Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Monday, September 12th, 2022 by Barry

National Video Game Day

Not to be confused with Video Game Day, National Video Game Day is held Sept. 12 each year allowing the armchair enthusiast their day in the sun – so to speak.

Most video game historians consider 1971 the dawn of video games. In 1971 Computer Space was released by Nutting Associates for the commercial market. Pong followed the next year, released for arcades by Atari.

Spider-Man for the Atari 2600

It was also the year Magnavox released the Odyssey video game system. Pong followed suit in 1976 with the home-system release of Pong.

In 1977 Atari unveiled the Atari Video Computer System. The system allowed for individual games to be stored on cartridges which could be interchanged enabling the system to play more than one game.

Not until 1985 did the floodgates open with the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Over the years video games and comic book characters have intermingled. One of the earliest is Spider-Man for the Atari 2600. Marvel’s loveable web head battled the Green Goblin on a paltry 6502 microprocessor with an anemic 128 bytes of RAM on the Stella graphics chip.

The game was released in 1982 by Parker Brothers for the 2600 and Sears clone, the Sears Video Arcade. Spidey webbed his way to the top of high rise while defusing the Goblin’s bombs.

Not exciting by today’s standards, but the game was a success.

As of this writing, the most recent Spider-Man video game is 2018’s action-adventure game by Insomniac Games. The PlayStation 4 exclusive sold 3.3-million units in its first three days of release, earning an estimated $198 million.

So, take time to remember the superhero games that have come before and enjoy a day of vintage or current punch outs and puzzles as your favorite hero tackles their toughest villains.

Posted Thursday, September 8th, 2022 by Barry

Summer Fun with the Marvel Super Heroes (1985)

Summer has about a month of life left on the calendar, so let’s celebrate with the Marvel heroes circa 1985.

Summer Fun with the Marvel Super Heroes (1985) courtesy of mycomicshop.com

This $.99 ready to colorize adventure was written by Suzanne Weyn with art by Steve Geiger and Phil Lord. Participants were invited to “read along” while adding life to the two-dimensional, monochrome 48-page tome. Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and – surprisingly – Black Cat headline the book.

This is a tamer version of summer fun than the Marvel Illustrated Swimsuit editions published from 1991 to 1995 featuring the curvier heroes and villains frolicking in the sun and surf in swimsuits.

Marvel chose to “imitate” the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, even going so far on the first offering as to use font and other features. Future editions would become more independent of the format.

Marvel was not the first to offer a fanboy’s fantasy. Fantagraphics Books published the Amazing Heroes Swimsuit issue beginning in 1987.

The Marvel line offered a theme for each issue. The first outing showcased the MCU during the Super Olympics held in the Savage Land. Subsequent issues placed characters in Wakanda for T’Challa’s engagement party. Issue two took place on Monster Island courtesy of Pip the Troll and the Infinity gems. Swimsuit Special three commemorated the Water Festival of the Inhumans on the Moon and the final installment was designed as a tourism boost for Madripoor.

The books were met with mixed reviews, but remembered. Enough so the title was rumored to be resurrected in 2015 only to be halted in the sketchbook phase. The Marvel Summer Special, aka Marvel Swimsuit Special, was actually solicited only to be cancelled in 2019. Marvel failed to offer a reason for yanking the project.

Whatever your feelings on the books, mainline some more Vitamin D before the days shorten much more.

Posted Friday, September 2nd, 2022 by Barry

Popsicle Comics (2015)

Marvel proves – again – there’s mucho money to be made in cross promotion and advertising.

Popsicle Comics (2015)

The House of Ideas pimped itself out once more in 2015 to co-create Flavor Force Popsicle Comics based on just what the title reads. The comic books featured a trio of factory manufactured flavors fighting evil done the Marvel way. The nine-part mini-series starred Ace Cherry, Popsicle Pete and Mandy Orange fighting against the evil Lord Weathervane.

The comic book was available in comic book stores or Popsicle.com (don’t bother, it’s long gone) or Marvel’s digital platform.

Apparently, this wasn’t the first combination of comics and flavored ice as Marvel and Popsicle teamed in 2003 featuring the frozen likenesses of Spider-Man and the Hulk as well as flying the colors of other Marvel heroes.

All of this to celebrate National Blueberry Popsicle Day. Though the flavor didn’t make the heroic line up of mid 2010’s Marvel merchandising, it does rate its own day.

