Archive for January, 2022

Posted Saturday, January 29th, 2022 by Barry

Detective Comics (1937) 140

Sometimes life is puzzling enough, so here’s a day to celebrate our confusion.

National Puzzle Day was created in 2002 by Jodi Jill, no stranger to creating conundrums. Jill is a professional quiz and puzzle maker, offering her handiwork to classrooms.

Our representative is one of Batman’s colorful rogue’s gallery, The Riddler. Created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang in 1948, Edward Nigma first appeared in Detective Comics (1937) 140.

Nigma delights in leaving puzzles and riddles prior to conducting his crimes to foil the Caped Crusader. The obsession usually leads to his capture.

During his early years in the waning days of the Golden Age, The Riddler was a straight up costumed criminal matching wits with Batman and Robin. His modus operandi continued into the Silver and Bronze ages until he would be updated for new breed of readers in modern times.

Detective Comics (1937) 140

Detective Comics (1937) 140

Nigma would become more of a broker of information until his reformation following a blow to the head resulting in the Riddler falling into a coma. His new profession was that of a private consultant helping to solve a murder. He would later become a detective.

Another head trauma returned Nigma to his villainous ways just prior to The New 52. In both this reboot and DC Rebirth, the Riddler spends a good portion of his time in Arkham Asylum, until his eventual escape.

For long-time fans, the Riddler will forever be Frank Gorshin and his live-action antics on the 1966 Batman television series. The veteran actor received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal.

Cory Michael Smith was the living embodiment for the Gotham series airing 2014 to 2019.

The late Ted Knight voiced the Riddler in Filmation’s Saturday morning The Batman/Superman Hour. Michael Bell did the honors in Hanna-Barbera’s Challenge of the Super Friends as well as the 1980s version of Super Friends.

John Glover gave the character voice in Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond.

Freddy’s Robert Englund was the voice of the Riddler in 2005’s The Batman. John Michael Higgins did the honors during the Batman: Brave and the Bold run.

He was given life by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever in 1995. The big screen box office bomb is a forgettable appearance.

What to do for National Puzzle Day shouldn’t be as, well, puzzling. Catch up with a crossword in the local paper, find a digital dilemma online or just read up on the green-clad cad with the penchant for puzzles.

Posted Thursday, January 27th, 2022 by Barry

Simon Says (2019) TPB

This kick-starter project represents the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust as observed by the United Nations.

Simon Says is a graphic novel loosely based on the life of Simon Wiesenthal as told by Andrea Frattino and Jesse Lee. Like his real-life counterpart, Simon is a death camp survivor who lost his family to the NAZIs. He survived by using his artistic skills to paint swastikas on train cars. Following his liberation and the end of the war, Simon is employed by the Americans to hunt war criminals. When the operation is curtailed, Simon began a vigilante operation with help from a former camp guard and angel of mercy.

Simon Says (2019) TPB

Simon Says (2019) TPB

While using Wiesenthal’s life story as a springboard for the graphic novel, Frattino pulls from other post-war fiction tropes. As the world recovered, paranoia ran rampant as survivors looked for lost persons, both innocent and guilty. Simon Says is reminiscent of many 1960s and 1970s paperback thrillers on the hunt for escaped war criminals.

It was Frattino’s goal to raise $5,000 to publish the first issue. As of April 2020, 474 backers had pledged $11,667. The same year, Simon Says was nominated as Best Original Graphic Novel in the Ringo Awards.

The Holocaust has become known as the systematic destruction of European Jews during World War II. Over six million Jews were murdered in German-occupied Europe, equivalent at time to about two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe.

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust was established 2004 to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of possibly the most notorious concentration camp, Auschwitz on Jan. 27.

While many of the Holocaust’s engineers and practitioners were tried and prosecuted, as many if not more escaped justice. Simon Says is a story keeping the story of those silenced still in the public ear.

Posted Tuesday, January 25th, 2022 by Barry

Flash (1959) 139

Welcome to National Opposite Day.

