Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

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 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 Friday, December 23rd, 2022 by Barry

Spider-Man, Fire-Star and Iceman at the Dallas Ballet Nutcracker (1983)

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was in its third and final season when Marvel and the Dallas Times Herald teamed again for this mash up of Texas transgression.

Peter Parker and Bobby Drake have accompanied their soon-to-be former team mate, Angelica Jones, to her new home in Dallas, Texas.

While there, the trio decide to take in the Nutcracker as performed by the Dallas Ballet. Peter’s Spidey sense jangles as the three stand outside the theater. Investigating, they soon discover the nefarious plot to disrupt the performance by stealing the props.

Spider-Man, Fire-Star and Iceman at the Dallas Ballet Nutcracker (1983)

Daddy Longlegs, a mercifully one-and-done villain, is found to be responsible. His plan is dismantled by the threesome leaving Daddy Longlegs high and dry on an ice pillar.

Peter, Bobby and Angelica attend the performance which is spelled out by writer Jim Salicrup and illustrated by Jim Mooney.

This teaming of Marvel and the Dallas Times Herald was the last. Already they two had collaborated with a back-to-school edition (Pipeline Peril) and Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders- special (Southwest Showdown) featuring Spidey and the Hulk, Web Head and the Dallas Cowboys (Danger in Dallas) and Spider-Man on his own against the Kingpin (Christmas in Dallas).

The Dallas Times Herald suspended publications in 1991, officially closing its doors December 8 of that year.

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends aired from 1981 to 1983 on NBC Saturday mornings. It would continue in reruns for another two years.

In its second season, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends accompanied the Hulk cartoon billed as The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man. Stan Lee began narrating during the second year.

Season one featured 13 episodes, while season two only aired three – each featuring the origin of the three heroes – and the third and final season showcased eight new shows.

Amazing Friends became the launching pad for new mutant Angelica, known as Firestorm. She would debut in comic continuity in Uncanny X-Men 193 in 1985 followed by a four-issue mini-series.

Prior, a Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends one-shot was released in 1981. The book loosely adapted The Triumph of the Green Goblin animated episode. It is not considered part of the canonical legend.

The series opened the original MCU featuring an unprecedented cast of co- and guest stars including the Black Knight, the X-Men, Loki, Shocker, Shanna the She-Devil, Beetle, Mysterio, Red Skull, Thor, Magneto, Juggernaut, Sunfire, Captain America, Daredevil, Hulk, Iron Man, Namor, Doctor Strange, Dr. Doom, Chameleon, Electro, Green Goblin, Kingpin, Doctor Octopus and the Scorpion.

The Red Skull episode has been deleted from the Disney+ schedule due to the portrayal of Nazi swastikas and the phrase “Heil Hitler.”

The idea of Amazing Friends would be resurrected throughout the next few decades. In Spider-Man Family: Amazing Friends (2006) issue one, a back up story, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Co-Workers, was included for the 25th anniversary of the animated series.

Brian Michael Bendis gave the series a nod in Ultimate Spider-Man. The cover of issue 118 paired Spidey, Iceman and Firestorm. Rather than Angelica, Bendis used cast member Liz Allan.

So, unless a traditionalist, give the Nutcracker a pass and relax with some animated Marvel goodness.

Posted Saturday, November 26th, 2022 by Barry

Spider-Man Drakes Cakes Mini Comics Series 1 (1993)

So many holidays, so much food.

Coming on the heels of Thanksgiving and just in time for the confectionary crush of Christmas time is National Cake Day.

Cake originates from the Viking kake. While the word has remained relatively the same, the end result has differed. Originally, cake was a flat bread with a regular shape flipped to ensure both sides were baked evenly.

The first ever birthday cake dates back before 1785. The term referred to a cake gifted for a birthday.

It wasn’t until the 19th century cake became what we know it as today. Cakes could then be baked with extra refined white flour and baking powder instead of yeast. Buttercream frostings began replacing boiled icings with fruit toppings.

