Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Friday, October 20th, 2023 by Barry


Marvel’s Hulk began as a grey monster, turned green, went grey and settled back into his green motif. He has been simple minded, brilliant, a gangster and many other things, but in 2020 he became a cosplayer.

Hulk’s horror homage was N’Kantu, the Living Mummy for Marvel’s 2020 series of variant Halloween covers.

IMMORTAL HULK (2017) 38 variant cover by Del Mundo

Plumbing the depths of the monster pantheon Marvel had Dracula, a werewolf and the Frankenstein monster filling comic pages in the early 1970s; all that remained to resurrect was a mummy.

Beginning in Supernatural Thrillers (1972) issue five, Steve Gerber and Rich Buckler unleashed the 3,000-year-old living mummy, N’Kantu.

Initially intended as a one-and-done, N’Kantu’s story proved popular enough to return in Supernatural Thrillers seven. From there, it ran till issue 15 when the title was cancelled.

N’Kantu was laid to rest until 1983 when he joined Ben Grimm in the Thing’s team-up title Marvel Two-in-One issue 95.

Since then, N’Kantu has been silent on the comic book front, but has earned appearances on The Super Hero Squad, This Man-Thing, This Monster!

He also guested in two Ultimate Spider-Man episodes, Blade and The Howling Commandos. In Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., the Living Mummy guest starred in Hulking Commandos, Days of Future Smash, Part 3: Dracula and Planet Monster: Part 2.

The Mummy was introduced to mass audiences in 1932 during the Golden Age of monster movies under Universal’s imprint.

Boris Karloff appeared as Ardeth Bey/Imhotep/The Mummy. Others would portray the antagonist in subsequent non-direct sequels.

The Mummy’s Hand was released in 1940 starring Tom Tyler.

Lon Chaney, Jr., became the mummy in 1944’s The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse.

Abbott and Costello met the Mummy in 1955 with Eddie Parker playing the title monster.

British Hammer Film Productions picked up the torch in 1959 with The Mummy. The Mummy’s Tomb followed in 1964, The Mummy’s Shroud in 1966, and Blood from The Mummy’s Tomb in 1971.

Universal tried to remake the series beginning in 1999 with The Mummy. A sequel, The Mummy Returns was released in 2001 and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in 2008.

Posted Tuesday, October 17th, 2023 by Barry

Captain Marvel (2018) 22

Marvel’s stable of monster comic books rivaled that of its Distinguished Competition in the 1970s. Continuing the horror homage for October 2020, Marvel chose to remember its trepidatious tome Monsters Unleashed.

Captain Marvel (2018) 22 variant cover by Taurin Clarke

Captain Marvel was one of a continuing line of heroes sharing the same name. The original Captain was created C.C. Beck and Bill Parker in 1939 for Fawcett comic books.

Following a decade long court battle with National Periodicals (DC Comics), Fawcett cancelled the title. In the late 1960s, Marvel obtained the trademark with its first series.

Unlike Fawcett’s magical creation, Marvel’s was a military officer of the Kree Imperial Militia. His mission was to observe Earth and monitor its ability to develop technology for interstellar travel.

Mar-Vell would meet an untimely end in Marvel’s first graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel published in 1982. Mar-Vell would be diagnosed with incurable cancer as a result of exposure to toxic nerve gas.

Monica Rambeau was next to don the mantel. A New Orleans police lieutenant., she possessed the power to transform herself into any form of energy. She would later christen herself Spectrum.

The title was passed to Phyla-Vell in Captain Marvel (2003) issue five. She would later become the new Quasar and sacrifice herself for the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Khn’nr appeared in Civil War: The Return in 2007 as the new Captain. During the Secret Invasion, he was thought to be killed by invading Skrulls.

Noh-Varr used the name for a brief time before calling himself Marvel Boy.

The current Captain – as of this writing – is Carol Danvers. The former Ms. Marvel adopted the mantle in 2012.

Monsters Unleashed was published by Marvel Comics owned Magazine Management beginning in 1973. It would run 11 issues and one annual, lasting till 1975. The magazine was an anthology series of horror stories, some featuring Man-Thing, the Frankenstein monster and Wendigo.

