Archive for July, 2022

Posted Friday, July 29th, 2022 by Barry

Tiger (1970) 1

Today’s non-holiday bears an urgency for the third largest cat on Earth.

International Tiger Day is to recognize the plight of the Panthera tigris. A staggering 97 percent of all wild tigers have disappeared in the past century. At present, only about 3,000 remain.

Those numbers continue to decline due to habitat loss, climate change, hunting and poaching. It is believed only about seven-percent of tiger habitats exist today.

Tiger (1970) 1

International Tiger Day is celebrated to raise awareness of these majestic animals. India has the largest tiger population in the world; only fitting the country inaugurated Project Tiger in 1973 to revive the big cat population. Currently the largest reserve in India is the Nagarjunsagar-Srisaliam Tiger Reserve.

Bud Blake serves up a more human face for the non-holiday. His Tiger began as a comic strip May 3, 1965, based on boyhood friendships. King Feature Syndicate distributed the strip to 400 newspapers worldwide.

The strip ran until 2004, a year before Blake’s death who drew until he was 85.

The National Cartoonists Society awarded Tiger the Best Humor Strip award in 1970, 1978 and 2000. It was also nominated in 1998.

Charlton Comics featured the tyke in eight issues of a comic book version of the newspaper strip. The book ran from 1970 to 1971.

While the Tiger of newspaper fame has passed with his creator, there is no reason the tigers of today’s commemoration have to follow.

The World Wildlife Fund offers the ability to adopt a tiger with various levels of donations ranging from $25 to $250.

By adopting a tiger, donations ensure continued work to protect the endangered species.

Please consider offering a fellow living organism the opportunity for continued existence.

Posted Monday, July 25th, 2022 by Barry

Vampirella Holiday Special (2021)

Yeah, I know, the only cool spot is in the house with the central air blowing.

It’s July. What do ya expect?

And, here we are, showcasing a Christmas comic book.

Well, it’s Christmas in July. Suck it up, buttercup.

To offset the heat, here are a few Christmas chronicles from the horror-story hostess. Or, she was, until issue eight of her self-titled magazine when she moved to lead character.

Vampirella first appeared under the Warren Publishing imprint in the black-and-white Vampirella beginning in 1969. She was created by Forrest J. Ackerman and Trina Robbins, running a total of 112 issues. The book ceased publication in 1983.

Harris Publications picked up the pieces when Warren went under due to financial distress. Vampirella returned to the printed page in ongoing and mini series between 1991 to 2007.

After a three-year hiatus, Dynamite Entertainment continued chronicling Vampirella’s adventures which it still does.

This holiday special showcases three stories, the first being The Fright Before Christmas by Will Robson.

Vamprella is hunted by humans set on bringing her to heel by legends of Christmas past, present and future. Dissention causes their downfall and the holidays are happy for the supernatural folk again.

A Christmas vacation goes awry when Kaiju threaten Hong Kong in Vampire Bells by Vincenzo Federici.

Finally, Vampirella saves Christmas when Santa and Krampus have a knock down, drag out. Sleigh, by Vincenzo Carratu, is a silent story with a stranger ending.

The book featured 10 different covers, some just variations on works by Joseph Michel Linsner, Roberto Castro, Bruna Sales, Vanessa Tolentino and Ron Leary. Model Rachel Hollon appeared on both the cosplay and virgin cosplay covers.

Vampirella Holiday Special (2021)

Posted Saturday, July 23rd, 2022 by Barry

All-Star Western (1970) 10

His star may have faded over the decades, but America is still defined by the rugged, jeans wearing, dusty booted, low-slung gun belted image of the cowboy.

Today we celebrate with National Day of the Cowboy.

Putting a face to the day is DC’s pale rider, Jonah Hex.

All-Star Western (1970) 10

Hex first appeared in a full-page house advertisement in several of National Periodicals (soon to be rechristened DC Comics) November/December 1971 cover-dated war comics and a half-page spread in Batman (1940) issue 237.

His debut came in February/March of 1971 in the aforementioned All-Star Western issue 10. It would be retitled Weird Western Tales two issues later where Hex would reside as the headliner through issue 38.

Hex’s self-titled series began in 1977, running a total of 92 issues. It met its doom with the rest of the DC Universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1984.

