Archive for the ‘Marvel Comics’ Category

Posted Sunday, July 11th, 2021 by Barry

7-Eleven: Free Slurpee Day

It may be hard to comprehend, but there was a time before super hero movies opened the floodgates to merchandising.

1977 7-Eleven Spider-Man Cup

Since Superman first rocketed to Earth, there have been crossover promotions and toys and apparel. Not on the scale it is today, but enough to allow the fanboy faithful to show their allegiance with the four-color counterpart of choice.

In the 1970s Marvel proved masters of merchandising. Just on the fringe. Superman the Movie may have proved popular at the box office, but the collectibles were still not forthcoming.

Let’s face it, if you wanted a super hero shirt, it was purchased from the ad pages of a comic book. You weren’t buying off the rack at the local department store.

That’s why promotions like the Marvel Slurpee cups were so welcomed. They provided another dimension to our worlds. We could not only read about our heroes, but drink from cups with their likenesses plastered on the front.

And, it was something our parents would buy us without much fuss. It was like a reverse Trojan Horse; you got your Slurpee, but it came in a super hero cup. A two-fer.

There were only 40-drinking glasses in the 1977 series. The 1975 collection featured 60. However, the ’77 offerings were visually more stimulating with an action sequence. Like the 1975 predecessors, the more popular characters are featured on more than one cup.

National 7-Eleven Day was first celebrated in 2002. The convenience store is widely regarded as the first of its type, established in 1927, then known as the Southland Ice Company. When the company expanded its hours in 1947, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., it changed its name.

Drink responsibly, don’t risk a brain freeze.

1977 Marvel Slurpee Check List

 

Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2021 by Barry

Video Game Day

Need we say more?

Well, we’re gonna.

There’s no real history for the day, but there are a plethora of games that can be sampled. Rather than bore you with a lengthy dissertation, we’ll let Nixian’s YouTube offering on the Evolution of Superhero games give you a sampling.

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Posted Sunday, July 4th, 2021 by Barry

Captain America (1941) 1

Before the hamburgers and hotdogs, before the sun-soaked dip in the pool and before the fireworks, take time to remember today is Independence Day; America’s day.

What better hero to represent the Fourth of July then the one draped in our nation’s stars and stripes, Captain America?

Cap has been called the living embodiment of America. Not because of his red, white and blue costume, but the ideals he has manifested. Captain America provided a prelude to the second World War when he socked Adolf Hitler on the jaw on the cover of his first issue, six months before the “…day of infamy…” speech.

Captain America (1941) 1

Captain America (1941) 1

Captain America became a casualty to the nation’s beliefs in the 1950s. As senators conducted witch hunts, Cap fell out of favor. His absence went unnoticed for a decade.

By the early 1960s, America and its avatar were about to embark in a period of strife not seen since the Civil War. This struggle within the nation was mirrored in pages of Captain America. When he finally had had enough, Cap tossed aside his heritage and donned a black suit and new name reflecting his and other’s dissatisfaction with the country and its leaders.

As a new era dawned in the 1980s, Cap was asked to run for the presidency. His decision to stand aside was based on the greater good of America.

He later became a symbol for individuality during the nation’s second Civil War. His name has been smeared and death cheated, but Captain America remains the nation’s champion.

Unlike so many of Four Color Holiday’s observances, this is the real thing. The federally-sanctioned holiday has been commemorated since 1777 when 13 gunshots were fired in Bristol, RI. The salute was fired once in the morning and once in the evening recognizing the original 13 colonies.

In 1778 General George Washington remembered the day by toasting with his troops as the artillery sounded the celebration. In Europe, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, ambassadors, held a dinner party with fellow Americans in Paris, France.

The Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration in 1781.

In 1791 the first recorded use of the name Independence Day was noted.

In 1870 the United States Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.

Not until 1938 did the Fourth become a paid holiday for federal employees.

Dust off the Captain America’s and the pride in the nation to commemorate America’s day.

Posted Saturday, June 12th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 253

June 12 is a day to see red. Today is National Red Rose Day.

The red rose is a symbol of love and romance. It’s also the June birth flower.

