Archive for March, 2022

Posted Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 by Barry

Journey Into Mystery (1952) 83

Welcome to National Doctors Day.

National Doctors Day is celebrated on March 30 each year to commemorate the anniversary of the first ether anesthetic for surgery administered by Doctor Crawford Long in 1842.

Today’s master of ceremonies is Dr. Donald Blake, aka Thor. Marvel’s first Thor. Marvel’s first superhero Thor.

Journey Into Mystery (1952) 83

Contrary to his origin in Journey into Mystery issue 83, Thor is the son of all fathers Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. He was also coming on the heels of the Hulk as Lee, Kirby and the soon-to-be christened Marvel Bullpen as they populated the Marvel Universe.

Readers were given a 13-page story and origin in which it was revealed Blake was not the human he believed himself be. Rather he was the punished son of Odin. The All Father had exiled his son to Midgard to teach him humility.

Thor dominated Journey into Mystery and the title was changed to reflect the stars status by issue 126. The book would showcase a talented group of artists and writers beginning with Kirby’s replacement, Neal Adams. John Buscema took over penciling chores after Adam’s two-issue stint.

Walt Simonson began guiding the book with issue 337. His run would last three years and showcase some of the Thunder God’s most memorable stories including the introduction of Beta Ray Bill and Thor as a frog.

Thor was rebooted following the Heroes Reborn saga. His second volume began in 1998 and ran till 2004. A third volume appeared in 2007.

He was given several new titles as the first Thor movie hit theaters in 2011. Thor would be part of the ensemble Avengers movies in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019 as well as starring in his own films in 2013 and 2017.

The first National Doctors Day was observed in Winder, GA. Dr. Charles B. Almond’s wife, Eudora, wanted to have a day to honor physicians. For the inaugural event, greeting cards were mailed and flowers placed on the graves of deceased doctors. The red carnation is commonly used as the symbolic flower for National Doctors Day.

Posted Sunday, March 27th, 2022 by Barry

G.I. Joe (1982) 1

Today’s emcee and the non-holiday have nothing in common beyond their name, but that’s good enough for us.

National Joe Day is geared toward the caffeine-laded morning libation that seems to fuel most of the United States. As gathered from the pic to the side and the title of the comic book, we’re focusing on the general issue Joe Hasbro built a company on in 1964.

Two of the most common nicknames for coffee are java and cup of joe. Java refers to the region where the earliest coffee plantations were established.

“Cup a…” is a little more mysterious.

G.I. Joe (1982) 1

One of the earliest origins stems from a revolt sailors showed against Secretary to the Navy for World War I Josephus Daniels. The federal employee banned coffee from naval ships in hopes of higher moral standards. This backfired and seamen began downing huge quantities of the black liquid in retaliation.

Another theory is joe is an abbreviated form of jamoke, a slang term mashing java and mocha together.

A third possibility is rooted in WWI, too. George Constant Louis Washington invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. An important supplier during the War to End all Wars, it is believed George was shorted to Geo and – possibly – misread as Joe.

Whichever your preference, enjoy the day with your own blend of morning brew and Joe of choice.

As for the master of ceremonies, GI Joe began as a 12-inch representation of America’s fighting forces Feb. 2, 1964, developed by Stanley Weston. When war fell out of favor during the Viet Nam conflict, Joe became more of an adventurer.

As the 1980s dawned and President Ronald Reagan rallied around old glory and increased defense spending, Joe returned to his fighting man mode. Albeit in smaller stature. With rising oil prices and the success of Kenner’s three-and-three-quarter-inch line of Star Wars figures, the Real American Hero shrank to a more affordable height.

While Hasbro had licensed out the name for comic books as early as 1967, Marvel became the publishing company most associated with his four-color exploits.

They would publish 155 issues.

Posted Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022 by Barry

Krazy Komics (1942) 1

Nothing about the comic book featured or title of the book offers a clue as today being International Day of the Seal, but it is.