He would be resurrected the following year in the simply titled Hex. The book ran a total of 18 issues with the title character molded more in the Mad Max vein as he trekked through a post-apocalyptic 21st century.

Hex would appear in three mini-series during the 1990s under the Vertigo imprint. He would earn a second series in 2005 running 70 issues. The book would be cancelled and Hex moved to All-Star Western (2011).

Beyond the comic book field, Hex has appeared in animated form in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Justice League Action.

A feature film was released in 2010 to lackluster response. The commercial failure grossed $11 million on a $47-million budget.

National Day of the Cowboy began in 2005 when the organization sponsored a bill in the Wyoming House and Senate to commemorate cowboy culture and history in the state. To date, 15 states have passed the same bill.

The plan is to have a bill passed in all 50 states.

To celebrate, attend a rodeo, study cowboy culture or simply dig out some of those dogeared four-colored westerns, open a can of beans and dust off the cap gun.

Posted Wednesday, July 20th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel Spotlight (1971) 2

Welcome to another National Moon Day.

For a third year we recognize the non-holiday spearheaded by former President Richard M. Nixon in 1971. To date, we have used Marc (Moon Knight) Spector and John (Man Wolf) Jameson as our emcees for the day. This year we call on Jack Russel (I’m sure the pun is intended), aka Werewolf by Night.

The Russel curse was unveiled in Marvel Spotlight issue two. Young Jack learned he was the latest in a long line of lycanthropes. The earliest recorded transformation was in 1795 when the surname was still Russoff.

Marvel Spotlight (1971) 2

Through a convoluted back story, the curse went into remission until ancestor Gregor Russoff opened the Darkhold book and released the family demon once again.

Following the Werewolf’s debut, two more stories were released in Spotlight before he received his own title. Werewolf by Night ran 43 issues.

Most notable of the run is issue 32 marking the first appearance of Moon Knight.

WWBN would play host to a second notable first-appearance with Giant-Size Creatures by Night (1974) issue one. Greer Grant Nelson would make her transformation from Cat to the furry Tigra.

Giant-Size Creatures by Night would be renamed Giant-Size Werewolf by Night for issues two through five.

Following the cancellation of his series, Russell made various guest appearances throughout the MCU. Moon Knight would return the favor with a periodic guest spot. Spider-Woman was another stopover, mainly because the two existed on the west coast together.

He would also appear in West Coast Avengers and Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme and became a supporting character in Morbius: The Living Vampire.

Russell was given his own mini in 1998 that ran six issues. In 2007, Russell earned a one-shot, Legion of Monsters, Werewolf by Night and a four-issue mini-series in 2009, Dead of Night Featuring Werewolf by Night under the Max imprint.

On the small screen Russell has appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show, This Man-Thing, This Monster; Ultimate Spider-Man episodes Blade and The Howling Commandos and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Hulking Commandos.

To celebrate today, read any of the above-mentioned issues, watch any of the above-mentioned animated features and/or really delve into some history of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Your choice, but all good ones in our opinion.

Posted Sunday, July 17th, 2022 by Barry

Justice League International (1987) 7

World Day for International Justice goes by different names, but they all recognize one thing; the celebration of how international justice tribunals and courts have brought justice for the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Representing are the heirs to the original band of mystery men. The Justice League is the legacy of the Justice Society of America originated in the dark days of World War II.

The League first formed in 1960. Over the years much of the DCU has trooped through as members in one form or another. When DC Comics chose to revamp the universe with Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 1980s Detroit incarnation was disbanded.

Justice League International (1987) 7

A mini-series, Legends, set the stage for the first group after the crisis simply entitled Justice League. Membership included Batman, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Doctor Light, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle and Oberon.

By book seven the title was changed to Justice League International to represent their global standing. This cost the group their autonomy, allowing the United Nations to regulate the heroes.

With their new status, Justice League International established embassies in various countries allowing for another ongoing title, Justice League Europe.

In reality what happened was comic book readers were given a rare gift from Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. Readers received a well-crafted title that only got better as it progressed.

Kevin Maguire’s initial pencils were the perfect compliment to Giffen and DeMatteis who turned DCU’s original super team on their collective heads. Issues focused on both the action and adventure desired in a comic book, but gave readers a behind-the-scenes look at these same adventurers and their lives beyond the tights.

While Justice League International was played for laughs, World Day for International Justice is not.

