Archive for November, 2022

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2022 by Barry

Detective Comics 225 (1937) 225

Today commemorates a planet first explored by a mariner.

Mariner 4 recorded the first photographs of the surface of Mars in a flyby. National Red Planet Day celebrates the launch of that probe which took place Nov. 28, 1964.

Visible to the human eye, Mars has been the planet of legend. The Babylonian’s began recording celestial events some time around 400 BC. Before it was Mars, they referred to the fourth planet from the sun as Nergal, their King of Conflicts due to the planet’s red coloration. The Greeks and Romans made the same deduction referring to the red planet as Ares and Mars, gods of war, respectively.

Detective Comics 225 (1937) 225

As the possibility of space travel became more of a reality, Mars appeared the logical choice as the first planet to visit. In turn, we wondered if we would be visited by inhabitants from Mars.

In the DCU, that visitor came in the form of the Martian Manhunter, or J’onn J’onzz aka John Jones. His first appearance was Detective Comics (1937) 225 in the back up story The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel in 1955.

Dr. Saul Erdel inadvertently transported J’onzz to Earth. As a result of their meeting, Erdel is struck blind and the Martian is stranded.

Eventually J’onzz adopts Earth as his new home world, develops an alter ego and becomes a super hero using his new found powers. He is accepted in the caped community and joins the Justice League of America. Over the years, J’onzz became the cornerstone of the organization.

As the Post-Crisis era became the Post Zero Hour period, J’onzz was given his own solo series. It lasted 38 issues.

His origin, powers and story would continue to evolve through each following Crisis and company reboot.

A live-action incarnation, played by David Ogden Stiers, became a bootleg VHS curiosity when the Justice League of America television pilot was filed away before it could air. Another version appeared on the Smallville show. Lately he has guested in the Arrowverse as portrayed by David Harewood.

In our U, the only green men from Mars have all been imagined, though we have discovered its soil does have water to extract and fictional stories take root in real locations.

Posted Saturday, November 26th, 2022 by Barry

Spider-Man Drakes Cakes Mini Comics Series 1 (1993)

So many holidays, so much food.

Coming on the heels of Thanksgiving and just in time for the confectionary crush of Christmas time is National Cake Day.

Cake originates from the Viking kake. While the word has remained relatively the same, the end result has differed. Originally, cake was a flat bread with a regular shape flipped to ensure both sides were baked evenly.

The first ever birthday cake dates back before 1785. The term referred to a cake gifted for a birthday.

It wasn’t until the 19th century cake became what we know it as today. Cakes could then be baked with extra refined white flour and baking powder instead of yeast. Buttercream frostings began replacing boiled icings with fruit toppings.

A history of National Cake Day is not as easy to find. All we know is its as good a (non) holiday as any. Better than others in that National Cake Day allows celebrants an excuse to enjoy a sweet pleasure they may have avoided that day.

Our comic book representation for the day is the four-issue mini offered by Drakes Cakes in 1993 starring a line up Marvels’ finest – and most popular at the time.

Drake’s Cakes are named after founder Newman E. Drake who started the company in 1896 in New York.

The National Biscuit Company, better known now as Nobisco, bought out the Drake bakery and referred to the bakery as the N.E. Drake Baking Co. The Drake’s Famous Loaf Cakes continued to sell under the brand name until 1902. The Drake Baking Company was dissolved in 1903.

Drake reestablished his business as the Drake Brothers Company in 1903 and had expanded to a five-story bakery in 1913.

The company remained a family business until 1998 when Interstate Bakeries Corporation purchased the brand. Drakes became part of a Bakeries line that included Hostess.

Hostess Brands Inc., formerly Interstate Bakeries, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. In April of 2013, McKee Foods purchased the Drake’s brand for $27.5 million, reintroducing the company’s top selling items the same year.

Amid the shuffling of ownership, Drake partnered with Marvel Comics to publish four mini-comic books (3”x5” and 16-pages long) featuring Spider-Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Jubilee and Wolverine. Together they faced off against the Rhino, Sabretooth, Juggernaut and Doctor Doom.

Titles included Spider-Man: Carnage on Campus, Wolverine: Danger on the Docks, Hulk: Mayhem at the Mount and Silver Surfer: Lunacy in Latveria.

Unlike many of the other promotional giveaways, these were free of product placement. Only the last page touted the remaining comic books in the series, courtesy of Drakes Snack Cakes! A one-page add for the product was featured on the back cover.

Posted Monday, November 21st, 2022 by Barry

Hanna-Barbera TV Stars (1978) 1

Sixty-nine years after the fact, the United Nations general assembly declared November 21 World Television Day.

