Posted Monday, June 21st, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 172

Check the HMO and co-pay before strapping on the helmet and elbow and knee pads to celebrate the non-holiday du jour, Go Skateboarding Day.

Someone in the 1950’s decided it was a good idea to use a board braced with four wheels as a mode of transportation. Others decided it was a good idea to challenge gravity and hard surfaces by performing tricks on this same board.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 172

Years, and mounds of medical bills later, the skateboard is still considered a recreational device.

For those of us not accustomed to this primarily urban form of entertainment, maybe Spider-Man’s throw away villain was our initiation into skateboarding.

The first of two daredevils on wheels was Robert Ferrell. This Brooklyn, NY, native was the oldest of seven children forced to become the breadwinner after his mother became sick.

Ferrell ran afoul of both Spider-Man and powerful characters not above seeking revenge. The Web Head saves the day and finally convinces Ferrell to turn his back on his life of crime and go back to school.

He would return several times over the years, this time as a hero, before being replaced by Henry Sleeman. Sleeman would pose as Ferrell’s friend then steal the Rocket Racer gear. The second Racer’s career ended faster than it began.

Ferrell further appeared in an episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series. His origin was tweaked a bit and the story subtly changed for the different format, but was basically the same as his first appearance.

Now, if you’re still set on celebrating today, remember to wear the appropriate safety apparel. And, be careful.

Go Skateboarding Day was founded in 2004 by the International Association of Skateboard Companies in California. The first skateboards were stunted versions of surfboards with wheels. Over time they have been modified to accommodate the needs of users.

The once simple wish for mobility has morphed into a competition of sophisticated tricks and gravity defying leaps.

Posted Sunday, June 20th, 2021 by Barry

Tick Big Father’s Day Special (2000) 1

Happy Father’s Day, Tick.

Scarier words have been uttered, but not often. Enter, Kid Tick! doesn’t bring the Tick a biological child, but a ward. One that wishes death to Arthur.

Tick Big Father’s Day Special (2000) 1

Tick Big Father’s Day Special (2000) 1

Kid Tick comes without an origin, merely an obsession to be the Tick’s sidekick. The problem is, Tick already has one.

Not wishing to relinquish his title – or life – Arthur spends much of the story trying to convince the big-hearted hero he’s in danger. Arthur, that is. Not the Tick. The Tick is nigh-invulnerable.

Each time, the Tick takes his wayward ward back with the promise he’ll reform. There’s no real resolution by story’s end, but the promise of a finish that never comes.

Enough about the Tick’s life. Let’s talk about Father’s Day.

How about, it originated July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, WV. It’s the bookend to Mother’s Day, also created and first celebrated in West Virginia.

Grace Golden Clayton instituted the holiday as a way of mourning her deceased father who died in the Monongah Mining Disaster. The tragedy claimed the lives of 361 men, 250 of them fathers.

Harry C. Meek laid claim to creating the day in 1915. He chose the third Sunday in June because it was his birthday.  The holiday has stayed true to the date to this day.

Woodrow Wilson championed the day, but Congress did not pass a resolution. Calvin Coolidge was the next president to adopt the cause, but it wasn’t until President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a proclamation in 1966 that Father’s Day was officially recognized.

Whether it be a biological father or one who raised you, give them the attention and thanks they deserve.

Posted Thursday, June 17th, 2021 by Barry

Cherry Poptart (1982) 1

Depending on your sweet tooth, and maybe your cheat day, today, tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow is National Cherry Tart Day.

We’re gonna call it today. Or, as National Day Calendar recommends, make three of the desserts just to be on the safe side and go on a confectionary bender.

However, we do warn today’s Master of Ceremonies is for the adult collector in the audience. Cherry, or Cherry Poptart as she was originally known, is a promiscuous, perpetual 18-year old blond star of her own title. Her story plots are male fantasies brought to the page by creator Larry Welz. They have been likened to adult Archie Comics due in no small part to Welz’s simplistic drawings.

