Archive for November, 2020

Posted Monday, November 30th, 2020 by Barry

The Sparky Book (1965) 310

As December descends, we’re going across the pond to merry, ol’ England for issue 310 of Sparky.

The weekly Sparky comic book ran an impressive 652 issues, from Jan. 23, 1965 to July 9, 1977. An annual was published until 1980.

In 1977 the book merged with The Topper. The title ran from Feb. 7, 1953 to Sept. 15, 1990. It then merged with The Beezer re-titled The Beezer and Topper lasting till August 1993.

It was absorbed by The Beano and The Dandy. The Beano ceased publication in 2003.

Returning to the issue at hand, the colorful cover features the interiors residents wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas for 1970.

The Sparky Book (1965) 310

Posted Thursday, November 26th, 2020 by Barry

JSA (1999) 54

JSA (1999) 54

JSA (1999) 54

The JSA hosts the JLA in the Jan. 2004-cover dated issue.

Geoff Johns joins the two teams for their annual dinner in 20 pages that don’t seem rushed or over crowded. While drawing on some history between characters, the story doesn’t require any real background knowledge to enjoy. Johns focuses on characterization rather than action, though two minor-league villains pop in for a cameo. Their intrusion harkens back to DeMatties and Giffen’s tenure on the Justice League books from a decade earlier.

Johns’ encyclopedic knowledge of the DC Universe is evident as he has fun with the iconic heroes. Batman’s paranoia is rampant as he looks in every dark corner for trouble. Green Arrow and Hawkman spar with words and threats. Impulse and Jay Garrack stare across the great divide of the generational gap.

All-in-all, JSA 54 is a fun read. Johns proves equal to the task of combining the Golden and Modern Age families for a sit-down meal.

Posted Wednesday, November 25th, 2020 by Barry

Superboy (1949) 36

Only one day before turkey day.

Today we – and Curt Swan – have Superboy serving up a full issue of entertainment and treats. Other than the cover, this issue has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but let’s pretend. It is cover dated October 1954.

Superboy (1949) 36

Superboy (1949) 36

First up is The Superboy Souvenirs! The boy of steel approves the sale of keepsakes from his exploits. Later he learns the trophies are forgeries and shuts the business down.

Lana Lang moves in with Ma and Pa Kent when it is believed her parents have died on a trip to Africa. Her nosey nature throws a monkey wrench in Superboy’s exploits. Superboy’s Sister! was later reprinted in Superman (1939) 222.

A mystery man threatens to expose Clark Kent to be Superboy in The Man Who Knew Superboy’s Identity! The blackmail is finally foiled. A reprint of the story can be found in Adventure Comics (1938) 328.

Also included in the issue are Bebe and Varsity Vic gag strips, school public service announcement, a text story entitled S.O.S. – Crew Ditching and a one-page Superboy’s Workshop for the Tricky Returning Can/Piggy Bank.

With this one under your belt, loosen it back up and get ready for the big day tomorrow. We’re serving up JSA (1999) 54.

Posted Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 by Barry

Comic Cavalcade (1943) 18

As with issues past and future, Comic Cavalcade cover artist Everett E. Hibbard would hit on the holiday, though the inside would be bare of any mention.

Wonder Woman is the lead off hitter in The Menace of the Rebel Manlings. The Amazon goes berserk, ‘nuff said.

Flash is next in The Galloping Greenbacks. Guesting are Winky Moylan, Blinky Boylan and Noddy Toylan. Also appearing is Joan Williams, the future Mrs. Jay Garrick.

A filler story titled Just a Story takes readers to New York. It would be reprinted in Justice League of America (1960) issue 114.

Seek and Hide, or The Airmail Trail, stars Hop Harrigan.

Green Lantern is the final of the tales, starring in The Meaning of D.

Also appearing in the issue are Mutt and Jeff.

Not a lot of sustenance with today’s issue, but stay with us as we count down to Thanksgiving.

Comic Cavalcade (1943) 18

Posted Monday, November 23rd, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Super Heroes: What the-? 99 Hulk Balloons

Heroes and villains vie for a chance to represent themselves and the Marvel U at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Posted Saturday, November 21st, 2020 by Barry

Spectre (1967) 6

Pilgrims of Peril! is the story’s name, but the Pilgrims of title are not the ones associated with Thanksgiving.

These pilgrims ran from their homeland seeking religious freedom. That’s where the similarities end. Their deity of worship was from the dark depths. A being the native Americans chose to stop lest the newcomers release him.

Spectre (1967) 6

Spectre (1967) 6

The demonologists were forced to wait until 1968 before they could return to attempt Nawor’s resurrection. Both Jim Corrigan and the Spectre must battle the beast to save mankind.