Invented in 1927, television became the primary medium for influencing public opinion in the 1950s. In 2013, 79 percent of the world’s households owned a television set.

In between, 1996, the UN chose to recognize the driving force of television by giving the invention its own day. To commemorate, the UN held the first World Television Forum. Media figures discussed the growing significance of television in the rapidly changing world. The UN recognized the device could bring awareness of events on a global basis in real time.

To recognize the day, we’re offering the Hanna-Barbera TV Stars comic book.

Hanna-Barbera were the darlings of Saturday morning television. Anyone growing up in the late 1960s through the 1970s and the Golden Age of Saturday morning television knows the brand.

It’s only fitting they partner with the comic book publishing powerhouse, Marvel, to offer a four-color format of their programming empire.

Hanna-Barbera TV Stars (1978) 1

The first of four bi-monthly comic books is cover dated August 1978. Featured are Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels and The Great Grape Ape.

Captain Caveman aired on ABC from 1977 through 1980. The animated mystery comedy bore more than a passing resemblance to another H-B creation, Scooby-Doo.

The premise involved a prehistoric caveman found by the Teen Angels, Brenda, Dee-Dee and Taffy. Together they traveled solving mysteries.

The Great Grape Ape debuted in 1975 as part of H-B’s ABC line up. Grape Ape was a 40-foot, purple gorilla who repeated his name over and over. Partnered with his furry friend, Beegle Beagle, the two inadvertently caused trouble, they had to fix before the animated short’s end.

In this first issue one, neither character deviates from their modus operandi.

Captain Caveman and his trio of Charlie’s Angels knock offs solve the case of the missing ships in The Shipping Magnet.

The Great Grape Ape and Beagly appear in The Big Meal Deal. The pair partner to raise $5 for an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Subsequent issues featured, The C.B. Bears, Undercover Elephant, the Herculoids, Dynomutt, Space Ghost, Clue Club and Top Cat.

To celebrate today, track down these blasts from the past or share a favorite television moment, hum your favorite show’s theme or binge on that show that takes you back.

Posted Friday, November 18th, 2022 by Barry

Strange Tales (1951) 159

Scorpio is the zodiac sign for people born between October 23 and November 22.

Scorpio is also the fictional Jacob “Jake” Fury, younger brother to the equally fictional Nicholas Joseph “Nick” Fury.

But, today is real enough. Today is Married to a Scorpio Support Day.

Strange Tales (1951) 159

Participants may celebrate by sharing stories, guidance and support to those married to Scorpios. Based on the astrological designation, Scorpios can have intense traits, be manipulative, experience intense mood swings and be impulsive.

Today astrology has its supporters and dissenters. Prior to the rise of science and technology, the art of divining by the stars was taken far more seriously. Astrology began in the third millennium B.C. in Western Europe. By the 13th century, astrology was a part of medical treatment. By the 1500s in Europe, physicians were legally mandated to determine the moon’s position before performing some medical procedures.

As science came to the forefront by the 17th century, astronomy began to lose popularity. It would not regain popularity again until the 20th century as newspapers began supplying horoscopes and zodiac signs.

The Scorpio of our choice wouldn’t appear until August, 1967, when comic book maverick Jim Steranko debuted the character in Strange Tales (1951) 159. In the Scorpio story line, a younger sibling rebelled against his brother becoming a terrorist and spy.

Adopting the Scorpio persona, Jake fought his famous brother eventually infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick returned the favor imitating his brother in the Scorpio guise.

Jake would later commit suicide.

However, as with comic book characters, it was later learned Jake’s suicide was a ruse.

Others would take on the Scorpio mantel including Nick’s illegitimate son, Mikel Fury. Keeping it in the family, Jacob’s grandson Vernon Fury would become another version of Scorpio.

As for the day itself, those participating in supporting Scorpio’s spouses should remember the zodiac symbol in question enjoys alone time as well as feeling they have a safety net in others.

Other signs compatible with Scorpios include Cancer, Pisces, Taurus and Capricorn.

Posted Monday, November 14th, 2022 by Barry

Four Color Comics (1938) 1067

Welcome to National American Teddy Bear Day.

Apparently, there is a difference between National Teddy Bear Day and National America Teddy Bear Day.

Last year we celebrated National Teddy Bear Day on September 9. National American Teddy Bear Day is observed on November 14 on an annual basis.

Whatever the difference, we’re celebrating that furry bundle of security many of us snuggled with in our beds.

National American Teddy Bear Day doesn’t appear to have an author, nor an origin. The toy it commemorates does.

