Archive for February, 2022

Posted Thursday, February 24th, 2022 by Barry

From the Ren & Stimpy Show The Powdered Toast Man Special

Originating in the United Kingdom, National Toast Day has migrated to the United States as part of the non-holiday calendar.

National Toast Day is the brainchild of The Tiptree World Bread Awards celebrating toast and all the breads made with it. The non-holiday was inaugurated in 2014 and is celebrated on the last Thursday of February.

Emceeing the event is Powdered Toast Man of Ren & Stimpy fame.

PTM began as a background commercial on Nickelodeon’s animated series airing from Aug. 11, 1991 to Oct. 20, 1996. Serving as the spokesman for the cereal of the same name that, “tastes just like sawdust,” Powdered Toast Man was based on a Frank Zappa character from his song Billy the Mountain.

He stepped beyond his recurring, background role to star in episodes Powdered Toast Man vs. Waffle Woman and Powdered Toast Man.

PTM would appear in the Marvel Comics licensed adaptation of Ren & Stimpy even fighting Spider-Man once in issue six. Two years later in 1994 he would receive his own 48-page one-shot, The Powdered Toast Man Special. The book was written by Dan Slott with pencils by Ty Templeton.

So, with the pseudo hero in hand, drop the handle on the toaster and toast the toast we honor today.

From the Ren & Stimpy Show The Powdered Toast Man Special (1994)

Posted Monday, February 21st, 2022 by Barry

Prez (1973) 1

Officially Washington’s Birthday, President’s Day is celebrated the third Monday of February to honor all United States Presidents.

A state holiday in most states, the day has 15 different names depending on the state.

An Act of Congress implemented the commemoration of Washington’s birthday in 1879 for America’s first president. In 1885, it was expanded to include all federal offices. It was also designated to be held February 22, George Washington’s birthday.


Prez (1973) 1

The date was shifted to include February 15 through the 21 or the third Monday in February in 1971 as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This ensured the day would never fall on Washington’s actual birthday.

Just a month after establishing Washington’s Birthday as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, President Richard M. Nixon issued a proclamation naming the day President’s Day. He further declared it to be the first “three-day holiday set aside to honor all presidents, even myself.”

Prez Rickard is today’s emcee.

DC Comics, still under the National Periodicals brand, made Rickard the first teenage president of the United States. The premise lasted all of four issues before the title was impeached.

A fifth and final issue appeared in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade issue two in 1978, though he did guest in Supergirl issue 10 in 1974.

Using the passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971 allowing the voting age to drop to 18 as a springboard, Joe Simon and Jerry Grandenetti envisioned a world where teenagers are also allowed to run for public office. The public first takes notice of Rickard after he fixes the town clocks in Steadfast to run on time. From there he is launched into the political world eventually earning the Oval Office.

Prez’s mother became vice-president and his sister secretary of state. During his time on the newsstands, Prez fought a legless vampire and a werewolf, Washington’s great-great-great-great-great grandnephew, in a bid to over throw the government and a corrupt political boss.

These do not stand the test of time. They didn’t survive their own era.

Instead, of tracking these down, maybe find another title that follows today’s theme.

Obama appeared on at least four covers including Savage Dragon issue 137, Veronica 109, Amazing Spider-Man 583 and Youngblood 8; Richard Nixon was featured on the covers of Fantastic Four 123 and From Beyond the Unknown 17; John F. Kennedy on Superman 170; Dwight D. Eisenhower on Mystery From Space 30, Abraham Lincoln on Deadpool 4, Flash 210, House of Mystery 51, Scooby-Doo 2, Scalphunter 53, Captain America 222 and Rip Hunter, Time Master 23; and Ronald Reagan on The Oustiders 24.

Posted Friday, February 18th, 2022 by Barry

All-American Comics (1939) 16

What do Alessandro Volta and Green Lantern have in common?

National Battery Day.

Volta is the father of the battery. Maybe not as we think of it today, but his combination of silver, cloth/paper soaked in salt or acid and zinc forming “voltaic piles” generated the first limited, portable electrical current.

Alan Scott was the Golden Age Green Lantern. The lantern served as a battery to power his ring.

All-American Comics (1939) 16

All-American Comics (1939) 16

Thus, we have however-many-degrees-of-separation between Volta and Green Lantern joined for the non-holiday.

While the Italian scientist invented the first battery, England’s William Cruckshank designed batteries for mass consumption in 1802.

The battery was improved upon over time. In 1896, the National Carbon Company, later christened the Eveready Battery Company, produced the first commercially available battery. Two years later, the first D-sized battery was unveiled for flashlights.

