Archive for April, 2022

Posted Friday, April 29th, 2022 by Barry

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2000) 1

Sabrina and Salem celebrate today in the aptly named Arbor Day in issue one.

Short and sweet, Salem accidently destroys Uncle Quigley’s Bonsai tree. Sabrina admonishes the careless cat against using magic to replace the plant. She relents when they find they don’t have the funds to make amends by taking advantage of Mother Nature’s offerings.

The millennial version of Sabrina is now 12 and without powers of her own. The series compliments the animated series created by DIC. Based on the terms of the new cartoon, Sabrina has been returned to tweenie status, but actually has a good time being 12 again.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (2000) 1

Sabrina originally appeared in Archie’s Madhouse (1959) issue 22. Like Harry Potter’s mud-bloods, she is part muggle having been born of an ordinary mother and warlock.

While having both parents, she lives with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman, who are both witches. The family pet is Salem Saberhagen, a furry feline who was once a witch.

Sabrina was a mainstay of Archie’s TV Laugh-Out that ran 106 issues from 1969 to 1985. She was given her own book in 1971, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, that ran 77 issues from 1971 to 1983.

Another self-titled series would be over a decade in the making. Even then it acted as a companion piece to the live-action Sabrina television series. The comic companion was 32 issues long.

Archie Comics retooled the title in 2000 with a new number one. Simply called Sabrina, this series ran 37 issues with an issue 38 published in 2002. The transition issue transformed her into a teenage witch once again going until issue 57.

Sabrina received another makeover and the title became a manga clone until the book finally ended in 2009 with issue 104.

She was updated once again in 2014 with the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. The book became more mature with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa at the helm, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Rosemary’s Baby.

Arbor Day translates to Tree Day from its Latin origins. The holiday celebrates the planting, upkeep and preservation of trees.

The celebration harkens back to Nebraska City in the early 1870s. James Sterling Morton, a journalist, and wife, Caroline, purchased 160 acres and planted a variety of trees and shrubs in a primarily flat and desolate plain.

Morton became editor of the state’s first newspaper, Nebraska City News, which proved the perfect platform for him to spread his knowledge of trees and to stress their ecological importance to the state. Readers received the word and were moved. Morton was also appointed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.

On Jan. 7, 1872, Morton proposed a day that would encourage all Nebraskans to plant trees in their communities. The event was originally entitled Sylvan Day in reference to forest trees. Morton later convinced them to change it to Arbor day.

Today, nearly 50 countries celebrate Arbor Day.

Posted Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 by Barry

Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979)

National Alien Day may have started in 2009 with Dark Horse Comics, but the Alien franchise began as a comic book 30 years earlier with Heavy Metal.

National Alien Day is an actual by-product of 20th Century Fox’s Alien franchise. Dark Horse did it first with the relaunch of its Alien title after a 10-year hiatus. The publisher began original material in 1989 with its first mini-series.

Alien: The Illustrated Story (1979)

The first comic book appearance of Alien was in 1979 with an adaptation of Alien as published by Heavy Metal magazine. Archie Goodwin scripted and Walt Simonson drew. The work was a commercial success being the first comic book to appear on the New York Times Bestsellers list at number seven. It was also a critical success.

Alien: The Illustrated Story received the Harvey Award in 2013 for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work.

When Dark Horse purchased the privilege to continue the stories, a decision was made not to create an ongoing anthology. Rather, the company chose to continue with mini-series beginning with Aliens issues one through six in 1989.

They continued through 1999 with 28 one-shot issues or mini-series in all.

As stated above, Dark Horse returned to the franchise in 2009 with Aliens for Free Comic Book Day followed by Aliens: More than Human that same year.

They continued to publish stories through 2016 with Aliens: Defiance released as a short story for Free Comic Book Day.

Alien began as a collaboration between Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. Initially, the story was called Star Beast, but changed to Alien.

The script was purchased by Brandywine Productions. With the success of Star Wars, 20th Century Fox lavished the film with millions of dollars and the franchise was born.

James Cameron continued the story with Aliens in 1986. Alien 3 followed, debuting May 22, 1992 and Alien Resurrection Nov. 26, 1997.

A prequel set of films, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant, were released in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

National Alien Day is celebrated April 26 of each year. Celebrate by enjoying any part of the franchise from movie, to printed work to games and whatever other licensed products exist.

Posted Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 by Barry

Dell Four Color Comics (1939) 1067

It might be a little premature, but April 23 is National Picnic Day.

Who better to represent the day than Jellystone’s picnic basket bandit himself, Yogi Bear?

Created by Hanna-Barbera as a back up for The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, Yogi proved a breakout character earning his own series three years later.