This non-holiday has murky origins dating back to January 25, 1928. On this day incumbent President of the United States Calvin Coolidge told reporters he would not participate in the coming election. While this date and reason are often cited as the father of the day, no one really knows.

Others speculate it started in the previous century, but as a nonsensical children’s game.

Whichever the reason – if either – Four Color Holidays will commemorate it with Eobard Thawne, aka Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash.

Thawne was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, debuting in Flash (1959) 139.

His origin began with the discovery of a time capsule containing one of Flash’s uniforms. The 25th-century villain learned the costume contained a Tachyon device that amplified the suit’s speed energy. Thawne reversed the suits colors and christened himself Professor Zoom the Reverse Flash before embarking on a crime spree.

The Flash traveled to the future and defeated Reverse Flash, starting a feud that led to the death of Flash alter-ego Barry Allen’s wife, Iris West. When Allen found a second love, Thawne threatened to murder her on their wedding day causing Flash to kill his would-be doppelganger.

Flash (1959) 139

Flash (1959) 139

Thawne would return post Crisis on Infinite Earths. Not only would he adopt the Reverse Flash persona again, but the Flash’s powers by replicating the accident that gave Allen his super speed.

Geoff Johns gave Thawne new life during The Flash: Rebirth. A corps of speedsters joined forces to halt the Reverse Flash’s murder spree finally depositing him in Iron Heights.

Thawne would continue to rewrite his history in the post Infinite Crisis DCU, Flashpoint, The New 52 and DC Rebirth.

In 2017, during The Button and aftermath, Thawne’s pre-New 52 memories are returned. Blaming the Flashpoint Batman for his death, Thawne comes close to killing the Dark Knight only to meet defeat and death himself at the hands of Dr. Manhattan.

His body is taken to S.T.A.R. Labs where he is resurrected only to meet death by Iris Allen.

Never a company to let a good villain stay dead, Thawne was returned to the DCU continuity to assemble the Legion of Zoom to plague the Flash again.

To celebrate the day, you can try to sort out the sordid lives of Thawne or just enjoy any of the above-mentioned eras and revel in the battles waged between the speedsters.

Or, maybe, just do the opposite and ignore the comic book villain all together. Your imagination and interpretation offer the only limitations to this non-holiday.

Posted Friday, January 21st, 2022 by Barry

Batman Incorporated (2012) 1

Continuing with the celebration of International Hoof Care Week, we introduce Bat-Cow, one of Grant Morrison’s more bizarre re-creations.

And, that’s saying something.

Batman Incorporated (2012) 1

Batman Incorporated (2012) 1

She was originally featured as part of the Tiny Titans’ Pet Club and the Just Us Cows. An ordinary cow, she stole a cowl from the Bat Cave. Thus, she began her career as Bat-Cow.

Bat-Cow’s in-continuity debut was Batman Incorporated (2012) issue one. While the updated Dynamic Duo trailed Professor Pyg, they found the soon-to-be bovine bat-family member. Believing the beast to be tainted with a mind-altering toxin, Batman took it back to the Bat Cave for testing.

Robin, Damian Wayne, took a liking to the animal and made it a pet. She now lives on the Wayne estate in a barn.

Bat-Cow has no super powers, but is distinguished by a bat-shaped patch on her face and star-shaped brand on her side. Her nick name is the Battlin’ Bovine.

Dairy cattle spend much of their life standing. They require special treatment so they do not become lame or experience sore feet, foot rot or toe injuries. Those who specialize in the care of hooves are known as farriers. They care for hooves by trimming them and putting shoes on them, if necessary.

The American Farriers Journal began hosting its annual International Hoof-Care Summit in 2003. The American Journal also founded National Farriers Week, held the second week in July.

International Hoof Care Week is held the third Tuesday in January, running through Friday.

To celebrate, read more about Batman’s bovine buddy in Tiny Titans issues 17, 21, 23, 28, 38, 40, 43, 45, 48 and 50; Batman Incorporated (2012) 1, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 13; Robin Son of Batman 1, 9 and 10; and Batman and Robin 35 and 40.

