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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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April 26

Although she has a number of superpowers, Susan Linden-Thorne’s main ability is a mastery of disguise. She often spends an entire investigation impersonating a seemingly insignificant female background character. Others only discover her involvement at the end of the story upon finding the bound and gagged woman she impersonated, and an abandoned disguise with her calling card, a black orchid. The original Black Orchid first appeared in Adventure Comics #428 (April 26, 1973). In this appearance, almost no background on the character was given, not even her name. Writers teased the audience with several possible origins, all refuted.

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April 27

The OMACs are cyborgs, human bodies transformed by a virus into living machines to assassinate any and all beings with superpowers. The OMACs first appeared in The OMAC Project #1 (April 27, 2005). The virus was created from Brainiac-13’s nanotechnology, which had been acquired by the U.S. Department of Defense and Lexcorp, and was then secretly introduced into general vaccine supplies. The new OMACs are controlled by the Brother MK I satellite. Its sole purpose was to gather data on all metahumans, both villain and hero. Alexander Luthor, Jr. later gave the satellite sentience as part of his plans. Maxwell Lord, recently promoted to the top rank of Checkmate, subverted the original mission of the Brother MK I satellite by inculcating a fear and suspicion of all metahumans. The first OMAC test subject was renamed “Buddy Blank”, after the scientist who programmed the satellite.

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April 28

The woman who would become known as Domino is actually the result of a top-secret government breeding program intended to develop the perfect weapon. Domino was the only test subject to survive, but her “luck” power was deemed a failure at meeting the project’s goals. Her biological mother broke her out of the project and left her with Father Rudolpho Boschelli in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Chicago. Domino eventually left the Church and became a mercenary. One of her first jobs was to stop “Operation: Jericho,” which was a remote-controlled warbot project. Domino wrecked the robot, but in the process fried the mind of the soldier controlling it. Domino helped found the mercenary band the Six Pack, which introduced her to the mutant time-traveler Cable. Domino worked with the Six Pack for some time, taking on many missions for cash. The Six Pack was very brutal in their adventures, often shooting down entire crowds of people who got in their way. The team, also known as the Wild Pack, went on missions in Iran, and participated in a raid on a HYDRA base. Her first full appearance was in X-Force #11 (April 28, 1992). Domino is a mutant with the ability to subconsciously and psionically initiate random telekinetic acts that affect probability in her favor by making improbable (but not impossible) things occur within her line of sight, thus causing her to have “good luck” and her opponents to have “bad luck.” The full extent of her powers is still unknown.

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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 29 through May 5, 2022...

145 years ago April 29, 1877 Sports and funny animal cartoonist Tad Dorgan is born. He creates Judge Rummy and Indoor Sports.

120 years ago May 4, 1902 Buster Brown by Richard Outcault begins in The New York Herald.

115 years ago May 4, 1907 Illustrator, pulp artist, and cartoonist Lyman Anderson is born. His work appears in New Fun #1-2, and he draws Inspector Wade for King Features.

110 years ago May 2, 1912 Political cartoonist Homer Calvin Davenport dies of pneumonia at age 45.

110 years ago May 2, 1912 Award-winning, influential Dutch comics creator Marten Toonder is born. The writer creates the Tom Poes and Olivier B. Bommel features, creates several new Dutch expressions, and sets up his own animation and comics studio.

100 years ago May 2, 1922 Bulletje en Boonestaak by A.M. de Jong and George van Raemdonck begins.

100 years ago May 2, 1922 Jonny Quest and Rio creator Doug Wildey is born.

95 years ago April 30, 1927 Artist Sal Trapani is born. He begins his comics career with Hillman and Gilmor in 1949, becomes artistic director of Cambia Animation in the early 1960s, and works for ACG, Warren, DC, and Marvel.

95 years ago May 3, 1927 Award-winning novelist and cartoonist Mell Lazarus is born. He creates newspaper strips Miss Peach and Momma and is National Cartoonists Society president.