Kellogg’s sponsored the anthropomorphized Ursus arctos who gave fellow animated alumni Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle their breaks as second features. Hokey Wolf benefited as well, taking Yogi’s pot on the Huckleberry Hound Show.

Dell Four Color Comics (1939) 1067

An animated musical feature was produced the same year, There, It’s Yogi Bear!

He was voiced by Daws Butler from his inception through 1988.

Greg Burson was the man behind the sound for the next 10 years with Jeff Bergman as the current “Yogi.” Dan Akroyd provided his voice for the Yogi Bear movie.

Yogi earned a spot in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1983.

Now, looking at the day itself, National Picnic Day is more of a mystery.

However, that doesn’t make it any less of a non-holiday.

Rather, its gives participants a chance to enjoy some favorite comfort foods. Most popular picnic cuisine include fried chicken, pasta salad, deviled eggs, watermelon, sandwiches and brownies all washed down with lemonade.

The name, picnic, is derived from the French piquenique meaning a meal eaten outdoors.

So, pack the bag and avoid the insect rush along with some warm clothes and bear repellent – just in case. Ranger Smith may not be close by.

Posted Wednesday, April 20th, 2022 by Barry

Archie’s Weird Mysteries (2000) 4

Déjà vu – again – as we do a double take after seeing ourselves somewhere other than in a reflection.

April 20 is National Look Alike Day; a day to celebrate our clones. They can be a monozygotic (identical) twins or simply a day the gene pool became overloaded and two persons squeaked out close enough alike they could be a twin.

The odds of having a look alike are unknown. Science hasn’t pegged that down with a number, but admit the limited genetic characteristics available allow for similarities in appearances. Exact duplicates are an impossibility.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries (2000) 4

Archie Squared tackles the possibility in the lead story of Archie’s Weird Mysteries issue four.

When Mr. Andrews makes three dates with three different women for the same night, he must find a way out of his semi-menage a trois. He does so with a little help from eavesdropping and science. A series of misadventures at the movies brings the tale to a close.

Archie’s Weird Mysteries began as an animated series in 1999. Only one season aired, though it went into syndication and reruns in 2001.

The comic book series began in February of 2000. The title ran 34 issues, dropping Weird from the title after issue 25. Its premise was the same as the television series with the Riverdale gang finding themselves in X-Files type situations.

National Look Alike Day was created in the 1980s by Jack Etzel, a television reporter. While walking in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, Etzel found a man who looked like Humphrey Bogart. He decided to interview the man and the next day, contacted the Chase Calendar of Events and created the non-holiday.

Posted Sunday, April 17th, 2022 by Barry

The All New Flintstones and Pebbles (1970) 45

Happy Easter.

This ever-shifting holiday is observed on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox. If spending the day in church with spiffy new threads, you already know this is Christianity’s most important day. Today represents the resurrection of Jesus on the third day following his crucifixion and death.

For those sitting at home stuffing their faces with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps, this may not have the same significance, so we’ll turn our attention to more secular traditions.

The comic of choice for today has little to do with Easter other than the cover. Interior tales in this cover-dated May 1976 The All New Flintstones and Pebbles issue include It’s Tough to Be a Genius, The Great Lover, The Bedrock Bullet, No Smart Talk and Happy New Year?

The All New Flintstones and Pebbles (1970) 45

This incarnation of the Flintstones in four-color ran a total of 50 issues, from November 1970 to February 1977.

Dell was the first publisher to feature the stone-age family in comic books with six issues distributed between December 1961 and August 1962. From there the license was picked up by Gold Key Comics who continued the numbering. The series ran from issue seven to 60 covering the remainder of the 1960s.

Charlton printed Fred, family and friends’ exploits for much of the 1970s before Marvel Comics retitled the franchise Hanna-Barbera’s Flintstones to close out the decade.

The title was excavated nearly a decade later for The Flintstones 3-D presented by Blackthorn Publishing in April of 1987. Marvel Comics turned out 11 issues of The Flintstone Kids beginning the same year and running through 1989.

Harvey and Archie Comics chronicled on their crusades for the first half of the 1990s while DC Comics brought the old millennium to a close. The same company would bring them back in 2016 for 12 issues.

The Flintstones originated on ABC Sept. 30, 1960, and aired until April 1, 1966. It was the first prime-time animated series earning the distinction as the most financially successful and longest-running network animated television series until The Simpsons.

The show was met with mixed reviews; reviled by critics, but loved by the viewing audience. Even today, it is derided as drivel with limited animation and plots.

Yet, the show survived and has continued to live on through the decades in reruns

Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 by Barry

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

Doctor Doom does not appear this Holy Week as we lead up to Easter Sunday.