Four Color Comics (1938) 1067

Using a caricature of a bear drawn of President Theodore Roosevelt and a bear cub he refused to shoot, Morris Michtom created the first Teddy bear. It’s called a Teddy bear in honor of the president.

In 1907 composer John Walter Bratton wrote an instrumental piece entitled The Teddy Bears on Parade. Lyrics were added in 1932 by Jimmy Kennedy.

They have continued to thrive throughout the ages in such representations as Teddy Ruxpin, super Ted and Winnie the Pooh.

Our host for the day is the cuddly Yogi Bear who made his debut in 1958 as a supporting character on The Huckleberry Hound Show. He proved popular enough to earn his own animated show in 1961, The Yogi Bear Show, sponsored by Kellogg’s. Hokey Wolf replaced Hanna-Barbera’s rising star on Huckleberry Hound’s show.

Co-stars on Yogi’s show included Snagglepuss and Yankee Doodle.

Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!, an animated musical comedy, was given a theatrical release in 1964.

Daws Butler voiced the picnic basket stealing bear from his inception through 1986. Butler died in 1988. Jeff Bergman and Billy West tag teamed as the sound of Yogi into the new millennium. Since then, Yogi has been given life through the vocal cords of Keith Scott, Dan Aykroyd, Lewis MacLeod, Dan Milano, Seth Green and Scott Innes.

Yogi really made it big in 1983 when his inflated likeness was added to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As discerning readers, we’re more concerned Yogi appeared on the printed page a mere year after his small screen debut.

Dell Comics Four Color anthology series ran from 1938 to 1968 featuring a turnstile of recurring, licensed characters. Yogi graced the pages beginning in 1959 in issue 990.

Issue 990 featured Huckleberry Hound, but was based on his show, so it co-starred Yogi. The upcoming bear would also appear in issue 1054 as part of the Huckleberry Hound Winter Fun issue.

Yogi earned his own series with issue 1067, but would continue to make guest appearances in Four Color with issues 1104, Yogi Bear; 1162, Yogi Goes to College, 1162, Yogi Joins the Marines. These, along with issue 1067 are considered the first three issues of Yogi’s spin off book.

His appearances in issues 1271, Yogi Bear Birthday Party; 1310, Yogi and Huck Winter Sports and 1349, Yogi Bears Visits the U.N. are separate and part of the Four Color one shots.

Yogi’s solo series lasted six issues.

Gold Key Comics resumed publishing Yogi’s adventures in 1962, continuing Dell’s numbering and ending with issue 33 in 1970.

Charlton Comics published 35 issues between 1970 and 1977. Marvel Comics released nine issues in 1977.

Yogi’s publishing franchise lay dormant until Harvey Comics leased the license in 1992. They published 10 issues over the next two years.

Archie Comics used Yogi as part its anthology Hanna-Barbera All-Stars and Hanna-Barbera Presents comic book series.

The journeyman bear finally landed at DC Comics where he appeared in Cartoon Network Presents, Scooby-Doo! Team Up issue 35 and the Deathstroke/Yogi Bear Special.

No matter how you celebrate or who you snuggle with, enjoy the day and remember not to poke the bear.

Posted Monday, November 7th, 2022 by Barry

Harley Quinn/Gossamer (2018)

As the first Monday of November, today is Color the World Orange Day.


Harley Quinn/Gossamer (2018)

Today is a day set aside to educate the populace on an illness still poorly misunderstood. Today is a day to better understand Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also classified as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a rare ailment that targets society’s middle-aged members.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a neurological discomfort that includes heightened nerve impulses in a specific body site. Medical specialists speculate the condition is a result of a dysfunction in the central nervous system. An injury to the leg or hand can also bring on the syndrome. A triggering of the immune response can cause injury-related CRPS, which may lead to symptoms such as redness and swelling in the affected area.

The first known situation was documented in 1812 by a British surgeon who published a case report of a soldier wounded by a bullet in his upper arm.

Commemorating the day is Warner Bros. Looney Tunes’ hulking orange monster: Gossamer.

Gossamer debuted in the 1946 animated short, Hair-Raising Hare. Created by Chuck Jones, the legendary Mel Blanc voiced the mainly silent, shaggy monster.

He returned in 1952’s Water, Water Every Hare, reprising his henchman role. Gossamer had along layoff not appearing until 1980 in Duck Dodger’s and the Return of the 24½ Century. It also marked the introduction of his name.

Gossamer would next appear in 1996’s feature film Space Jam.

Harley Quinn/Gossamer (2018)

In A Hairy Predicament! Gossamer is found washed up on the beach following Hurricane Randy. Harley’s fondness for all things fuzzy moves Gossamer in with her menagerie of misfits.