The Nuremberg trials were the first of such cooperative efforts among various countries as war criminals were hunted down and brought to justice. Another was the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal that tried and convicted leaders of the Empire of Japan for joint conspiracy to start and wage war.

On July 17, 1998, 120 states adopted the treaty known as the Rome Statute. This established the International Criminal Court. The Assembly of State Parties chose to commemorate the establishment of the ICC in 2010 with World Day for International Justice.

While most of this isn’t gonna every apply to us, let’s celebrate Justice League International. It really does deserve its own day.

Posted Tuesday, July 12th, 2022 by Barry

Elsie the Cow (1949) 1

While Heff R. Jones is the official face of National Cow Appreciation Day, we’re harkening back to a time when America was exiting the Great Depression and mascots were as wholesome as their product.

Our candidate for National Cow Appreciation Day is Elsie the Cow.

Elsie the Cow (1949) 1

Elsie was developed for the Borden Dairy Company in 1936. While Borden has gone the way of the dust bowls in which it was spawned, Elsie has moved on to Eagle Family Foods, a subsidiary of sorts of Borden Dairy.

She was one of four anthropomorphized bovines at the beginning of the campaign, but proved the most popular and enduring. Her first live appearance was at the 1939 World’s Fair; the same year Elsie’s advertisement campaign was voted best of the year in the Annual Advertising Awards.

Her first of three comic books was published Oct. 1, 1949.

As for Heff R. Jones, he’s the spokesman for Chick-Fil-A.

Heff, the cow not pornographer, was first featured on billboards in 1995 with the famous “Eat mor chikin” slogan. The franchise’s free meal deal didn’t begin until 2004.

Those unfamiliar with Chik-Fil-A’s offering either don’t live near a restaurant or didn’t read last year’s National Cow Appreciation Day offering.

The day is celebrated on the second Tuesday. Participants may receive free entrée meals from Chick-fil-A.

The promotion was designed to encourage people to eat more chicken. Not only is it supposed to bring more business to restaurants like Chick-fil-A, but to highlight the benefits of chicken over beef and limit the consumption of red meat.

Chicken intake has increased by 400 percent over the past 50 years while beef has stayed on an even keel or even decreased at times.

To offset the increase in intake, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations have become the norm for mass producing our poultry. Chickens are forced to endure overcrowding and filthy living conditions, usually wallowing in their own waste.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for beef.

As far as human health concerns, grass-fed and grass-finished, humanely raised red meat is far more nutrient dense than chickens. People are cautioned to opt for the cow over the chicken if these conditions are met.

So, in addition to appreciation the cow today, we should also appreciate the person raising said meat if they do so humanly.

Posted Monday, July 11th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel’s Collector’s Edition The Secret of the Power Crown! (1981)

It’s that time of year again, one of my favorite non-holidays. Today is July 11, aka 7-Eleven Day.

Today is the day we celebrate with a free brain freeze courtesy of their signature Slurpee.

Any longtime reader of this page will know my passion for those summer slushies sucked down on a hot mid-year day. We’ve discussed 7-Eleven’s history and partnership with DC and Marvel Comics at length in 2019, 2020 and last year.

This year we continue by looking at their relationship with Marvel Comics and the 1981 The Secret of The Power Crown! Featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk and Spider-Woman for the good guys.

Marvel’s Collector’s Edition The Secret of the Power Crown! (1981)

The Enchantress, Wizard Rhino and Trapster make up the opposition.

This 36-page, full-size free comic book was a promotional collector’s item jam packed with punches, passion and product placement.

Peter Parker and Sue’s idyllic afternoon at the local 7-Eleven is interrupted by someone hijacking the Empire State Building in chapter one’s Mission of Gravity! The Wingless Wizard proves to be the unwitting dupe of the Enchantress who leaves him groveling for continued attention following the deed.

Paste Pot Pete, aka the Trapster, stars in Peril on the Potomac! in chapter two.

Captain America greets fans in front of a 7-Eleven near the Washington Monument. The Trapster as been entrusted to dig up a relic for the Enchantress. Like the previous chapter, Pete is left lonesome as the Asgardian turns her affections to the Rhino and the next chapter.

Spider-Woman stars in Shakedown! Set in sleepy San Francisco, the Rhino goes after artifact number two hidden in Alcatraz. The Hulk leaps in to help, ushering in chapter five, Beauty and the Beast!