Why?

‘Cuz someone somewhere decided it should exist.

Popsicles have been around since the 1920s, the frosty fevered dream of 11-year-old Frank Epperson. Young Master Epperson left his fruit drink sitting on the porch one cold night, complete with stirring stick. The next morning, he found it frozen and ready to lick. Epperson dubbed the creation the epsicle. It was changed to popsicle 18 years later.

While today is National Blueberry Popsicle Day, the most popular flavor is cherry. It’s day in the sun is August 26. Sorry we missed that one. Maybe next year.

 

Posted Friday, August 26th, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 45

For a third year, let’s pause and remember our four-legged friends.

Yes, today is National Dog Appreciation Day. We’ve remembered with two DC greats, Krypto and Ace. This year let’s look at the crosstown competition and celebrate with Lockjaw.

The Inhumans mascot first appeared in the pages of Fantastic Four 45 way back in December of 1965. That’s even before me. His creators were the immortal Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Lockjaw serves as loyal protector to the Royal Family. His ability to teleport makes him a handy addition to the Inhumans.

Fantastic Four (1961) 45

He would later co-star with fellow pet sidekicks Redwing, Ms. Lion, Zabu, Niels the Cat/Hairball and Throg as a member of the Pet Avengers. The group shared top billing in the four-issue mini series from 2009 of the same name. It proved popular enough, two more minis followed, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers: Unleashed in 2010 and Avengers vs. the Pet Avengers that same year and overlapping into 2011.

Lockjaw has appeared outside the four-color world, first on the 1978 Fantastic Four animated series in Blastaar, the Living Bomb Burst. He next guested in the 1994 version of the FF in Hopelessly Impossible. He has had recurring appearances on Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in Inhuman in Nature and Planet Monster part 2.

Spider-Man hosted the hound in Agent Web of the Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) cartoon. He also guest starred on the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series, Crystal Blue Persuasion.

But, enough about our host and more about the day itself.

National Dog Appreciation Day was founded in 2004 by Colleen Paige. To celebrate, adopt a dog, give yours a special treat or simply donate time or money a local animal shelter.

Posted Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 123

Quick, name the vice president.

Don’t worry if you can’t. Nearly a third of all Americans have no idea who is one misstep away from the Oval Office.

So, why celebrate the office?

Fantastic Four (1961) 123

Vice presidents do have a purpose. They are second in command. It is their duty to step up if the sitting president dies or resigns while in office.

That’s what National VEEP Day is celebrating. The day commemorates Aug. 9, 1974, when President Richard Milhous Nixon stepped down from the Oval Office and Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States of America.

No one is exactly sure when the day began to be commemorated, but its origins stem from Nixon’s resignation.

Nixon was a vice president, serving under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. He lost his initial White House bid to President John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential campaign. He sought, and received, the Republican Presidential nomination in 1968, winning with his slogan “Nixon’s the One.”

June 17, 1972, was the beginning of the end of Nixon’s presidency when five men were caught breaking into the Democratic headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. The public eventually learned of Nixon’s involvement in the cover up and the president resigned rather than face impeachment.

Due to the time frame in which these events occurred and the relevancy of comic books as a mainstream medium, we can serve up the man who made this non-holiday happen: Richard Nixon.

The comic book we’re holding up as a beacon is Fantastic Four 123. The heroes are caught in their second struggle against Galactus. Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, has hijacked the world eater’s ship threatening to destroy it unless Galactus leaves.

Earth is saved by the Silver Surfer who agrees to become Galactus’ herald again. The two are then dispatched to the Negative Zone.

During the confrontation, Richard Nixon is depicted as the president reminding Reed 1972 is an election year and to settle the matter so life could go on for the voting public.

Nixon had made an appearance one year prior in the Marvel U, this time in Captain America 144.

He and Vice President Spiro Agnew guested in Incredible Hulk 147 in 1972 in addition to the FF’s 123.

Nixon would make one more appearance that year, this time in DC’s From Beyond the Unknown issue 17. As with FF 123, the president would be featured on the cover and interior of the book.

Other authors and artists would dredge up the disgraced president after his departure from the White House.

To observe National VEEP Day, you can dig up some information of the vice presidency or just find the Fantastic Four-story arc 123 belongs to and enjoy yourself more.

Posted Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022 by Barry

Micronauts (1979) 18

Playday is an annual United Kingdom event held the first Wednesday in August designed to keep fun activity alive and well for children.

