Archive for June, 2022

Posted Thursday, June 30th, 2022 by Barry

X-Men (1963) 5

Today’s origins date back to June 30, 1908, when an asteroid destroyed 830-square miles of forest in Siberia. It has become known as the Tunguska event.

International Asteroid Day was founded by Dr. Brian May (yes, that Brian May), Danica Remy, president of B612 Foundation; Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut and filmmaker Greg Richters in 2016.

The day is used to raise awareness of hazardous impact by asteroids. The 1908 strike caused a 12-megaton explosion that flattened 80-million trees and caused at least three deaths.

It is the largest recorded impact on Earth.

X-Men (1963) 5

Outside of mythical meteoroids causing zombie outbreaks maybe the most famous asteroid in comic bookdom is Asteroid M.

Asteroid M was unveiled in X-Men (1963) five. Scarlet Witch caused its demise and the artificial asteroid fell to Earth off the shore of San Francisco. It was later brought to the surface to become the mutant homeland Utopia.

Magento rebuilt his space-faring fortress, this time a cubic mile in size. Warlock damaged the station and it, too, fell to Earth. When Magneto learned of its destruction, he set out to retrieve any salvageable technology.

A third version was constructed as a failsafe should his then dealings with the Hellfire Club fail. While that didn’t happen, his third attempt met with destruction when a rival deployed missiles against him.

Avalon was born of pieces of the previous Asteroid M and stolen bits of Shi’ar technology. It, too, was destroyed.

A fourth version was tossed into the sun causing Magneto to construct a fifth, and as of this writing, final Asteroid M.

X-Men issue five not only marks the first appearance of Asteroid M, but the first time a man-made celestial body called Asteroid M is destroyed. It also marks the X-Mens’ final exams, which they pass as determined by Professor X.

On a lesser note, issue five provides the first appearance of Jean Grey’s parents.

Posted Saturday, June 25th, 2022 by Barry

Pink Panther Cartoon Hour Special (2017) 1

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan designated June 25 as National Catfish Day by Presidential Proclamation after Congress called for the day to be established with Joint Resolution 178.


To observe the importance of celebrating the value of farm-raised catfish.

Catfish are easy to farm in warm climates, leading to inexpensive and safe food at local grocers. Mississippi is the largest domestic catfish supplier in the United States. Channel catfish support a $450-million dollar a year aquaculture industry.

The practice began in the early 1960s in Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. It moved into the Mississippi Delta by the late 1960s.

While a sidekick on television, the Ictalurus punctatus of the day is simply known as Catfish and voiced by Arnold Stang.

Catfish is the animated confidante to Misterjaw, a blue-colored, great white shark voiced by Arte Johnson. Their goal was to catch Harry Halibut, voiced by Bob Ogle.

All were part of the 1976 The Pink Panther Laugh and Half Hour and a Half Show that played on NBC. A total of 34 episodes were filmed.

The Pink Panther Show premiered in 1969. It expanded to its hour-and-a-half format for 1976, but returned to half-an-hour the following year. In 1978, The Pink Panther moved to ABC and changed its title to The All New Pink Panther Show.

Misterjaw was designed to cash in on the Jaws craze of the time.

The comics pictured were published by American Mythology Productions, cover dated Feb. 8, 2017. The special was designed to be reminiscent of the Saturday morning cartoon that spawned the comic. Featured in addition to the Pink Panther were the Texas Toads, Misterjaw & Catfish and The Ant and the Aardvark.

Text for the Proclamation is as follows:

More and more Americans are discovering a uniquely American food delicacy — farm-raised catfish. In 1986, catfish comprised the third highest volume of finned fish consumed in the United States.

Ninety-nine percent of all these catfish were farm-raised. Between 1975 and 1985, production of farm-raised catfish increased by 1200 percent. Most observers expect that production will continue to increase in 1987. Production costs of catfish farming, which have averaged only 65 cents per pound over the past 8 years, have resulted in a stable income for growers and an economical food product for consumers. The accompanying growth of the catfish processing industry also has created thousands of permanent jobs.