Martin Nodell and Bill Finger birthed the first Green Lantern.

The Golden Age Green Lantern, aka Alan Scott, became owner of a magic lantern. With the lantern he was able to create a ring allowing him a variety of powers.

By the early 1950s, the Golden Age mystery men had fallen out of favor. It would be almost a decade before another Green Lantern would grace comic book pages.

Following the success of the Silver Age Flash’s debut, DC Comic’s revamped Green Lantern. The 1959 version was sleeker and received his lantern and ring courtesy of an alien from space.

From his debut in Showcase issue 22, Green Lantern spawned an ever-growing legend that would include a corps of similar heroes who police the universe and beyond.

Together they help commemorate Volta’s birthday to honor a common tool we take for granted and the man who made it possible.

To celebrate, dust off the old flashlight and prop the covers over your head as you read an issue or two of Green Lantern by the light of the handheld device.

Posted Monday, February 14th, 2022 by Barry

New Kids on the Block Valentine Girl (1991)

If you’re reading this today, thank you, but turn the computer off and find that special person to really make Valentine’s Day special.

Valentine’s Day.

Also, my wedding anniversary.

New Kids on the Block Valentine Girl (1991)

New Kids on the Block Valentine Girl (1991)

It’s doubly sweet. Toss in some comic books and, well, it just doesn’t get any better.

Really, the day has been commemorated with many inhabitants of the four-color world. Today we’re going to mix it up a little and remember one of the pioneering boy bands of the 1990s, New Kids on the Block.

Harvey Comics licensed the name and likenesses of the quintet in a fictious fan fest told over 32 pages. Bryce Maritano and Ernie Colon serve up the tweenie heart throbs in story and pin ups.

NKOTB consisted of brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood. Together, with marketing and choreography, they sold an estimated 70-million albums worldwide. In addition, they were named Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group of 1990.

They would perform together until 1994 when they went their separate ways. At least until nostalgia and the promise of easy money brought them back for a new record in 2007. In 2011 they teamed with fellow former boy band the Backstreet Boys for a tour.

Valentine’s Day began as a Christian feast honoring Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It wasn’t until the 14th and 15th centuries the day became associated with romance and love.

On average, Americans spend over $150 a person on Valentine’s Day currently.

Go, spread the love.

And, happy Valentine’s Day.

I just hope no one is snooping around my browser history and finds my research for today.

Posted Wednesday, February 9th, 2022 by Barry

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

Over three billion pizzas are sold in the United States each year reinforcing the need for today’s non-holiday:  National Pizza Day.

The origin for today’s celebration is unknown. What we do know is pretty much everyone loves pizza. In addition to the three billion ordered, another billion are purchased in the freezer section of grocery stores. That’s an average annual consumption of of 23 pounds of pizza per person.

In the United States, 17 percent of all restaurants are pizzerias. The first was opened in Naples, Italy, in 1738 with Gennaro Lombardi opening the first American counterpart in 1895 in New York City.

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

The Pizza Hut Super Savings Book Featuring the X-Men (1993)

So, teaming one of the largest pizzerias with the biggest comic book act of the day wasn’t a stretch of the imagination for Pizza Hut and Marvel Comics in 1993.

The X-Men animated series premiered the previous year, October 31, on Fox Kids Network. The series was a commercial and critical success, reaching over 23-million households.

Initially, Marvel and Pizza Hut offered the 12-page promotional giveaway mini comic (4 5/8”X7 ¼”) featuring a full-color abridged retelling of the history of the X-Men. Professor X was the guide. Included were Pizza Hut coupons.

The Pizza Hut franchise began in Wichita, Kansas. Brothers Dan and Frank Carney were the founders. After six months, they opened a second restaurant and within a year had six franchises.

Pizza Hut was obtained by PepsiCo in November 1977. The Hut joined fellow PepsiCo restaurants Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken to form Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. In 2002 the company was rebranded as Yum! Brands.

The chain currently has over 18,000 restaurants worldwide.

To celebrate National Pizza Day, nab your favorite pie, pepperoni being the most popular, and settle in with some semi-old school X-Men comic books or the series currently streaming in Disney+.

Some comfort food with some comfort entertainment.

Pizza Hut Coupons (no longer valid)

Pizza Hut Coupons (no longer valid)

Posted Monday, February 7th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

Before the fools and bunnies; before taxes and fireworks is Valentine’s Day. A day for flowers and flowery words; confection and affection.

It’s also a time for Marvel to march out some of its sweethearts, well and lesser known, to entertain and pass along a little wisdom.

Mary Jane and Peter spend a romantic day in a cocoon of webs and memories.