Posted Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 by Barry

Adventure Comics (1938) 293

Impress your friends and family – of which there may not be many after this – with your knowledge by relating this is International Hoof Care Week.

You may need to print your own cards for this non-holiday. No matter, it gives us a chance to showcase Comet, the super horse.

Adventure Comics (1938) 293

Adventure Comics (1938) 293

This Uber Equua ferus caballus was first introduced in the pages of Adventure Comics issue 293 in February of 1962. Comet shared the book with the debut of the Legion of Super-Pets.

While the team was new, other than Comet, the members weren’t. Making up the Legion of Super-Pets were Krypto, the Super-Dog; Streaky, the Supercat; and Beppo, the Super-Monkey.

Though this marked Comet’s first appearance, his first chronological appearance would be in Action Comics (1938) issue 292 when he would meet Supergirl. Comet was from the future and lived there for the issue. He was heralded as a “super-pet Supergirl will own some day in the future!”

It was the Silver Age of DC.

Comet shared many of the same powers as others in the super family. He could fly, had super-strength, super speed, telepathy and telescopic vision.

Following the shake up of Crisis on Infinite Earths, a different Comet was introduced into cannon in Supergirl (1994) 14. He was described as a man with three fingers, horse-like legs, long white hair and a star mark on his forehead. He flew and had cold-generation powers. When he used his powers, he resembled his namesake.

Comet has appeared outside the printed page. His cameo in DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year introduced him as Kara Zor-El’s pet horse from Krypton.

During this week, the American Farriers Journal hosts an annual International Hoof-Care Summit. Participants may sit in on workshops, roundtable discussions and instructional clinics.

Most of us may look up Comet on Wikipedia or pull an errant issue stashed in the back of a long forgotten long box.

Posted Monday, January 17th, 2022 by Barry

Blue Monday (2000)

Welcome to Blue Monday.

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday is mathematically the most depressing day of the year.

In 2004 Cliff Arnall, a tutor at the Center for Lifelong Learning, declared the third Monday in January the day we as humans in the northern hemisphere feel the lowest. The holidays are over, sunlight is at a premium and the winter lay ahead.

Arnall even calculated why we feel so “blue”: [W+(D-d] x T^Q} – [M x N_a] with “W” standing for weather, “D” standing for debt, “d” standing for monthly salary, “M” for motivational levels and “Na” standing for the need to take action.

According to the Holidays Calendar, this has since been debunked and attributed to a promotional travel campaign by Sky Travel.

No matter, Four Color Holidays is accepting Blue Monday as an official non-holiday.

Blue Monday (2000) The Kids Are Alright

Blue Monday (2000) The Kids Are Alright

Representing such is the comic book Blue Monday, taken from the song Blue Monday. Not the Blue Monday as crooned by Fats Domino or the White Lion tune penned in 1991. The Blue Monday in question is by the post punk scene group New Order released March 7, 1983 as a 12-inch single. Over three million copies were sold.

Our Blue Monday was created by Chyynna Clugston Flores chronicling the exploits of the loosely based avatar Bleu L. Finnegan and her high school friends in the early 1990s.

Flores published one-page dramas and short stories in Dark Horse Presents, Action Girl Comics and Oni Double Feature from 1997 to 2000. As the new millennium dawned, Flores saw her creation expand and Oni released a mini series called The Kids are Alright. It was followed by three more over the next five years and one-shot in 2009.

After a six-year hiatus, Blue Monday was given a new life at Dark Horse. The Kids Are Alright appeared in 2016 followed by Absolute Beginners that December and In between Days in July of the following year. Painted Moon was solicited, but never shipped.

Flores hasn’t given up on her wayward cast of misfits, promising to continue their exploits post high school and into young adulthood.

Whatever the fate of Blue Monday the comic book, we can choose to embrace the non-holiday either by wallowing in the miasma of day with sad music, staying home and refusing solace. Or, we can battle back the blues with some creature comforts.