Farm-raised catfish have come a long way from their bottom-feeding ancestors. The catfish that are available today, fresh or frozen in markets nationwide, are products of state-of-the-art methods of aquaculture. They thrive in clean freshwater ponds on many American farms, where they are surface-fed soybean meal, corn, fish meal vitamins and minerals Farm-raised catfish not only furnish American consumers with a tasty delicacy but also provide a nutritious, low-calorie source of protein that is also low in cholesterol.

In recognition of the value of farm-raised catfish, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 178, has designated June 25, 1987, as National Catfish Day and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 25, 1987, as National Catfish Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.

Ronald Reagan

Posted Tuesday, June 21st, 2022 by Barry

All-New Collectors’ Edition C-60

Even if lawns have already been mowed, pools filled and travel plans made, today is officially the start of Summer.

Rudolph is a fish out of water as he and Grover hit The Open Road (Act One) for a vacation.

The top is always down for the duo as they pedal their way across the USA on a bicycle built for two. The difference being this two-wheeled conveyance is propelled by a propeller allowing them a bird’s eye view of their trip.


All-New Collectors’ Edition C-60

All is well until they meet fellow traveler Mr. Cat. The felonious feline fleeces his new-found friends, but is brought into the fold by Rudy and Grover who forgive and forget.

Mr. Cat joins them as they pedal their way to New York City to see the Statue of Liberty. They lose their companion while Rudolph earns a commendation for seeing a ferryboat to safety during a storm.

Homeward Bound…But… is the final act with the two on a sailboat.

The famous reindeer is detoured by a well-meaning fan to visit other admirers on Animal Island.

The warm welcome is brought to an abrupt halt by an ongoing war when both factions confront each other. Rudolph is able to defuse the situation and set matters right.

With yet another medal strung around his neck, Rudolph steers he and Grover north and home.

Readers are treated to eight pages – and the back cover – of fun and games. First up is a game repeating the hero’s ocean voyage.

Other fun stuff includes Grover and friend demonstrating a paper trick, story participants tell jokes and riddles, readers must find Grover’s twin, more paper tricks, a quiz game, directions on how to build a periscope, connect-the-dots and coloring page.

The outside back page offers a table-top diorama like many of the previous Limited Collectors’ editions. This one features the statue of liberty with Rudolph and Grover on their chopper bike.

Posted Monday, June 20th, 2022 by Barry

Rom Spaceknight (1979) 1

Welcome to West Virginia Day.

Now I have to wonder how many readers are asking why the western part of Virginia is being recognized as a non-holiday.

And, it is kind of a holiday. State and other institutions do receive a paid vacation day in recognition.

Anyway, to address the question I posed; West Virginia is a separate entity from its parent state of Virginia. For those unfamiliar with the war between the states, the populace of the western portion of Virginia chose to secede from that portion of one of the original 13 colonies.

Well, Virginia had already seceded to continue with loyalties to the south, so maybe the newly minted – and rather unoriginal sounding – West Virginia was receding.

That doesn’t sound quite right, either, but you get the gist.

Rom Spaceknight (1979) 1

So, West Virginia became a state unto itself on June 20, 1863.

Now that that’s settled, let’s move along to Rom, Spaceknight.

Jeff may never have thought we could shoehorn Rom into a non-holiday, but we have.

We’re using the fictional setting of Clairton, WV, for the spaceknight’s base of operations. Or, rather, that’s what Marvel duo Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema did.

Rom began as the brainchild of Scott Dankman, Richard C. Levy and Bryan L. McCoy who sold their baby to Parker Brothers to be mass produced as a toy. The company then licensed Rom to Marvel Comics in hopes of creating more of an interest in the action figure.

Ironically, the comic book outlasted the toy. Rom ran from 1979 to 1986 chronicling the cyborg’s adventures over 75-regular floppies and four annuals.

When interest wanned on the Marvel front, the title was allowed to slip back to its original owners.

Not until 2016 would the character return to printed page. This time IDW would handle the spaceknight’s exploits. Issue zero was released as part of Free Comic Book Day May 7. The ongoing series debuted in July of that year and continued through 2018.

