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March 31

The first Atari Force comics, which only counted five issues, were created mainly to illustrate story lines for home console games being released by Atari, Inc. The minicomics were packed in with the games Defender, Berzerk, Star Raiders, Phoenix, and Galaxian. The original Atari Force was a team of humans from different nations using the multi-dimensional starship Scanner One to search for a new planet for humanity to inhabit as the Earth was facing ecological devastation. The team was handpicked by A.T.A.R.I. (Advanced Technology And Research Institute), and consisted of Martin Champion as mission commander, Lydia Perez as pilot and executive officer, Li-San O'Rourke as security officer, Mohandas Singh as flight engineer, and Dr. Lucas Orion as medical officer. A semi-sentient alien creature, named Hukka because of the noise he made, later joined as team mascot. The team debuted in Atari Force #1 (March 31, 1982).

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TURNING POINTS by Maggie Thompson

Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for April 1-7, 2022...

155 years ago April 2, 1867 Pioneering British comics artist and Punch contributor Charles H. Bennett dies at age 38.

140 years ago April 6, 1882 Artist and publisher Salvador Bartolozzi is born. The Spanish comic strip pioneer founds Pinocho and creates Pipo y Pipa.

135 years ago April 6, 1887 Newspaper cartoonist Ray Hoppman is born.

130 years ago April 4, 1892 Spanish artist Ramón Escaler creates an early comic strip with speech balloons. It’s published in La Semana Cómica.

120 years ago April 2, 1902 British artist Mike Hubbard is born. He works for Amalgamated Press and adapts such novels as Treasure Island into comics format. He assists on and then takes over the Jane comic strip.

120 years ago April 4, 1902 British cartoonist Brian White is born. He creates The Nipper for The Daily Mail and produces animated work, including contributions to Animal Farm.

120 years ago April 6, 1902 Simon Simple by Ed Carey begins in the New York World.

120 years ago April 6, 1902 Artist Wilson McCoy is born. He’s especially known for his work on the Phantom newspaper strip.

115 years ago April 2, 1907 Dutch artist Jacobus Grosman is born. He creates Gijsje Goochem.

115 years ago April 6, 1907 Award-winning magazine gag cartoonist Chon Day is born. He creates the Brother Sebastian panel for Look magazine.

115 years ago April 7, 1907 Belgian artist Jacques Laudy, one of the original artists for Tintin magazine, is born.

110 years ago April 5, 1912 Franco Caprioli is born. He draws Il Vittorioso, Toppolino, and Il Giornalino adventure stories and creates Gino e Piero.

105 years ago April 1, 1917 Sheldon Mayer is born. The artist, writer, and editor is instrumental in bringing Superman to Action Comics and creates Sugar and Spike, Scribbly, Black Orchid, and Three Mouseketeers.

105 years ago April 7, 1917 Dutch artist Ko Doncker dies one day after his 43rd birthday.

95 years ago April 4, 1927 Writer-artist-editor Joe Orlando is born. He begins his comics career at Fox but first attracts fan attention for his work for the EC line. After joining the DC staff, he is the 1976-1983 DC Universe executive editor.

95 years ago April 5, 1927 Italian artist Nicola Del Principe is born. He works on humorous and action comics for Alpe and Bianconi publishing houses.

90 years ago April 2, 1932 Artist Loron A. Taylor, known for the NEA Mom’n Pop strip, dies by suicide at age 32.

80 years ago April 1, 1942 Writer-artist Charles H. Wellington dies at age 58. He was known for his strip Pa’s Imported Son-in-Law (which became That Son-in-Law of Pa’s, then Pa’s Son-in-Law).

80 years ago April 5, 1942 Award-winning Spanish artist Enric Sió is born. He creates Mara and creates and edits La Oca.

75 years ago April 1, 1947 Artist Crawford Young dies six days after his 61st birthday. He created the strips Clarence and Pearl Button.

75 years ago April 3, 1947 The Flemish comics magazine ’tKapoentje begins.

70 years ago April 3, 1952 Writer-artist F. Newton (“Butch”) Burcham is born.

70 years ago April 3, 1952 House Representatives E.C. Gathings of Arkansas and Edward H. Rees of Kansas sponsor House Resolutions 596 and 597 calling for an investigation of “offensive” and “undesirable” comic books and magazines.

70 years ago April 7, 1952 Artist Jacques Boivin is born. He is best known for Melody, written by Sylvie Rancourt.

65 years ago April 3, 1957 Mark Nevelow is born. He edits DC’s Piranha Press output including Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, Epicurus the Sage, and Why I Hate Saturn.

65 years ago April 3, 1957 Yves Chaland is born. The French artist representative of the retro “atomic style” produces Bob Fish, John Bravo, Adolphus Claar, and Freddy Lombard.

65 years ago April 5, 1957 Writer Roger A. Brown is born.

65 years ago April 7, 1957 Artist Larry Nadolsky is born.

55 years ago April 1, 1967 Billy the Cat and Katie by David Sutherland begins in The Beano #1289.

55 years ago April 4, 1967 Charles Schulz’ Peanuts introduces Woodstock, who becomes Snoopy’s sidekick and will be given a name three years later.

40 years ago April 2, 1982 Swedish artist Birger Malmborg dies at age 72. He created the Götlund comic strip.

35 years ago April 1, 1987 Following work as the Capital City Florida warehouse manager, Lou Bank begins work as Marvel’s assistant direct sales manager.

30 years ago April 6, 1992 Science popularizer and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov dies of heart and kidney failure at age 72. He created The Three Laws of Robotics, used by countless science fiction writers who followed.

30 years ago April 7, 1992 Art Spiegelman wins a special Pulitzer Prize for Maus.

25 years ago April 4, 1997 Artist Billy Graham dies at age 61. He worked for Warren (eventually as art director) and then for Marvel, where he helped create Luke Cage. He worked with Don McGregor on Black Panther and Sabre.

20 years ago April 2, 2002 Australian artist Stanley Pitt dies at age 77. In addition to his Australian comics contributions, his science fiction and fantasy work appeared in such DC comics as The Witching Hour and such Gold Key series as Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery and The Twilight Zone.

20 years ago April 4, 2002 Italian artist Camillo Zuffi dies 15 days before his 90th birthday. He co-created Il Piccolo Sceriffo with Tristiano Torelli.

15 years ago April 5, 2007 Bryon Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland graphic novel is released.

15 years ago April 7, 2007 Johnny Hart dies of a stroke at age 76. He created B.C. and (with Brant Parker) co-created The Wizard of Id.

And here are the anniversaries spanning the month of April…

85 years ago April 1937 With Ace Comics #1, David McKay Publications brings Blondie, Jungle Jim, Krazy Kat, and more to comic book anthology form.

