Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

Posted Thursday, April 6th, 2023 by Barry

Plop! (1973) 5

For those who go back as far as I do, here’s a little blast from the past to tide you over till Easter.

Plop! was a short-lived humor title National Periodicals rolled out to newsstands in 1973. The New Magazine of Weird Humor! as it billed itself, ran 24 issues finally bowing to the bicentennial and disinterest in the waning days of 1976.

Plop! (1973) 5

Like the EC books of old and DC House books of, then, current day, Plop! featured horror hosts. Cain and Able moonlighted from Houses of Mystery and Secrets, respectively. Eve, joined the duo, as their mother or cousin, depending on what DC retcon you follow. She debuted in Secrets of Haunted House, replacing Destiny.

Plop! is a spinoff of Steve Skeate’s short-story The Poster Plague published in House of Mystery. Publisher Carmine Infantino christened the book and Sergio Aragones blessed it with his talent.

Aragones was only one of the many talented writers and artists who graced the pages. Berni Wrightson, Basil Wolverton and Wally Wood were also part of the package that delivered on a bi-monthly basis.

In issue five, Aragones provides the bookends featuring a mentally handicapped hare attempting to understand what Plop! is as defined by Cain, Able and Eve.

Their efforts provide three short stories and several one- or two-and-done pages of jokes to entertain and enlighten the Easter Bunny.

The Ultimate Freedom allows man to finally fly even if he ultimately is grounded by his own complaints.

Politicians are disparaged even more in His Honor the Mayor with Molded in Evil bringing down the curtain. The final tale is a showcase for Wrightson and billed as a Valentine’s story told in a special Easter issue.

The last page had the Easter Bunny finally understanding what Plop! was and responding with a bunny hop of his own.

The first 10 issues were advertisement free. Poor sales meant ads had to be sold, but even then, the book continued to lose money.

Though largely ignored by the public, the title was lauded within the industry including the Shazam Award for Best Humor Story in issue one, Best Writer (Humor Division) in 1973 to Skeates and the Eagle Award for Favourite Comic in 1977.

So, enjoy Easter and if you have the opportunity, enjoy a little Plop! The early ones are the best, but the series deserves more recognition than it has ever received.

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 Sunday, April 4th, 2021 by Barry

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew (1982) 6

Almost a year later, we keep our promise and deliver the second part of The Secret of Easter Bunny Island.

Who knew what the year 2020 would have in store for us last April? Of course, who knows what the remainder for 2021 will be like. What we do know is the good Captain and his Zoo Crew were on hand to save the day in 1982.

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew 6

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew 6

Baron Von Vermin provides a little backstory for The Bunny From Beyond! The title is vintage-scribe Roy Thomas who learned at the feet of the Master of the Marvel Universe.

Anyway, according to Baron Von Vermin, the space eggs now rampaging across the planet were first brought to Earth by the Bunny From Beyond. He forced the inhabitants of Easter Bunny Island to bury the eggs. They were later uncovered by the evil protagonist, Vermin.

The villainous native of Verminy had his plans foiled when the original Oklahoma Bones spoiled his scheme to use the eggs against the victors over Verminy. Instead, Vermin returned the eggs to Easter Bunny Island for a later revenge.

As the eggs continue to wreak havoc, Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew resurrect the Bunny From Beyond. He destroys the eggs and declines an invitation from Vermin to join forces.

Instead, the Bunny From Beyond turns Vermin to stone, then turns on those who freed him from his cocoon.

Captain and Crew are captured and taken to the Bunny From Beyond’s spaceship. The Captain is able to escape after returning to his alter ego’s smaller personage and slipping from the manacles.

Through slight of hand and some outside trickery, the Bunny From Beyond is cheated of a seemingly sure victory and reduced to atoms.

With the two-part storyline neatly tied up, Thomas pens a second, short tale, Digger of Doom.

The reading public put up with anthropomorphized-animal heroes and sometimes groaningly bad pet puns for 20 issues before the book was canceled. For more information on the series, read last year’s history lesson.

Oh, before Jeff and I forget, happy Easter.

Posted Sunday, April 12th, 2020 by Barry

Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 5

Pre-crisis Earth-C provides our Easter comic book for 2020 with Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew.

