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.

Posted Wednesday, March 1st, 2023 by Barry

Aliens: Pig (1997)

Aliens: Pig

Aliens: Pig

In case your forgot to mark your calendars, today is National Pig Day – again.

Today is the day to celebrate all things swine. From the banks with our childhood life savings to the side order that complimented breakfast.

In case this is your first rodeo with the day, Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne are the co-creators of National Pig Day inaugurated in 1972. Their wish was to recognize an underappreciated member of the animal kingdom and the most intelligent of the domesticated farm animals. Ones who have been the stars of books, cartoons and movies.

Granted this is a non-holiday more remembered in the heartland of America where today’s guests of honor are gathered for our future consumption. Surprisingly, it is also a popular pastime for many nursing homes. Residents are encouraged to present their collections of porcelain porcine or other sundry keepsakes.

Using Peter Porker, Porky Pig and, well, Porky again, it’s time to move on with a master of ceremonies.

This year we celebrate with a simple porcus.

In 1997 Dark Horse Comics continued their Alien franchise with Aliens: Pig. The one-shot was conceived by Chuck Dixon, maybe better remembered for all his work on the Batman family of books at DC Comics.  Henry Flint illustrated the tale and Andrew Pepoy inked.

The plot was simple enough: scavengers set out to raid a juicy ore tug wreck before its rightful owners arrive. One problem; a hive of Aliens have already staked claim at the site.

The solution was simple enough; release a pig with a low-yield nuclear device strapped to its back. Once inside the hive, detonate the gadget and partake of the plunder.

Of course, the best laid plans of mice, men and outlaws rarely go smoothly.

Aliens was one of Dark Horse Comics building blocks. The company licensed the rights to the franchise in 1988, two years after formation of the comic company.

Its first foray was simply Aliens, a six-issue mini followed by 37 further entries either in mini-series or one-shot format. That’s not including appearances in Dark Horse Presents or the Aliens vs. Predator outings.

Also outside the self-titled minis were Aliens vs. Predator vs. The Terminator, Batman/Aliens, Green Lantern Versus Aliens, Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens, Superman/Aliens, Superman and Batman versus Aliens and Predator and WildC.A.T.s/Aliens.

Not to overshadow the day, enjoy the other white meat however you like.

Posted Thursday, February 9th, 2023 by Barry

X-Men Pizza Hut Marvel Collector’s Edition (1993) 1-4

Pre-heat the ovens or punch the buttons, but get that pie on the table for National Pizza Day.

Last year we discussed the Pizza Hut promo with Marvel Comics; more precisely the X-Men. We re-warming the same idea this year, but with new material.

Pizza Hut and Marvel proved a powerful pairing as they brought diners the Pizza Hut Super Savings Book featuring the X-Men. That only prepared the way for four, original 16-page X-Men comic books.

For the price of a personal pizza, diners received the free comic book.

The timing was no coincidence with the critically and commercially acclaimed X-Men animated feature airing on Fox Kids Network every Saturday morning beginning in October of 1992.

With Marvel’s mutant franchise on the rise, licensing was proving very lucrative. From the source comic books to the small screen and into the hands of eager youngsters with action figures and video games, the once stagnant title was proving a cash cow.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first created the X-Men in 1963. The book did little on the bookshelves and was relegated to reprints by decades end. Not until Len Wein and Dave Cockrum revamped the team title in 1975 did dividends begin to pay off.

Having introduced a new team in Giant-Size X-Men issue one, Wein stepped back allowing a young Chris Claremont to helm the book for the next 20 years.

In 1989, Pryde of the X-Men, an animated television pilot, aired on the Marvel Action Universe. It was not well received and plans for an animated X-Men series was ignored – until 1992.

By the time Marvel and Pizza Hut partnered, the series was airing in over 23 million homes.

Currently Pizza Hut has over 18,000 restaurants worldwide while Americans alone consume, on average, over four billion pizzas a year. That includes both pizzerias and the grocery-store, frozen variety. As related last year, that’s an average of 23 pounds of pizza per person in an annual basis.