A company-wide crossover titled Monsters Unleashed hit spin racks in 2017.

Posted Friday, October 13th, 2023 by Barry

Captain America (2018) 24

Of all the releases for Halloween season 2020, Captain America (2018) issue 24 seems tailer made for the variant covers.

Using the much-maligned Captain America story arc from issues 402 to 408, cover artist Mirka Andolfo gives readers a stylized commemoration of Cap’s bout with lycanthropy.

Writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Rik Levins sent Cap looking for the missing Colonel John Jameson. For the uninitiated, John Jameson – son of Daily Bugle owner J. Jonah Jameson – suffers from a similar disease becoming the Man-Wolf under the right conditions.

Captain America (2018) 24 Mirka Andolfo variant

During the investigation, Cap finds evidence of recent killings by a werewolf. Thoughts of Jameson’s earlier transformations raises alarm. Cap enlists the aid of fellow Avenger Dr. Druid to look into the latest murder.

Readers learn Dr. Nightshade is developing a wolf serum.

In the meantime, Wolverine has arrived in Starkesboro to fight off the town’s werewolf population. He is captured one of the plotters, Moonhunter, while fighting.

Dredmund, the Demon Druid, appeared, hypnotizing Logan and forcing him to battle Captain America. Cap is taken prisoner and infected with the wolf serum.

The Super Solider Serum that created Captain America keeps part of the wolf serum at bay. While gaining the appearance of a werewolf, Cap is able to retain his human will.

As related for our National Moon Day commemoration this year, Cap Wolf leads a rebellion with the other werewolves, leading into Marvel’s Infinity War story line.

The European legend of werewolves followed settlers to America and into modern culture courtesy of literature and movies.

Werewolf of London, 1935, was the first cinematic venture to feature lycanthropy on the big screen and to a major audience. It wasn’t until 1941 another werewolf would take to the movies, this one portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man.

Unlike Henry Hull, who starred in Werewolf of London, Chaney underwent the arduous make up by Jack Pierce to convey the true feeling of a werewolf. Hull’s was more of a shaggy London scientist with lamb chops.

Since then, werewolves have thrived in all forms of media, including comic books.

Posted Saturday, October 7th, 2023 by Barry

Avengers (2018) 37

Continuing Marvel’s 2020 adulation of its Bronze Age horror titles, issue of 37 of volume eight’s incarnation of the Avengers celebrates Where Monsters Dwell.

A giant She-Hulk demolished New York on the cover of Avengers 37 apparently recognizing 1958’s Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. In reality, it was a throw back to the Bronze Age reprint title Where Monsters Dwell.

Marvel plundered its back issue department from the Golden and Silver ages pulling torrid tales told by Stan Lee/Jack Kirby before super heroes returned to prominence. The monthly theme was to have a monster either from outer space or created on Earth terrorize a town or individual only to be defeated in eight to 10 pages by an unlikely hero.

The series ran 38 issues, from 1970 to 1975.

Avengers (2018) 37 Javier Rodriguez cover

The Avengers have fared better.

Stan and Jack took the few heroes they’d created by 1963 and merged them into the second super team in the Marvel U, the first being the Fantastic Four.

That team included Ant-Man, the Wasp, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor.

Since then, the Avengers have evolved over time, incorporating pretty much every hero – and a few villains – in their ranks over the past 60 years.

The team has further been the subject of four theatrical films. Avengers, 2012, earned over $1 billion dollars and was the highest-grossing film of the year.

The next installment, Age of Ultron in 2015, grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide. Infinity War, released in 2018, returned over $2 billion worldwide on a budget of $325-400 million.

Endgame finished the first cycle of Avengers movies in 2019 grossing $2.798 billion worldwide.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman was made on a budget of $88,000. It grossed enough to prompt talks of a sequel. It never materialized.

Stay with us as Four Color Holidays continues to explore Marvel’s variant horror issues of 2020.

