters Unleashed.

Captain Marvel (2018) 22 variant cover by Taurin Clarke

Captain Marvel was one of a continuing line of heroes sharing the same name. The original Captain was created C.C. Beck and Bill Parker in 1939 for Fawcett comic books.

Following a decade long court battle with National Periodicals (DC Comics), Fawcett cancelled the title. In the late 1960s, Marvel obtained the trademark with its first series.

Unlike Fawcett’s magical creation, Marvel’s was a military officer of the Kree Imperial Militia. His mission was to observe Earth and monitor its ability to develop technology for interstellar travel.

Mar-Vell would meet an untimely end in Marvel’s first graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel published in 1982. Mar-Vell would be diagnosed with incurable cancer as a result of exposure to toxic nerve gas.

Monica Rambeau was next to don the mantel. A New Orleans police lieutenant., she possessed the power to transform herself into any form of energy. She would later christen herself Spectrum.

The title was passed to Phyla-Vell in Captain Marvel (2003) issue five. She would later become the new Quasar and sacrifice herself for the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Khn’nr appeared in Civil War: The Return in 2007 as the new Captain. During the Secret Invasion, he was thought to be killed by invading Skrulls.

Noh-Varr used the name for a brief time before calling himself Marvel Boy.

The current Captain – as of this writing – is Carol Danvers. The former Ms. Marvel adopted the mantle in 2012.

Monsters Unleashed was published by Marvel Comics owned Magazine Management beginning in 1973. It would run 11 issues and one annual, lasting till 1975. The magazine was an anthology series of horror stories, some featuring Man-Thing, the Frankenstein monster and Wendigo.

A company-wide crossover titled Monsters Unleashed hit spin racks in 2017.

Posted Friday, October 13th, 2023 by Barry

Captain America (2018) 24

Of all the releases for Halloween season 2020, Captain America (2018) issue 24 seems tailer made for the variant covers.

Using the much-maligned Captain America story arc from issues 402 to 408, cover artist Mirka Andolfo gives readers a stylized commemoration of Cap’s bout with lycanthropy.

Writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Rik Levins sent Cap looking for the missing Colonel John Jameson. For the uninitiated, John Jameson – son of Daily Bugle owner J. Jonah Jameson – suffers from a similar disease becoming the Man-Wolf under the right conditions.

Captain America (2018) 24 Mirka Andolfo variant

During the investigation, Cap finds evidence of recent killings by a werewolf. Thoughts of Jameson’s earlier transformations raises alarm. Cap enlists the aid of fellow Avenger Dr. Druid to look into the latest murder.

Readers learn Dr. Nightshade is developing a wolf serum.

In the meantime, Wolverine has arrived in Starkesboro to fight off the town’s werewolf population. He is captured one of the plotters, Moonhunter, while fighting.

Dredmund, the Demon Druid, appeared, hypnotizing Logan and forcing him to battle Captain America. Cap is taken prisoner and infected with the wolf serum.

The Super Solider Serum that created Captain America keeps part of the wolf serum at bay. While gaining the appearance of a werewolf, Cap is able to retain his human will.

As related for our National Moon Day commemoration this year, Cap Wolf leads a rebellion with the other werewolves, leading into Marvel’s Infinity War story line.

The European legend of werewolves followed settlers to America and into modern culture courtesy of literature and movies.

Werewolf of London, 1935, was the first cinematic venture to feature lycanthropy on the big screen and to a major audience. It wasn’t until 1941 another werewolf would take to the movies, this one portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man.

Unlike Henry Hull, who starred in Werewolf of London, Chaney underwent the arduous make up by Jack Pierce to convey the true feeling of a werewolf. Hull’s was more of a shaggy London scientist with lamb chops.

Since then, werewolves have thrived in all forms of media, including comic books.

Posted Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 by Barry

Black Widow (2020) 2

Joshua Swaby provided the tribute cover for Black Widow’s second offering in her eighth volume for Marvel Comics.

Continuing with the 2020 variant covers celebrating Halloween and the horror titles of the Bronze Age, Black Widow issue two lauds Marvel’s longest running horror book, Tomb of Dracula.

The serialized spooky soap ran 70 issues from 1972 to 1979. Giant-Size Dracula accompanied the main title running five issues.

Black Widow (2020) 2 Joshua Swaby

So popular was the title, Marvel moved it from full color to monochrome for 13 issues of Dacula Lives! to run concurrently. The magazine ran from 1973 to 1975 accompanied by a Super Annual filled with reprinted material. The title would live on following retirement of the comic book in magazine form for a year, lasting six issues.