To commemorate, order or warm up your pie of choice, then settle in to some X-Men goodness. Be sure to wash your hands so as not to get the pages greasy.


Posted Friday, February 3rd, 2023 by Barry

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

We’ve called on him before, and we’re doing it again today. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew are helping celebrate National Carrot Cake Day.

While carrots may seem an odd choice for cake flavoring, the confection has been around since the middle ages. It is believed carrots were selected as a sweet substitute for sugar. Most likely carrot cake was developed from a carrot pudding.

A carrot cake is a form of quick bread; a mixture of wet and dry ingredients done separately then combined. The finished product is coarser than a traditional cake. Cinnamon and nutmeg compliment the natural sweetness of carrots. Nuts and raisins are sometimes added.

Having offered more information on carrot cake then probably needed, let’s delve into the origins of Captain Carrot.

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (1982) 1

The Captain and crew were created by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw. They were given a 16-page tryout as a special insert in The New Teen Titans issue 16. A 20-issue series followed beginning the same year.

Superman discovered the parallel Earth, C, while investigating a ray causing the citizens of Metropolis to act like primates. While flying to the source of the ray, Superman encountered a barrier. The Man of Steel attempted to smash through with a meteor only to find he had skipped to another dimensional plain. There he found Earth C where fragments from the meteor caused members of that Earth to gain super powers.

Together they formed the Amazing Zoo Crew.

Various crises have caused the demise and rebirth of the characters over time. Their most recent reincarnation came in Final Crisis issue seven when Monitor Nix Uotan restored the Zoo Crew to their former selves.

Team members include Roger Rodney Rabbit. His alter ego is Captain Carrot. He gains his powers by consuming a cosmic carrot allowing his superpowers to last 24 hours.

Felina Furr, aka Alley-Kat-Abra who helps with her magic wand.

Peter Porkchops, aka Pig-Iron. A freak accident caused his skin to harden like steel.

Byrd Rentals, or Rubberduck, who is also known as the malleable mallard due to his stretching abilities.

Rova Barkitt, aka Yankee Poodle, can project a force beam consisting of stars.

Timmy Joe Terrapin, also known as Fastback, who can run at superfast speeds.

Chester Cheese, or Little Cheese. Cheese can shrink to atomic sizes

Johnny Jingo, aka The American Eagle. He has no super powers, but functions like Batman.

Though only 20 issues, Captain and crew earned a rogue’s gallery to rival Flash’s as well as Starro the Conqueror and Gorilla Grodd, both of Earth-One.

So, enjoy the day with a piece of cake, topped with a cheesy title.

Posted Thursday, January 12th, 2023 by Barry

Pep Comics (1940) 22

Another January 12 and another National Kiss a Ginger Day.

Today is the day to celebrate that two-percent of the population with the red tresses. The scant scarlet-haired few who turn our heads. Those Balkan/Central/Western European descendants that established the geographical and historical homeland of red-haired culture as National Today puts it.

In the past we’ve celebrated with Wally West and Mary Jane Watson/Parker. Today it’s the perennial teen, Archie Andrews.

Pep Comics (1940) 22

Archie made his first four-color appearance in Pep Comics (1940) issue 22. Pep Comics was originally the home of Golden Age masked men The Shield and The Comet.

Vic Bloom and Bob Montana introduced Archie to the world in December of 1941, the month that would live in infamy for another reason. Also, appearing for the first time were the nucleus of the Archie Comic Universe with Jughead and Betty Cooper.

By war’s end, the mystery men were becoming old hat and their teen roommate the star of the show. Issue 42 marked the changing of the guard as former headliners The Shield and Hangman stood in the background while the cover trumpeted Archie and his new-found fame.

Ownership changed from the former MLJ Publications to Archie Publications, another indication of Mr. Andrew’s popularity, with issue 57.