80 years ago April 1942 Marvel’s Joker Comics #1 introduces Basil Wolverton’s Powerhouse Pepper.

80 years ago April 1942 The cover of Lev Gleason’s Boy Comics #3 (which is, yes, the first issue) boasts, “We give you The Crimebuster created by Charles Biro and Bob Wood, who gave you Daredevil Comics! Remember we did it first!” It also introduces Bombshell, but CB turns out to be a major kid hero for the line – especially in conflict with Iron Jaw, who’s also introduced.

80 years ago April 1942 “Introducing The Newsboy Legion with The Guardian!” is DC’s Star Spangled Comics #7. The story is by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and their kid team consists of Big Words, Gabby, Scrapper, and Tommy Thompkins. (Also introduced in the issue: Robotman by Jerry Siegel, Leo Nowak, and Paul Cassidy.)

80 years ago April 1942 The super-heroic cover reminds us to “Remember Pearl Harbor!” But it should also be noted that Archie’s Pep Comics #26 is the first time we meet Veronica Lodge, created by Bob Montana.

70 years ago April 1952 Yeah, there were only two issues of Harvey Comics Library. Why didn’t it catch on? After all, this month’s #1 cover-features “Teen-Age Dope Slaves”! (Hey, wait a minute, in tiny type, it also says, “As exposed by Rex Morgan, M.D.” So … Licensed strip reprints, maybe? Strip writer is Nicholas P. Dallis, and artists are Marvin Bradley and John Frank Edgington.)

60 years ago April 1962 In “The Kookie Super-Ape,” DC’s Adventure Comics #295 introduces Bizarro-Titano. (He am using blue kryptonite vision in a story by Jerry Siegel and John Forte.)

55 years ago April 1967 Lightning Comics’ Fatman the Human Flying Saucer #1 introduces Fatman (“the only comic hero with 3 identities”), created by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck.

55 years ago April 1967 Yeah, yeah, yeah, the cover of Marvel’s Tales to Astonish #90 features Sub-Mariner, Byrrah, and other characters from the Sub-Mariner story. But it’s “The Abomination!” Hulk story by Stan Lee and Gil Kane that introduces (you guessed it!) The Abomination.

55 years ago April 1967 “Birds of a feather fight together!” Gold Key’s The Owl #1 reintroduces the Crackajack Funnies character in a story by Jerry Siegel and Tom Gill. Admittedly, the series lasts only two issues.

50 years ago April 1972 DC begins publishing Tarzan with #207, acquired from Western/Gold Key. Book One of “Origin of the Ape-Man” (based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel) is edited, written, and illustrated by Joe Kubert.

50 years ago April 1972 DC suspends Green Lantern with #89. (It’ll be back, but not for more than four years.)

50 years ago April 1972 Bill DuBay is named Warren magazines’ art director and production manager.

50 years ago April 1972 Marvel’s Tomb of Dracula begins with a story written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas and drawn by Gene Colan.

50 years ago April 1972 “Tomorrow’s superhero … today!” Marvel Premiere #1 features The Power of … Warlock. Mind you, the character was officially known as “Him” when introduced nearly five years earlier. Nevertheless, he’s back and revamped. The story is by Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, and Dan Adkins.

45 years ago April 1977 Heavy Metal from the publishers of National Lampoon begins the U.S. version of Métal Hurlant.

45 years ago April 1977 He’s “DC’s boldest new superhero!” In the “Thunderous origin issue!” Black Lightning #1 introduces Black Lightning by Tony Isabella, Trevor Von Eeden, and Frank Springer. (It also introduces Peter Gambi.)

45 years ago April 1977 Marvel cancels Two-Gun Kid with #136 and Marvel Spotlight with #33.

45 years ago April 1977 Rip Off Press introduces Rip Off Comix.

40 years ago April 1982 “Bullseye vs. Elektra One wins. One dies.” OK, we know what happens in Marvel’s Daredevil #181, right? No spoilers here, but you can guess. “Last Hand” is by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson.

35 years ago April 1987 Archie ends Laugh Comics with #400 and Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica with #347. (The cover of Archie’s Girls says, “The last issue!!! … Or is it?” The answer is yes.)

35 years ago April 1987 Paul Chadwick’s Concrete series begins from Dark Horse. (It will win a Harvey Award and five Eisner Awards.)

35 years ago April 1987 Fantagraphics publishes Carol Lay’s Good Girls #1.

35 years ago April 1987 Sorry, completists! Capital City Distribution announces that to buy one copy of each black and white and color comic book in April will cost $376.55.

35 years ago April 1987 “One moment of anger … and their lives are changed forever!” Marvel’s Fallen Angels #1 by Jo Duffy, Kerry Gammill, and Tom Palmer is the start of a limited series.

35 years ago April 1987 Look who’s here! DC’s Spectre #1 brings the character (who was introduced in More Fun Comics #52 (February 1940)) back yet again, this time for vengeance. “Vessels” is by Doug Moench, Gene Colan, and Steve Mitchell – and introduces Kim Liang as a supporting character.

35 years ago April 1987 Star Blazers comes to comic books via Comico, complete with a summary of the first two seasons of the anime. “S.O.S. Argo” is by Phil Foglio, Doug Rice, and Mike Chen.

30 years ago April 1992 DC cancels Starman with #45.

30 years ago April 1992 Xenozoic Tales #12 from Kitchen Sink features “Two Cities” by writer-artist Mark Schultz. It will win the Eisner Award for best Short Story of the year.

30 years ago April 1992 “At last! The spawn of Venom!” (Yeah, not that Spawn; that’ll come next month from Image. This is the Marvel spawn. Of Venom.) Cletus Kasady becomes Carnage in “Savage Genesis” by David Michelinie, Mark Bagley, and Randy Emberlin in The Amazing Spider-Man #361.

30 years ago April 1992 Woo hoo! “1st issue collectors’ item! Unleashing the power!” With Cage #1, “Marvel’s hottest action hero returns!” Which is to say, it’s not an introduction, but you knew that already, right? “The Drowning Man” is by Marc McLaurin, Dwayne Turner, and Chris Ivy. It’s a new set-up with Luke Cage working for a Chicago newspaper.

30 years ago April 1992 OK, sure, we got a peek at the super-team in Megaton: Explosion in 1987, but now Rob Liefeld’s gang gets its own Image series (with dialogue by Hank Kanalz), starting with Youngblood #1.

25 years ago April 1997 Marvel cancels Punisher with #18. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last; noted anyway.

25 years ago April 1997 Archie’s Cheryl and Jason Blossom were introduced in Archie’s Girls Betty and Veronica #320 and Jughead #325 (October 1982), and she got a three-issue showcase in 1995. Now, Cheryl Blossom #1 marks the start of her very own series.