An attack by an oversized robot leads Harley to believe the Joker has made another attempt on her wellbeing. Visits to the Scarecrow, Penguin and Mr. Freeze finally lead her to the Joker’s lair where the Prince of Pranks has Batman in another death trap.

A second attack by a mammoth mechanical manbot frees the Caped Crusader, disposes of the Joker and leads Harley and Gossamer to the real threat: his creator, the mad scientist introduced in Hair-Raising Hair and returned to reprise his role in Water, Water Every Hare.


Harley Quinn/Gossamer (2018)

A shared meal and ride home bring the story to a close with a very special guest star.

Writer Sholly Fisch seals the book with a flourish to the animated shorts from the Golden Age of both comic books and Looney Tunes in Monster Crush.

With a nod to the lighthearted mascot of the day, the more important aspect is CPRS has no cure. Correct medication and counseling help, but with some patients’ symptoms can last for years and even worsen.

To commemorate the day, wear orange, learn more about the ailment and donate for continued research.

Posted Friday, November 4th, 2022 by Barry

Destroyer Duck (1982) 1

The cover is misleading, but today really is National Waiting for the Barbarians Day.

Waiting for the Barbarians Day doesn’t seem to have much going for it beyond the mystery of how it originated and exactly what it is. The non-holiday appears to have been given its own day, Nov. 4, of each year. It’s a book and a movie, though the day doesn’t seem to share any common interest beyond its name.

It only holds interest here so we can unleash Groo the Wanderer as an emcee.

Destroyer Duck (1982) 1

Our man of the hour is (very) loosely based on the sword and sorcery heroes of the pulps and second-feature drive-in runs. Groo may have been dropped – several times – at birth. His stupidity is matched only by his naivety.

And, blood lust.

He is a sword-for-hire earning money to keep him in cheese dip.

Groo originated in the Eclipse Comics anthology book Destroyer Duck. His father is Sergio Aragones, one of the original Mad (Magazine) Men. Aragones plotted and drew the adventures of the loin-clothed barbarian, but the dialog was written by Mark Evanier.

The character’s first solo book was published by Pacific Comics beginning in 1982. Due to the company’s money problems, only eight issues were released. A one-shot of additional material was released by Eclipse after Pacific folded.

Groo immigrated to Marvel Comics Epic line of comic books. Aaragones was able to negotiate a contract allowing him to retain the rights to the title. Groo would wander for 120 issues until finding a home at Image Comics in 1994.

He would then transfer to Dark Horse Comics in 1998. Rather than begin an ongoing series, Groo was released in mini-series and collections.

So, go celebrate Waiting for the Barbarians Day with that special someone. If you find out just what the day is, let us know.

Posted Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 by Barry

Tex Avery’s Droopy (1995) 2

Turkey for Dinner begins the countdown to Thanksgiving as Droopy vies for the affections of Ravishing Red.

The unassuming femme fatale is a bountiful prize for the Basset hound who pulls out all the stops to receive a kiss. Violence explodes as Droopy steps back allowing his competition to fend off fowl.

Tex Avery’s Droopy (1995) 2

When the bird besmirches the visage of Ravishing Red, Droopy turns on the turkey and takes matters into his own paws. By story’s end, Droopy has won the contest, the kiss and the closing line.

McWolfe stars in the second feature, a preamble to Christmas, in Wolf & Red in Pretty Present.

Santa passes judgement on the carousing member of the canine family. To atone, McWolfe dons the red union suit and plays department store Santa. His wishes come true when Red squeezes into the elf suit. A series of misadventures titillates the titular character enough so he quits his position.

Santa deals with the defection by sending McWolf on an errand. Another page or two and the ending could have proved x-rated.

Droopy was created by Tex Avery in 1943 for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to appear in animated shorts. His debut was in Dumb-Hounded, but did not receive his name until the fifth short, Senior Droopy in 1949.

His voice and personality were derived from Wallace Wimple, as portrayed by Bill Thompson on the radio comedy Fibber McGee and Molly.

In addition to McWolf as antagonist, Droopy faced bulldog Spike as he did in Turkey for Dinner.

Filmation produced a series of shorts in 1980 to complement The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show.

Droopy had finally sired a son by the 1990s. Dripple, as he is known, accompanied the Tom & Jerry Kids cartoon by Hanna-Barbera. Droopy would earn a cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit as an elevator operator and Tom and Jerry: The Movie.

The Roger Rabbit guest continued in Disney’s Rabbit shorts, Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and Trail Mix-Up.

Return in 30 for the third and final Droopy holiday special.