Over the years, Archie has appeared on radio and television as well as starring in a syndicated newspaper strip. His first TV appearance was The Archie Show in 1968 with The New Archies following in 1987, both animated series. His first live-action show was Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again in 1990.

He would return to the cartoon world in 1999 with Archie’s Weird Mysteries then live-action on The CW with Riverdale beginning in 2017.

So, with 70-plus years of source material, there are many ways to celebrate today in the four-color mold. If you choose to go beyond, here are a few suggestions: Kiss a ginger but, please do so with consent so we don’t have to refer to National Restraining Order Day. Another thought is to be kind to the redhead in your life or even pull out some other entertainment by those red-haired show people we enjoy.

However you celebrate, enjoy the day.

Posted Monday, January 9th, 2023 by Barry

The Incredible Hulk (1968) 183

For the Four Color Holiday faithful – if there are any – January 9 may sound familiar. We’ve been here before, first with Electro. Then, the following year we returned with Electro. And, again, in 2022 with Black Lightning.

To clarify, follow the links and see what we mean.

For the non-initiated, January 9 is National Static Electricity Day.

Spidey’s original and ultimate villains served their purpose to inaugurate today on the site. Now we’re ready to turn up the juice and showcase a new emcee, Zzzax.

Zzzax is an accident of pure electricity who can absorb and discharge powerful currents of electricity. His size and strength are determined by the amount of electrical current he currently has absorbed.

The Incredible Hulk (1968) 183

Since the brain is composed of electrical impulses – and creators Steve Englehart and Herb Trimpe wanted a dues ex machina of sorts – Zzzax can drain brain energy and claim the personality of the victim for a short period of time.

While originally a one-and-done character, Zzzax would return periodically in not only the Hulk’s titles, but to battle Luke Cage in his book, the West Coast Avengers and guest in Secret Wars II.

Zzzax would not remain rooted to the comic book universe, but appear on The Incredible Hulk animated series in the 1990s with a return in The Super Hero Squad Show series episode A Brat Walks Among Us. He would also appear on The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Avengers Assemble.

With the master of ceremonies introduced, its time to deal with the mechanics of the day. Static electricity is an imbalance of electrical charges on or within a material. The charge remains until one of two things happens; it’s able to move in the form of a current, or it’s able to be electrically discharged. This is different from current electricity that flows from one place to another through conductors or wiring.

To keep the shocking effects of the season to a minimum, use a humidifier in the winter and treat your carpet and use dryer sheets for upholstery.

While doing so, remember, static electricity can be used to temporarily power a light bulb. Vigorously rub a balloon on your hair for two minutes then hold a light bulb to the balloon.

Repeat until finished with Hulk 183. Or, your hair starts to fall out.

Posted Wednesday, January 4th, 2023 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 210

Welcome back for the second celebration of World Braille Day.

World Braille Day is held Jan. 4 each year recognizing the importance of braille as a way to communicate. The day reflects the birthday of its creator Louis Braille.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 210

Our host for the day is Cassandra Webb, aka Madam Web. Her first appearance predates National Braille Day by 39 years using the cover-dated Amazing Spider-Man 210.

The elderly clairvoyant and precognitive mutant suffers from myasthenia gravis leaving she attached to a life-giving chair resembling a spider web.

When Denny O’Neil and John Romita, Jr., first envisioned her, she was little more than an enigma helping Spider-Man with her visions. She proved popular enough after her inaugural appearance, and returned in Amazing Spider-Man 216 to help stop an assassination plot.

She was firmly entrenched in the Marvel Comic Universe by the two-part Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut in issues 229 and 230. During the short story arc, Spider-Man attempts to save Madam Web from the Juggernaut as he stomps through town.

In the end he finds he cannot and Web nearly kills her when the villain disconnects Web from her life support system.

Madam Web continues to live in the MCU making periodic appearances.

Outside of the printed page she guest-starred in Spider-Man: the Animated Series. She was voiced by Joan Lee, wife of Stan Lee.

For more information on the non-holiday, please refer to last year’s post with Deadpool’s Blind Al.