Cherry Poptart (1982) 1

Cherry first graced the black-and-white comic world in 1982, published by Last Gasp for the first 13 issues. Kitchen Sink Press picked up issues 14 and 15 and Welz self-published under Cherry Comics for the remainder of the series. The original run was 22 issues.

The title was changed to simply Cherry beginning with issue three. Kellogg’s threatened legal action due to its trademark on the Pop-Tart title.

In 1992, the series produced a spin-off, Cherry’s Jubilee, running four issues. A one-shot included a story by Sandman creator Neil Gaiman in Cherry Deluxe.

A collection of stories is also available.

The non-holiday’s origins aren’t as documented as our emcees’. The best we can do is offer some recipes and hope you enjoy your just desserts.

Posted Monday, June 14th, 2021 by Barry

Strawberry Shortcake (1985) 1

Bet you didn’t know – or care – there was a peak to strawberry season. Well, this is it. Today is the day. It’s also National Strawberry Shortcake Day.

June 14 has been designated by those in the know as the height of strawberry season. So, who better than Strawberry Shortcake herself to commemorate the day?

The fictional representation of the non-holiday dessert began as a cartoon greeting card character created by Barbi Sargent. With a good agent, Shortcake was able to branch into dolls and posters. Eventually, she broke into television with, first, specials then a series and even films.

Strawberry Shortcake (1985) 1

Her stock continued to rise courtesy of her self-aggrandizing Shortcake IP Holdings LLC.

In 1984 Marvel Comics Group came knocking. Under its Star Comic imprint, Shortcake crossed over into the comic book field in 1985. Stories were short and simple as evidenced in issue one. Shortcake, Huckleberry Pie and Blueberry Muffin enter a pie-baking contest. They learn in the second part of the story it is a ploy by the villainous – and alliterative – Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak.

Further, she would spawn a line of toys including a Berry Bake Shoppe, Garden House, Big Berry Trolley, etc.

Eventually her fame faltered and Shortcake merchandise was relegated to yard sales and Good Will. Yet, her star would shine again.

As the children who watched, read and played with Strawberry Shortcake in the early years matured, many started to rebuy those playthings from the past. She experienced a resurgence in the early part of the new millennium and, again, in 2009/10.

In 2018 DHX Media and WildBrain Studios rebooted the franchise yet again using YouTube as its stage.

Now, for the day itself, celebrate however you wish. Use it as an excuse to indulge in a number of guilty pleasures; both visceral and tangible. Provide proof by using #StrawberryShortCakeDay.

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 Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 by Barry

Justice League (1986) 1

Celebrate those closest to you with Best Friends Day.

Take time to cherish the people who are there for the best of times and the worst of times. The people – and, maybe pets – who you can count on no matter what. This is the day to reward that loyalty, remember the smiles and revel in the tears.

Representing the day are Ted Kord and Michael Carter, maybe better known as Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. The odd couple first met in Justice League (1986) issue one.

In the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC’s editors, writers and artists worked to piece the universe back together. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis teamed for concept and dialog chores. Kevin Maguire was the perfect choice for penciler and the quirky take on the tried and true super hero team took off.

Unlike so many comic books, the title gained speed as issue after issue rolled onto the comic book racks. Giffen and DeMatteis’s unique take added some much-needed humor to the DCU and served as a behind-the-scenes book of super heroing.

Justice League (1986) 1

Justice League (1986) 1

Two of the main jokesters, whether intentional on their part or not, proved to be Kord and Carter. Ted was a Charlton Comics re-tred updated for the times. Carter was 25th-century reject who stepped back in time to earn a reputation as a hero.

Together they became known as the “Blue and Gold” team. While serving their country and world, their main objective was to discover how to get rich quick. Their schemes escalated to the point where they “appropriated” League funds and purchased an island getaway.

Booster and Beetle would later join the short-lived Extreme Justice off-shoot of the Justice League, but eventually part ways.

They were rejoined in the 2003 Formerly Known as the Justice League reunion of Justice League International. That was followed up a year later with the six-issue story arc in JLA: Classified issues four through nine.

Both made separate guest appearances in the years that followed.

