Archive for April, 2021

Posted Sunday, April 25th, 2021 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

The last Sunday of April plays host to International Sculpture Day. To usher in this year’s non-holiday is the celebrated fictional Marvel U artist, Alicia Masters.

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Despite her blindness, Masters became a talented sculptor. Many of her works were modeled after the heroes husband Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, and his fantastic family palled with.

Her disability was caused by her stepfather and supervillain the Puppet Master.

Masters and Grimm enjoyed a rocky romance until the Thing chose to stay on an alien planet following the events of Secret Wars. She fell in love with Johnny Storm, aka, the Human Torch and the two married in Fantastic Four 300.

In true comic book soap opera form, it was later discovered Masters had been replaced by a Skrull prior to her relationship with Storm. Upon her return, Masters found solace with the Silver Surfer.

Returning from her spacefaring days, Masters and Grimm found each other again; this time to marry.

The word “sculpture” originates from the Latin word sculpere, meaning to carve. Today the three-dimensional art form utilizes a variety of materials including wood, stone, metal, and even Legos.

International Sculpture Day debuted in 2015. The day continues to grow in recognition each year.

Posted Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 by Barry

Batman Brave and the Bold (2009) 4

Batman and Aquaman spend Earth Day chasing around the time stream, fixing what Dr. Cyber has undone. Rip Hunter, Time Master, makes a guest appearance.

Menace of the Time Thief!, a Matt Wayne, Andy Suriano production; is a bittersweet reminder of Batman: Brave and the Bold that ran on Cartoon Network from Nov. 14, 2008 to Nov. 18, 2011.

Brave and the Bold may have seemed an odd choice to follow Batman the Animated Series, but, at the opposite end of the spectrum, proved cathartic. The tongue-in-cheek, deadpan humor, as delivered by Diedrich Bader, leapt from television screens and into fanboy’s hearts.

The series lasted three seasons with 26 episodes for seasons one and two and 13 episodes for season three.

Fans were treated to a reunion – of sorts – in 2018 when a feature-length animated movie went straight to video co-staring Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc.

Earth Day was established March 21, 1970 by peace activist John McConnell. His mission was to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. Earth Day is celebrated annually April 22 around the world.

Be kind to mother Earth and let’s all pause a moment to remember a series that shown a bright light on the Dark Knight in the best possible way.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4


Posted Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

It’s been said we all have a twin. April 20 is the day we remember we’re not alone. Today is National Look Alike Day.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

Some times our resemblance is courtesy of nature. Other times its an achieved process. Whichever the case, Marvel’s Chameleon is the emcee.

Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka the Chameleon, first appeared in the back up story of Amazing Spider-Man issue one. The throw-away story had Smerdyakov using the Cold War to fatten his bank account. During the short story his mercenary mission was to steal as many state secrets as possible to ransom to the highest foreign bidder.

His misstep came in impersonating Spider-Man, sending the enemy of the state on extended stay behind prison walls.

The Chameleon would continue to appear throughout the Marvel U fighting such heroes as Daredevil and Iron Man as well as Spider-Man.

He made a career outside the printed world as a mainstay in the animated field. Chameleon first appeared on The Marvel Super Heroes against Iron Man in Cliffs of Doom and opposite the Hulk in Enter the Chameleon.

When Spider-Man returned to Saturday mornings in 1980, Chameleon appeared in the Arsenic and Aunt May episode. He also made an appearance on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

In the 1990s, the Chameleon was a recurring character on the Spider-Man series. Not missing a decade, he returned for The Spectacular Spider-Man and continued onto the 2017 Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Patton Oswalt.

While Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created our guest host, television reporter Jack Etzel is the originator of National Look Alike Day. A slow news day led to a recurring premise for the future.

Posted Monday, April 19th, 2021 by Barry

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

Welcome to National Farm Animals Day, a time to focus on the human care of farm animals.

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

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

Leading the march against cruelty are Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! If that’s a stretch, zoo and farm animals living lying down together, please visit another special day. We have enough of ‘em listed here.

The good Cap’n and cohorts were first featured in The New Teen Titans (1980) 16 in a 16-page special insert. Roy Thomas, fresh from Marvel, and Scott Shaw created the anthropomorphized inhabitants of Earth-C.

Members included Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, Alley-Kat-Abra, Fastback, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, Little Cheese and The American Eagle. Most can guess at the species of each teammate and possible doppelganger in either the DC or Marvel universe.

The series was cancelled after 20 issues with six still on deck. The series was later reprinted in DC’s Showcase Presents trade paperback line in 2014. This was after a seven-year wait on trademark approvals.

The team was reintroduced to the public in Teen Titans (2003) 30-31 and given a three-issue mini in 2007 entitled Captain Carrot and the Final Ark.

Short of a Robot Chicken skit, Captain and crew have been relegated to their comic book world. At present there are no plans to dust off the team for future projects.