Well, just on the cover. What we’re interested in for this Spidey Super Stories issue nine is the back-up story, Spidey Fights the Funny Bunny!

Yes, complete with exclamation mark.

Actually, this book packs a punch for its 35-cent cover price. Readers receive 32 ad-free pages. Opening the book is …The Day of Doom! It closes with Guess What’s Coming to Dinner!

In between is our Easter tale.

Spidey, as seen on the Electric Company, learns of the evil Funny Bunny while reading the evening paper. Though Spidey is not privy to the corrupt cottontail’s origin, readers learn she was a “…nice, normal person…until a bully sat on her Easter Basket.”

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

So scarred was she that she, “…turned to a life of crime…stealing from kids’ Easter Baskets.”

Ol’ Web Head deduces her next move will be to ruin the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. Spider-Man takes a train to Washington D.C. where he apprehends the heinous hare and all ends well.

Spidey Super Stories was a four-color spin off of the live-action shorts of the same name airing on the Electric Company. The television version ran from 1974 to 1977 with 29 episodes.

The companion comic book ran from 1974 to 1982 with 57 issues aimed at the six- to 10-year olds. Jean Thomas and Jim Salicrup authored the books with art by Win Mortimer. Each comic was reviewed by the staff at Marvel and Children’s Television Workshop.

Today’s offering comes the day before Maundy Thursday, remembering Jesus’s last supper. This coming Friday is known as Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Holy Saturday follows and is the period between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Easter is celebrated in a variety of ways by both those of the Christian faith and those outside the church. The first will largely choose to participate in church services on Easter Sunday while the later may be more comfortable sitting the sermon out and coloring eggs.

However you choose to commemorate, here’s an interesting fact. The Easter Bunny hails from medieval Germany. The Osterhase, or Easter Hare, became known for spreading about his colorful eggs in nests prepared by children. The tradition traveled to America with those now known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Join us Easter Sunday for a less enthused celebration. I know, ‘cuz I wrote that one first and it just didn’t come easy.

Posted Sunday, April 10th, 2022 by Barry

Sandman (1989) 8

National Siblings Day was founded six years after Sandman was introduced to readers.

The two intertwine in that one celebrates brothers and sisters while the other tolerates those same life mates forced on us by blood.

In 1995, Claudia Evart began Siblings Day to celebrate brothers and sisters. She had lost two siblings earlier in life and wished to impress upon others the importance of enjoying those we’re surrounded by before it’s too late.

April 10 was selected in remembrance of her sister, Lisette’s, birthday.

Sandman (1989) 8

Sandman, or Dream, of the DC Universe is bonded by his siblings as anthropomorphic representatives of ideals and natural states. Known as the Endless, as christened by creator Neil Gaiman, they are comprised of Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium/Delight and Destruction.

While constructs of ideas, each serve to fulfil a function in the lives of those they serve.

Death is the first of the Endless to be introduced by Dream. Her appearance in issue eight marks a departure for the title. Gaiman begins the end journey for Dream as he seeks to regain his existence.

She, of course embodies the end of life.

Destiny is the oldest of the family and the keeper of the Cosmic Log. The book includes the sum of existence, past, present and future.

Destiny was first introduced by Marv Wolfman and Bernie Wrightson as a host for DC’s horror anthology Weird Mystery Tales.

Desire is the androgynous sibling accounting for the baser cravings in the world.

She is twin to Despair, the cold representation of melancholy, misery and wretchedness.

Delirium is the youngest and flightiest of the Endless. Prior to an undisclosed tragedy, she was known as Delight.

Destruction was the last of the Endless to be introduced. Dream and Delirium set across the DC Universe to find their long-lost brother who abandoned his post so as not to assume responsibility for the ruination caused by advances in science.

Whether close of distant in feelings or distance, today is the day to remember the bond of DNA.

If not close, maybe find a copy of Brief Lives, a trade collecting Sandman issues 41-49, as Dream and Delirium seek out Destruction. Then find the rest of the title and read it if you haven’t already.

Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2022 by Barry

The Comic Book Story of Beer (2015)

The official title of the comic book is The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution.

That’s a hefty name for a hefty book; at 170 pages this is not bathroom reading. Even if that’s where you find yourself after one beer or a six pack.

All of this prelude is to introduce National Beer Day.

Today is the day to crack open a cold one, if so inclined, and down what is literally the world’s most consumed alcoholic beverage. Behind only water and tea, beer is the third most popular drink in the world.

High praise for a libation based on fermented cereal.