Marvel incorporated its horror line into its mainstream titles with appearances of Dracula in Giant-Size Spider-Man one, Dr. Strange and the X-Men during the Bronze Age.

During the resurgence of comic books in the 1990s, Dracula arose yet again in a four-issue mini series in 1991. He would see further ink in the Nightstalkers and Blade series of the same decade.

The Dark Lord would appear in two more mini series before returning to his casket, one an adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel that spawned him and one more battle with Blade.

Black Widow looks good considering how long she’s been working in comic books.

Claire Voyant was the first Black Widow, appearing in Mystic Comics cover dated August 1940. Her mission was to kill evil doers and deliver their souls to the devil. Her character had nothing in common with Marvel’s later incarnation beyond code name.

Marvel’s first Black Widow was Natasha Romanoff debuting in Tales of Suspense (1959) issue 52. She was originally a Russian spy who defected to America. She has worked solo and with the Avengers, Defenders, Champions, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thunderbolts.

Her successor was Yelena Belova first appearing in Inhumans (1998) issue five. Later she took center stage in the 1999 Marvel Knights mini-series Black Widow.

Different incarnations have appeared in alternative Marvel universes.

Posted Saturday, October 7th, 2023 by Barry

Avengers (2018) 37

Continuing Marvel’s 2020 adulation of its Bronze Age horror titles, issue of 37 of volume eight’s incarnation of the Avengers celebrates Where Monsters Dwell.

A giant She-Hulk demolished New York on the cover of Avengers 37 apparently recognizing 1958’s Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. In reality, it was a throw back to the Bronze Age reprint title Where Monsters Dwell.

Marvel plundered its back issue department from the Golden and Silver ages pulling torrid tales told by Stan Lee/Jack Kirby before super heroes returned to prominence. The monthly theme was to have a monster either from outer space or created on Earth terrorize a town or individual only to be defeated in eight to 10 pages by an unlikely hero.

The series ran 38 issues, from 1970 to 1975.

Avengers (2018) 37 Javier Rodriguez cover

The Avengers have fared better.

Stan and Jack took the few heroes they’d created by 1963 and merged them into the second super team in the Marvel U, the first being the Fantastic Four.

That team included Ant-Man, the Wasp, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor.

Since then, the Avengers have evolved over time, incorporating pretty much every hero – and a few villains – in their ranks over the past 60 years.

The team has further been the subject of four theatrical films. Avengers, 2012, earned over $1 billion dollars and was the highest-grossing film of the year.

The next installment, Age of Ultron in 2015, grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide. Infinity War, released in 2018, returned over $2 billion worldwide on a budget of $325-400 million.

Endgame finished the first cycle of Avengers movies in 2019 grossing $2.798 billion worldwide.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was made on a budget of $88,000. It grossed enough to prompt talks of a sequel. It never materialized.

Stay with us as Four Color Holidays continues to explore Marvel’s variant horror issues of 2020.

Posted Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (2018) 50

Commemorating the month and its rich history of horror comic books, Marvel took October 2020 to offer readers variant covers to their current favorite reads with a frightful flavor of titles past.

Aaron Kuder illustrated the variant for Amazing Spider-Man 50 with lush coloring from Jordie Bellaire. Spidey took on the Blade, the Vampire Hunter persona in this Spider-Man the Vampire Hunter homage.

Only the cover reflects Marvel’s horror heritage. The issue offers part one of the Last Remains storyline.

Amazing Spider-Man (2018) 50 Aaron Kuder variant

While Spider-Man has faced his share of supernatural personages, he’s only really associated with Blade, the Vampire Hunter through the highly acclaimed 1990’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

Blade was introduced as a supporting character in Marvel Comics’ The Tomb of Dracula (1972) issue 10. He would continue to guest in issues 11 through 21 and again in issues 24 and 28.

Marvel Scribe Steve Gerber liked the character well enough to utilize him in Adventure into Fear issue 24 that same year appearing opposite Morbius the Living Vampire.

His first solo outing came in December of 1974 in an 11-page story in Vampire Tales. Co-creator Marv Wolfman penned the tale. He returned the following book before earning a book-length story between the pages of Marvel Preview number three. Chris Claremont was the author.

Wolfman continued Blade’s legacy in Preview issue eight in 1976. It would be his last appearance in the Marvel Universe for over a decade.

As Marvel tested the darker waters of in the early 1990s, Blade was brought back in Ghost Rider (1990) 28. His popularity was such he earned a co-starring role in the book Nightstalkers that ran 18 issues.