With all that information to digest, sit back and relax before diving into either series. Wash the reading down with a West Virginia exclusive pepperoni roll, it’s just what is sounds like, and enjoy some level footing beyond the Mountain State.

Posted Sunday, June 19th, 2022 by Barry

Tiny Titans (2008) 27

Happy Father’s Day.

Sit back, relax and wait for the coals to warm before tossing on the red meat of choice as the male population – with one or more children – celebrates its day.

Sonora Smart Dodd is the founding father with the day commemorated the third Sunday of June.

This year Four Color salutes the harried husbands who work through the day and still find time to play in the evenings. Who bring home the bacon, sometimes even frying it up in a pan, and never, never letting anyone forget they’re a man.

Tiny Titans (2008) 27

Taking the spotlight for 2022 is Teen Titan Raven’s father, Trigon.

First introduced, in a cameo, in New Teen Titans issue two, he made his official, first full appearance in New Teen Titans four.

The Marv Wolfman/George Perez creation is a demon from an alternate dimension. He mated with Raven’s mother, Arella, as part of a ritual for the Church of Blood. Their pairing produced a child with empathic powers.

While Trigon is a less than perfect example of what a father should be, he was highlighted in issue 27 of the Tiny Titans. The June 2010 cover-dated issue serves as a Father’s Day issue for us.

The premise for the issue has Raven as a reluctant babysitter for Kid Devil. Kid Devil was originally a Blue Devil wannabe.

Anyway, Raven must wrangle the bitty demon. Trigon finds the miniature hell spawn adorable and offers to help. The weekend becomes a series of one- and two-page jokes as Trigon appears much like the domesticated fathers of the 1950s sitcoms.

Kid Devil is returned to Blue Devil and all ends well.

Tiny Titans is the creation of Art Baltazar and Franco Aurliani, running 50 issues. It was honored with the Eisner Award for Best Series for Kids twice, in 2009 and 2011 respectively. As described on Wikipedia, “Tiny Titans stars alternate versions of DC Universe Characters, primarily those from the Teen Titans series. It is set in a kid-friendly, elementary school environment. Issues typically consist of several individual stories as opposed to one cohesive storyline.”

Again, Happy Father’s Day. Don’t forget the reason for the day. They grow up too fast.

Posted Saturday, June 18th, 2022 by Barry

Panic (1954) 1-12

Someone, somewhere, has decided today is International Panic Day.

Why June 18? Why a panic day at all? If anyone really knows, they’re not talking.

Today can be observed in one of two ways. Participants can opt for just what the day calls for and have a full-blown meltdown. Or, just the opposite, relax, compose and be calm.

Rather than put a single face to the non-holiday, we’re going to recognize Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein and the talent behind the bi-monthly Panic comic book.

Gaines is better known as the publisher of MAD Magazine. The younger Gaines was heir to one of the original founders of comic books, Max Gaines. His brainstorm of packaging and selling comic books on newsstands in 1933 led to the industry we know today.

Panic (1954) 1-12

Bill inherited his father’s empire after Max’s untimely death. EC Comics reinvented itself becoming known for publishing horror and crime fiction, satire, military fiction, dark fantasy and science fiction.

A witch hunt neutered the comic book industry in the mid-1950s leading to the end of Bill’s Entertaining Comics line. MAD began as a comic book, running 25 issues, before converting to magazine format and removing it from scrutiny.

So popular was Mad as a comic book, Bill chose to imitate his own product with a clone of sorts. While Harvey Kurtzman oversaw Mad, Panic became Feldstein’s project.

On the eve of a Senate investigation into the comic book industry, Bill allowed the birth of Panic. Its first issue raised more than eyebrows as the parody of The Night Before Christmas caused sale of the title to be banned in the state of Massachusetts.

Another point of contention in the first issue was the depiction of a transvestite. The New York Police raided EC’s offices and arrested Lyle Stuart for the trespass. He was later released and no charges were ever filed.