Unlike so many of our featured non-holidays, International Day of the Seal has an origin we can trace. In 1982, the United States Congress declared an International Day of the Seal to draw attention to the cruelty of seal hunts and to halt the extinction of the species.

On a lighter note, our seal of honor made his public debut in 1942 as a back-up feature in Krazy Komics issue one. Silly Seal began as a solo act along with Super Rabbit, Toughy Cat and soon-to-be cohort Ziggy Pig.

Silly Seal was part of a new bred of personality, originating in the fresh comic book medium rather than bouncing there from a newspaper strip or cartoon. Silly was the creation of Al Jaffee for Timely Comics. Timely would-be rechristened Marvel Comics two decades later.

Krazy Komics (1942) 1

Jaffee would later be better known as one of the original mad men of Mad Magazine. His career began with Seal and would earn him the title of longest-ever career comic book artist running to 2020. In his half century of work with Mad, only one issue would be published without his material.

Silly proved popular enough he would be teamed with Ziggy and the two received their own book in 1944. They would share the title for six issues, through September 1946.

Prior, they had already appeared as a team on the cover of Krazy Komics since January of 1943. They would continue as the featured characters on the cover through the final issue, 26, in 1946.

They would also be featured in Animated Funny Comic-Tunes and Silly Tunes while sharing star status in Ideal Comics and in All Surprise Comics as well as Comic Capers.

They would make one final Golden Age appearance in Animal Fun 3-D in 1953.

Silly would be revived briefly in 2009 for a guest shot in Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four and, again in 2018 and 2019 in Deadpool’s ongoing series.

As for International Day of the Seal, celebrate with some fun facts about the pinnipeds:

A group are called a raft, there are 33 species of seals, their whiskers help them detect prey in murky water, they can live 25 to 30 years and can weigh over 7,000 pounds.

Seals have been hunted for centuries for their meat, blubber and fur coats. Due to the unsupervised slaughter, some species have become endangered including Saimaa of Finland, Ungva of Quebec, Mediterranean monk seals and Hawaiian monk seals.

Take time to reflect on the genocide of a species before enjoying more fun aspects of the day like an animated feature or four-color fantasy.

Posted Sunday, March 20th, 2022 by Barry

She-Hulk (2005) 8

If you still haven’t asked that all important question, today is the day. Today is National Proposal Day.

We here at Four Color Holidays have reviewed Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man’s, adventures in asking for Mary Jane’s hand in marriage the previous two years. This year, we’re looking at Jennifer Walters and her engagement to another Four Color Holiday alumnus, John Jameson.

Walters was Stan Lee’s last Bronze Age creation. The “Man” would only write the first issue before turning duties over to David Anthony Kraft with pencils by Mike Vosburg.

She-Hulk was a mild-mannered lawyer who received a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner. His gamma-irradiated blood gave her Hulk-like powers. This premise was good for 25 issues originally.

Walters bounced around the Marvel U appearing in various titles, finally earning a running guest spot in the Avengers. Following the first Secret Wars mini, She-Hulk joined the Fantastic Four.

She would also star in her own Marvel Graphic Novel in 1985.

Not until 1989 did she return for a second solo series, Sensational She-Hulk. John Byrne wrote and drew issues 1-8, 31-46 and 48-50. The title ran 60 issues.

After, She-Hulk remained in guest-star limbo longer, not returning to a self-titled book again until 2004. The book was cancelled after an initial run of 12 issues, but promised to return the following year.

She-Hulk (2005) 8

It did and this is where she finds herself accepting the first of two rings.

John Jameson had long been a background character in the Marvel Universe. He first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man issue one. He would return off and on until he became a major character as Man-Wolf in ASM 124.

While the two do marry, it proves to be part of a plot by Eros who “zapped us with one of his love whammies.”

The marriage is annulled and life continued for both.

