Posts Tagged ‘Thing’

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 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 Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 by Barry

Franklin Richards Monster Mash (2007) 1

Franklin sets out to prove his classmates wrong in Ready, Steady, Yeti.

With H.E.R.B.I.E. in tow, the two teleport to Mount Everest. The quickly complete their mission, to find the Abominable Snowman. The results are not what either expected.

Intestinal distress releases a monster no one expected as Franklin tackles his Little Monster; it’s not as dirty as it sounds.

Franklin Richards Monster Mash (2007) 1

Franklin Richards Monster Mash (2007) 1

Not until help from an unexpected source intercedes does Franklin learn to control the forces insides him.

Ghost in the Machine is not only the best album by the Police, but the third story in the book.

Franklin uses one of his father’s machines to turn the tables on his doubting dad. The story quickly degenerates into a Casper clone complete with the Ghostly trio. In the end, it’s Franklin who learns the lesson.

Under the Bed has Franklin taking matters in hand, behind his father’s back. He and H.E.R.B.I.E. return an interdimensional monster back to its home.

Power Trip shows Franklin how dirty the super hero business can be at times.

Another fun trip into the world of the FF’s heir apparent.

Posted Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Bet ya didn’t know there was a National Beer Day.

Well, there is. National Beer Day is a perennially celebrated non-holiday to honor the Cullen-Harrison Act, which made beer legal even before Prohibition ended December 1933.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 86

If you’re so inclined, crack a cold one and enjoy the following synopsis for ‘Time Runs Like Sand,’ as maudlin a sounding title as the story that follows.

Sandman, aka Flint Marko, has not had a good day. A good month for that matter. Well, a good coupla years. Not since he and Hydro-Man, aka Morris “Morrie” Bench, merged to form Mud-Thing in Amazing Spider-Man 217.

A little radiation goes a long way and the two are able to disassociate their molecules. Each go their separate ways, Marko’s path leading to a local watering hole. The bartender recognizes his patron and contacts the Fantastic Four. As fate would have it, Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, answers.

Figuring the worst that can happen is he’ll get a cold beer out of the visit, Ben hops on his skycycle.

Rather than fight, the two former combatants share a few beers. Marko recalls his past and how it led him to his life of crime.

Kinda of a soap opera of an issue, but, deep down, aren’t they all?

Posted Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 by Barry

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Today is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day. That said, Willie Lumpkin is the most deserving master of ceremonies for the day in our universe.

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Fantastic Four (1961) 11

Willie was originally created by Stan Lee and Dan DeCarlo for a newspaper comic strip. Stan resurrected the character in Fantastic Four (1961) 11 in ‘A Visit With the Fantastic Four.’

Readers are treated to a more idyllic story as the famous foursome go about daily activities. They are greeted by Willie as he delivers a bag of fan mail. The short introduction ends with an offer by Mr. Lumpkin to join the team; his hidden power is the ability to wiggle his ears.

The mail carrier makes a final appearance in the last panel of the first story with an even larger bag of mail to be delivered.

Mr. Lumpkin would continue to make cameos in The Fantastic Four through the ensuing years. In 1989 Willie was given his own short in Marvel Comics Presents issue 18 in a parody of ‘A Christmas Carol.’

He would later become a beau of Aunt May Parker until one of her many perceived deaths.

After his retirement, Willie became a biology teacher for the Future Foundation with the FF.

In a touching tribute to his creation, Stan Lee portrayed the beleaguered mailman in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.

Posted Friday, January 31st, 2020 by Barry

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

Science tells us time travel doesn’t exist.

But, it does.

At least in our minds. Here’s a prime example.

The holidays may be over, but here’s a look – 39 years – back at “Marvel’s Big Money…,” well, just re-read the title of today’s offering.

This one hurts my heart a bit. This was the end of an era. This was the final full year we lived back home; Virginia.

No, I didn’t order from this ad. We were fortunate enough to have one of the early comic book shops in Winchester. If I couldn’t make it there – these were the days before a driver’s license – there were newsstands and a 7-Eleven within pedaling distance.

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

Mighty Marvel’s Big Money-Saving Holiday Offer!

When the advertisement first appeared, it was just another page to flip past for more action. Looking at it now, the wreath is a portal to a time when adventures came at $.40 (plus tax) right off a spin rack.

Less if you subscribed for a year. Just read the hype: “The first subscription costs $5 – A big $1 savings off the regular sub price of $6!”