As the name suggests, the Hulk falls under Enchantress’ spell, serves up the secret power crown now constructed of the resurfaced pieces and defends his mistress from both the heroes and villains who take umbrage for having been played fools.

After a heated battle, the Enchantress escapes while the bad guys are taken into custody. The heroes rendezvous at, where else, a 7-Eleven before going their separate ways.

To cool down after that red hot review, head down to your local 7-Eleven for that free Slurpee. Remember, things are little different now. To prevent people from taking advantage of the offer, participants will receive one, free coupon for a small Slurpee courtesy of their 7Rewards ap.

So, take it easy on the 95-year-old franchise that started convenience stores.

Posted Wednesday, July 6th, 2022 by Barry

Green Lantern co-staring Colonel Sanders (2017) 3

Oh, yes, this is real.

As real as National Fried Chicken Day.

Fried chicken, or southern fried chicken, are pieces of chicken that have been coated in a seasoned batter and pan-fried, deep fried, pressure fried or air fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior of the chicken while retaining juices in the meat. Boiler chickens are most commonly used.

The history of National Fried Chicken Day is unknown.

Green Lantern co-staring Colonel Sanders (2017) 3

Still, it’s a better idea than a team up with Green Lantern and Colonel Sanders.

This 16-page product-placement misadventure has the Colonel hawking his fried fowl across this and any other universe that hadn’t been destroyed during one of DC’s house cleanings.

The story really runs afoul when the Colonel learns his new Zingers (patent pending) are being hijacked before they can reach their cosmic destinations.

Together, the Colonel and Green Lantern set off to solve the mystery of the missing sandwiches. On their way they meet with Adam Strange, a big fan of the Colonel’s, and the Hawk people of planet Thangar.

Larfleeze is discovered to be the thief. Green Lantern and the Colonel team to trash the greedy alien. Thanks to Sander’s KFC bucket-shaped power ring, he is able to unleash a bushel of greasy justice with his drumstick and plastic spoon and fork creations.

On the ropes, the Colonel finally outwits Larfleeze by offering him his own KFC franchise for the planet Okaara.

Back on Oa, Harland Sanders is made an honorary Green Lantern by the Guardians of the Universe.

While this may have been envisioned by some grease-soaked, feverish nightmare born of an ad exec, the actual event was crafted by writer Tony Bedard and rendered by Tom Derenick.

Read at your own risk.

Now, back to fried chicken.

It is believed the practice of frying chicken in its own fat was done by the Scotts in the middle ages. They did not use seasoning. West African tribes practiced similar recipes, but did season. When the two cultures met during the days of slavery, the processes were combined.

To celebrate give the above reviewed comic book a pass and visit a local fried chicken franchise to see if they are offering any specials.

Posted Monday, July 4th, 2022 by Barry

Ghostbusters Con-Volution! (2010)

Still looking good at 246 years of age, it’s time to celebrate another birthday for America.

Commemorating the day with us is another by product of the U.S. of A, the Ghostbusters who attend yet another American original, a comic book convention.

Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee proposed the legal separation from England on July 2, 1776, but it wasn’t until two days later the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted.

Historians have debated as to when the Declaration of Independence was signed, though evidence does prove Benjamin Franklin and future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams did sign on the fourth.

Coincidently enough, Adams and Jefferson were the only signatories to serve as presidents; both dying on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the document. James Monroe, who did not sign the deceleration, but also served as president died July 4, 1831.

The 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, has the distinction of being the only president born on the Fourth of July: July 4, 1872.

While the day has been observed with reverence over time, it was not until 1938 Congress voted it as a paid federal holiday.

For Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Ernie Hudson, the Ghostbusters; the Fourth, or at least the 2010 Fourth, meant comic books and signings.

Keith Dallas and Jim Beard, with Josh Howard, took the phantasmic four to a comic book convention to sate Ray’s inner geek. There they encounter other-worldly demon D’orka. Peter is forced to call upon the ghost of comic-book legend Frank Bancroft to defeat the convention crasher.

The 1984 movie has become a franchise and cult favorite, spawning a sequel, remake, cartoons and a wealth of merchandising. To cement the popularity and importance of the film, the Library of Congress chose the preserve the movie in the National Film Registry in 2015.

The original Ghostbusters was conceived and written by Dan Aykroyd and directed by Ivan Reitman. It starred Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.