Archive for May, 2021

Posted Monday, May 31st, 2021 by Barry

Help Superman Crush Nick O’Teen

World No Tobacco Day is observed around the globe every year on May 31, according to National Day Calendar. The day is designed to encourage 24 hours of abstinence from any form of tobacco.

Attention is also to be focused on the reported adverse health issues from extended tobacco use. Currently seven-million deaths are attributed to tobacco use a year; 480,000 of those are Americans. Another 890,000 deaths are said to be a result of second-hand smoke.

It is estimated over one-billion persons are regular tobacco users. An estimated 34.3 million are adult smokers in the United States. Those numbers are on the decline with 21 in 100 people used to be smokers.

West Virginia has the highest rates of smoking in the United States. The Mountain State is followed by Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Alaska. Broken down farther, 14 percent of the US smokes.

Superman has long loaned his name and likeness to many a cause of his long-lived career. This public service announcement is another reminder the fictional do-gooder is saving the world one person at a time.

World No Tobacco Day

Posted Friday, May 28th, 2021 by Barry

Four Color (1939) 17

As American as apple pie and mom, hamburgers are a staple of our cuisine. Today we bring the seasoned ground beef patty served up between buns and topped with your condiments, dairy products and veggies of choice to the forefront with National Hamburger Day.

In America alone, over 50 billion burgers are devoured each year; enough to circle the Earth more than 32 times. The average American eats three hamburgers a week.

Not too shabby considering the sandwich wasn’t popularized until 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Representing the day is Wimpy of Popeye fame.

Four Color (1939) 17

The beachball-shaped guest star first appeared in the classic comic strip Thimble Theater and in Popeye cartoons. His debut in comic book form was in Dell’s Four Color comic book series sporting reprints from Thimble Theater.

His catchphrase, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” originated in 1932 having been refined from 1931’s, “Cook me up a hamburger. I will pay you Tuesday.”

Wimpy’s hamburger-chomping character was inspired by a manager of the Chester Opera House and friend of creator of E.C. Segar. His full name is J. Wellington Wimpy.

Hamburgers are his favorite food. Wimpy is almost always featured munching or making a burger. Normally the ne’er do well is too cheap to pay for his food himself.

So associated with hamburgers is the character, his name was used for a fast food franchise featuring his fare of choice. The burger stand bearing his name was founded in Bloomington, IN, in the 1930s.

The origins of the hamburger aren’t as well known. It is believed the sandwich originated in the 19th or 20th centuries. Some believe it has existed at least since the end of the Middle Ages.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Association contend the hamburger was first crafted by Fletcher Davis in his café in Athens, TX.

Another theory is it originated in New Haven, CT, in 1895.

Whatever and wherever their origins, the hamburger is to be celebrated as part of our American menu. Use the day to do honor to the portable, meaty meal that brings a smile to our faces.

Posted Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 by Barry

Brother Power the Geek (1968) 1

Okay, today is the day to be loud, proud and by yourself. Today is Geek Pride Day.

Many of the attributes associated with geekdom are hallmarks to be admired. Especially during the days of pandemics. What’s wrong with a little alone time? Distaste of sports? Being fashion challenged? The tendency to hold on to your virginity, be overweight or suffer from myopia?


Brother Power the Geek (1968) 1

So, join that short parade that recognizes this international non-holiday.

Representing our socially retarded group is DC’s little used Brother Power the Geek. A clear attempt to capitalize on the late 1960’s self-movement, Geek’s origin rivals the Frankenstein monster’s. Geek is a reanimated amalgam of corpses shocked to life with a stab of lightening.

He originally shambled through two self-titled issues spewing his own brand of philosophy.

The DC upper echelon punted Brother Power from the four-color universe. After two decades in limbo, Neil Gaiman brought him back for a guest shot in Swamp Thing annual five. Rachel Pollack and Mike Allred showed him a mercy with Vertigo Visions – The Geek, a one-and-done.


Other than a brief return in 2010’s Brave and the Bold, Brother Power the Geek has only been hinted at in the DCU.

Geek Pride Day officially began in 1998 when Tim McEachern organized unconnected events called Geek Pride Festival/Day. March 25 was chosen simply because Star Wars premiered the same day in 1977.

America first embraced the day of geekery in 2008 with blogs and the launching of the Geek Pride Day Web site.

Posted Sunday, May 23rd, 2021 by Barry

Uncle Scrooge (1952) 3

To quote Clint Eastwood, “Do you feel lucky, punk?”

If so, today is your day. Today is National Lucky Penny Day.