A history of National Cake Day is not as easy to find. All we know is its as good a (non) holiday as any. Better than others in that National Cake Day allows celebrants an excuse to enjoy a sweet pleasure they may have avoided that day.

Our comic book representation for the day is the four-issue mini offered by Drakes Cakes in 1993 starring a line up Marvels’ finest – and most popular at the time.

Drake’s Cakes are named after founder Newman E. Drake who started the company in 1896 in New York.

The National Biscuit Company, better known now as Nobisco, bought out the Drake bakery and referred to the bakery as the N.E. Drake Baking Co. The Drake’s Famous Loaf Cakes continued to sell under the brand name until 1902. The Drake Baking Company was dissolved in 1903.

Drake reestablished his business as the Drake Brothers Company in 1903 and had expanded to a five-story bakery in 1913.

The company remained a family business until 1998 when Interstate Bakeries Corporation purchased the brand. Drakes became part of a Bakeries line that included Hostess.

Hostess Brands Inc., formerly Interstate Bakeries, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. In April of 2013, McKee Foods purchased the Drake’s brand for $27.5 million, reintroducing the company’s top selling items the same year.

Amid the shuffling of ownership, Drake partnered with Marvel Comics to publish four mini-comic books (3”x5” and 16-pages long) featuring Spider-Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer, Jubilee and Wolverine. Together they faced off against the Rhino, Sabretooth, Juggernaut and Doctor Doom.

Titles included Spider-Man: Carnage on Campus, Wolverine: Danger on the Docks, Hulk: Mayhem at the Mount and Silver Surfer: Lunacy in Latveria.

Unlike many of the other promotional giveaways, these were free of product placement. Only the last page touted the remaining comic books in the series, courtesy of Drakes Snack Cakes! A one-page add for the product was featured on the back cover.

Posted Monday, October 24th, 2022 by Barry

Sylvan Learning Systems: Spider-Man Battles Ignorance (1992)

For those who aren’t in the know, Diwali is a real holiday; the largest and most important in India and one that may become part of the American tradition.

Diwali celebrates victory of light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. It is a five-day festival of lights usually celebrated in the fall.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced a bill – Deepavali Day Act (H.R. 5904) for Diwali to be recognized nationally as a federal holiday. Currently the bill to recognize the Hindu new year has over 30 sponsors.

Diwali has been celebrated for more than 2,500 years.

To celebrate, we’re offering up a Sylvan Learning Systems sponsored spin on battling ignorance – hence the title.

After our hero has his mind wiped by the Mad Thinker, he finds help at a Sylvan Learning Center. Spidey is served a heaping helping of propaganda from students and teacher as they restore his memory enough to tackle the second-rate villain.

Using what he’s learned at the center, Spider-Man is able to defeat the Thinker and return his missing memory. A final farewell and thank you to those who helped him, Spidey swings into the sunset.

This $1.25-valued comic book giveaway featured a self-aggrandizing learning franchise as written by George Caragonne with illustrations by Alan Kupperberg. Sylvan Learning began in 1979 focusing on corporate supplemental learning centers focusing on personalized instruction in reading, writing, math skills, study habits, homework support and test preparation.

Sylvan Learning Systems: Spider-Man Battles Ignorance (1992)

Posted Monday, September 12th, 2022 by Barry

National Video Game Day

Not to be confused with Video Game Day, National Video Game Day is held Sept. 12 each year allowing the armchair enthusiast their day in the sun – so to speak.

Most video game historians consider 1971 the dawn of video games. In 1971 Computer Space was released by Nutting Associates for the commercial market. Pong followed the next year, released for arcades by Atari.

Spider-Man for the Atari 2600

It was also the year Magnavox released the Odyssey video game system. Pong followed suit in 1976 with the home-system release of Pong.

In 1977 Atari unveiled the Atari Video Computer System. The system allowed for individual games to be stored on cartridges which could be interchanged enabling the system to play more than one game.

Not until 1985 did the floodgates open with the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Over the years video games and comic book characters have intermingled. One of the earliest is Spider-Man for the Atari 2600. Marvel’s loveable web head battled the Green Goblin on a paltry 6502 microprocessor with an anemic 128 bytes of RAM on the Stella graphics chip.