However you celebrate/commiserate, maybe check out these books; what’s a little more debt this time of year?

Posted Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42

It seems so unfair to pack away the lively colors of Christmas during the blandest time of the year. To liven the month up a bit, let’s celebrate Kiss a Ginger Day.

Only two-percent of the world’s population can claim to be natural red heads. The shock of red tresses has been lauded and mocked, but always stand out in a crowd.

Maybe the most famous red head in comicdom, at least in the Marvel Universe, is Mary Jane Parker, formerly Mary Jane Watson.

MJ’s first appearance is technically Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 25, but normally considered Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42.

In issue 25, the wily Steve Ditko, then penciling the book, hid her visage behind a plant. It was former romance artist John Romita, Sr., who immortalized her look in issue 42. In later interviews, the elder Romita admitted he patterned her after Ann Margret as she appeared in the movie Bye Bye Birdie.

Mary Jane would become Peter’s best girl until he could persuade Gwen Stacy to leave friend Harry Osburne. Following Gwen’s death at the hands of the Green Goblin, MJ and Peter entered a tumultuous relationship.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 42

By Amazing Spider-Man 182, Peter had asked Mary Jane to marry him.

She declined the offer.

The pair would drift apart for several years only to reunite. In Amazing Spider-Man 257 MJ admitted to knowing Peter’s secret identity.

They would continue to date and Peter would pop the question again in Amazing Spider-Man 290. This time Mary Jane would accept and the two were married in Amazing Spider-Man annual 21.

Married life was no less troubled than their previous dating one. MJ became pregnant, but complications due to the Clone Saga and editor’s whims left the baby stillborn.

Further marital problems ensued and Mary Jane left for the west coast. Eventually they reconciled only to be caught up in the Civil War storyline.

That was followed by the One More Day story arc in which Mary Jane accepts Mephisto’s offer to disappear from Peter’s life for the return of Aunt May who was killed during the previous marathon of a story.

This was followed by A New Life, Spider-Island, Ends of the Earth, Dying Wish and The Superior Spider-Man. MJ returned, but as a friend.

Peter and Mary Jane are reunited under Marvel’s Fresh Start relaunch event.

Mary Jane has been part of the Amazing Spider-Man landscape and Peter Parker’s life in every incarnation of the character. Her opening line for their introduction in Amazing Spider-Man 42 has proved truer than Stan Lee or John Romita, Sr., could have ever known,” Face it, Tiger, you just hit the jackpot.”

So did we.

Welcome to Kiss a Ginger Day.

If you are fortunate enough to know one, plant a wet one on their cheek and let ‘em know they are appreciated.

Posted Sunday, January 9th, 2022 by Barry

Black Lightning (1977) 1

If you feel the hair rising up on the back of your neck – head and other body parts – it’s an omen today is National Static Electricity Day.

Welcome to another non-holiday allowing the process of transferring electrons from one object to another. This is done through friction (triboelectric effect), conduction and induction.

While zapping someone’s ear or nose may seem harmless enough, the effect can be dangerous in the case of flammable gasses or a high concentration of oxygen.

Black Lighting (1977) 1

Black Lighting (1977) 1

To celebrate today, learn more about electrostatic discharge, conduct experiments on the effects of static electricity, learn how to avoid static during winter months or, the one we recommend, read some of DC’s blaxploitation:  Black Lighting.

Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden created DC’s first African-American superhero, launching him with his own series. The title lasted a mere 11 issues, dying off in September-October 1978.

Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lighting, came complete with superhuman powers afforded him via a belt. Later incarnations would give him the same abilities courtesy of a metagene.

Isabella was veteran of the Marvel method, having written Luke Cage. Like Cage, Pierce spoke with a 1970s black vernacular, topped with mask and afro for good measure.

He would later become a founding member of Batman’s Outsiders. He would also be offered Justice League of America membership only to decline originally. Later incarnations would bring him into the JLA’s fold.

When the New 52 debuted, Black Lighting was called back to duty and again with DC Rebirth. He began in Detective Comics before graduating to Batman & the Outsiders.