While not the best representation of proposal day, it is a fun read as She-Hulk is guided by Dan Slott through the first 21 issues of the 38-issue run.

Just perusing the story arc makes me wanna pull the series and read it again.

Anyway, if unattached and seeking the impetus to pop the question, today is the day.

And, if you chicken out again, find this series and console yourself with some good storytelling and a little comfort food.

Posted Thursday, March 17th, 2022 by Barry

Scooby-Doo (1997) 130

St. Patrick’s Day is really hit or miss for us. We try each year to cover the major holidays while spotlighting the minor and sometimes just silly. Yet, the wee-folk sometime get overlooked.

Yeah, that was bad.

Anyway, the Emerald Isle will not go forgotten in 2022. Thanks to those meddlin’ kids and Scooby-Doo from Mystery Inc. in issue 130.

While the cover may be a field of shamrocks, the interior is barren as Four Color Holidays is most years when it comes to St. Paddy’s. Still, considering the drought of material for the holiday, we’ll take a misleading cover.

Scooby-Doo (1997) 130

Scooby-Doo issue 130 begins south of the border with Chupacabra-Cadabra. Keith Champagne and Scott Neely celebrate Shaggy’s birthday with an all-inclusive vacation at an undisclosed location somewhere below the great state of Texas.

El Roberto’s Grande Fiesta Del Magico is the first item on the itinerary. However, when the dreaded El Chupacabra kidnaps Francesca, the show’s assistant, the game is afoot.

One-by-one the major players disappear until only Scooby and Shaggy remain. By story’s end, they find they’re part of an elaborate plan to throw the birthday boy a surprise party.

Worse Than a Curse – parenthetically titled Woise Than a Coise – is a jab at the curse of the Bambino and sports gambling. Terrance Griep and Karen Matchette serve up a less-than-memorable tale of the boys of summer.

Velma’s Monsters of the World showcases the Rokuro-Kubi. This Kaiju doesn’t trample cities, but is more of a mischief maker.

Surreal Cereal Spook is the closest the book comes to St. Patrick’s Day.

Instead of a lyrical leprechaun spouting his breakfast fare is magically delicious, a Scottish spook tries to scare the Mystery gang. This one just happens to be a ghost made of the fake marshmallow crap they stuff in cereal boxes.

Sibling rivalry is abolished with a spray of milk and the tale closes the book with a laugh.

May this St. Patrick’s Day find you with green in your pocket and a little spring in your step.

Posted Monday, March 14th, 2022 by Barry

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

It would be so easy to use the obvious choice for today, but we’re gonna go with a very underrated movie in a comic book adaptation form to celebrate National Spider Day.

Eight Legged Freaks is described as a monster comedy action film. While that may hit all the highlights, there is a charm that can only be experienced by enjoying the feature.

Starring in the movie were David Arquette, Kari Wuhrer and a young Scarlett Johansson with voice work by Frank “Fred Jones” Welker.

The film met with mixed reviews, though Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it a three out four.

Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Eight Legged Freaks began as a 1997, 13-minute short entitled Larger Than Life. Director Ellory Elkayem parlayed it into a full-length feature film originally to be called Arach Attack. Its eventual moniker would come from an Arquette ad lib from the movie.

Wildstorm Productions would option the rites for a comic book adaptation with script by Marv Wolfman and pencils by Joe Phillips. The movie would be retold over 60 pages with production notes as a follow up.

To address the unspoken question, why have a day championing something so many people are afraid of?

Spiders are part of the ecosystem. They chow down on pesky bugs, allowing us a better way of life.

Okay, that may be overplaying the situation, but we’ll give ‘em a break since it is officially National Spider Day.

In North America, very few spiders pose a health threat. Only widow spiders and brown spiders are potentially dangerous to healthy people. Those with compromised immune systems may have difficulties from spider bites, but not often.

Many cultures recognize the spider as a good luck symbol. Mythologies have used them in creation stories and fables.