Yeah, 1960’s DC cheese and misleading to anyone just looking at the cover. DC’s policy was to create an interesting cover, then craft the story. Hopefully the tale would be as tantalizing as the cover.

This usually wasn’t the case.

Spectre 6 is a prime example.

Anyone expecting a Thanksgiving story would be disappointed. Anyone spending $.12 would be disappointed.

The Spectre was first introduced in More Fun Comics (1935) 52. Creators included Jerry Siegel and Bernard Billy. Originally, he was embodied by the spirit of dead police officer Jim Corrigan. He would remain as such until Hal Jordan assumed the mantel to atone for his actions as Parallax.

Eventually Jordan is brought back to the DC fold and Crispus Allen became the host. He becomes a pivotal character in the Blackest Night company crossover.

By the New 52, Corrigan is returned as the Spectre, going full circle.

Posted Thursday, November 19th, 2020 by Barry

Scooby-Doo (1997) 114

Scooby and the gang must solve a mystery before they can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in Turkey Terror at 2000 Ft.

It’s another land-grab scheme as Mystery Inc. try to save Uncle Arthur’s farm. Spoiler alert: they do and its neighbor Henry who is wearing the fake feathers – this time.

He isn’t the only one as Shaggy must wear one of his own before the holiday meal is served.

Greed is the motive for a disgruntled technician in Shoot the Moon.

The gang head to the moon for a little relaxation only to stumble across another bad guy in a rubber mask. The faux werewolf is revealed to be Mr. McCroskey who has been pilfering items to sell as collectibles.

Sushi Me? Sushi You! is a precursor to Scooby-Doo! And the Samurai Sword, the 13th installment in the direct-to-video animated features. It was released in 2009.

Scooby-Doo 114 was cover dated January 2007, though released in November 2006, beating the direct-to-video movie to the public.

Scooby-Doo 114

Posted Sunday, November 15th, 2020 by Barry

The Smurfs Christmas (2013) 1

The Belgian-born franchise offers fans six stories to yule tide them till the big day.

The Smurfs Christmas (2013) 1

The Smurfs Christmas (2013) 1

Little Peter’s Christmas is a cliched tear jerker truism with the usual heroes and villains. Santa is under the weather. Gargamel takes advantage to find the Smurf’s village, but is discouraged when St. Nick bounces back.

Peter and his mother are rewarded for their poverty and observance of hard work by Santa and the Smurfs by story’s end.

The Ogre and the Smurfs has nothing to do with Christmas. For this tale, Gargamel throws the Smurfs under the bus so as not to be eaten by the giant. Fortunately for the blue woodland creatures, Ogres aren’t very bright and the table is turned on their antagonist.

A sacrifice puts Gargamel on ice in Strange Snowmen. It’s a tale of warmth, both from the heart and the sky.

The Smurfs disturb nature in Hibernatus Smurfimus. Snow blankets the woods as those who slumber through the winter sleep in oblivion. That is until a few Smurfs wake the dozing denizens. Their interruption does pay off when they escape the clutches of those who try to capture them.

Monsters and legends are undone in The Little Tree. Gargamel has turned a ferry into a tree. Her sister must procure the golden pinecones that fall in a far-off land. Lumberjack Smurf helps along the way and Gargamel’s villainy is repaid in repossession.

This does have Christmas undertones for those who are counting.

Gargamel finds the satisfaction in giving rather than receiving. The Smurfs still come out on top in The Smurfs Christmas.

The Smurfs began as a comic book before branching to television and merchandising. Their first appearance was in Johan et Pirlouit in 1958. English translations have been published in the America courtesy of Papercutz. Marvel Comics provided a mini-series in the 1980s.

Posted Friday, November 13th, 2020 by Barry

Daredevil (1964) 266

Mephisto mucks with Daredevil as he spends a solitary Christmas Eve in a bar nursing a beer.

The Devil You Say! has none of the Christmas cheer associated with holiday tales. The end has a moral uplifting, but overall the story is a lump of coal in the Christmas morning stocking.

This comic was a little late to the party in 1989, cover dated May 1 of that year. That could be because writer Ann Nocenti had just finished working on the Inferno crossover, issues 262-265.

Nocenti would pen issues 238 through 291, bringing the 1980s to an end and ringing in the 1990s. She is also associated with the New Mutants and Uncanny X-Men.

Other holiday issues featuring the Man Without Fear include Daredevil 108, Daredevil 169, Daredevil 253, Daredevil (2011) 7, Marvel Holiday Special (1992) and Marvel Treasury Edition 13.

Daredevil (1964) 266

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.


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.