With inflation, it may be hard to believe good luck in finding a lone penny. Materials cost more to create the coinage than it is worth. Many societies have even done away with the denomination.

Where the term came from is more a mystery than why pennies continue to be minted. The superstition of finding a “lucky” penny is not. Many cultures have their own origins. In Ireland and northern Europe, the belief is that if a penny is found it is to be given to someone else – heads up – so the good luck may be passed along.

Maybe it can better be explained by marrying superstition with religion. The penny, or one cent, may represent the oneness of God.

Walt Disney Uncle Scrooge 212 (a copy of the original Uncle Scrooge 3 could not be found)

What could be considered luckier is the dime.  Ten represents completeness. A dime – or 10 – is a one and a zero which equals one; or returning back to the unity and completion, a return to completeness.

Ten also represents universal creation, heaven, the key and the highest integrity.

By stretching the logic of the above three paragraphs we come to our host of ceremonies, Uncle Scrooge.

In addition to his frugalness and love of adventure, he is also known for his lucky, or number one, dime. The Number One Dime is the first coin that Scrooge McDuck ever earned. None of the stories associated with the dime state whether it actually brings luck or if Scrooge merely believes it does. The Number One Dime first appeared in Uncle Scrooge issue three.

The 1875 Seated Liberty dime was earned in 1877 by Scrooge in his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. He was a 10-year old shoeshine boy at the time. Since then, it has been the focus of every Magica De Spell story to date. Her belief is the dime possess magical powers and will help augment hers.

But, enough about the miserly mallard.

Today, keep your eyes downcast for that lucky penny. When found, pass it along to another to keep the good fortune flowing.

Posted Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 by Barry

Hot Stuff (1957) 1

Finally, a day for the sass we want in our food. May 19 is traditionally National Devil’s Food Cake Day. A day to celebrate the heavenly decadence that tantalizes our tastebuds.

While the origins of this darker dessert are under investigation, it does share the calendar with such desserts as Ice Cream Cake Day, Devil Dog Day, Lemon Cupcake Day, Cake Day, Chocolate Cake Day and Angel Food Cake Day.

Hot Stuff (1957) 1

Hot Stuff (1957) 1

Representing is Hot Stuff the Little Devil.

Warren Kremer found a home for his creation at Harvey Comics. With trusty trident and asbestos diaper, Hot Stuff has been a staple of the four-color (under)world since 1957. In his heyday, the pint-sized demon had eight comic book titles bearing his moniker.

He would also provide back up stories for other titular Harvey characters.

His last comic book appearance was in 2009 with Casper the Friendly Ghost and Wendy the Good Witch in a three-issue mini entitled Casper and the Spectrals.

Most recently he guested on The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror XXV in 2014.

One of the earliest recipes for Devil’s Food cake appeared in the Aug. 10, 1898 edition of the Hagerstown Exponent of Hagerstown, IN. This devilish delight differs from other cakes in that the coloring tends to be darker and the constancy moister. Devil’s Food cake recipes use hot or boiling water as the primary liquid. Cocoa is typically used in the batter, as opposed to chocolate. Top with a tasty frosting.

Posted Saturday, May 15th, 2021 by Barry

Motion Picture Funnies Weekley (1939) 1

Forget the beach body; just grab the trunks and water wings, today is National Learn to Swim Day.

The master of ceremonies is Namor, the Sub-Mariner, originally slated to appear in the innocuously named Motion Picture Funnies Weekley number one. When the book failed to reach newsstands, he was moved to the more appropriate Marvel Comics issue one.

The ruler of Atlantis may be the first comic book mutant. He’s a hybrid of a human sea captain and princess from the undersea capital.

As the Golden Age faded, Namor floundered until Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought him back to the fold in Fantastic Four (1961) issue four. His return was popular enough, Subs made frequent cameos in the FF’s book as well as others in the Marvel U.

He began cohabitating with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish issue 70. The Hulk settled into his own book when the title ended, but Namor shared the one-shot Iron Man and Sub-Mariner number one before landing his own title.

Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner ran a respective 72 issues. After, he would co-star in the Super-Villain Team-Up title for it’s first 13 issues before becoming a guest in his own universe again.

In 1984, Namor returned to the spotlight with a four-issue mini written by J.M. DeMatteis and penciled by Bob Budiansky. Four years later his mini was expanded to 12 issues, titled The Saga of the Sub-Mariner. In 1990 he was given his second ongoing book. This one ran five years and 62 issues.

In 2003, he returned for a 12-issue maxi-series and a six-issue mini in 2007.