Panic became one of the many casualties of the day. A Senate Subcommittee led an investigation into the morality of comic books as presented to children. Rather than deal with any subsequent rulings, the industry chose to begin a self-policing campaign of its own courtesy of the Comics Code Authority.

The Code was in effect from 1954 through January of 2011 when Archie Comics discontinued submitting material for approval.

Either seize the day or hide from it; your choice.

If you like, go back in time with us to one of our early posts looking at Panic number one as a Christmas issue.

Posted Monday, June 13th, 2022 by Barry

Swamp Thing (1972) 2

Welcome to National Sewing Machine Day.

What tailors and seamstresses did by hand for centuries was brought into the pre-industrial age when Thomas Saint filed and received the first patent for the design of a sewing machine in 1790. While designed to sew leather on canvas, no actual machine has ever surfaced.

William Newton Wilson saw the English inventor’s designs in the London Patent Office. With a few deft drafts, he was able to produce a working model. It is on display at the London Science Museum.

Swamp Thing (1972) 2

John Greenough received the first American patent for the sewing machine in America, but it was Isaac Singer who developed what is more recognizably the modern sewing machine.

While taken for granted today, the sewing machine proved invaluable. Not only did it help with production of clothing thus dropping the price, it was also a major mover in the industrial revolution allowing sewing to be done in factories,

While a handful of visionaries are responsible for today’s machine laureate, our emcee is the work of two men. Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson created the Patchwork Man in Swamp Thing (1972) for issue two.

He only appeared in the final panel of the book, but was the thrust of the story for issue three.

Readers learned Gregori Arcane had been dismantled by a land mine. His mad scientist brother, Anton, gathered the pieces and sewed them back together. With science and sorcery, he was able to return life to Gregori.

A second Patchwork Man resides in the DCU. This one is Marine, Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor. He, too, was killed by a land mine, but was reconstructed by Doctor Mazursky and his team of surgeons and scientists in Project M. He became part of the experimental Army unit, the Creature Commandos.

His first appearance was in Weird War Tales (1971) issue 92 entitled The Creature Commandos.

While we know how the Patchwork Men came to be, we do not have the origins of National Sewing Machine Day.

Rather than worry about that, celebrate by sharing tips and tricks, post photos commemorating the day or hang out in your favorite sewing-related shop.

We might suggest you cobble together your own Patchwork Man suit for a little cosplay.

Just a suggestion.

Posted Saturday, June 11th, 2022 by Barry

Feature Comics (1939) 27

Today we are asked to remember a simpler time and a simpler toy for a message of love and happiness.

The second Saturday in June has been designated World Doll Day, as founded by Mildred Seeley. In a chain letter of sorts, Seeley asked each of the persons she contacted to tell five people and they in turn tell another five about her project. The inaugural event was held June 14, 1986.

While many fondly remember having a “friend” growing up, there are many more who might not have the same opportunity. Though the day began as one of remembrance, it has become a day of giving as well. Those celebrating may wish to give a gift of a doll especially to a child who does not have one.

The toy itself may not have always been a toy.

Feature Comics (1939) 27

The earliest dolls were found in Egyptian tombs as long ago as 2000BC. Their intended use is unknown, but some cultures believed dolls possessed magical powers.

Dolls were originally made with wood. They have also been made from soapstone and bone, dried apples, corn husks, clay and stone. Porcelain is highly prized for the manufacture of dolls.

Putting a face to the day is an unlikely hero who first appeared in the Golden Age of comic books.

Doll Man debuted in Feature Comics issue 27 in 1939 for Quality Comics. Darrel Dane was coined The World’s Mightiest Mite after concocting a formula allowing him to shrink to six inches while retaining his full strength.

The Mite was popular enough he became the featured character through the title’s run ending with issue 139 in 1949. Doll Man’s self-titled book ran 47 issues, ending in 1953.

National Periodicals, later DC, purchased Quality Comics’ characters when the company went out of business in 1956. It wasn’t until 1973, in Justice League of America issue 107, he returned as part of the Freedom Fighters from Earth-X.