A live-action series appeared on The CW in 2018 starring Cress Williams.

For previous emcees, please refer to Electro in 2020 or Electro in 2021. No, that wasn’t a typo.

Posted Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 by Barry

Deadpool (1997) 1

About 46 million people around the world are blind. Today is a day we can remember and honor their independence with World Braille Day.

Through a sequence of interrelated events, Louis Braille invented the series of raised dots named after its creator allowing the blind and vision impaired the ability to read.

Braille lost his sight following an accident at his father’s harness shop when he was three. While attending the National Institute for Blind Children in Paris, he cultivated an interest in music. That interest, combined with code communication developed for Napoleon’s army, were the basis for what is known as braille today.

He died in 1852, two years before France’s Royal Institute for the Blind Youth adopted a braille curriculum.

Deadpool (1997) 1

Deadpool (1997) 1

Representing the comic community for today is Blind Al, or Althea or Blind Alfred, of Deadpool fame.

Blind Al’s origin is murky at best, but at some point Deadpool took the geriatric gal hostage, keeping her as a companion/housekeeper/victim. Though his most intimate companion, Deadpool is incredibly cruel toward her. To punish Blind Al, Wade would put her in the Box, a small room filled with sharp objects. She was forbidden visitors, though she has become familiar with Deadpool’s other human tool, Weasel.

She was eventually released from his imprisonment, though she remained in contact with Deadpool over the subsequent years. Her last contact, to date, with the Merc with a Mouth was an invitation to he and Shikklah’s wedding. A misprint in the braille invite sent her to a gang funeral instead.

Blind Al was featured in both the 2016 and 2018 Deadpool feature films. She was portrayed by Leslie Uggams.

To participate, pay more attention to the braille and other accessible items available for the blind and vision impaired. In addition, learn more about its creator and famous people who were blind or visually impaired.

For a real treat, take in Deadpool (1997) issue 11, With Great Power Comes Great Coincidence, in which he is transported back in time to parody the events of Amazing Spider-Man issue 47. Blind Al plays Aunt May. It’s a classic.

Posted Saturday, January 1st, 2022 by Barry

Action Comics (1938) 81

Happy New Year.

The Ball has dropped and it’s time to face another 365 days. At this point, no one knows what 2022 will offer.

To kick off the new year, we pull from the past and offer Superman in Action Comics issue 81. Like many of the covers of the Golden Age, the only suggestion of the passage one year to the next is the cover.

Action Comics (1938) 81

Action Comics (1938) 81

Headliner Superman stars in Fairyland Isle. Featured are Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen against the one-and-done villain Fancy Dan, not to be mistaken for Spider-Man’s Silver-Age nemesis.

The story is reprinted in Superman: The Action Comics Archives Vol. 5.

Congo Bill is the main character of the alliterative second feature, Nemesis of the Northland.

The Chinatown Kid, Magician showcases the Vigilante with Zatara bringing up the rear in Sea-Going Sparklers.

Sharing the cover with the Man of Steel are Father Time and Baby New Year.

Father Time’s origins hail from the Greek’s association of time, or chronos, with Cronos the god of agriculture, hence the scythe. The Romans saw Cronos as a personification of Saturn, who also carried a sickle, and as an old man. Wings and an hourglass were added later, a reminder of Death or the Grim Reaper.

Editorial cartoons would later depict Father Time as the representation of the previous year. He would be seen passing the crown to Baby New Year signifying the dawning of a new era or year.

Baby New Year is believed to be the resurrection of Father Time who grows old during the year to become the phoenix-like, aged representation of year’s end. The fresh year is presented in diaper, top hat and sash bearing the year that he represents. Though named Baby New Year, he is often represented as a toddler.

The moniker was often bestowed upon the first born of a village, town or city each year. The tradition has been dropped due to concerns the infant could be targeted by criminals.

No matter how it is celebrated, happy New Year from Jeff and I and Four-Color Holidays. May your 2022 be lived to the fullest.