His next ongoing book, Namor: The First Mutant, lasted less than a year.

Following that, Sub-Mariner shared titles such as The Defenders in 2011 and the New Avengers in 2013.

Marvel’s legacy books and clean sweep beginning in 2017 have moved him around like a pawn, but has yet to return him to a self-titled book again.

Anyway, back to today. National Learn to Swim Day is recognized on the third Saturday in May. It is designed to bring water safety awareness to the forefront before summer and swimming begin.

Swimways Corp founded National Learn to Swim Day in 2014.

Posted Sunday, May 9th, 2021 by Barry

The Tick Mother’s Day Special (2000) 1

This is just a confusing mess.

The Tick Mother’s Day Special (2000) 1

The Tick Mother’s Day Special (2000) 1

The Tick becomes mother to four clones, Dupli-Tick, Proto-Tick, Quasi-Tick and Primi-Tick. The first part of the story has our hero and friends trying to determine where they came from.

Then, along comes a non-Toho approved Godzilla wannabe and one of the flock leave the nest. The remainder self-destruct or something.

Let’s just focus on Mother’s Day itself.

The day was created by Anna Jarvis and first celebrated in 1908. The day commemorated Jarvis’ mother and was held at the St. Andrew Methodist Church in Grafton, WV. The site is now the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

The holiday was not officially observed until 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day be observed as a national holiday the second Sunday of May.

Within a few years, the day became commercialized with the selling of cards and candies. Jarvis turned against her own holiday to show her scorn at businesses making a dollar from her commemoration.

Mother’s Day has grown globally in no small part due to the commercialization.

In America, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers and greeting cards. It is also the third highest day of church attendance, ranking behind Christmas Eve and Easter.

The day is also commemorated with carnations.

Posted Saturday, May 8th, 2021 by Barry

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

When Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow revealed his origin in More Fun Comics 89 in November of 1941, the bowman was then a cheap imitation of Batman.

Through the reimaging and craftmanship of writers and artists, Queen has become our official spokesman for National Archery Day.

Star City’s premier resident was obviously based on Robin Hood, though he himself was as rich as one Bruce Wayne when he first appeared in issue 73 of More Fun Comics. Queen learned to become a preeminent archer after being shipwrecked on a deserted island.

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

More Fun Comics (1935) 73

Upon his return home, Queen adopted the Green Arrow moniker and a sidekick, Speedy. The colorful pair tooled around town in their Arrowcar and responded to emergencies when called via the Arrow Signal. Their chief nemesis was Bulls Eye, a clown-like villain.

His fortunes changed in 1969 when artist Neal Adams updated his appearance with a goatee and mustache as well as new costume. Compatriot Denny O’Neil had him lose his wealth and become a political liberal  as a new common man.

O’Neil and Adams partnered Arrow with Green Lantern in GL’s own book. Together they became the Hard Travelin’ Heroes from issues 76 to 89 and issue 89. Green Arrow continued his own adventures as a back up in Flash’s 217-19 and 226.

Arrow finally appeared in his own mini-series in 1983. In 1987 he earned a second mini-series called Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters. Mike Grell authored and penciled both the mini and following ongoing series.

After Grell’s departure, Arrow became more involved in the DCU, eventually leading to his death.

Kevin Smith brought the bowman back in a talented 15-issue run. Judd Winick took the reins and continued the spirited storytelling for four years.

Arrow was allowed to reunite with former lover Black Canary and the two would marry. Their happiness was interrupted by Blackest Night only to return anonymously in Brightest Day.

The New 52 was an opportunity to bring combine the ageless archer with modern society and what is now known as the Arrowverse.

Arrow premiered on The CW in October 2012. The show aired through January 2020.

Green Arrow’s history is a bit more complicated than the day it represents. National Archery Day was proclaimed to be commemorated the second Saturday of May, annually.

Posted Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 by Barry

May the Fourth be With You

This year we step away from Marvel’s original run of Star Wars comic books. This year we look at the usurper, Dark Horse Comics, for our celebratory installment of Star Wars Day, May 4th.

Hosting the gala are Tag Greenley and Bink Otauna, two rebels stumbling their way through the climax of a rebellion in Tag and Bink Are Dead.

Tag and Bink Are Dead

Tag and Bink Are Dead

Their story – as far as we’re concerned – begins aboard the Tantive IV, transporting Princess Leia and the stolen plans to the Death Star. Rather than risk capture, Tag and Bink liberate a couple Stormtrooper armors and facilitate their escape. They find themselves on board the Death Star as the events of Star Wars unfold around them.