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

Marvel Valentine Special (1997) 1

While enjoying a text book and good weather, Peter sees himself. His teenage self when his future wife was still a set up date between their aunts.

Deciding to help, Peter gives the nebbish grad student fashion and dating tips.

The opening Valentine volley – My Fair Spidey – comes to a close when Mary Jane helps Peter realize it wasn’t who he was trying to be, but who he was she fell in love with. Donning his union suit, Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, saves the day and the couple’s future.

Love Hurts is a much more serious look at love.

Daredevil and girlfriend Karen Page work to save a young woman’s life from an abusive boyfriend.

Venus and Goom return readers to more of a comfort zone in Atom-Age Amore. The story is a whimsical stab at world domination through a dating agency.

The Greatest Gift is another fun fable showcasing Absorbing Man and Titania.

Crusher Creel is caught in his past while trying to find the perfect gift for his wife. With her help, together they find what that is; one that doesn’t come in a box nor need wrapped.

Valentine’s Day is coming. Better start thinking of what your main squeeze would love most.

Posted Friday, February 4th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) 25

With the 2022 Winter Olympics starting today, hosted by Beijing, China; it’s only appropriate we present Spider-Man vs. the Hulk at the 1980 Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid, NY, 42 years ago.

The Olympic games can be traced back to competitions held in 776 in Olympia, Greece. Representatives from city-states and kingdoms were selected to participate in athletic and combat sports.

As the Romans came to power, the Greek-sponsored event fell out of favor. It wasn’t until 1821 interest was renewed after the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. Greek-Romanian philanthropist Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first Olympic Games in 1859, held in Athens.

He also funded restoration on Panathenaic Stadium. It housed the 1870 and 1875 Olympics. No attendance records exist for the 1875 event, but 30,000 are said to have attended the 1870 contests.

The International Olympic Committee was formed and the first Olympics under their auspices was held in 1896. The success of the games became the foundation for the current popularity of both the summer and winter Olympics.

The Olympics currently feature over 21,000 competitors representing 207 nations.

Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) 25

Marvel Treasury Edition (1974) 25

The most expensive Summer Games were hosted by Beijing in 2008, costing an estimated $40-$44 billion. The most expensive Winter Games were held by Sochi in 2014 costing an estimated $51 billion.

How much Marvel’s 25th Treasury Edition cost or recouped is unknown. Probably less than the created carnage caused by the Mole Man and Kala who unleash the “outcasts” at the 1980 Olympics. Olympians team with Spider-Man and the Hulk to stop the chaos.

What makes the book even more than a novelty – in addition to its size, a monstrous 10”x14” worthy of hosting the Olympics and Marvel’s two power houses – is it presents a new story. Most Treasury editions, beyond Howard the Duck and Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles, consisted of reprint material. Even the Howard the Duck had just one original story.

Marvel’s 1976 Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag used new framing material provided by Roger Stern to set up reprints of Marvel Team-Up issue six, The Avengers 58, Tales to Astonish 93 and Daredevil 86.

Maybe the most memorable piece of Olympic lore from the 1980 Winter Olympics was U.S.A.’s upset of the Soviet Union in the hockey competition.

Posted Tuesday, February 1st, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

It’s February 1 and time for National Serpent Day.


Last year we celebrated the non-holiday by focusing on the first appearance of the Serpent Squad in Captain America 163 and the group’s history. This year we return with another tale of the slithering society, but in a much more kid friendly version.

Spider-Man teams with an awestruck Ms. Marvel and Lockjaw to teach the importance of not falling in with the wrong crowd.

The flashback story takes the wayward wallcrawler across state lines to New Jersey. There he finds The Serpent Society preparing to loot the dockyards for a cool million in cash.

This being Ms. Marvel’s neighborhood, the Joanny-come-lately leaps on the scene to help Spidey and teach new Society member Garden Snake she doesn’t need to follow where others lead.

Marvel Super Hero Adventures began as an animated series in an attempt to wrangle a younger audience for the Marvel franchise. It has aired for four seasons with 10 specials and the four-color version complimenting the series consisting of five number one issues written by Jim McCann and illustrated by Dario Brizuela.

Marvel Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Marvel Super Hero Adventures (2018) 1

Hasbro provided a toy line.

Some quick snakey facts include:

Only 1/8 of the known species are venomous,

Snakes eat their prey whole,

Most snakes are nocturnal,

They smell with their tongue,

Snakes are cold-blooded and sun themselves to regulate body temperature, and

While most snakes lay eggs, some give live birth.

To learn more about today’s celebrants, research them with the normal methods and use #NationalSerpentDay to post info on social media.