That led to his own title that lasted 10 issues followed by a one-shot in Marvel: Shadows and Light.

As he prepared for the big screen, Blade starred in two solo one-shots, Blade: Crescent City Blues in 1998 and Blade: Sins of the Father the following year.

Blade would bounce around the Marvel U for a time before starring in another short-lived solo series from 2006 to 2007.

Since then, the character has been relatively quiet yet, with three theatrical released films, a one-season television series and numerous appearances in the animated world, Blade has been resilient.

Posted Saturday, August 26th, 2023 by Barry

Rex the Wonder Dog (1952) 1

Anyone who has been with us the past few years should remember what non-holiday we celebrate today. If not, our guest host should give it away.

Today is National Dog Appreciation Day. To date, we’ve had Krypto, Ace and Lockjaw emcee. This year, we’ve asked Rex the Wonder Dog to do the honors.

For those not familiar with Rex, he was birthed in 1952 by DC war scribe and Wonder Woman chronicler Robert Kanigher. Artist Alex Toth gave him shape.

Sometimes mistaken as a Krypto clone, Rex came first. Superman’s super pooch didn’t appear until 1955 in Action Comics 210.

Rex does borrow from a canine of the same name and moniker who appeared in several silent films of the 1920s.

That is where the similarities end.

Rex the Wonder Dog (1952) 1

Rex is a white German Shepherd with augmented abilities allowing him to communicate with humans and all animals. He has nigh super strength, stamina and intelligence. Courtesy of a drink from the Fountain of Youth, Rex experiences health and a longevity associated to the fabled fountain.

Rex first appeared in the DCU in his own titular series running 46 issues. His pedigree grew from Toth for the first two issues to John Broome for issue three and Gil Kane till the series ended in 1959.

Rex was not heard from again until Steve Englehart re-introduced him in Justice League of America (1960) issue 144. Next, he would appear in DC Comics Presents 35. From there, Rex found himself nestling at the feet of many of the DCU mainstays.

He appeared in Flash (1987) issues 46 and 47, Green Lantern (1990) issues 30 and 31 Guy Gardner: Warrior. Rex would be a supporting character in Superboy and the Ravers (1996).

Following another extended lay off, Rex would appear in the Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special 1 then in Shadowpact.

As always, National Dog Appreciation Day is the brainchild of Colleen Paige. Celebrate by cuddling your canine, help at a local shelter and/or adopt one of your own.

Posted Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 by Barry

Teen Titans Go! Meet the Tooth Fairy

As early as 1200 the tradition of a tooth fee has been around.

With a heritage as lengthy as that, it’s only appropriate there be a National Tooth Fairy Day.

By today’s standards, children average four dollars a tooth. Only three percent of children find a dollar or less under their pillows and eight percent or more find a five-dollar bill.

Not a bad return on something they’re purging anyway.

Here the Teen Titans battle the Tooth Fairy while looking for their lost teeth.


Posted Thursday, July 20th, 2023 by Barry

Captain America (1969) 402

It’s been kept watch over the Earth for the past 4.5-billion years, circling 238,855 miles above.

Yes, it’s July 20 and time for our fourth annual celebration of National Moon Day.


Captain America (1969) 402

In the past we’ve showcased John Jameson, Jack Russel and Marc Spector, all of whom have a special relationship with the waxing and waning orb. This year its Steve Rogers’ turn.

Better known as Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty found himself transformed into a werewolf by a wolf serum. Though sporting a coat of fur and mouthful of fangs, Cap was able to retain his ability to reason thanks to the Super-Soldier Serum.

During his time as a werewolf, Cap led a rebellion with other werewolves before the story arc culminated in issue 408 as part of the Infinity War company crossover.

In addition to reading the above storyline, National Moon Day may be observed by learning more on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. After all, today is a celebration of America putting a man on a neighboring celestial body.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon July 20, 1969. The were the first of 12 in total.

To recognize the accomplishment, President Richard Nixon dedicated July 20 to remember the men and the accomplishment.

We honor those by citing the following facts:

Only one side of the moon is ever facing the Earth

The Moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, but is also 400 times closer to the Earth than the sun

The moon’s gravity not only affects tides on Earth, but is also moves rock in much the same way

The moon was created when a Mars-size rock slammed in the Earth 4.5-billion years ago

Four-hundred trees are growing on Earth that spent their time orbiting the moon when they were just seeds.

Happy National Moon Day – again