Posted Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (2018) 50

Commemorating the month and its rich history of horror comic books, Marvel took October 2020 to offer readers variant covers to their current favorite reads with a frightful flavor of titles past.

Aaron Kuder illustrated the variant for Amazing Spider-Man 50 with lush coloring from Jordie Bellaire. Spidey took on the Blade, the Vampire Hunter persona in this Spider-Man the Vampire Hunter homage.

Only the cover reflects Marvel’s horror heritage. The issue offers part one of the Last Remains storyline.

Amazing Spider-Man (2018) 50 Aaron Kuder variant

While Spider-Man has faced his share of supernatural personages, he’s only really associated with Blade, the Vampire Hunter through the highly acclaimed 1990’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series.

Blade was introduced as a supporting character in Marvel Comics’ The Tomb of Dracula (1972) issue 10. He would continue to guest in issues 11 through 21 and again in issues 24 and 28.

Marvel Scribe Steve Gerber liked the character well enough to utilize him in Adventure into Fear issue 24 that same year appearing opposite Morbius the Living Vampire.

His first solo outing came in December of 1974 in an 11-page story in Vampire Tales. Co-creator Marv Wolfman penned the tale. He returned the following book before earning a book-length story between the pages of Marvel Preview number three. Chris Claremont was the author.

Wolfman continued Blade’s legacy in Preview issue eight in 1976. It would be his last appearance in the Marvel Universe for over a decade.

As Marvel tested the darker waters of in the early 1990s, Blade was brought back in Ghost Rider (1990) 28. His popularity was such he earned a co-starring role in the book Nightstalkers that ran 18 issues.

That led to his own title that lasted 10 issues followed by a one-shot in Marvel: Shadows and Light.

As he prepared for the big screen, Blade starred in two solo one-shots, Blade: Crescent City Blues in 1998 and Blade: Sins of the Father the following year.

Blade would bounce around the Marvel U for a time before starring in another short-lived solo series from 2006 to 2007.

Since then, the character has been relatively quiet yet, with three theatrical released films, a one-season television series and numerous appearances in the animated world, Blade has been resilient.

Posted Thursday, July 20th, 2023 by Barry

Captain America (1969) 402

It’s been kept watch over the Earth for the past 4.5-billion years, circling 238,855 miles above.

Yes, it’s July 20 and time for our fourth annual celebration of National Moon Day.


Captain America (1969) 402

In the past we’ve showcased John Jameson, Jack Russel and Marc Spector, all of whom have a special relationship with the waxing and waning orb. This year its Steve Rogers’ turn.

Better known as Captain America, the Sentinel of Liberty found himself transformed into a werewolf by a wolf serum. Though sporting a coat of fur and mouthful of fangs, Cap was able to retain his ability to reason thanks to the Super-Soldier Serum.

During his time as a werewolf, Cap led a rebellion with other werewolves before the story arc culminated in issue 408 as part of the Infinity War company crossover.

In addition to reading the above storyline, National Moon Day may be observed by learning more on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. After all, today is a celebration of America putting a man on a neighboring celestial body.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon July 20, 1969. The were the first of 12 in total.

To recognize the accomplishment, President Richard Nixon dedicated July 20 to remember the men and the accomplishment.

We honor those by citing the following facts:

Only one side of the moon is ever facing the Earth

The Moon is 400 times smaller than the sun, but is also 400 times closer to the Earth than the sun

The moon’s gravity not only affects tides on Earth, but is also moves rock in much the same way

The moon was created when a Mars-size rock slammed in the Earth 4.5-billion years ago

Four-hundred trees are growing on Earth that spent their time orbiting the moon when they were just seeds.

Happy National Moon Day – again

Posted Wednesday, June 7th, 2023 by Barry

Logan’s Run (1976) 1

Lace up the athletic shoes, stretch the hammies and break out the earbuds, today is the first Wednesday of June meaning it’s National Running Day.

This non-holiday is an offshoot of Global Running Day, created in 2009 by partnered running organizations.

To celebrate, uh, running.

Shouldn’t be too hard considering over one billion running shoes are sold each year worldwide. On the plus side, runners who log between 12 to 19 miles a week have stronger immune systems. However, those who put in 50 miles or more a week are more likely to develop a respiratory illness.