Read a little further and you could have saved an additional dollar with each subsequent subscription.

Whatta bargain.

It might have been nice, but there was – and still is – a thrill that comes when you pick up your pull box stack or find one on the wall that calls out; looking at those lavish covers and being drawn into the story without turning a page.

Hope your holidays were wonderful and the memories made will be good ones in the years to come. Jan. 31, 1981, has come and gone; buried by a lotta years. But, we can still remember.

Posted Sunday, January 5th, 2020 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

As the nights continue to outlast the days adding to the hangover of the holidays, maybe a movie marathon or binge watching a series is in order. While the actors and directors receive the lion’s share of the credit, the screenwriters should not be shortchanged. To honor those wordsmiths, today was created as National Screenwriters Day.

Using a more static medium, Four Color Holidays will remember the writers with Marvel Two-in-One issue 46.

Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, proves his baby blues can turn as green as Kermit when it comes to his old nemesis the Hulk upstaging him. All this is courtesy of the Hulk’s new television series.

Hopping one of the many Fantasti-vehicles, Ben packs his bags and heads to Hollywood.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 46

The Thing isn’t the only one tuned in to the show. Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego, is also watching. Dismayed at having his inner demon taken advantage of, Banner (literally) Hulks out and bounds to Hollywood himself.

The two titans meet, have their obligatory battle, resolve any issues and ring down the curtain on another adventure.

To celebrate this day of storytellers, visit nationalscreenwritersday.com. Observers may also post to #NationalScreenwritersDay on social media.

National Screenwriters Day was founded by ScreenwritingU.com, the leading education source for screenwriters worldwide. Its purpose is to recognize the talents behind the scripts coming out of the television and film world.

Posted Friday, November 29th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Readers received a late Christmas gift with the first taste of John Byrne’s treatment of She-Hulk in this May 1989 dated issue of Marvel Comics Presents.

Cyclops and Black Panther took the first two-story slots, neither holiday stories, but the book closed on a holiday note.

“X-Mas Tease” is an eight-page treat veiled in a Christmas Eve telephone conversation with Ben Grimm. Readers are rewarded in the final panels as Shulkie unwraps her present from Marvel. Under the Spider-Man paper are advance copies of the first issue of The Sensational She-Hulk (1989).

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Willie Lumpkin, mailman to the Fantastic Four, plays an unsuspecting Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Card” for a spoof of A Christmas Carol.

Downsizing and carelessness has the ghost of Christmas past, present and future all rolled into one visiting the wrong address. Willie must relive the failures of his life until Christmas morning when he realizes the season is over rated.

Marvel Comics Presents ran from 1988 to 1995, 175 issues, featuring various storylines by different authors and artists. Each issue offered four story lines. It was revived in 2007 for a one-year return. A third volume started in 2019.

She-Hulk’s second volume tallied 60 issues with John Byrne at the helm for the first 50. The title proved very quirky as She-Hulk would break the fourth wall on a regular basis. Plots were equally whimsical.

Posted Thursday, September 12th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

As if video gamers needed an excuse to play games all day, here is another. While not a legitimate holiday, National Video Game Day does make the list of odd observances.

National Video Game Day is recognized on Sept. 12. This is not to be confused with the previous Video Game Day celebrated July 8.

For those ready to play, we’ll observe today with Marvel Two-in-One issue 98 from April of 1983. For those old enough to remember, that year was a high-water mark for the video game industry. In 1981 video games consumed more money than concerts, theater tickets and record sales. And, it only kept growing over the next few years.

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

Marvel Two-in-One (1974) 98

David Micheleinie commemorated the video game movement with “Vid Wars!” Ron Wilson penciled the project and Frank Giacoia inked the tale that co-stared Franklin Richards.

For those who may not remember, Marvel Two-in-One was a vanity vehicle for Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing.  Aunt Petuna’s favorite nephew would team with a fellow Marvel U resident each month. At least for 100 issues and seven annuals.

In this team up Ben is tired of his nephew thumping him in the arcades. As luck – and Michelinie – would have it Dr. Niles Given is seeking an audience with Reed Richards at the Baxter Building when the two return home. The good doctor has created a video game and he wants the endorsement of Dr. Richards. The story takes a darker turn when all involved are transported into a real game of life and death.

Much like Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One was ended to allow the Thing a solo series. It only lasted 36 issues while Spider-Man’s off-shoot following his team up book, Web of Spider-Man, proved much more popular lasting to issue 129.