Writer Kevin Rubio ends the first issue with the destruction of the Death Star and seeming deaths of the titular heroes.

Tag and Bink Are Dead issue two reveals Tag and Bink stole an Imperial shuttle and escaped mere moments before it exploded.

The hapless duo continues to find themselves traveling a parallel path as the real stars of the trilogy. In the second installment they are seen “paling” around with Lando and Boba Fett.

A sequel, entitled The Return of Tag and Bink, round out the original three films by landing the pair back in harms way. By story’s end, they are dressed as two of the Emperor’s Royal Guards. They fail to escape the second Death Star before it is destroyed and become Force ghosts.

They returned yet again for Tag & Bink: Episode I – Revenge of the Clone Menace. This 2006 romp saw Misters Greenley and Otauna as hopeless padawans. Later they offer romance tips to Anakin as he tries to woo Padme. They finish their prequel adventures with the grace of Anakin cum Darth Vader who warns them to abandon their Jedi training.

Writer Rubio is best known for his Star Wars fan film Troops. His professional credits include work for the Sci-Fi channel, MTV, Fox Kids and USA Network.

So, break from the movies for a bit and tickle your funny bone with a different look at that galaxy far, far away…

Posted Saturday, May 1st, 2021 by Barry

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Obesity is a chronic disease affecting 100-million adults in America. Seeing the need for awareness, Kim Bielak founded National Fitness Day in 2017 to encourage healthier lifestyles. It is observed the first Saturday in May every year.

So dire is the current obesity rate, it ranks above smoking has a health hazard. About 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States have been associated with excessive weight. People with obesity in the US have higher heath care costs than those of normal weight; 27-percent more for physician visits and outpatient costs, 46-percent more for inpatient costs and 80-percent more for prescription drugs.

Common causes for obesity include genetics, physiological influences, food intake and eating disorders, sedentary lifestyle, weight history, pregnancy, drugs like steroid hormones and drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions.

Long before obesity became an epidemic, Fireside Books, coupled with Marvel, published The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book. Agile Ann Picardo authored the tome while Jumpin’ Joe Giella illustrated the book.

Basically, it was just a fun book filled with normal exercises, most isometric, to help youngsters feel like they were training like a super hero. Or, training to be a super hero.

Marvel’s stable of heroes provided their own recommendations to help tone.

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Included was Peter’s Perpendicular Leg Extensions. Instructions were as follows:  1. Lie on the floor leaning on your right elbow, feet straight out. 2. Bend the knee of your left and grab the heel of your left foot with your left hand. 3. Extend your leg straight up. Hold for a few seconds and return to your starting position. Repeat with your right leg.

Bashful’s Brutish Bottom Basher, from the Thing, instructed participants to 1. Sit on floor with your knees bent and grab your ankles 2. Rock back and forth, until you start to feel seasick.

The (J. Jonah) Jameson Roar went something like this: 1. Kneel on the floor with your bottom resting on your heels and your hands on your thighs, palms down. 2. Bend forward, open your eyes as wide as you can, and tense up every muscle in your body 3. Stick your tongue out as far as you can, spread your fingers wide apart and hold tense for a count of 12. 4. Slowly relax, bring your tongue back where it belongs and return to your starting position.

Not sure what good this one did, other than to contribute to premature balding, but Medussa’s instructions for Firey’s Furious Follicle Flourisher: 1. Sit cross legged on the floor and take hold of as much as near the scalp as you can. 2. Pull your hair forward so you can actually feel your scalp move, and then pull backward.

Other heroes contributing were Ghost Rider with his Bizarre Bicycles, the Hulk with Jade-Jaws’ Just-So Sit Ups and Banner’s Bellicose Bench Presses (without a bench), Thor with Goldilocks’ Greatest Isometric Arm Invigorators, Luke Cage’s Super Dude’s Free Squats and Luke’s Lying Down Limb Lifter, Sue Storm – when she was still the Invisible Girl – with The Fantastic One-Two-Three-Four, Captain America and the Falcon’s All-American Give and Take, Human Torch’s The Torchie Twist, Spider-Man’s Little Miss Muffet and Spread-Legged Foot Pull among others.

Some of the above worked in the fight against obesity, but other alternatives include healthy recipes, substituting fries for a salad, walking the stairs rather than taking the elevator, taking the dog for a walk, ordering from the light side of the menu, setting the alarm 20-minutes earlier to allow for some light exercising prior to beginning the day, etc.