25 years ago April 1997 “From the pages of Starman by James Robinson and Gene Ha,” it’s DC’s The Shade #1 featuring “A Family Affair: Piers 1838.”

25 years ago April 1997 “Discover the shocking secret behind Marvel’s newest champions!” Thunderbolts #1 provides “double-sized debut excitement.” “Justice … like Lightning!” is by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, and Vince Russell and introduces Dallas Riordan and Hallie Takahama. (The team first appeared earlier in the year, but this issue reveals stuff. Spoilers!)

20 years ago April 2002 DC’s Batman #600 features the first part of “Bruce Wayne: Fugitive” by Ed Brubaker, Scott McDaniel, and Andy Owens. (The second installment of the story (by Greg Rucka, Steve Lieber, and Mick Gray) will be in Detective Comics #768 (May 2002).)

15 years ago April 2007 Marvel’s Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1 brings the Stephen King character to comics in a story by King, Robin Furth, Peter David, and Jae Lee.

15 years ago April 2007 Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #1 begins “an all-new Shazam adventure by the award-winning creator of Bone!” Jeff Smith’s version of Fawcett’s Captain Marvel comes from DC.

10 years ago April 2012 Resident Alien #0 from Dark Horse is by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. (Note: It includes material that appeared in the September 2011 Dark Horse Presents #4.) Alan Tudyk will eventually star as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle in the TV series.

10 years ago April 2012 He was introduced in Archie’s Veronica #202 (November 2010), created by Dan Parent, and now he gets his own ongoing series! Kevin Keller #1 replaces Veronica (and carries the statement of ownership for that series).

10 years ago April 2012 Let’s face it: Marvel’s Winter Soldier #1 and #2 don’t introduce Bucky Barnes, nor are they even the first issues of a Marvel comic book with “Winter Soldier” in the title. Nonetheless, they kick off a Winter Soldier series with a story by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice.

5 years ago April 2017 Included in a bunch of DC Universe “Rebirth” releases, Super Sons begins. “When I Grow Up” is by Peter J. Tomasi and Jorge Jimenez.

5 years ago April 2017 Archie titles it Riverdale, One-Shot – and that’s what it is. Stories feature Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead.

5 years ago April 2017 Marvel releases some first issues with variant covers. There’s Kingpin #1, with Wilson Fisk asking Sarah Dewey to write his biography. (“Born Against” is by Matthew Rosenberg and Ben Torres.) And Bullseye #1. And Elektra #1. And Star Wars: Darth Maul #1. Collect them all!
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April 1

The Golden Age of Comic Books describes an era of American comic books from the late 1930s to circa 1950. During this time, modern comic books were first published and rapidly increased in popularity. The superhero archetype was created and many well-known characters were introduced. The first recorded use of the term “Golden Age” was by Richard A. Lupoff in an article, “Re-Birth”, published in the first issue of Fanzine’s Comic Art on April 1, 1960. An event cited by many as marking the beginning of the Golden Age was the 1938 debut of Superman in Action Comics #1, Superman’s popularity helped make comic books a major arm of publishing, which led rival companies to create superheroes of their own to emulate Superman’s success. Although DC and Timely (Marvel) characters are well-remembered today, circulation figures suggest that the best-selling superhero title of the era was Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel with sales of about 1.4 million copies per issue. The comic was published biweekly at one point to capitalize on its popularity. As comic books grew in popularity, publishers began launching titles that expanded into a variety of genres. Dell Comics’ non-superhero characters outsold the superhero comics of the day. The publisher featured licensed movie and literary characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Roy Rogers and Tarzan. Additionally, MLJ’s introduction of Archie Andrews in Pep Comics #22 gave rise to teen humor comics, with the Archie Andrews character remaining in print well into the 21st century.

Swamp Thing first appeared in House of Secrets #92 (April 1, 1971), under the name Alex Olsen. The comic is set in the early 20th century, when Olsen, a scientist, is caught in a lab explosion caused by his co-worker, Damian Ridge, who intended to kill him to gain the hand of Olsen’s wife Linda. Olsen is physically altered by chemicals and the forces within the swamp. He is transformed into a monstrous creature who kills Ridge before the latter can murder Linda, who has started to suspect Ridge of murdering Alex. Unable to make Linda realize his true identity, he returns to the swamp. After the success of the short story in the House of Secrets comic, the original creators were asked to write an ongoing series, depicting a more heroic, more contemporary creature. Len Wein came up with the idea for the character while riding a subway in Queens. He later recalled, “I didn’t have a title for it, so I kept referring to it as ‘that swamp thing I’m working on.’ And that’s how it got its name!”

Storm first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (April 1, 1975). Storm’s mother, N'Dare, was the princess of a tribe in Kenya and descended from a long line of African witch-priestesses with white hair, blue eyes, and a natural gift for sorcery. N'Dare falls in love with and marries American photojournalist David Munroe. They move to Harlem in uptown New York City, where Ororo is born. They later moved to Egypt and lived there until they die during the Suez Crisis in a botched aircraft attack, leaving six-year-old Ororo as an orphan. Her violent claustrophobia is established as a result of being buried under tons of rubble after that attack. She becomes a skilled thief in Cairo under the benign Achmed el-Gibar and wanders into the Serengeti as a young woman. She is worshipped as a goddess when her powers appear before being recruited by Professor X for the X-Men. Storm is one of the most powerful mutants on Earth and has demonstrated a plethora of abilities, most of which are facets of her power to manipulate the weather.

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I'm slackin' off here lol!

April 2

Oumpah-pah le Peau-Rouge (Ompa-pa the Redskin) features the adventures of Ompa-pa, a Native American of the Flatfeet tribe, and his friend, the French officer Hubert Brussels Sprout, whom Ompa-pa calls Two-scalp, a reference to his wig. The series is set in the eighteenth century during the age of French colonization in America. Ompa-pa is strong and quick, and loves to eat pemmican. He is an honest and trustworthy brave. Hubert Brussels Sprout, whom the Flatfeet initially hold as a prisoner, subsequently serves as a mediator between the Europeans and the Native Americans, and is also an ally against the tribe known as the Sockitoomee, the sworn enemies of the Flatfeet. Ompa-pa was the very first character created by Uderzo and Goscinny, but initially failed to raise the interest of any publisher. The idea remained shelved for several years until the concept was adapted for publication in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Tintin. The finished series made its debut on April 2, 1958.

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April 3

Uncle Sam first appeared in National Comics #1 (April 3, 1940), which was published by Quality Comics. He was depicted as a mystical being who was originally the spirit of a slain patriotic soldier from the American Revolutionary War, and who now appears in the world whenever his country needs him. DC Comics acquired the character as part of its acquisition of the Quality characters in the 1950s, and he was used as a supporting character in Justice League of America in the 1970s. This established Uncle Sam as the leader of the Freedom Fighters, a team of former Quality characters that briefly received its own title. This team was initially based on a parallel world called Earth-X, where World War II had lasted into the 1970s.