So, rather than squash the next one you see, maybe scoop it up and set it free in the wild; let nature take its course in the battle of survival of the fittest.

Then, sit back and watch a copy of the movie in question followed by a spirited read of Amazing Spider-Man. Maybe an issue or arc where he battles the Tarantula for a double dose of arachnids.

Posted Saturday, March 12th, 2022 by Barry

Tales to Astonish (1959) 13

Marigolds and Daffodils are the flowers of March and today is National Plant a Flower Day, but the miracle of Mother Nature we’re celebrating is of a stouter nature.

For all the Guardians of the Galaxy fans and those of Groot in particular, today is your day. Groot is our poster child for National Plant a Flower Day.

While most know the anthropmorized woody perennial as a lovable sapling reeking CGI havoc on the big screen, he began as a one-and-done extraterrestrial villain created by Stan Lee, Larry Leiber and Jack Kirby.

Tales to Astonish (1959) 13

Tales to Astonish (1959) 13

The Flora colossus hailed from Planet X. Groot was sent to Earth as part of an invasion force to capture humans for experimentation. In 1950’s BEM fashion, he was defeated with the help of – honestly – termites.

Groot would return to the Marvel U in 2006 as a hero in Annihilation Conquest. Following the crossover, Groot was inducted into the spin-off revival of Guardians of the Galaxy.

While given new life, he was also given a new origin. Rather than part of a blood-thirsty race of space trees, Groot was now the victim. As the last remaining member of the Flora colossi, Groot was a prisoner of the Kree. He would escape with the help of Star Lord with whom he joined forces.

When Marvel and Walt Disney studios released Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, the public’s response was overwhelming. The movie netted $333.7 million on the United States alone and an estimated $773.3 million worldwide. It’s sequel, Vol. 2, earned $863.8 million worldwide.

As with so many non-holidays, National Plant a Flower Day’s origins are muddy. Rather than dig for the roots of the day, enjoy what God as wrought and add to the color of the season with your vegetation of choice.

Posted Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 by Barry

The Marvel No-Prize Book (1983)

We all make mistakes, but clicking here isn’t one of those.

Today is a day we celebrate those who watch over our printed matter, whether it be ourselves or someone else. Today is National Proofreading Day.

A short history for the non-holiday is as follows: Corporate Trainer Judy Beaver decided the public needed to be more vigilant when it came to what they wrote. This led her to declare March 8 as National Proofreading Day in honor of her mother’s birthday.

Today we tap someone who guided so many of us through out recreational reading time: Stan Lee.

Like anyone else, Stan was fallible. Rather than cringe and hide from his literary mistakes or the gaffs of his artists, he chose to recognize fans who pointed out these errors.

Their reward?

The coveted No-Prize.

Other publishing companies instituted a similar policy before Marvel, but the House of Ideas made it famous.

The Marvel No-Prize Book (1983)

The Marvel No-Prize Book (1983)

The difference between the other companies and Marvel was they provided real rewards when their continuity errors were pointed out. Marvel, or Stan Lee, chose to issue an empty envelope with a congratulatory salutation overseen by the Hulk.

The role of the No-Prize would later extend to other fan feats such as the largest comic book collection. It was also expanded so readers could be recognized for finding other errors beyond those in continuity.

In 1983 Marvel and Lee published a comic book filled with some of the company’s errors over the years. Early goofs include Lee referring to Peter Parker as Peter Palmer (not once, but twice) in Amazing Spider-Man issue one. Maybe a bigger error was actually dubbing him Super-Man in Amazing Spider-Man issue three.

Even the Jack “King” Kirby isn’t free of mistakes as Reed Richards is seen with two left hands in Fantastic Four issue 88. The issue is also accorded another entry for the lack of the Thing with the FF. However, by next issue Bashful Benjy is fighting alongside his teammates without explanation of how he got there.

Whether worried about Marvel’s miscues or not, this is a fun book.