However, the Rose can also be villainous. At least in the Marvel Universe.

Tom DeFalco penned Marvel’s first Rose story in Amazing Spider-Man 253. The original Rose was the son of the Kingpin of Crime, Richard Fisk. If that’s confusing, Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin and Richard is his son.

Young Fisk wanted to overthrow his crime lord father. He would later adopt a vigilante persona known as Blood Rose only to be shot by his mother.

The second Rose was another vengeance motivated vigilante. New York Police Officer Sergeant Blume went after the Kingpin for the murder of his brother. He, too, was shot and killed.

Jacob Conover became the third Rose. This incarnation was a former reporter for the Daily Bugle. He found himself a capo of crime lord Don Fortunato during one of the Kingpin’s absences from New York’s underworld. He would survive his tenure and be imprisoned by Spider-Man.

The fourth and, to date, final Rose is Phillip Hayes. He is currently jailed following his drug career that led to murder.

In the real world, red roses are known for their beauty and traditionally associated with love. They have adorned many a wedding and opened even more hearts when presented by a young lover.

To observe National Red Rose Day, plant a red rose shrub or vine, learn more about the types of red roses, visit a rose garden and/or show that special someone how much they mean by giving them one or a dozen.

Or, just do what we’re gonna do and pop open Amazing Spidey 253 for the nitty gritty.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 253

Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 4

We’re gonna stick with the X-Men brand (it worked for Marvel) as we commemorate National Running Day.

National Running Day is celebrated the first Wednesday in June and designed to encourage Americans to reaffirm their desire to run. Last year DC’s scarlet speedster hosted the day. This year it’s Marvel’s mutant of momentum, Quicksilver.

The X-Men (1963) 4

The X-Men (1963) 4

As evidenced from the cover, Pietro Maximoff first graced the Marvel U in the pages of the X-Men issue four. Like many Marvel comics heroes, Quicksilver began his public life as a villain. Joined with his sister, Scarlet Witch; leader of the pack, Magneto; the Toad; and Mastermind the quintet began their career harassing the X-Men.

Seeing the error of their ways, Pietro and sister, Wanda, left the Brotherhood and joined the Avengers. He further legitimized himself with marriage to the Inhumans’ Crystal.

Pietro remained an outsider in the MU for most of his tenure. He was introduced to a wider audience in 1966 on The Marvel Super Heroes animated series courtesy of Captain America’s segments. He further guest starred in three episodes of the 1990’s X-Men cartoon and was a recurring character in X-Men: Evolution.

Quicksilver reprised his membership in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for Wolverine and the X-Men and appeared in more kid friendly The Super Hero Squad Show.

His stock rose higher when he appeared in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016’s X-Men Apocalypse and 2019’s Dark Phoenix.

Taking the spandex-clad mutant as inspiration, lace up the sneakers and head out for a quick spin around the neighborhood or pace yourself across town. For more information on the non-holiday, visit glabalrunningday.org.

Posted Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 by Barry

The X-Men (1963) 1

Here’s a cover Four-Color Holidays readers may recognize. We’ve used it for Angel and today we’re utilizing the ground-breaking issue again for the Beast who is our grand marshal during National Go Barefoot Day.

Celebrants are urged to doff their shoes in honor of June 1. Take a moment and run through the green grass.

The X-Men (1963) 1

The X-Men (1963) 1

For the scholars in the audience or those old enough to remember, Hank McCoy wasn’t always the “ferocious, furry Beast” we know today. Mr. McCoy started out as pink skinned as the rest of the original team.

His dad, Norton McCoy, was employed at a nuclear power plant. His job caused him to be exposed to a massive amount of radiation resulting in Hank’s unusually large hands and feet at the end of equally unusually long arms and legs. His high school nickname was Magilla Gorilla.

Due to his greater strength and agility, Professor Charles Xavier approached Hank for membership in the titular Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Hank became the Beast and one of the founding members of the original X-Men team:  Angel, Cyclops, Ice Man and Marvel Girl.

Hank left the X-Men and became an employee with the Brand Corp. following his 20th birthday. An experiment turned Hank furrier than Robin Williams. Over time, he has transformed back to a more human appearance only to grow his fur back.