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April 4

DC’s first “gorilla themed” cover was featured on Strange Adventures #8 (April 4, 1951). Les Daniels’ book, DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes explains this phenomenon: The eighth issue of Strange Adventures achieved some sort of cult status. The cover showed a gorilla in a zoo holding up a slate that read, “Please believe me! I am the victim of a terrible scientific experiment!” This “Incredible Story of an Ape with a Human Brain” had strong sales, and [DC editor, Julius] Schwartz recalls that “Irwin Donenfeld called me in and said we should try it again. Finally all the editors wanted to use gorilla covers, and he said no more than one a month.” While some believe that Julius Schwartz’s story of the “one gorilla a month” and the gorilla make sales rules may be an urban legend, there is no doubt that there are a lot of gorillas to be found on the covers of comics published in this era.

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April 5

Aquaria Nautica Neptunia was nicknamed “Namora” in honor of her cousin Namor. Like Namor, she is a hybrid mutant with superhuman strength and the power of flight by using the wings on her ankles. When her father was killed by treasure-hunting surface-dwellers, she fully changed her name to Namora, the Atlantean term for “Avenging Daughter”, as Namor means “Avenging Son”. She was Namor’s cousin, and became his companion for a period of several years. Namora first appeared in Marvel Mystery Comics #82 (April 5,1947).

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April 6

Mon-El was an explorer from Daxam who had landed on Krypton, where Jor-El warned him of the planet’s imminent destruction and gave him a map to Earth. He suffered amnesia upon landing on Earth, where he met Superboy. As he gained powers like Superboy, the hero concluded that he was a long-lost brother. He adopted a human secret identity (Bob Cobb) to integrate into Superboy’s hometown of Smallville. However the character was then shown to be immune to kryptonite, which is radioactively poisonous to all Kryptonians. Believing that Mon-El has been deceiving him, Superboy tries to trick him with a fake kryptonite meteor made of lead, which turns out to be Mon-El’s one weakness. Furthermore, exposure to lead is irreversibly fatal to Daxamites, which Mon-El explains, having regained his memory. Guilt-ridden over inadvertently poisoning him, Superboy saves his life by sending him to the extradimensional Phantom Zone, where he would be able to observe things happening in the outside world, but as a phantom would not age and his lead poisoning would not progress. He first appeared in Superboy #89 (April 6, 1961).

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April 7

Catalyst is a covert agent for Cornelius/Krieg, the world’s largest multi-national pharmaceutical corporation. The product of illicit experimentation in top secret genetic and chemical labs hidden beneath Cornelius/Krieg’s research centre no.5 on the French Riviera, Catalyst’s first assignment was to kidnap Dr. Jeremiah Duncan, chief chemist for Kord Omniversal Research and Development Inc., the company owned by Ted Kord. Catalyst is a living drug arsenal, capable of inducing the effects of any drug he wishes in the body of anyone he touches, including himself. Catalyst first appeared in Blue Beetle #14 (April 7, 1987).

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April 8

Doomsday + 1 originally ran six issues with #1 released on April 8, 1975. The series was created by writer Joe Gill and penciler-inker John Byrne for Charlton Comics. Byrne, who also served as letterer, used the pseudonym “Byrne Robotics”. Stories ran 22 to 23 pages, with most issues also containing a two-page text backup — either a story featuring the main characters or a non-fiction featurette. The series takes place in a near future in which a South American despot named Rykos launches his sole two atomic missiles on New York City in the U.S. and Moscow in the U.S.S.R. The two superpowers, each believing the other has launched a first strike, retaliate. By the time American president Cole and a Russian premier with the first name Mikhail have realized their errors, their fully automated nuclear-missile systems can not be countermanded. Only hours before the apocalypse begins, a Saturn VI rocket launches bearing three astronauts: Captain Boyd Ellis, United States Air Force; his fiancée, Jill Malden; and Japanese physicist Ikei Yashida. Weeks later, after the post-apocalyptic radiation has subsided to safe levels, their space capsule lands upon a melting Greenland ice field, where the three ally themselves with Kuno, a 3rd-century Goth revived from his ice-encased suspended animation. The four encounter a Russian scientist/cyborg in Canada, where they commandeer a futuristic jet plane; undersea dwellers; and brutish U.S. military survivors, among others.

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TURNING POINTS by Maggie Thompson

Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for April 8-14, 2022...

175 years ago April 10, 1847 Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer is born. He launches Sunday comics and is a force in the rise of the comics industry.

160 years ago April 14, 1862 Japanese artist and caricaturist Kuniyoshi Utagawa dies at age 65.

110 years ago April 11, 1912 Artist Fred Meagher is born. He draws Straight Arrow and other Western comics.

105 years ago April 9, 1917 Publisher, editor, and writer-artist Rolf Kauka is born. He is best known for Fix and Foxi.

100 years ago April 9, 1922 Prolific Belgian artist Albert Weinberg is born. He becomes a knight in the Order of Leopold in 1991.

100 years ago April 14, 1922 New Yorker cartoonist Dana Fradon is born. He contributed nearly 1,400 cartoons there, produced a children’s book series on medieval history, and freelanced to other magazines.

95 years ago April 10, 1927 Animator and artist Brumsic Brandon Jr. is born. He creates the Luther comic strip, featuring Black protagonists.

95 years ago April 12, 1927 Spanish writer-artist Victor de la Fuente is born. He draws for Dell and Warren and creates Haxtur.

95 years ago April 14, 1927 Artist and teacher Jim Seed is born. His comic strip work includes Dr. Guy Bennett and Jane Arden.

85 years ago April 12, 1937 Spanish-Cuban animator and artist Eduardo Muñoz Bachs is born. He’s known for art on El Cuento.

75 years ago April 11, 1947 Peyo’s Johan feature begins in La Dernière Heure.

75 years ago April 14, 1947 Grandma by Charles Kuhn begins.

70 years ago April 14, 1952 New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey vetoes the legislature’s proposed amendment of Section 1141 of the Penal Law, which forbids fiction of “crime, bloodshed, lust or heinous acts, which tend to incite minors to violent or depraved or immoral acts.”

65 years ago April 8, 1957 Tintin magazine introduces Prudence Petitpas.

65 years ago April 10, 1957 Writer James D. Hudnall is born. He works as Eclipse marketing director and begins his creative career with ESPers.

65 years ago April 14, 1957 British artist Will Owen dies at age 87 or 88.

60 years ago April 10, 1962 Vortex publisher Bill Marks is born.