To celebrate the day, though, learn some ways to improve your proofreading skills such as allowing time for the project to settle before revisiting it with fresh eyes.

Also recommended is to remove all distractions while perusing the project, learn your limitations and look for those first, turn off the autocorrect tool so as not to become too reliant on it, read aloud to hear mistakes, read it backward for a new perspective or even just use a different font when printing it out to see the work differently.

I promise I have looked this over – more than once – and hope it is error free so as not to serve as an ironic example of why proofreading is important. I did find two errors during the initial read through.


Posted Friday, March 4th, 2022 by Barry

Fury of Firestorm (1982) 24

Jeff’s gonna be excited seeing the book we’ve chosen today. What he doesn’t know is we’re not here for Firestorm, but the debut of Blue Devil.

DC Comics chose to unveil their new creation in Firestorm with a special insert in June 1984. Blue Devil would go on to star in his own book in the cover-dated June 1984 Blue Devil issue one. The series lasted a total of 32 issues before cancellation.

Blue Devil began as Dan Cassidy, a Hollywood stuntman and practical effects artist. Cassidy designed and built the Devil costume, complete with exoskeleton, for a Blue Devil movie.

Cassidy became the victim of real demon Nebiros when the costume was permanently bonded to his skin. The amalgam of technology and sorcery caused an effect known as the weirdness magnet.

He would later become a real demon after making a pact with Neron.

Fury of Firestorm (1982) 24

Enough about or master of ceremonies.

We have chosen Blue Devil to serve over National Dress in Blue Day simply because of the name and visage.

National Dress in Blue Day is designed to enlighten people about the causes of colon cancer through the practice of wearing blue.

The blue star worn to mourn those lost to colon cancer is like the pink ribbon representing those lost to breast cancer. A continued blue motif in dress brings further awareness for the need to understand the causes and learn how to prevent the disease.

National Dress in Blue Day was inaugurated in 2006 by stage-four colon cancer survivor Anita Mitchell. She had already lost her father and friend to the disease. The Colon Cancer Alliance adopted her grass roots campaign in 2009 allowing the notion to become nationwide.

Raised awareness in colorectal cancer may account for a decrease in deaths of persons between the ages of 55 and 84 since 1999. However, deaths have increased in persons aged 45 to 54 during the same time frame.

Beyond skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

Posted Tuesday, March 1st, 2022 by Barry

Lex Luthor/Porky Pig (2018) 1

Porky was the subject of last year’s National Pig Day, but he’s sharing the spotlight with Lex Luthor this year.

First, let’s focus on the day itself. National Pig Day was founded by sisters Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave in 1972. It was their belief swine should be accorded its day in the sun, according “the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.”

Intelligence has been noted in the Sus domesticus as early as the 1700s when a trained pig in Dublin called the Learned Pig entertained crowds by counting, telling time and performing other tricks.

Lex Luthor/Porky Pig (2018) 1

He is not to be confused by the literary Learned Pig of London of the same century. This boar was born of a gilt who consumed an entire volume of Sir Robert Filmer’s manuscripts and Saobeverel’s Sermons before giving birth. Later, the he would devour the garden of Milton allowing him to wax poetic.

A.A. Milne and E.E. White told the stories of Piglet and Wilbur, respectively. Peppa has stolen the spotlight for current famous baconer while Miss Piggy still holds the sway of many hearts. Hamm is an integral part of the Toy Story franchise.

Yet, Porky is still part of the cutter culture.

In this team up with DC’s corporate cut throat, the Merry Melody’s cum Looney Tunes grunter learns how treacherous Luther can be.

The story begins with Porky thriving in the digital market. It’s not long before his venture fails and Porky finds himself under Luthor’s thumb. By tales end, Porky is another piece of meat consumed by the corporate world.

Celebrate today with a good read or a good piece of bacon, your choice. We do ask you take time to look back at previous entries for National Pig Day as part of the festivities.