Freedom Fighters received its own book from 1976-78, running 15 issues.

He would then be moved to Earth-2, which was destroyed during Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Post crisis has not been kind to Darrel who is sometimes referred to as Darryl. He would not be seen again until 2006 when The Freedom Fighters were resurrected under Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Readers learned the years of shrinking had caused brain damage, leaving Darrel/Darryl Dane, aka Doll Man, mentally unstable.

Not content to allow a valuable property to lie dormant, DC revamped Doll Man under the persona of Lester Colt as witnessed in Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven.

He was further transformed at the dawn of The New 52, this time as Dane Maxwell. He costarred with the Phantom Lady in a mini-series having no roots to his previous incarnations.

No matter what, enjoy the day. If so inclined, have a tea party with friends and dolls, but if you’re male, make sure they are referred to as action figures.

Posted Tuesday, June 7th, 2022 by Barry

Ice Cream Man (2018) 1

Serve it up with neat or with toppings, chocolate ice cream always brings a smile.

Prepare to flex the zygomaticus major and minor, orbicularis oculi and levator labii superioris as the 26 muscles turn up the mouth, crinkle the eyes and raise the lip and nose in anticipation of National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.

It’s no surprise chocolate ice cream is second only to vanilla as the most common flavor. Its simple formula of cocoa powder eggs, cream, vanilla and sugar make it an easy staple to keep on hand.

Our man du jour is an indie horror host in a self-titled book receiving high praise.

Ice Cream Man is an anthology comic book like DC’s House books of the late 1960s and 1970s. Rather than a trilogy of tales, though, Ice Cream Man offers one story per narrative. The title character acts as a conduit and castigator for the objects in question, loosely linking each book to the next.

So popular has the series been, Ice Cream Man has twice been tapped for development beyond the printed page. In both instances, production has ceased leaving the franchise in limbo.

To celebrate the day, simply partake of a cone, bowl or whatever delivery system you choose for a healthy dose of chocolate ice cream and dig into this dark and devilish collection of comic book chronicles.

Ice Cream Man (2018) 1

Posted Saturday, June 4th, 2022 by Barry

Felix the Cat (1948) 1

National Hug Your Cat Day is as comforting and as mysterious as the furry feline we long to snuggle.

With no known origin for the day to cite, we’ll focus on the kitties to cuddle.

The mascot for the day is Felix the Cat.

Considered the first, real animated movie star, Felix was created by Otto Messmer. He proved more popular than the live stars of the silent era in which he was spawned.

Not long after his debut on the silver screen, Felix found himself part of the King Features stable syndicated in over 250 newspapers worldwide. Pat Sullivan was the first to bring Felix to papers, but Papa Messmer took over art duties in 1927.

Felix the Cat (1948) 1

When the Sunday strip was discontinued in 1943, Messmer began an 11-year run on the Dell comic book incarnation of his famous feline. He would write and draw the bi-monthly series.

Harvey Comics would later pick up the license.

During his heyday, Felix proved popular enough he was adopted by Fighter Squadron 2-B as their mascot. His likeness holding a bomb would be painted on each of the F-3 bi-planes.

Felix was even the first cartoon-related balloon featured in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1933.

His image would be the first to be broadcast over television airwaves. The engineers at RCA Research Labs used a rotating doll of the cat as their test subject.

This would prove prophetic as the pussy cat would be featured in 264, five-minute animated episodes for Trans-Lux TV. The cartoons would run continuously for the next 20 years.

In 2002, TV Guide ranked Felix the Cat number 28 on its 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time list.

To celebrate the day, here are some interesting facts about our furry companions:

There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world with approximately 40 recognized breeds;

Over 30 percent of North American households own a cat;

A cat can travel at a top speed of approximately 31 miles per hour over a short distance;

Most cats give birth to a litter of one to nine kittens. The largest litter on record is 19;

Cat’s brains are biologically more similar to a human brain than it is to a dog’s;

Isaac Newton invented the cat flap;

Female cats are right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed.

Finally, the one fact we all know and need to acknowledge, cats are the best. Period.