55 years ago April 9, 1967 Writer-artist John Drury is born.

55 years ago April 10, 1967 Valiant Entertainment writer and senior editor David Wohl is born.

50 years ago April 12, 1972 Artist and film director Troy Nixey is born.

45 years ago April 8, 1977 Prolific French artist Jean Cézard dies at age 53. He was especially known for Arthur le Fantôme, which ran in Vaillant.

45 years ago April 9, 1977 Writer Gerard Way is born. He co-creates The Umbrella Academy with artist Gabriel Bá.

40 years ago April 13, 1982 Artist Sam Glankoff dies at age 87. He worked with Funnies Inc. studios and was head artist for Parents’ Magazine Press.

35 years ago April 13, 1987 Artist Joe Colquhoun dies of a heart attack at age 60. He was especially known for his work on Charley’s War.

25 years ago April 11, 1997 Danish artist and teacher Helge Kühn-Nielsen dies at age 76.

20 years ago April 11, 2002 Spanish artist Jaime Juez Castellà (who worked as “Xirinius”) dies at age 95.

5 years ago April 9, 2017 Writer-artist-editor Carolyn Kelly dies of cancer at age 71. Walt Kelly’s daughter worked on the animated TV series Channel Umptee-3, and her projects included designing collections of her father’s Pogo strip.

5 years ago April 10, 2017 Dutch artist Chris Roodbeen dies one week after his 87th birthday.
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April 9

Otto Octavius had a turbulent upbringing. His father was abusive and violent towards both Otto and his mother. Otto was determined not to become like his father and threw all his efforts into his education, regularly scoring top marks. Otto became a brilliant and respected nuclear physicist, atomic research consultant, inventor, and lecturer. He designed a set of highly advanced mechanical arms controlled via a brain–computer interface to assist him with his research into atomic physics. The tentacle arms were resistant to radiation and were capable of great strength and highly precise movement, attached to a harness that fit around his body. During an accidental radiation leak that ended in an explosion, the apparatus became fused to Otto Octavius’s body. It was later revealed that the radiation had mutated his brain so that he could control the movement of the arms using his thoughts alone. The tentacles have since been surgically removed from his body, although Octavius retains the power to control them telepathically from a great distance. The accident also seemingly damaged his brain, and the scientist turned to a life of crime, first taking the hospital hostage and calling himself “Dr. Octopus” from the derogatory name that his co-workers had given him. Though Doctor Octopus himself is portly, in poor physical shape, and is near-sighted, with his harness attached he is physically more than a match for Spider-Man. The accident also made his eyes very sensitive to light, requiring him to wear glasses with shaded lenses. Over the years, Dr. Octopus has become one of the most identifiable members of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (April 9, 1963).

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April 10

After discovering his evangelist preacher parents molesting children from their congregation, Obadiah Archer is captured by his parents, who attempt to murder him and destroy evidence of their crimes by tying him up in their house and setting fire to it. Archer does his best to call upon his faith in God to give him the power to save himself, promising God to bring his parents to justice should God give him the power to get free. He manages to escape, but blacks out from the smoke, and has a near-death experience. Archer sneaks out of the hospital and eventually stows away on a freighter, eventually making his way to a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, high in the Himalayas. The monks observe that he has extraordinary control over his body, able to perform difficult martial arts moves with ease. He also displays flawless skill with a bow and arrow, which Archer says is an after-effect of his near-death experience. Now a young man, he returns to the United States to bring his parents to justice, as well as any other evildoers he meets. After arriving in California, Archer learns that his parents were arrested and imprisoned a few weeks after he left the States. His purpose lost, he wanders the streets, uncertain of what to do. Eventually, he encounters a scruffy-looking vagrant sitting on the sidewalk who calls himself simply “Armstrong”, and asks for spare change. Because no one raised in a Buddhist monastery can refuse to give alms, Archer hands over his last five dollars. Impressed with Archer’s generosity, Armstrong takes him for a beer, and regales him with his past exploits, which span thousands of years. Armstrong is a 10,000-year-old immortal who possesses superhuman strength, near-invulnerability, and the ability to heal quickly from injuries. They debut in Archer & Armstrong #0 (April 10, 1992).

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April 11

When Spider-Man met a similarly powered man named Ezekiel, Ezekiel explained to him that Spider-Man’s powers were not an accident, and that the spider that had bitten him did so voluntarily to pass its abilities onto Peter before it died. This made Spider-Man a “totem”, a bridge between man and beast, with the properties of both. Ezekiel then warned Spider-Man that as a totem, he was in danger from those who would seek to destroy such beings. One of those, who showed up soon after, was Morlun. Morlun first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #30 (April 11, 2001). Little is known about exactly what Morlun is and where he comes from. He can subsist on the life forces of normal humans and non-totemistic superhumans for a time, but will always crave a pure host and Peter fits the bill. Morlun then tells Spider-Man that he would eventually kill him.

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April 12

Charles Lippincott, Lucasfilm’s publicity supervisor, initially approached publisher Stan Lee at Marvel Comics in 1975 about publishing a Star Wars comic book prior to the film’s release as a means to appeal to its most likely audience. Lee initially declined to consider such a proposal until the film was completed, and was only persuaded otherwise in a second meeting arranged by Roy Thomas, who wanted to edit the series. Since movie tie-in comics rarely sold well at that time, Lee negotiated a publishing arrangement which gave no royalties to Lucasfilm until sales exceeded 100,000. Issue #1 of Star Wars was released for sale on April 12, 1977, and Marvel published the series from 1977 to 1986, lasting 107 issues and three annuals. According to former Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter, the strong sales of Star Wars comics saved Marvel financially in 1977 and 1978. Marvel’s Star Wars series was one of the industry’s top selling titles in 1979 and 1980. The only downside for Marvel was that the 100,000 copy sales quota was surpassed quickly, allowing Lippincott to renegotiate the royalty arrangements from a position of strength.

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April 13

When the Celestials visited Earth five million years ago and performed genetic experiments on early proto-humanity, they created two divergent races: the long-lived Eternals, and the genetically unstable and monstrously grotesque Deviants. The Eternals first appeared in Eternals #1 (April 13, 1976). These experiments also led to the capacity for super-powered mutations in humans. Despite looking human, Eternals are much more long-lived and that kept them from having much contact with their human cousins. Despite this, the Eternals have in general protected the human race, especially from the Deviants, with whom they’ve always had an enmity. The Eternals also developed advanced technology. Due to the cosmic energy that suffuses an Eternal’s body and the nigh-unbreakable mental hold they have over their physiological processes, the Eternals of Earth are effectively immortal. They live for millennia, do not fatigue from physical exertion, are immune to disease and poison, and are unaffected by environmental extremes of cold and heat. Most cannot be injured by conventional weaponry, and even if they somehow are, an Eternal can rapidly regenerate any damage as long as they are able to retain their mental hold over their bodies.