Logan’s Run (1976) 1

Just in case, you may want to enjoy the day with a good read. Last year we recognized Quick Silver. This year we’re tapping a franchise.

Logan’s Run began as a novel in 1967 by authors William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. A book of its times, the introduction reads, “The seeds of the Little War were planted in a restless summer during the mid-1960s, with sit-ins and student demonstrations as youth tested its strength. By the early 1970s, over 75 percent of the people living on Earth were under twenty-one years of age. The population began to climb – and, with it, the youth percentage. In the 1980s, the figure was 79.7 percent. In the 1990s, 82.4 percent. In the year 2000 – critical mass.”

By the year, according to the book, 2116, maximum age was restricted to 21 years, to the day. On their Lastday, people were required to report to Sleepshop where they would be voluntarily executed. Their “souls” would return for reincarnation and they would be given the same name followed by the number of their current incarnation.

To track their ages, a crystal was imbedded in the palm of their hand. From ages zero to six the palm flower would show yellow. From seven to 13, blue and 14 to 20, red. Prior to their 21st birthday, the palm flower would blink red and black and finally turn black on Lastday.

Lifespans were enforced by Sandmen who would track down any who tried to escape reincarnation by running.

Logan’s Run is about a Sandman ordered to infiltrate the underground railroad assisting runners.

His adventures would lead him into two subsequent books, Logan’s World and Logan’s Search, both published after the 1976 movie adaptation’s release.

Marvel Comics licensed the title publishing seven issues before the series was cancelled. It was to compliment the Logan’s Run television series that fared no better. Logan’s Run the TV show lasted 14 episodes from 1977 to 1978.

Adventure Comics published two six-issue minis adapting Logan’s Run and Logan’s World from 1990 to 1992.

So, run or don’t run, up to you. Just remember, there’s a good read waiting for you when you’re done.

Posted Thursday, April 27th, 2023 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 140

National Administrative Professionals’ Day has a pedigree stemming from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer from way back in 1952.

Sawyer proclaimed June, though a month, National Secretary’s Day with June 4 set aside as the official day of celebration. With the new millennium, the name was changed to a more gender-, politically correct-friendly observance of Administrative Professionals Day and moved to April.

Today was designed to recognize the efforts put forth by the otherwise unsung heroes of the office. It recognizes the work of secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists as well as offering umbrella coverage to all administrative support professionals.

Celebrate by rewarding those mentioned above with more than their paycheck. Some suggestions include flowers, gift certificates, gift baskets, candy or lunch.

Putting a face to the day is Gloria Grant.

Amazing Spider-Man (1962) 141

Ms. Grant first graced the pages of Amazing Spider-Man 140 as Peter Parker’s neighbor. Her initial appearance is little more than five Ross Andru panels barely hinting at the role should would soon attain in the title.

With her modeling career on hold and needing work, Peter was able to find her employment at the Daily Bugle during Betty Brant/Leed’s honeymoon.

Grant would become more than just a supporting character when she fell in love with gangster Eduardo Lobo. The romance came to an end when she accidently shot Lobo while aiming at Spider-Man.

Later, she helped Spidey and a government agent capture voodoo witch Calypso. Her involvement with boss J. Jonah Jameson and the Spider-Man titles would end when she left JJJ’s mayoral staff after he was elected as mayor of Manhattan.

For those in the work setting with administrative professionals, mark the day on your calendar. Those on the other side the desk, don’t for forget to drop a hint just in case.

Just remember, National Boss’s Day is Oct. 15.

Posted Saturday, April 1st, 2023 by Barry

Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards Son of a Genius April Fools! (2016)

Here’s a quick reminder: today is April 1st. April Fool’s Day.

This is not joke.

April Fools has been celebrated for centuries, but its origins are guessed work. One of the more fascinating involves France changing from the Gregorian Calendar to the Julian. The change meant New Year’s Day moved from April 1 to January 1. Many failed to recognize the switch and celebrated through the last week of March. Those who did were labeled as victims of a hoax or joke.