For those who want a hands-on experience with the real thing, visit a farm if possible. Enjoy the country air and discover where your meals are really coming from.

Posted Friday, April 16th, 2021 by Barry

Adventure Comics (1938) 428

DC’s Black Orchid is a combination of four super heroes while orchids in general make up an estimated 25,000 species of flowers.

Today we’re just gonna focus on the comic book kind as we observe National Orchid Day.

Susan Linden-Thorne was the first such hero, appearing as a guest star in Adventure Comics issues 428-30. That earned a recurring back up feature in The Phantom Stranger over 10 issues before being relegated to pop ups throughout the DCU.


Adventure Comics (1938) 428

Linden did receive a three-issue mini penned by Neil Gaiman in 1988. It marked his first work for the company.

Flora Black became the second incarnation under the Vertigo brand. Her ongoing series lasted 22 issues under the guidance of Dick Foreman.

Black died in the final issue of the series, passing the legacy to a child version known simply as Suzy. The heir carried the title throughout the 1990s and early millennium aiding Shadowpact and Birds of Prey.

Under the New 52 imprint, Black Orchid resurfaced in a modernized version of the original costume. Alba Garcia became a member of Justice League Dark.

In the real world, National Orchid Day was created by Mike and Faith Young. They served in an orchid reserve in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and were so moved by the experience named their daughter Orchid Faith.

Orchid was lost during labor and the Young’s have been seeking ways to honor their departed daughter since. They secured April 16 as a day to remember their loss beginning in 2015.

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 by Barry

The Tick Big Tax Time Terror (2000) 1

Not only does the Tick see a tax return, but Barry, the evil Tick, in this one-shot.

The Tick Big Tax Time Terror (2000) 1

The Tick Big Tax Time Terror (2000) 1

The IRS possesses the power to giveth and taketh away. It is very generous with the Tick, who benefits from a loophole. Both Barry and the unexpected return share the spotlight as the disgruntled former Tick seeks retribution on those who would abuse his unknowing generosity.

April 14 is rarely a welcome time of the year. Hopefully the Tick and Arthur have helped ease the burden of supporting the country in which we live.

Taxes have been around almost as long civilization. The earliest known tax was levied in Mesopotamia over 4500 years ago where people paid taxes in the form of livestock.

Taxes in the United States have evolved as the nation has grown. Initially tariffs provided the main source of revenue for the government. New taxes were introduced during times of war to raise additional revenue, and they were usually allowed to expire once the war was over.

Taxation in the United States can be traced to the colonists. Most objected since they had no political voice or input about the creation of new taxes. This was the beginning of the fight for independence.

The first income tax was created in 1861 during the Civil War as a mechanism to finance the war effort. These were rolled back following peace, but the War Revenue Act of 1898 created another death tax to raise revenue for the Spanish-American War.

From this foundation, the modern taxation system of America grew and is known to be as inevitable as death.

Posted Friday, April 9th, 2021 by Barry

Batman (1939) 433

A National Day of Silence bounces around the calendar, but its meaning is loud and clear. The day asks persons to respect the choices made by others and cease bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

We recognize the day with the first true story arc following the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin, in Batman issues 426-29. Issue 430 was told through a visual depiction of events rather than modified with dialog or exposition.

Batman (1939) 433

Batman (1939) 433

Todd replaced Dick Grayson after the elder ward became Nightwing in the Teen Titans. Todd first appeared in Batman 357 and donned the costume in Batman issue 366.

Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, Todd’s character was tweaked. Fans still disliked who they felt was a usurper. They had their say in Batman 427 when the editorial staff allowed readers to choose the fate of Todd who had been severely beaten and left in an exploding building by the Joker.

In a close count, Todd was written out of the DCU.

For a time.

Under the Red Hood was a story line that brought Todd back over a period of time under the guise of new anti-hero. Depending on whether his return is followed in comic book form or the animated, direct-to-video movie, Todd was back among the Bat Family.

But, in 1988 Batman was still stinging from Todd’s death. Writers were unsure how to continue with the character allowing John Byrne to pencil the silent issue.     The Many Deaths of the Batman, as the story arc was dubbed, lasted three issues, putting Batman back on the streets of Gotham.

To observe this National Day of Silence, take a vow of silence to demonstrate how bullying silences a victim. Or, promote the day, making others aware there is a problem.

The day was first observed and organized by a body of students from the University of Virginia.

Posted Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 by Barry

Howard the Duck (1976) 9

Off-color jokes aside, today is International Beaver Day. To remember, we’re celebrating a duck.

April 7 has been earmarked International Beaver Day to honor Dorothy Richards, the Beaver Woman. For the uninformed, Richards studied beavers at Beaversprite Sanctuary in New York’s Adirondack Mountains for 50 years.