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April 14

After Kent Nelson’s death, Nabu chooses Eric Strauss and his stepmother Linda to be the next Doctor Fate, with Eric and Linda having to merge into one being in order to become Fate. This Doctor Fate first appears in Doctor Fate #1 (April 14, 1987). Nabu goes on to possess Kent’s corpse in order to personally advise them. The three of them are soon joined by a friendly demon called Petey and lawyer Jack C. Small. Eric is killed on Apokolips during a battle with Desaad, forcing Linda to become Doctor Fate on her own. Linda is killed soon afterwards by the Lords of Chaos. Eric and Linda’s souls are reincarnated in the bodies of Eugene and Wendy DiBellia while Nabu reincarnates in Eugene and Wendy’s unborn child.

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TURNING POINTS by Maggie Thompson

Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for April 15-21, 2022...

195 years ago April 21, 1827 British cartoonist and comics artist Thomas Rowlandson dies at age 70.

190 years ago April 15, 1832 Influential German writer-artist Wilhelm Busch is born. He creates Max und Moritz.

145 years ago April 16, 1877 Pioneering Spanish comics artist Tomás Padró dies at age 37.

120 years ago April 18, 1902 Artist Art Huhta is born. He creates the Wild Rose strip.

115 years ago April 19, 1907 Animator and artist Cecil Surry is born. His comic book contributions were for Dell titles, and his animation work included the Oscar-winners “When Magoo Flew” and “Magoo’s Puddle Jumper.”

110 years ago April 16, 1912 Pioneering Hungarian animator John Halas is born. With his wife, Joy Batchelor, he founds the Halas and Batchelor animation company.

110 years ago April 19, 1912 Italian artist Camillo Zuffi is born. He co-creates Il Piccolo Sceriffo with Tristiano Torelli.

105 years ago April 16, 1917 German artist Charlotte Salomon is born.

105 years ago April 18, 1917 Carl Burgos is born. The editor and Golden Age artist is best known for creating Marvel’s Human Torch.

85 years ago April 15, 1937 Artist Tom Sutton is born. He draws for Warren (including the first Vampirella story), Charlton, First, DC, and Marvel.

85 years ago April 17, 1937 “Porky’s Duck Hunt” introduces Daffy Duck (unnamed until “Daffy Duck and Egghead” in 1938).

80 years ago April 20, 1942 Barnaby by “Crockett Johnson” begins in New York’s PM newspaper.

80 years ago April 21, 1942 Underground comix writer-artist Dan O’Neill is born. The creator of Odd Bodkins organizes the Air Pirates comics collective.

75 years ago April 20, 1947 J. Edgar Hoover’s article “How Good a Parent Are You?” that appears in This Week calls “crime books, comics, and newspaper stories crammed with anti-social and criminal acts” … “extremely dangerous in the hands of the unstable child.”

70 years ago April 18, 1952 Writer Roger Salick is born. He works on several stories for First and Punisher stories for Marvel.

65 years ago April 17, 1957 Spanish artist Juan Martinez Buendia dies at age 63 or 64. He worked as “Tínez” and was one of the pioneers of TBO magazine.

65 years ago April 19, 1957 Artist Mark McKenna is born. His career includes staff work for Marvel and DC.

60 years ago April 18, 1962 Artist Don Wootton dies by suicide at age 66. He worked in the Cleveland, Ohio, area as an editorial cartoonist and art department staffer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, as the art director of the Cleveland Press, and as an artist for the NEA syndicate.

60 years ago April 21, 1962 Artist Bob McCay dies at age 65. The son of Winsor McCay modeled for the Little Nemo comic strip and formed the McCay Feature Syndicate.

60 years ago April 21, 1962 Animator and artist Bob Wickersham dies at age 50. He worked for Disney Studios and other animation companies, owned his own commercial animation studio, and freelanced on comics from ACG, Timely, DC, and Ned Pines.

55 years ago April 23, 1967 El Muerto: The Aztec Zombie writer-artist Javier Hernandez is born.

50 years ago April 21, 1972 President Nixon’s Wage-Price Control Board rules that 14 Marvel titles must roll back their price from 20¢ to 15¢. Marvel will appeal the ruling.

45 years ago April 18, 1977 Sam and Silo by Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas, a spinoff from Sam’s Strip, begins from King Features Syndicate.

35 years ago April 15, 1987 Marvel fires editor in chief Jim Shooter; Tom DeFalco becomes editor in chief.

35 years ago April 16, 1987 Berke Breathed wins the Pulitzer Prize for the Sunday Bloom County strip.

35 years ago April 19, 1987 Longtime Disney animator Milt Kahl dies of pneumonia at age 78. He was one of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men”

35 years ago April 19, 1987 The Tracey Ullman Show introduces The Simpsons in a short animated sequence.

25 years ago April 16, 1997 Surrealist writer-artist-film maker Roland Topor dies of a cardiovascular problem at age 59.

25 years ago April 18, 1997 U.K. underground comix creator Edward Barker dies of a heart attack at age 46.

20 years ago April 15, 2002 Polish writer-artist and historian Szymon Kobylinski dies at age 74.

20 years ago April 19, 2002 Mexican artist, writer, and editor Alberto Beltrán dies at age 79. He was a founding member of the Academy of Arts.

15 years ago April 15, 2007 Award-winning artist Brant Parker, co-creator (with Johnny Hart) of The Wizard of Id, dies at age 86 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

15 years ago April 21, 2007 Golden Age artist and later storyboard artist Art Saaf dies at age 85 from the effects of Parkinson’s disease. His work included Princess Pantha, Supergirl, and contributions to Highlights for Children.

10 years ago April 17, 2012 Stan Lee launches Stan Lee’s World of Heroes on YouTube.

5 years ago April 15, 2017 Writer-artist Marty Greim dies of heart failure 11 days before his 75th birthday. The comics fandom pioneer was an Archie Comics writer and created Thunderbunny.

5 years ago April 15, 2017 The Belgian satirical comics magazine Pan ends.