This one has it all. Roy Thomas penned everything from seig heiling, anthropopmorphized-talking animal Nazis to an Indiana Jones knock off.

With a title like The Secret of Easter Bunny Island, this is an easy choice for pastel-colored holiday. But, these alien artifacts aren’t the pleasant surprise finds scattered about the yard. These Easter eggs are more akin to Starro and universal domination.

Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 5

Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 5

A harmless oversight brings about rampage on a city-wide scale.

The book closes just in time for a continuation – tune in April 4, 2021 for the finale – as President Mallard Fillmore signals the beginning of the annual Easter Egg hunt on the White House lawn.

The good Captain and crew made their debut in a 16-page tryout in The New Teen Titans (1980) 16. A short-lived series was delivered from ’82 to 1983 featuring 20 issues.

Six-issues were on deck when the original series was cancelled. These became three double-sized issues, Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! The Oz-Wonderland War #1-3.

Captain Carrot and others would return after the crisis in Teen Titans (2003) 30 and 31 in ‘Whatever Happened to Captain Carrot?’ They were reunited once again for Countdown to Final Crisis in a cross-over titled Captain Carrot and the Final Ark mini-series.

Zoo Crew faithful were further rewarded with an appearance on the Robot Chicken: DC Comics Special with a funeral for Captain Carrot.

A fast and easy way to catch up on the Captain’s exploits would be the 2014 Showcase Presents edition collecting all 20-original issues.

Happy Easter from Four Color Holidays.

Posted Sunday, April 21st, 2019 by Barry

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Friends (2003) 338

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Friends (2003) 338

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Friends (2003) 338

Wash the chocolate bunny from your hands and sit down for a timeless treat courtesy of Carl Barks and Gemstone.

“The Easter Election” was originally published in Walt Disney Comics and Stories issue 151, April 1953. During the 10-page tale Donald is plagued by his cousin Gladstone Gander. Both dabble in dirty-pool politics as they vie for the mantle of Easter Parade marshal. True to form, Gladstone’s luck prevails and Donald is left holding the basket.

Barks is the creator of the Duck family tree. In addition to Gladstone, birthed in 1948, Barks fathered Scrooge McDuck (1947), Gyro Gearloose (1952), Flintheart Glimgold (1956), Magica De Spell (1961) and most of Duckburg’s residents.

Also appearing in this issue in unrelated Easter-themed stories are Mickey Mouse and Goofy in “Guru Goofy.”

Donald takes a bow in the third and final story “Master of Mice.”

Posted Friday, April 19th, 2019 by Barry

The Unexpected (1968) 202

Host Abel welcomes readers to the House of Secrets library.

The Unexpected (1968) 202

The Unexpected (1968) 202

“Hopping Down the Bunny Trail” has no Peter Cottontail in this cautionary Easter story. Rather, the youth are held accountable for their treatment of confectionary bunnies over the years. Michael Uslan and Tenny Henson serve up this unsavory tale, darkening the pastel holiday.

Carl Wessler and Torre Repiso take the lead in “Death Trap,” the actual first story of the book. An escapee from the local asylum terrorizes the wrong person.

Following DC’s implosion in 1978, the three witches from The Witching Hour found residence with fellow refuge Abel. They take a turn at two tales, “The Midnight Messenger!” and “The Creature in the Park.”

In the first, a believed deal with the devil proves to be more celestial. By their second and final story nature turns the tables on (in)humanity.

Posted Sunday, April 1st, 2018 by Barry

Swamp Thing (1985) 88 (unpublished)




Over 30 years later Morning of the Magician remains unpublished.

Morning was to land Swamp Thing at Calvary during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the swan song for writer Rich Veitch on the title.

Leading to what has become one of the most controversial stories – both on and off page – in comicdom’s history, Swamp Thing was catapulted through time meeting with various characters in DC’s past era comic books. Included were Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace and Bat Lash. In issue 87, Swamp Thing met King Arthur in Camelot where he was to make one final leap in time to find the Holy Grail.

