Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

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 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 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.

Posted Saturday, March 20th, 2021 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 290

Peter Parker popped “the question” to Mary Jane Watson in Amazing Spider-Man 182.

And, how Four Color Holidays celebrated National Proposal Day last year.

Her answer was a resounding, “no.”

A decade later he asked again. Amazing Spider-Man 290, entitled “The Big Question,” left little for the reader to guess when it first hit comic book shops. David Michelinie and John Romita, Jr., shuffled Spidey around New York and the book as he wrestled with his inner turmoil.

Readers probably knew before Peter what he would be doing by the last page.

The Preserver proved a disposable villain as he introduced the tone of the tome. His plans to stop renovations to Times Square were short lived and the restless titular character moved on.

A visit to Aunt May’s sets Peter down a path to a new life. Deciding to share his travels, the Wall Crawler’s alter ego chooses to ask MJ for her hand in marriage again.

This time with different results.

The marriage would culminate in Amazing Spider-Man annual 21.

National Proposal Day is observed on both the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes, offering equal time to the sexes to ask the question. If a little shy, take the day to confirm your feelings. You can steel your nerves and ask in September when the second equinox rolls around.

The non-holiday was created by John Michael O’Louglin.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 290

Posted Saturday, January 9th, 2021 by Barry

Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) 12

Today is National Static Electricity Day.

This year we’re shaking things up a bit. Instead of using Spider-Man’s arch nemesis Electro like we did last year, we’re using Spider-Man’s arch nemesis Electro; more specifically Ultimate Spider-Man’s arch nemesis Ultimate Electro.

Personally, I didn’t wanna like Ultimate Spider-Man. I stayed away from the title. Finally, I played the 2005 Ultimate Spider-Man video game. On the GameCube. Still an underrated system.

But, I digress.

I played this game and fell in love with it. The mechanics and the storyline, it was so different from the previous video game offerings.

I had to know more about this character.

What better way than to go to the source material?

Most people would say they read them. I devoured them.

Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley were the perfect team. Their reimagining was just what we needed for the new millennium.

Rather than belabor a life twice lived, Bendis chose to remove Peter Parker from the Ultimate Universe by issue 200.

Oh, wait, we’re supposed to be talking about Electro. Okay, Electro was updated with bioengineered powers. His green and yellow suit was replaced. He continued to lose to Spider-Man.

As for the day, static electricity is observed for its unbalanced positive and negative electron charges.

Rather than discuss how to produce your own zap, the annoying tingle can be avoided by allowing for more humidity in the house during the dry days of winter. Moisturizing skin is another deterrent as is wearing natural fibers.

Beyond boning up on Electro, original or Ultimate, the day can be celebrated by exploring the ways static electricity is created. Have fun with that one.

 

Ultimate Spider-Man 12

Posted Thursday, December 31st, 2020 by Barry

Marvel New Year’s Eve (2017) 1

Top radio jock Charlamagne comes out at a New Year’s Eve party at Avenger’s Mansion.

 

Marvel New Year’s Eve (2017) 1

Do they still call it Avenger’s Mansion? It’s a tower now. Kinda like Wayne Tower back in the 1970s. Man, I’m old.

Anyway, this is a digital special send-off to 2016. As mentioned above, Charlamagne is everyone’s favorite DJ. Not sure if his show’s syndicated or not, but he has a lot of listeners. Important and influential listeners.

Not to mention some infamous ones as well.

This is where Charlamagne allows his mouth to write a check others wonder if he can cash.

The DJ has chosen Norman Osborne to talk about on the next-to-last-day-of-the-year. The super-villain-slash-CEO has threatened to move his last remaining factory overseas. Charlamagne is not a fan of the idea. Osborne is what he would consider a corporate pirate with greed his favorite color.

Calling Osborne out on the radio raises the hackles on the CEO’s neck. Enough so he and colleagues choose to crash the exclusive party Charlamagne is holding New Year’s Eve. The event is a charity fundraiser solicited by the best and most beautiful of the super hero and civilian set.