5 years ago April 21, 2017 Award-winning Canadian writer-artist Gisèle Lagacé makes news, when she’s denied entry to the U.S. because authorities say she might earn money while in the country.
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April 15

Senator Robert Kelly was first seen in Uncanny X-Men #135 (April 15, 1980) at a social gathering hosted by the Hellfire Club, where an illusion projected by the mutant villain Mastermind caused him to believe he had witnessed the X-Man Cyclops firing randomly into a crowd. He was the primary backer of the Mutant Control Act and Project: Wideawake, a government program aimed at creating updated Sentinel robots that would help track down and, if necessary, detain or kill violent mutants. Kelly remained an active anti-mutant activist in the comics through the 1990s, but slowly became more open-minded and tolerant towards the mutant population, promising the X-Men he would work for the rights of mutants during the early 2000s. After his life was saved by the mutant Pyro in an attack from his old teammate Post, Kelly vowed to reconsider his standing on mutants and work towards improving human/mutant relations. Despite being guarded by the X-Man Cable, he was not long afterwards assassinated at a college rally by the anti-mutant activist Alan Lewis who felt that Senator Kelly betrayed their anti-mutant cause.

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April 16

When Alex, Chase, Gert, Karolina, Molly, and Nico witness their parents (“The Pride”) sacrifice a girl in an occult ceremony, the group runs off. The children learn of their heritage and abilities, and steal resources from their parents, including futuristic gauntlets, a dinosaur, and a mystical Staff. They become the Runaways in Runaways #1 (April 16, 2003). Using these resources, they manage to remove their parents from their criminal hold of Los Angeles, but they lose Alex in the final battle, due to Alex’s true loyalty to his parents. With the Pride defeated, the Runaways now vow to prevent other villains from filling in the void left by their parents. They eventually meet cyborg Victor Mancha and shape-shifting alien Skrull Xavin, and invite them to join the team. Right before the Runaways defeat a new incarnation of the Pride and Alex’s resurrected father, Gertrude is fatally wounded. Before she passes, she transfers her power to control Old Lace to Chase.

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April 17

Doiby’s first adventure with Green Lantern in All-American Comics #27 (April 17, 1941) occurs when Doiby follows the Lantern while he was trailing a group of thugs. After Green Lantern was supposedly killed by the thugs, Doiby confronts them in a Green Lantern costume in an attempt to stop them. Soon after, the actual Green Lantern appears and, with the help of Doiby, saves the day. After that adventure, Green Lantern sent Doiby a quaint letter: “Doiby, I could use a good man like you to help me in my fight against all evil — How about it? -The Green Lantern”. Doiby began working with Alan Scott on a regular basis eventually learning that the Green Lantern and Alan Scott were one and the same. Doiby and the Green Lantern had many adventures together, including taking on the Nazis in the WWII era. With his thick Brooklyn accent, Doiby invariably addresses Green Lantern as “Lan'trin”. As a cab driver, Doiby’s slogan is “Soivice that don’t make youse noivice”. He refers to his cab as ‘Goitrude’. Doiby often assists in battle with a skilled swing of a pipe wrench. As the Golden Age began to fade, Doiby was sent into space to marry Princess Ramia of Myrg, the aliens enjoying his vast wisdom, and Alan Scott went on with his solo career. Myrg comes to resemble Doiby’s beloved Brooklyn.

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April 18

The Doom Patrol first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 (April 18, 1963), an adventure anthology title, was being converted to a superhero format. The first Doom Patrol consisted of super-powered misfits, whose “gifts” caused them alienation and trauma. Dubbed the “World’s Strangest Heroes” the original team included The Chief (Niles Caulder), Robotman (Cliff Steele), Elasti-Girl (Rita Farr), and Negative Man (Larry Trainor). The Doom Patrol’s rogues gallery matched the strange, weird tone of the series. Villains included the immortality-seeking General Immortus, the shape shifting Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, and the Brotherhood of Evil led by the Brain, an actual brain kept alive by technology. The Brotherhood of Evil also included the intelligent gorilla Monsieur Mallah and Madame Rouge, who was given powers similar to those of Elongated Man, with the extra attribute of a malleable face, allowing her to impersonate various people.

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April 19

Fritz von Meyer was born in Leipzig, Germany and became one of Adolf Hitler’s top scientists. Escaping capture after World War II, he became a beekeeper or apiarist in South America and discovered a colony of mutated bees. Intrigued by their intelligence and passive nature, von Meyer attempted to enslave the queen bee, but failed and the bees devoured him, leaving only his skeleton. The unique qualities of the bees caused his consciousness to be absorbed into them, allowing von Meyer to manipulate the hive to do his will, although some of his skeletal remains are inside the swarm itself. His consciousness merged with the swarm to the extent that they become one being, calling himself/their-self “Swarm”. He first appeared in Champions #14 (April 19, 1977). He has been mainly featured as an enemy of Spider-Man but has also fought The Champions and many others.

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April 20

Colin King is the wealthy son of a master spy who was employed by the British Government. King was raised in the Orient but was an outcast in that society. When his father was killed by rival agent Iwatsu, King decided to go into training, determined to continue his father’s tradition and bring his killers to justice. Now a master of the secret arts of the ninja, he served England and the world as Ninjak. He first appeared in Bloodshot #6 (April 20, 1993). Ninjak is the enforcer of the mysterious Weaponeer organization and the world’d foremost espionage expert. Ninjak uses his expertise in martial arts, demolition, information acquisition and other skills, a keen intellect and an ability to prepare people for any outcome in a given situation. He wears a kevlar-armored bodysuit that can change color. Eventually, Ninjak joins the British Intelligence organization under Neville Alcott, who also works with Bloodshot and Eternal Warrior. Alcott has known Colin since he was a boy, Colin’s father also worked for Alcott many years ago in Japan. Ninjak has no superhuman powers but has trained his body and is a master of ninjutsu, a group of martial skills that includes jujutsu, bōjutsu, and iaijutsu. An aspect of ninjutsu is the ability of the shinobi, or master, to use any object as a weapon. Ninjak has a highly analytical and tactical mind, allowing him to foresee various scenarios and prepare for them. He is also a computer hacker and uses this skill to gather intelligence.

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April 21

The original Trickster is the practical joker and con man whose favorite occupation is damaging enemies like the Flash with items such as explosive teddy bears. James Jesse was a circus acrobat who decided to become a criminal just like his “reverse namesake” Jesse James. He created shoes that allowed him to walk on air to first help him in the trapeze shows his family was in, as every member of his family was a trapeze expert and his father wanted him to be one also, and other dangerous gag gadgets for his crimes. He clashed with the Flash (Barry Allen) many times. In his first appearance in Flash #113 (April 21, 1960), his Harlequin costume causes the Flash to guess he is in a circus, and he captures the Trickster after pogo-sticking to the trapeze.

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TURNING POINTS by Maggie Thompson

Here’s the latest installment of Maggie Thompson’s ongoing look at important beginnings, middles, and ends, this time for April 22-28, 2022...

135 years ago April 28, 1887 Artist Charles A. Voight is born. He’s known for his Rinso soap comics ads and for his Betty and Mrs. Worry comic strips.

120 years ago April 26, 1902 Illustrator Vernon Grant is born. He creates Kellogg’s Rice Krispies’ Snap!, Crackle!, and Pop!