The initial script had been approved and artist Michael Zulli had most of the artwork completed when DC’s President Jenette Kahn cancelled the issue. Many reasons abound, most centered on the backlash of Martin Scorsese’s recent Last Temptation of Christ, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and even Madonna’s much maligned Pepsi ad shilled to the tune of Like a Prayer.

While his audience was small – compared to flagship characters like Batman and Superman – rights had been sold for a Swamp Thing cartoon to air the following year as well as a licensed likeness toy line. Tim Burton’s first Batman movie was also on the horizon and Kahn wanted smooth sailing.

All speculation.

The fact is Veitch was so incensed he left the DC fold. According to interviews during and after the fall out, Veitch’s contract was about to end and he had planned to leave Swamp Thing after the story arc ended. But, he was to continue working for the company on other projects.

Prior to his popular Sandman, Neil Gaiman had been tapped to add a few stories, but in a show of solidarity he declined the title.

While the script has never been officially released, the artwork was on display at the Words and Pictures museum in Boston for a time.

A copy of the script and completed art can be viewed thanks to comics blog 20th Century Danny Boy.

Posted Sunday, April 1st, 2018 by Barry

Yogi Bear’s Easter Parade

Yogi Bear’s Easter Parade

Cover dated 1978, Yogi Bear’s Easter Parade is the second in a hat trick of issues published by Marvel under the title The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.

Captured in this static time capsule of primary colors and pastels are the kings and queens of Saturday morning cartoon favorites. H-B’s roster of characters reads like a who’s who in the history of animation. Almost all are collected in the 50 pages of this book.

Yogi leads off with his self-titled Easter Parade story. Like a vintage Our Gang short, Yogi musters the colorful inhabitants of the Hanna-Barbera world to save Easter morning from capitalism.

Scooby-Doo and “those meddling kids” team with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt in Phantasma Gloria. The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour debuted in 1976 and by 1978 had run its course and was heading for syndication by the time this book was released.

Robots Bloom in Spring brought the Jetsons out of before- and after-school reruns with a short story centered on housekeeper Rosie who feels she has become obsolete.

Spring Fever is a cautionary tale of love and bank accounts. Top Cat and his band of Manhattan alley cats heavily inspired by the 1940’s East Side Kids save Officer Dibble from financial ruin.

The Flintstones bookend the issue in Spring Training. Barney and Betty’s adopted son, Bamm-Bamm, is signed to a Major League Baseball franchise only to find black gold instead.

Sprinkled between the stories are pages of puzzles sponsored by the Hanna-Barbera gang including Yakky Doodle’s Scrambled Eggs, Captain Caveman: Twin Trouble, Touche Turtle’s Crossword Puzzle, Huckleberry’s Comic Crostic and Magilla Magic.

Posted Sunday, April 1st, 2018 by Barry

The Life of Christ: The Easter Story

The Life of Christ: The Easter Story

“We are now on our way to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death and hand him over to foreigners, who will make fun of him and spit on him. They will beat him and kill him. But three days later he will rise to life.”  Mark 10:33-34

Louise Simonson, Mary Wilshire and Bill Anderson flesh out the Easter Story marking the last days of Jesus’s life.

If Marvel had published this earlier in my lifetime, all those Easter Sunday’s sitting on hard pews wondering what confections and presents Peter Rabbit had left for me would’ve gone much faster.

For 33 pages the reader is given the Biblical account of the Son of Man’s final days on Earth. No matter beliefs, the story is a strong and compelling one. It brings the hubris of man to heel, showing the greed and vanity evident in even the most pious of practitioners.

Posted Sunday, April 1st, 2018 by Barry

Zombie Tramp: Easter Special (2017)

Basically a collection of “good/bad girl” art wrapped in a very non-traditional Easter tale of fornication and cannibalism.

Zombie Tramp crashes a small town’s Easter celebration dressed in something more from the Hugh Hefner collection than the standard department store bunny suit. During her visit she is thrice mesmerized by a Caligulastic cult leader on a mission from (his) God.

There are several gags to make the reader smile. My favorite had children finding Easter eggs in the folds of the fat woman.

Otherwise this fast read allows the heroine to avenge herself and the hypnotized town folk to foil the festivities culminating in a sacrificial bonfire and orgy.

Probably not a good idea to hide this in the hymnal to read during Easter services.