Posted Saturday, December 31st, 2022 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1960) 133

Amidst the crush of humanity in Times Square the Fantastic Four relate their tussled lives in soliloquy to themselves as they wait for the ball to drop. It’s New Year’s Eve in New York City and the fabled trio are trying to celebrate the event.


Fantastic Four (1960) 133 page one

Trying to ‘cuz the team is minus a founding member. More importantly the family is missing two members.

Susan Richards, the Invisible Girl, has left both team and family due to differences between she and husband Reed. Included in her departure is their son, Franklin.

Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, is forlorn over the loss of love Crystal as played out over previous issues.

Finally, Ben Grimm, the Thing, is torturing himself about his ability to be the man his girlfriend, Alicia Masters deserves.

Time is stopped as new Frightful Four member Thundra appears literally holding back the hands of time on the clock and interrupting their musings. As the crowd stares, she issues a challenge to Ben, demanding he meet her in battle in three days. To ensure he comes, she kidnaps Alicia.

The battle is anti-climatic as Reed cheats Thundra of her believed victory by turning Ben human. Faced with the having defeated a mere man, the seven-foot siren takes her leave. Alicia is released and the team moves on to their next adventure in issue 134, A Dragon Stalks the Skies!

Fantastic Four (1960) 133

Not the most satisfying of stories, but still a Bronze Age treat courtesy of Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Ramona Fradon and Joe Sinnott.

Time’s Square has been the focal point for a good portion of the United States as they ring in the New Year. The event has been held since 1907.The ball drop is reminiscent of the time balls used to help ship navigators verify the setting of their marine chronometers.

Bandleader Guy Lombardo and his band The Royal Canadians served as the original entertainment beginning in 1929. In 1956 they moved from radio to television, performing Auld Lang Syne at midnight.

Following Lombardo’s death Dick Clark became the new Father Time serving as New Year’s host for 32 years. A stroke sidelined Clark and morning talk show host Regis Philbin stepped in for 2005. Since then, Ryan Seacrest has emceed the television spectacle.

However, you celebrate, do it safely and responsibly so you and others will see the New Year through.

Have a happy one from Jeff and Barry.

Posted Monday, December 26th, 2022 by Barry

The Brave and the Bold (1955) 118

If you’re reading this, you’ve survived another Christmas.

There’s still the New Year to ring in, but today is Boxing Day.

Celebrated the day after Christmas, Boxing Day originated as a day to give to the poor. Since then, it has morphed into a shopping holiday.

Boxing Day is primarily celebrated in Great Britain, where it was birthed, and former colonies of the British empire and other parts of Europe including Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway and the Republic of Ireland.

As a shopping holiday, Boxing Day is recognized in the UK, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand. Sales are featured in many stores with dramatic savings offered.

Our boxing day has nothing to do with shopping or giving to the poor. Our boxing day features Batman and Wildcat duking it out in the square circle at the behest of the Joker.

So, we’re really boxing for Boxing Day.

The Brave and the Bold (1955) 118

The Brave and the Bold began in 1955 as an anthology comic book. The Silent Knight, Viking Prince, Golden Gladiator and Robin Hood were featured on a turnstile basis in the early issues.

The format changed to showcase new characters with issue 25. The Justice League of America debuted with issue 28. Following the team’s third appearance, they received their own title.

With issue 50, the book became a team-up title featuring mainly Batman and co-stars from the DCU. By issue 74 the Dark Knight was in the spotlight full time as he became the star.

Issue 118 sported the Caped Crusader along side Wildcat and the cover tag: “Co-Starring The Joker.”

To keep a former minion’s mouth shut, the Joker doses a prison with a highly infectious tropical disease. The antidote is in a very unlikely carrier. To save the host, Batman and Wildcat must battle to the death in The Best Man Must Die.

A great cover for a Bronze Age bore, but still worth a read. ‘Sides, in the hangover of Christmas no one really wants a lot of excitement anyway.