The surprise is, Charlamagne has been dosed with Terrigen Mist, freeing his hidden power. Not sure what that power is, but all the villains are left in a heap ready for deposit at the raft by Cap.

Gone are the days of Dick Clark counting down the ball drop on Times Square. If you can remember that time, join the old man club with me. Hope 2021 is better.

Posted Monday, December 21st, 2020 by Barry

A Merry-Marvel Season’s Greetings to One and All!

A seasonal greeting from the Marvel Universe.

They didn’t realize it at the time, but 1975 was a big year for Marvel. It was the year they would launch Giant-Size X-Men number one in May. If you don’t know what that is, please leave. Just go.

In July, Chris Claremont would take over writing chores on the X-Men. He would remain the head scribe and mutant curator for the next 17 years.

February 20 would prove to be a sad day for the Marvel faithful with the passing of Artie Simek. Born Jan. 6, 1916, the calligrapher would best be known for his lettering during the Silver Age of comics and birth of the Marvel Age. He was also responsible for helping design many of the logos.

The first Mighty Marvel Con was held March 22 through 24 at the Hotel Commodore in New York, NY.

New releases that year included The Defenders, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze, The Inhumans, The Invaders, Kull and the Barbarians, Marvel Feature, Marvel Presents, Marvel Preview, Masters of Terror, Skull the Slayer, Super-Villain Team-Up and Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction.

The tabloid-size pin-up is courtesy of Rich Buckler and John Romita and can be found on the backside of Marvel Treasury Edition 8. This is the second of the holiday trinity offered by Marvel.

A Merry-Marvel Season’s Greetings to One and All!

Posted Saturday, December 19th, 2020 by Barry

A Colorful Christmas from the Merry Marvel Bullpen

Marvel didn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate the season and spread cheer with their own, unique brand of Christmas wishes. They were just as brilliant in 1983 with a multitude of the Marvel U helping Santa Thing.

By this time, Jim Shooter was midway through his reign as the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men was starting to pay dividends with spin-offs appearing. Frank Miller’s Daredevil was received to financial and critical success. The first mini, Contest of Champions had launched and the Marvel-wide crossover, Secret Wars, was in the wings.

The Christmas card would be nearing its 500th year of existence, the first recorded document in 1611 from Michael Maier to James I of England and his son, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales.

In 1874, Prang and Mayer of England were the first printers to offer Christmas cards in America. Postcards eventually substituted, but by the 1920s, cards and envelopes experienced a renaissance and continue today.

Email can now be seen as a contributor to the decline in Christmas card exchange. However, the card business is far from extinct with nearly two billion sent every year.

A Colorful Christmas from the Merry Marvel Bullpen

Posted Monday, November 23rd, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Super Heroes: What the-? 99 Hulk Balloons

Heroes and villains vie for a chance to represent themselves and the Marvel U at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

 

Posted Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 by Barry

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

For a brief time in almost as brief a life, Timothy Harrison is given an opportunity to meet his hero.

Roger Stern writes a doubleheader in this issue, but it’s not “And He Strikes Like a Thunderball” that’s remembered. Cover story and second feature, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” is the focus of the book. It also makes a strong case for today’s observance:  National Tackle Kids Cancer Day.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 248

After reading a column in the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker/Spider-Man is made aware of a fan. While readers won’t learn the real reason for the rare visit till story’s end, we are able to enjoy the wide-eyed innocence of the fan and the bittersweet revelations made by the hero.

With an unprecedented gesture Spider-Man leaves his young fan to face another day. If one is granted. The final panels reveal Timothy has leukemia. His time is short.

Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. The American Cancer Society estimates leukemia will claim 22,840 lives this year. About three out of four leukemias among children and teens are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Most of the remaining cases are acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

For more information, log onto the ACS Web site.