Whatever its origin, the day became recognized in Britain in the 18th century. The commemoration spread to Scotland soon after.

Today April Fools Day is widely recognized worldwide.

To celebrate our prankster is Reed and Sue Richards’ little boy, Franklin, in his 2016 April Fools special.

In Sick Day, Franklin fails to study for his math test. To avoid taking the quiz, he raids his father’s infectious disease lab. Finding a jar marked “flu,” Franklin decides a sick day is in order to avoid taking the test. What he fails to realize is this flu is no ordinary virus, but the Pandorian strain capable of rendering him purple, growing sentient acne and finally dissolving to a green puddle of vocal ooze.

His saving grace is the fact it only lasts 24 minutes.

Fantastic Four Presents: Franklin Richards Son of a Genius April Fools! (2016)

Restored to health, Franklin realizes he still has to attend school and take his test.

Brain Game is a one-page gag allowing Franklin’s father, Reed Richards, to co-star.

School nemesis Kristoff attempts to foil Franklin’s hard work in Diorama Dilemma! with a gimmicked Gummy Bear. The plot backfires, literally, giving Marvel’s first family’s first offspring a night off without homework.

Lockjaw joins H.E.R.B.I.E. and Franklin in Roswell Rescue!  The trio team up for a little alien investigation in 1947 and some retcon history.

H.E.R.B.I.E.’s thrown under the bus in Whodunnit?!

The finale is the holiday tale, April Fools Fiasco!

Franklin gets carried away with his father and Uncle Johnny during some April first Tom foolery. He’s relieved and miffed to find he’s not the only one who can play the game.

Spring is on the horizon, but there’s still some gloom in the air, so shake it off with a joke or two, but keep them clean and fun.

Posted Wednesday, March 8th, 2023 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 176

“To write is human; to edit is divine,” Stephen King.

Again, for the Four Color Holidays veteran, you’ll remember really is a National Proofreading Day. Last year we celebrated with The Marvel No-Prize Book.

If case you’re a newbie, National Proofreading Day was created by Judy Beaver in 2011 in memory of her mother, Flo. Much like Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory) she was a person who relished correcting others mistakes. To commemorate, daughter Judy chose March 8 to mark the day with her mother’s birthday.

Fantastic Four (1961) 176

Proofreading may take a backseat in today’s world of texting where punctuation and abbreviating words is common practice.

It shouldn’t.

There is still a place for proofreading. To those of you who have read more than one of these missives. To those of you who still like to crack open a book or read the news or a magazine. Mistakes can be ugly. They can be confusing.

In 1962, NASA lost contact and control with Mariner 1. It blew up 293 seconds after launch. It is believed a missed hyphen in the guidance code was the cause. A mistake that could have been caught by proofreading.

Anyway, enough with the boring stuff.

Today’s representation of the non-holiday is Fantastic Four (1961) issue 176 showcasing the then editor-in-chief of Marvel himself Stan the Man Lee.

While Stan is no stranger to typos, again, see The Marvel No-Prize Book, he was head honcho, even starting out as a proofreader at Marvel originally.

Plus, he was co-creator of the book’s guest star, the Impossible Man. In addition, half the Marvel Bullpen make cameos. Included with Stan are Jack King Kirby, George Perez, Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott, John Verpoorten, Marv Wolfman, Archie Goodwin, Gerry Conway and Marie Severin.

Thomas, Wolfman and Goodwin were all former editors themselves.

The Impossible Man takes a tour of the Marvel offices after returning to Earth in the aptly named Improbable as it May Seem – The Impossible Man is Back in Town!

His unauthorized visit turns into a siege of sorts as Impossible Man decides he wants to be immortalized in the four-color Marvel Universe. Using his morphing ability and the illustrations of heroes and their tools of the trade, Impossible Man terrorizes the bullpen until Stan promises him his own comic book.

It may not have been published until 1991 with the Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular 1.

Hopefully this reads well and there are no misspellings or miscues with the punctuation. But, if there’s a post where it would be appropriate, this would be the one.