Beetle would be murdered by former employer, Maxwell Lord, in the 80-page special Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

Booster earned his own title following DC’s One Year Later. In it, he would become a time master with Rip Hunter. His heroics went – mostly – unnoticed during the venture.

One event Booster attempted time and again to mend was the untimely death of his dear friend, Beetle. Over and over he learned the hard, hard lesson some events are just meant to be and his friend could not be saved.

Giffen and DeMatteis’s five years, and subsequent returns, with their Justice League helped true comic book fans enjoy the medium as speculators began to infiltrate the hobby. Like Booster and Beetle, investors hoped to get-rich-quick by purchasing multiple issues of certain issues nearly sinking the industry.

These comic books would be a fine way to share Best Friends Day, by turning someone close to you on to these gems of books. They are as good today as they were in the waning 1980s and early 1990s.

Other ways to celebrate the day include pretty much any form of sharing and just spending quality time with that special someone or someones.

Posted Sunday, June 6th, 2021 by Barry

Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension (1994) 1

Officially, less than 332 drive-in theaters still exist.

That’s according to DriveInMovie.com. There are probably the errant strays here and there that are even more evasive than a real photograph of big foot. Now, the outdoor cinemas have gone the way of the buffalo. The once popular form of entertainment that have been gobbled up by greedy land speculators.

However, today we recognize the home of the former passion pits; the once new arena. Today is National Drive-In Movie Day.

The first of the new breed popped up in Camden, NJ, June 6, 1933. There were enough slots for 400 cars for the premiere showing of Wife Beware. At the height of its popularity in the late 1950s, an estimated 4,000 drive-ins had blossomed across America.

Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension (1994) 1

Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension (1994) 1

The largest of these claimed 29 acres, accommodating 2,500 vehicles while boasting a full-service restaurant with rooftop seating, a trolley system to ferry children and adults to a playground and a large indoor theater for bad weather evenings.

To remember these past pleasure centers, Predator: Invaders from the Fourth Dimension is today’s main feature. Fittingly enough, this 1994 retro-fitted story from the mid-Twentieth Century takes the readers to the drive-in.

Tommy and Richard Flynn star in this second-feature story. Tommy is the young protagonist adults don’t believe and Richard is the movie producer who cried monster one too many times.

It just so happens Tommy’s father has created a pair of novelty glasses designed to help movie audiences see into the fourth dimension.

Not really.

They’re a gimmick to get butts in theater seats as 1958 Hollywood vies for the entertainment dollar while television takes top tier in the living room.

Tommy receives a pair prior to heading out to investigate an explosion in the woods. These same glasses allow the young boy to see past the Predator’s reflective camouflage.

Tommy is able to steal a weapon from the Predator. A weapon the Predator wants returned.

The remainder of the book is one big chase scene with destruction strewn in Tommy and the Predator’s wake. Everything climaxes at the drive in where the real-life action mirrors that on the silver screen.

This is a fun read. Maybe as fun as going to a drive-in itself.

Of course, if you want to observe National Drive-In Day, the best way is to find one – good luck with that – and enjoy a movie under the stars. To locate your local drive-in, please consult DriveInMovie.com.

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 Monday, May 31st, 2021 by Barry

Help Superman Crush Nick O’Teen

World No Tobacco Day is observed around the globe every year on May 31, according to National Day Calendar. The day is designed to encourage 24 hours of abstinence from any form of tobacco.

Attention is also to be focused on the reported adverse health issues from extended tobacco use. Currently seven-million deaths are attributed to tobacco use a year; 480,000 of those are Americans. Another 890,000 deaths are said to be a result of second-hand smoke.

It is estimated over one-billion persons are regular tobacco users. An estimated 34.3 million are adult smokers in the United States. Those numbers are on the decline with 21 in 100 people used to be smokers.

West Virginia has the highest rates of smoking in the United States. The Mountain State is followed by Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Alaska. Broken down farther, 14 percent of the US smokes.

Superman has long loaned his name and likeness to many a cause of his long-lived career. This public service announcement is another reminder the fictional do-gooder is saving the world one person at a time.

World No Tobacco Day