The Comic Book Story of Beer (2015)

This non-holiday is rooted in April 7, 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law allowing people to brew and sell beer again after 13 years of a “dry” America. The caveat was it could contain no more than four-percent alcohol by volume. This led to the Eighteenth Amendment being repealed Dec. 5, 1933.

Skip ahead to 2009 when Craft Beer Examiner Justin Smith of Richmond, VA, and friend Mike Connolly of Liverpool, England, created a National Beer Day Facebook page.

On April 7, to commemorate the Cullen-Harrison Act, naturally.

National Beer Day was officially recognized in by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2017. In 2018, House Joint Resolution 90 was introduced in Virginia General Assembly to officially recognize National Beer Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Comic Book Story of Beer was researched and written by Jonathan Hennessey, Mike Smith and Aaron McConnell and illustrated by McConnell.

Much acclaim has been awarded the New York Times Best Seller.

Readers learn how beer has literally transformed world history and shaped human affairs.

So, before tipping back a cold one, make sure you’re not going anywhere. If planning to delve into this tome, you probably won’t be for some time to come.

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2022 by Barry

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a reminder to those fortunate enough not to have been burdened by the tragedy of sexually abused children – 15 to 25 percent of all females and five to 15 percent of all males – Marvel Comics Group partnered with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse and the NEA in 1987 to promote awareness.

Spider-Man and Power Pack each provide a message, Spidey’s more personal than the members of the supporting story.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Web Head’s timely intervention stops a babysitter from continuing a sick game of make believe. To ease the victim’s conscious, Spider-Man confesses a time when his alter ego suffered at the hands of an older boy.

Power Pack help a friend trying to run from the abuse dealt by her father and a world she fears won’t believe her.

Both stories are sappy and strong at the same time, seeking an audience at risk both first hand and as by standers.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is dedicated to raising the awareness of the crimes against law books and humanity. The plight was first recognized during the month of April in 1983.

To report abuse, call Darkness to Light’s Helpline, 1-866-FOR-LIGHT ( to be routed to resources within your community. Or, call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline:  1-800-4-A-CHILD.

Posted Friday, April 1st, 2022 by Barry

The Three Stooges April Fools’ Day Special (2017) 1

Though they disbanded in 1970, the vaudeville comedy team of Moe, Larry and Curly have never been far from public consciousness.

Founded in 1922, original line up was known as Ted Healy and His Stooges. The team consisted of Healy and Moe Howard. Later, Howard’s brother Shemp would join the group followed by Larry Fine.

They would appear in the feature film Soup to Nuts before Shemp struck out on his own. Younger Howard brother Jerome “Curly” Howard would replace his sibling in 1932. Healy would leave by 1934 finalizing the lineup.

They would appear in 90-short films for Columbia pictures from 1934 to 1946, when Curly suffered from a stroke. Unable to continue working, Shemp returned, replacing the younger brother. He would die of a heart attack in 1955.

By the 1960s, the Stooges were back in the public eye enjoying success in a new medium: television. Joe DeRita became the new third man, Curly Joe.

Larry Fine would be the next Stooge to suffer medical problems. He would suffer a paralyzing stroke in 1970, finally dying in 1975.

The Three Stooges April Fools’ Day Special (2017) 1

The Stooges appeared in 220 films during their careers. Since their first appearance on television in 1949, their work has never stopped airing.

In this American Mythology Productions one shot, the three are reunited in The Brothers Dim. Moe, Larry and Curly find themselves muddling through a medieval mashup. In true Stooge fashion, the trio save the day much to their disbelief.

The main feature is followed by a reprint from Dell Four Color 1187 or Three Stooges issue five from 1961. The Duped Deputies is another misadventure in the mild west as the trio save the town bank vault.

Their first foray in the four-color world was courtesy of St. John in 1949. The company published two issues of the self-titled Three Stooges book. They rebooted the franchise in 1953 and featured the slap-stick trio in another seven books.

Dell offered a mid-series replacement with four issues of The Three Stooges from 1961 to 1962 numbered six through nine. The Three Stooges Meet Hercules would appear as a one-shot adaptation of the movie in 1962.

Gold Key assumed ownership next. They published 45 issues from 1962 to 1972.

Not much was heard from the Stooges until Malibu published The Three Stooges in The Knuckleheads Return! in 1989 followed by The Three Stooges in 3-D and The Three Stooges in Full Color, both in 1991.

NBM featured the Stooges in two issues for 2012 entitled The Best of the Three Stooges Comicbooks.

American Mythology Productions is the latest to bring them to the printed page. In 2016 the Stooges were featured in Curse of Frankstooge, Halloween Hullabaloo, Stooge-A-Palooza and Merry Stoogmas; all one shots.

They would be teamed with Laurel and Hardy in 2020.

Happy April Fools’ Day.