The game was released in 1982 by Parker Brothers for the 2600 and Sears clone, the Sears Video Arcade. Spidey webbed his way to the top of high rise while defusing the Goblin’s bombs.

Not exciting by today’s standards, but the game was a success.

As of this writing, the most recent Spider-Man video game is 2018’s action-adventure game by Insomniac Games. The PlayStation 4 exclusive sold 3.3-million units in its first three days of release, earning an estimated $198 million.

So, take time to remember the superhero games that have come before and enjoy a day of vintage or current punch outs and puzzles as your favorite hero tackles their toughest villains.

Posted Thursday, September 8th, 2022 by Barry

Summer Fun with the Marvel Super Heroes (1985)

Summer has about a month of life left on the calendar, so let’s celebrate with the Marvel heroes circa 1985.

Summer Fun with the Marvel Super Heroes (1985) courtesy of mycomicshop.com

This $.99 ready to colorize adventure was written by Suzanne Weyn with art by Steve Geiger and Phil Lord. Participants were invited to “read along” while adding life to the two-dimensional, monochrome 48-page tome. Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and – surprisingly – Black Cat headline the book.

This is a tamer version of summer fun than the Marvel Illustrated Swimsuit editions published from 1991 to 1995 featuring the curvier heroes and villains frolicking in the sun and surf in swimsuits.

Marvel chose to “imitate” the Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions, even going so far on the first offering as to use font and other features. Future editions would become more independent of the format.

Marvel was not the first to offer a fanboy’s fantasy. Fantagraphics Books published the Amazing Heroes Swimsuit issue beginning in 1987.

The Marvel line offered a theme for each issue. The first outing showcased the MCU during the Super Olympics held in the Savage Land. Subsequent issues placed characters in Wakanda for T’Challa’s engagement party. Issue two took place on Monster Island courtesy of Pip the Troll and the Infinity gems. Swimsuit Special three commemorated the Water Festival of the Inhumans on the Moon and the final installment was designed as a tourism boost for Madripoor.

The books were met with mixed reviews, but remembered. Enough so the title was rumored to be resurrected in 2015 only to be halted in the sketchbook phase. The Marvel Summer Special, aka Marvel Swimsuit Special, was actually solicited only to be cancelled in 2019. Marvel failed to offer a reason for yanking the project.

Whatever your feelings on the books, mainline some more Vitamin D before the days shorten much more.

Posted Monday, July 11th, 2022 by Barry

Marvel’s Collector’s Edition The Secret of the Power Crown! (1981)

It’s that time of year again, one of my favorite non-holidays. Today is July 11, aka 7-Eleven Day.

Today is the day we celebrate with a free brain freeze courtesy of their signature Slurpee.

Any longtime reader of this page will know my passion for those summer slushies sucked down on a hot mid-year day. We’ve discussed 7-Eleven’s history and partnership with DC and Marvel Comics at length in 2019, 2020 and last year.

This year we continue by looking at their relationship with Marvel Comics and the 1981 The Secret of The Power Crown! Featuring Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk and Spider-Woman for the good guys.

Marvel’s Collector’s Edition The Secret of the Power Crown! (1981)

The Enchantress, Wizard Rhino and Trapster make up the opposition.

This 36-page, full-size free comic book was a promotional collector’s item jam packed with punches, passion and product placement.

Peter Parker and Sue’s idyllic afternoon at the local 7-Eleven is interrupted by someone hijacking the Empire State Building in chapter one’s Mission of Gravity! The Wingless Wizard proves to be the unwitting dupe of the Enchantress who leaves him groveling for continued attention following the deed.

Paste Pot Pete, aka the Trapster, stars in Peril on the Potomac! in chapter two.

Captain America greets fans in front of a 7-Eleven near the Washington Monument. The Trapster as been entrusted to dig up a relic for the Enchantress. Like the previous chapter, Pete is left lonesome as the Asgardian turns her affections to the Rhino and the next chapter.