Mick Conway, Paul Bonel and Kim Holdaway began their campaign in 1986 for a day of play to be recognized. The first events were held in 1987. Those grew to more than a dozen in London by 1989. It became a national event in 1991 and is currently the largest celebration of its kind in Europe.

Playday fare include street parties, festivals and community events of all kinds.

Representing the day is Micronauts issue 18.

Micronauts (1979) 18

The Micronauts return from a two-issue mission guest-starring the Fantastic Four, crash landing in a backyard. They find themselves under the thumb of a child wishing to make up new adventures for the action figures.

Her fun is ended when the mother tears the child away from her play and near destruction of the titular heroes.

The Micronauts began as a Mego toy line in 1976 in the United States, but were put to rest by Kenner’s licensed Star Wars franchise by 1980.

To bolster sales, Marvel began a series of the same title in 1979. It would continue through 1986 with 59 issues printed. Two annuals were also included in the run.

It would become exclusive to comic book shops with issue 38. Other titles going the direct route included Moon Knight and Kazar the Savage.

Overseas, in the UK, Micronauts appeared as a second feature in Star Wars Weekly. It was then moved into the first nine issues of Star Heroes Pocketbook with Battlestar Galactica. Later it was relegated to Future Tense, a reprint anthology.

Marvel dredged a few more dollars from the original material with a five-issue Micronauts Special Edition reprinting issues 1-12.

In 1984, the book was retitled The New Voyages and continued for another 20 issues into 1986.

Image Comics procured the license in 2002 for 11 issues. Devil’s Due Publishing attempted to relaunch the franchise in 2004. It ran three issues.

IDW is the present license holder having published the first issue in 2016.

For those who remember the line of toys from the Me Decade, these might be worth digging out for a nostalgic trip.

If you don’t have the figures or don’t remember, there are many other activities available to recognize the day set aside for play.

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 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 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 Tuesday, May 31st, 2022 by Barry

Deadpool (2008) 13

There are about 350 species of parrots in the world. Nearly half are endangered and about a quarter critically endangered.

To recognize the plight and pomp of these intelligent birds, May 31 is World Parrot Day.

The last day of May first featured the feathered fowl in 2004 as organized by The World Parrot Trust. The inaugural gathering was held in Trafalgar Square in London. Following a march to Downing Street, the Prime Minister was given a petition containing 33,000 signatures asking for a ban on importing wild parrots to the European Union.

The European Union Commission released a statement noting a permanent ban on wild bird imports including parrots in 2007.

Deadpool (2008) 13

Illegal trade of wild parrots is a major contributing factor in their scarcity. Other factors include, destruction of habitats and hunting.

Some parrots live for over 60 years. In the wild, they usually mate for life. Its beak is strong enough to break open a metal cage. The most intelligent parrot is the African grey parrot.

With some parrot facts out of the way, let’s have some fun with Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson. At the expense of Hydra Bob.

As shown to the side, today’s comic book(s) is/are Deadpool issue(s) 13 and 14.

The fourth volume of Deadpool, and the third solo incarnation, began in 2008, on the back of the company crossover Secret Invasion.

By issue 13, Daniel Way had the Merc with a Mouth ready for new adventures. This time on the high seas.

Using money from a disguised Bullseye, Deadpool bought a sailing vessel seeking to plunder unsuspecting seamen. To help, Wade tagged Hydra Bob for help.

Bob, or Robert Dobalina, first appeared in Cable & Deadpool 38. Bob became a member of Hydra at the urging of his wife as a stable career choice. Deadpool would coerce him to leave after torturing the minion.

Over the course of Deadpool’s adventures, Bob would be called upon many times for various assists. For the Wave of Mutilation storyline, Bob is forced to wear a parrot costume in the warm Caribbean climate causing heat exhaustion.

His most nagging malady is the bamboo stick Deadpool uses to “discipline” his henchman with. Bob does wind up with the girl and gold, but his loyalty to his wife leads him to reveal the fact as the sun sets and the story ends.

While this has nothing to do with the plight of parrots or the actual day itself, the two issues are a very fun read.

If truly interested in the origins of the World Parrot Day, learn more about the beautiful birds, make a donation to the appropriate charity or even read up on President Andrew Jackson’s bilingual pet parrot, Poll.

Tune in tomorrow for more Deadpool action.