Howard the Duck (1976) 9

Howard the Duck (1976) 9

In the four-color world of six degrees of separation, the beaver and Howard the Duck are one shade away for our purposes.

Issue nine of Howard’s book is the culmination of the 1976 American National Election. The drake’s brief affiliation with his bid for the Presidency lasted through part of issue seven, the Howard the Duck Treasury Edition and issue eight before collapsing with issue nine.

Along the way, creator Steve Gerber envisioned a campaign outside comic books. A Howard the Duck for President pin and poster were both offered for postage and handling to readers. Howard even received several thousand write-in votes that November.

The short campaign trail was littered with naysayers and assassins. Howard’s affiliation with the All-Night Party, an independent group offering a choice other than Democrats or Republicans, ended in scandal.

Following the path of a doctored photo of he and human lady friend Bev Swisher sharing a bathtub, Howard found himself in Canada. The man behind the plot proved to be more of a cybernetic beaver calling himself Le Beaver.  Gerber trolled the depths of bad dreams for his origin, having Pierre Dentifris, the self-proclaimed Canada’s Only Super Patriot, attempt to dam Niagara Falls. U.S. bombers destroyed his plans and body, causing him to construct an exoskeleton of a beaver for himself.

In revenge, Dentifris masterminded Howard’s rise and fall as political candidate. While America waded through the wreckage of the election, Le Beaver would invade allowing Canada to no longer live in America’s shadow.

Since we’re still saluting the stars and stripes, his plan obviously failed.

Issue nine marks Le Beaver’s one and only appearance – to date. Howard continues to reside in the Marvel U, even making a cameo in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Anyway, back to International Beaver Day.

To commemorate, read up on semiaquatic rodents, visit a habitat or just dig this piece of Bronze Age hyperbole and show it the love it deserves.

Posted Sunday, April 4th, 2021 by Barry

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew (1982) 6

Almost a year later, we keep our promise and deliver the second part of The Secret of Easter Bunny Island.

Who knew what the year 2020 would have in store for us last April? Of course, who knows what the remainder for 2021 will be like. What we do know is the good Captain and his Zoo Crew were on hand to save the day in 1982.

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew 6

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew 6

Baron Von Vermin provides a little backstory for The Bunny From Beyond! The title is vintage-scribe Roy Thomas who learned at the feet of the Master of the Marvel Universe.

Anyway, according to Baron Von Vermin, the space eggs now rampaging across the planet were first brought to Earth by the Bunny From Beyond. He forced the inhabitants of Easter Bunny Island to bury the eggs. They were later uncovered by the evil protagonist, Vermin.

The villainous native of Verminy had his plans foiled when the original Oklahoma Bones spoiled his scheme to use the eggs against the victors over Verminy. Instead, Vermin returned the eggs to Easter Bunny Island for a later revenge.

As the eggs continue to wreak havoc, Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew resurrect the Bunny From Beyond. He destroys the eggs and declines an invitation from Vermin to join forces.

Instead, the Bunny From Beyond turns Vermin to stone, then turns on those who freed him from his cocoon.

Captain and Crew are captured and taken to the Bunny From Beyond’s spaceship. The Captain is able to escape after returning to his alter ego’s smaller personage and slipping from the manacles.

Through slight of hand and some outside trickery, the Bunny From Beyond is cheated of a seemingly sure victory and reduced to atoms.

With the two-part storyline neatly tied up, Thomas pens a second, short tale, Digger of Doom.

The reading public put up with anthropomorphized-animal heroes and sometimes groaningly bad pet puns for 20 issues before the book was canceled. For more information on the series, read last year’s history lesson.

Oh, before Jeff and I forget, happy Easter.

Posted Thursday, April 1st, 2021 by Barry

Witching Hour (1969) 28

Witching Hour 28 hits two holidays with Never Kill Santa Claus and the following April Ghoul’s Day.

Witching Hour 28

Witching Hour 28

Christmas is never shy of publicity, but April 1st often times is overlooked. That in mind, let’s focus on the day of foolishness as associated with Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, more specifically, Nun’s Priest’s Tale.

April Ghoul’s Day finds a practical joker in a hole he can’t dig himself out of by story’s end. A simple O’Henry told in less than three pages.

Never Kill Santa Claus, as related by Witch Cynthia, is the cover story.

Greed is the motivator that causes a very naughty man to murder Santa. The dead man’s doppelganger leaves more than coal in his stocking as his deadly deed comes undone.

Kill Me Lest You Die! and Unlucky Omen are the two non-holiday stories.

The Witching Hour ran 85 issues then merged with The Unexpected in 1978 during DC’s Implosion. The double-sized dollar book featured Mordred, Mildred and Cynthia as caretakers in their respective section of the book.

Not one of DC’s big anthology-horror books, Witching Hour saw publication for over 10 years.

April Fools Day was popularized in the 1700’s, but it’s origins are unknown.