Spider-Woman stars in Shakedown! Set in sleepy San Francisco, the Rhino goes after artifact number two hidden in Alcatraz. The Hulk leaps in to help, ushering in chapter five, Beauty and the Beast!

As the name suggests, the Hulk falls under Enchantress’ spell, serves up the secret power crown now constructed of the resurfaced pieces and defends his mistress from both the heroes and villains who take umbrage for having been played fools.

After a heated battle, the Enchantress escapes while the bad guys are taken into custody. The heroes rendezvous at, where else, a 7-Eleven before going their separate ways.

To cool down after that red hot review, head down to your local 7-Eleven for that free Slurpee. Remember, things are little different now. To prevent people from taking advantage of the offer, participants will receive one, free coupon for a small Slurpee courtesy of their 7Rewards ap.

So, take it easy on the 95-year-old franchise that started convenience stores.

Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 by Barry

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

Doctor Doom does not appear this Holy Week as we lead up to Easter Sunday.

Well, just on the cover. What we’re interested in for this Spidey Super Stories issue nine is the back-up story, Spidey Fights the Funny Bunny!

Yes, complete with exclamation mark.

Actually, this book packs a punch for its 35-cent cover price. Readers receive 32 ad-free pages. Opening the book is …The Day of Doom! It closes with Guess What’s Coming to Dinner!

In between is our Easter tale.

Spidey, as seen on the Electric Company, learns of the evil Funny Bunny while reading the evening paper. Though Spidey is not privy to the corrupt cottontail’s origin, readers learn she was a “…nice, normal person…until a bully sat on her Easter Basket.”

Spidey Super Stories (1974) 9

So scarred was she that she, “…turned to a life of crime…stealing from kids’ Easter Baskets.”

Ol’ Web Head deduces her next move will be to ruin the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. Spider-Man takes a train to Washington D.C. where he apprehends the heinous hare and all ends well.

Spidey Super Stories was a four-color spin off of the live-action shorts of the same name airing on the Electric Company. The television version ran from 1974 to 1977 with 29 episodes.

The companion comic book ran from 1974 to 1982 with 57 issues aimed at the six- to 10-year olds. Jean Thomas and Jim Salicrup authored the books with art by Win Mortimer. Each comic was reviewed by the staff at Marvel and Children’s Television Workshop.

Today’s offering comes the day before Maundy Thursday, remembering Jesus’s last supper. This coming Friday is known as Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion. Holy Saturday follows and is the period between the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Easter is celebrated in a variety of ways by both those of the Christian faith and those outside the church. The first will largely choose to participate in church services on Easter Sunday while the later may be more comfortable sitting the sermon out and coloring eggs.

However you choose to commemorate, here’s an interesting fact. The Easter Bunny hails from medieval Germany. The Osterhase, or Easter Hare, became known for spreading about his colorful eggs in nests prepared by children. The tradition traveled to America with those now known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Join us Easter Sunday for a less enthused celebration. I know, ‘cuz I wrote that one first and it just didn’t come easy.

Posted Monday, April 4th, 2022 by Barry

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a reminder to those fortunate enough not to have been burdened by the tragedy of sexually abused children – 15 to 25 percent of all females and five to 15 percent of all males – Marvel Comics Group partnered with the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse and the NEA in 1987 to promote awareness.

Spider-Man and Power Pack each provide a message, Spidey’s more personal than the members of the supporting story.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Web Head’s timely intervention stops a babysitter from continuing a sick game of make believe. To ease the victim’s conscious, Spider-Man confesses a time when his alter ego suffered at the hands of an older boy.

Power Pack help a friend trying to run from the abuse dealt by her father and a world she fears won’t believe her.

Both stories are sappy and strong at the same time, seeking an audience at risk both first hand and as by standers.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is dedicated to raising the awareness of the crimes against law books and humanity. The plight was first recognized during the month of April in 1983.

To report abuse, call Darkness to Light’s Helpline, 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (https://www.d2l.org/get-help/reporting/ to be routed to resources within your community. Or, call the ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline:  1-800-4-A-CHILD.