During his heroic career, Hank would become a member of the Avengers, X-Factor and the X-Men again.

To help celebrate this early start to summer, participants are encouraged to donate a gently used pair of shoes to a charitable organization.

National Go Barefoot Day was created in 2004 by Soles4Souls following a Tsunami disaster. Donations have continued to this day amounting in over 40.5 million pairs worldwide.

Posted Saturday, May 15th, 2021 by Barry

Motion Picture Funnies Weekley (1939) 1

Forget the beach body; just grab the trunks and water wings, today is National Learn to Swim Day.

The master of ceremonies is Namor, the Sub-Mariner, originally slated to appear in the innocuously named Motion Picture Funnies Weekley number one. When the book failed to reach newsstands, he was moved to the more appropriate Marvel Comics issue one.

The ruler of Atlantis may be the first comic book mutant. He’s a hybrid of a human sea captain and princess from the undersea capital.

As the Golden Age faded, Namor floundered until Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought him back to the fold in Fantastic Four (1961) issue four. His return was popular enough, Subs made frequent cameos in the FF’s book as well as others in the Marvel U.

He began cohabitating with the Hulk in Tales to Astonish issue 70. The Hulk settled into his own book when the title ended, but Namor shared the one-shot Iron Man and Sub-Mariner number one before landing his own title.

Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner ran a respective 72 issues. After, he would co-star in the Super-Villain Team-Up title for it’s first 13 issues before becoming a guest in his own universe again.

In 1984, Namor returned to the spotlight with a four-issue mini written by J.M. DeMatteis and penciled by Bob Budiansky. Four years later his mini was expanded to 12 issues, titled The Saga of the Sub-Mariner. In 1990 he was given his second ongoing book. This one ran five years and 62 issues.

In 2003, he returned for a 12-issue maxi-series and a six-issue mini in 2007.

His next ongoing book, Namor: The First Mutant, lasted less than a year.

Following that, Sub-Mariner shared titles such as The Defenders in 2011 and the New Avengers in 2013.

Marvel’s legacy books and clean sweep beginning in 2017 have moved him around like a pawn, but has yet to return him to a self-titled book again.

Anyway, back to today. National Learn to Swim Day is recognized on the third Saturday in May. It is designed to bring water safety awareness to the forefront before summer and swimming begin.

Swimways Corp founded National Learn to Swim Day in 2014.

Posted Saturday, May 1st, 2021 by Barry

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Obesity is a chronic disease affecting 100-million adults in America. Seeing the need for awareness, Kim Bielak founded National Fitness Day in 2017 to encourage healthier lifestyles. It is observed the first Saturday in May every year.

So dire is the current obesity rate, it ranks above smoking has a health hazard. About 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States have been associated with excessive weight. People with obesity in the US have higher heath care costs than those of normal weight; 27-percent more for physician visits and outpatient costs, 46-percent more for inpatient costs and 80-percent more for prescription drugs.

Common causes for obesity include genetics, physiological influences, food intake and eating disorders, sedentary lifestyle, weight history, pregnancy, drugs like steroid hormones and drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions.

Long before obesity became an epidemic, Fireside Books, coupled with Marvel, published The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book. Agile Ann Picardo authored the tome while Jumpin’ Joe Giella illustrated the book.

Basically, it was just a fun book filled with normal exercises, most isometric, to help youngsters feel like they were training like a super hero. Or, training to be a super hero.

Marvel’s stable of heroes provided their own recommendations to help tone.

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Comics Strength and Fitness Book (1976)

Included was Peter’s Perpendicular Leg Extensions. Instructions were as follows:  1. Lie on the floor leaning on your right elbow, feet straight out. 2. Bend the knee of your left and grab the heel of your left foot with your left hand. 3. Extend your leg straight up. Hold for a few seconds and return to your starting position. Repeat with your right leg.

Bashful’s Brutish Bottom Basher, from the Thing, instructed participants to 1. Sit on floor with your knees bent and grab your ankles 2. Rock back and forth, until you start to feel seasick.