120 years ago April 27, 1902 Professor O. Howe Wise and Professor I.B. Schmart by Ed Payne begins in the Boston Globe.

110 years ago April 24, 1912 Artist George Wunder is born. He replaces Milton Caniff on Terry and the Pirates.

95 years ago April 25, 1927 Writer-artist Albert Uderzo is born. He’s best known for his work with René Goscinny, co-creating Astérix.

95 years ago April 26, 1927 Dutch artist Ted Mathijsen (who works as “Roberic”) is born.

90 years ago April 27, 1932 Voice artist and American Top 40 host Casey Kasem is born. His roles include Shaggy Rogers in Scooby Doo, several TV Transformers, and Robin/Dick Grayson.

85 years ago April 24, 1937 Prolific Belgian artist Francis Bertrand is born. He signs himself as “Francis” and co-creates Marc Lebut et son Voisin with Maurice Tillieux.

80 years ago April 26, 1942 Writer-artist Marty Greim is born. The comics fandom pioneer is an Archie Comics writer and creates Thunderbunny.

75 years ago April 22, 1947 Writer Steve Englehart is born. He writes stories featuring such characters as Coyote, Captain America, Avengers, Doctor Strange, Justice League of America, and Batman.

75 years ago April 27, 1947 Letterer Barry Shapiro is born.

75 years ago April 28, 1947 Al Vermeer begins Priscilla’s Pop as a daily strip after nine months as a Sundays only feature.

70 years ago April 25, 1952 Writer, editor, critic, teacher, researcher, and comics historian Peter Sanderson is born.

70 years ago April 25, 1952 Charlie Brown first tries (and fails) to fly a kite in Charles Schulz’ Peanuts strip.

70 years ago April 27, 1952 Writer-artist Larry Nibert is born.

65 years ago April 23, 1957 Italian artist Guido Fantoni dies at age 64. He’s the father of artists Liliana and Mario Fantoni.

65 years ago April 24, 1957 Small press writer-artist John McLeod is born. He creates Dishman.

60 years ago April 25, 1962 Artist William Campbell (who worked as “Billy Cam”) dies at age 70.

60 years ago April 26, 1962 Voice artist Debra Wilson is born.

55 years ago April 28, 1967 New York Daily News artist Jack Romer dies at age 69.

50 years ago April 25-28, 1972 The first “American International Congress of Comics” convention is held in New York City.

40 years ago April 23, 1982 French artist Georges Beuville dies at age 80.

25 years ago April 27, 1997 Spanish artist Víctor Arriazu dies of a heart attack at age 61 or 62.

20 years ago April 22, 2002 Artist Denis McLoughlin dies by suicide at age 84. He was a long-time illustrator, and his comics work for D.C. Thomson is especially well known.

20 years ago April 23, 2002 Spanish writer-artist Alfredo Pons dies at age 44.

10 years ago April 22, 2012 Artist, teacher, and animator Paul Gringle dies at age 89. The NEA cartoonist created the Rural Delivery comic strip.

10 years ago April 22, 2012 Under the title Heavenly Nostrils, the first episode of Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn daily webcomic is published.

10 years ago April 28, 2012 Holland sports cartoonist Dik Bruynesteyn dies at the age of 84. He was known for Appie Happie.

5 years ago April 23, 2017 Influential British artist Leo Baxendale dies at age 86. The creator of the Beano series Minnie the Minx and The Bash Street Kids won a lawsuit to regain rights to and profits from his own characters. He co-founded the British comics Wham! and Pow!

5 years ago April 27, 2017 Award-winning writer-artist Peter Spier dies at age 89. He created Sophie for Spirou, the first of its strips to have a female character as protagonist.
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April 22

The Black Racer’s corporeal form is that of the otherwise bedridden Sgt. Willie Walker, who was paralyzed during the Vietnam War. Walker was contacted by the Source when Darkseid first brought the war of the gods to Earth, and told it was his responsibility to take on the role. The Black Racer has the power to phase through solid objects and bring death to those he has chosen with a single touch. He travels through the air by means of two cosmically powered celestial skis, which can accelerate to the speed of light. His ski poles can also phase through solid matter to deliver the Black Racer’s deathstroke. As a deity, he’s also immortal, and wears a cosmic armor. When he has finished delivering his message of death, the Black Racer returns to the comatose life of Sgt. Willie Walker until he is summoned anew. New Gods are collected by the Racer at the moment of their deaths, and taken to Hadis. The Black Racer represents “death as inevitability”, whereas Death of the Endless represents “death as compassionate release”. Nekron, meanwhile, represents “Death as the Ultimate Opponent.” He first appears in New Gods #3 (April 22, 1971).

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April 23

The Journal of Luke Kirby was a long-running series, first appearing in 2000 AD prog 571 (April 23, 1988). In the summer of 1964, young Luke Kirby first discovered his magical heritage when he was forced to kill his own uncle who had been periodically transforming into a murderous beast. In his subsequent adventures Luke embarked on an odyssey of discovery as he tested the limits of own powers and learned the secrets of the magical world under the tutelage of a tramp known only as Zeke. Along the way, he first stopped an outbreak of vampirism and then traveled to the Underworld to free the soul of his deceased father.

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April 24

Jason Woodrue first appears in The Atom #1 (April 24, 1962). Woodrue is an exile from an interdimensional world (Floria) inhabited by dryads. Calling himself the Plant Master, Woodrue uses his advanced botanical knowledge to control plant growth in an attempt to take over the world. He is defeated by the superheroic Atom. Later, Woodrue uses an experimental formula to transform his body into a plant/human hybrid, with his skin resembling bark and his hair turning into leaves. He then starts calling himself the Floronic Man. In his original form, Jason Woodrue had advanced knowledge of botany, which he used to accelerate plant growth. After becoming the Floronic Man, Woodrue gains the ability to merge with and mentally control plant life.

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April 25

Ma Hunkel is a working mother whose costume consists of longjohns and a cooking pot on her head. She adopts the identity of the Red Tornado to fight local criminals in her New York City neighborhood, inspired by her son’s admiration for the superhero Green Lantern. She has even been declared Ma to be an honorary member of the Justice Society. Ma was later joined by a pair of sidekicks known as the Cyclone Kids, consisting of her daughter Amelia “Sisty” Hunkel and neighbor Mortimer “Dinky” Jibbet. In her prime, Ma Hunkel was a surprisingly strong woman. Many who encountered her often believed that the Red Tornado was, in fact, a man, a notion that helped protect Ma’s secret identity on more than one occasion. In the ensuing years, Ma Hunkel’s strength level has diminished with age. Ma Hunkel was also a great cook with an ability to feed a large group of people which included the Justice Society of America.

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