The (J. Jonah) Jameson Roar went something like this: 1. Kneel on the floor with your bottom resting on your heels and your hands on your thighs, palms down. 2. Bend forward, open your eyes as wide as you can, and tense up every muscle in your body 3. Stick your tongue out as far as you can, spread your fingers wide apart and hold tense for a count of 12. 4. Slowly relax, bring your tongue back where it belongs and return to your starting position.

Not sure what good this one did, other than to contribute to premature balding, but Medussa’s instructions for Firey’s Furious Follicle Flourisher: 1. Sit cross legged on the floor and take hold of as much as near the scalp as you can. 2. Pull your hair forward so you can actually feel your scalp move, and then pull backward.

Other heroes contributing were Ghost Rider with his Bizarre Bicycles, the Hulk with Jade-Jaws’ Just-So Sit Ups and Banner’s Bellicose Bench Presses (without a bench), Thor with Goldilocks’ Greatest Isometric Arm Invigorators, Luke Cage’s Super Dude’s Free Squats and Luke’s Lying Down Limb Lifter, Sue Storm – when she was still the Invisible Girl – with The Fantastic One-Two-Three-Four, Captain America and the Falcon’s All-American Give and Take, Human Torch’s The Torchie Twist, Spider-Man’s Little Miss Muffet and Spread-Legged Foot Pull among others.

Some of the above worked in the fight against obesity, but other alternatives include healthy recipes, substituting fries for a salad, walking the stairs rather than taking the elevator, taking the dog for a walk, ordering from the light side of the menu, setting the alarm 20-minutes earlier to allow for some light exercising prior to beginning the day, etc.

Posted Sunday, April 25th, 2021 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

The last Sunday of April plays host to International Sculpture Day. To usher in this year’s non-holiday is the celebrated fictional Marvel U artist, Alicia Masters.

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Fantastic Four (1961) 8

Despite her blindness, Masters became a talented sculptor. Many of her works were modeled after the heroes husband Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, and his fantastic family palled with.

Her disability was caused by her stepfather and supervillain the Puppet Master.

Masters and Grimm enjoyed a rocky romance until the Thing chose to stay on an alien planet following the events of Secret Wars. She fell in love with Johnny Storm, aka, the Human Torch and the two married in Fantastic Four 300.

In true comic book soap opera form, it was later discovered Masters had been replaced by a Skrull prior to her relationship with Storm. Upon her return, Masters found solace with the Silver Surfer.

Returning from her spacefaring days, Masters and Grimm found each other again; this time to marry.

The word “sculpture” originates from the Latin word sculpere, meaning to carve. Today the three-dimensional art form utilizes a variety of materials including wood, stone, metal, and even Legos.

International Sculpture Day debuted in 2015. The day continues to grow in recognition each year.

Posted Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

It’s been said we all have a twin. April 20 is the day we remember we’re not alone. Today is National Look Alike Day.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 1

Some times our resemblance is courtesy of nature. Other times its an achieved process. Whichever the case, Marvel’s Chameleon is the emcee.

Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka the Chameleon, first appeared in the back up story of Amazing Spider-Man issue one. The throw-away story had Smerdyakov using the Cold War to fatten his bank account. During the short story his mercenary mission was to steal as many state secrets as possible to ransom to the highest foreign bidder.

His misstep came in impersonating Spider-Man, sending the enemy of the state on extended stay behind prison walls.

The Chameleon would continue to appear throughout the Marvel U fighting such heroes as Daredevil and Iron Man as well as Spider-Man.

He made a career outside the printed world as a mainstay in the animated field. Chameleon first appeared on The Marvel Super Heroes against Iron Man in Cliffs of Doom and opposite the Hulk in Enter the Chameleon.

When Spider-Man returned to Saturday mornings in 1980, Chameleon appeared in the Arsenic and Aunt May episode. He also made an appearance on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

In the 1990s, the Chameleon was a recurring character on the Spider-Man series. Not missing a decade, he returned for The Spectacular Spider-Man and continued onto the 2017 Spider-Man cartoon, voiced by Patton Oswalt.

While Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created our guest host, television reporter Jack Etzel is the originator of National Look Alike Day. A slow news day led to a recurring premise for the future.