90 years ago May 5, 1932 Award-winning comic book artist Stan Goldberg is born. He starts his career as a Timely colorist and is color designer of such Marvel characters as Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four. He becomes well known for work on such teen humor characters as Binky, Millie the Model, and Archie.

85 years ago May 2, 1937 Lorenzo Music is born Gerald David Music. The roles of the writer, actor, and voice artist include Garfield.

85 years ago May 2, 1937 Hal Foster’s final Tarzan page appears, following which he devotes full time to Prince Valiant.

85 years ago May 3, 1937 Ferd’nand begins by Henning Dahl Mikkelsen (working as “Mik”). It will become one of the longest running pantomime comics in the world.

85 years ago May 4, 1937 Caliber and Tome Comics artist Wayne R. Reid is born.

75 years ago May 2, 1947 Psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston dies of cancer at age 53. He created Wonder Woman.

65 years ago April 30, 1957 French artist Jacques Souriau dies at age 70.

60 years ago May 2, 1962 Ryan Brown is born. One of the Mirage Studios artists working on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles projects, he also creates Hallowieners and the animated TV series Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa.

55 years ago May 4, 1967 California Governor Ronald Reagan proclaims the day “Charles Schulz Day.”

55 years ago May 5, 1967 Artist Adam Hughes is born. Early work of the DC and Top Cow cover artist appears in Maze Agency, and he later joins Gaijin Studios.

45 years ago April 29, 1977 Writer-artist Paul Gustavson dies at age 60. He worked in the Harry “A” Chesler shop and was known for his work for Centaur, Quality, and ACG. His creations included The Human Bomb, The Angel, and Twister.

45 years ago April 30, 1977 The Judge Dredd storyline “The Robot Wars” begins in 2000 AD.

40 years ago May 2, 1982 Frank O’Neal’s Short Ribs ends.

40 years ago May 2, 1982 Marten Toonder is named Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau.

40 years ago May 3, 1982 In Bob Thaves’ Frank and Ernest strip appears a gag about Ginger Rogers’ dancing with Fred Astaire (“backwards and in high heels”] that becomes a meme.

35 years ago May 2-3, 1987 WonderCon begins as Wonderful World of Comics Convention in Oakland, California.

35 years ago May 5, 1987 Disney Dollars begin when Disneyland prints its own currency.

30 years ago May 1, 1992 Comics Buyer’s Guide changes its format with #963, becoming an 11” x 14” magazine.

25 years ago May 1, 1997 Belgian writer-artist Max Mayeu, who signed his work “Sirius,” dies at age 86.

25 years ago May 4, 1997 Writer Lou Stathis dies at age 44 of respiratory failure following a brain tumor. He was a columnist and editor for Heavy Metal and editor of DC’s Vertigo line.

20 years ago May 3, 2002 Artist Tom Sutton dies of a heart attack at age 65. He drew for Warren (including the first Vampirella story), Charlton, First, DC, and Marvel.

20 years ago May 4, 2002 Diamond introduces the first Free Comic Book Day.

15 years ago April 29, 2007 Spanish artist José De Huescar (who worked as “Garvi”) dies at age 68.

15 years ago May 1, 2007 Golden Age artist Art Saaf dies at age 85 from the effects of Parkinson’s disease. He also worked as a storyboard artist, and his output included Princess Pantha, Supergirl, and Highlights for Children contributions.

15 years ago May 1, 2007 Artist Tom Artis dies of diabetes at age 51. The Tailgunner Jo creator drew for DC, Fleetway/Quality, and Marvel.

15 years ago May 2, 2007 DC ends its weekly 52 series.

10 years ago April 29, 2012 Croatian writer-artist and art director Žarko Beker dies at age 75.

5 years ago April 30, 2017 Belgian artist Jean de Mesmaeker (who worked as “Jidéhem”) dies at age 81.

5 years ago May 2, 2017 Writer-artist, reporter, and lecturer Jay Disbrow dies at age 91. With a comics career starting in the early 1950s, he was especially known for his work on horror comics.

And here are the anniversaries spanning the month of May…

85 years ago May 1937 Mind you, it has already had two issues that were unnumbered, but David McKay’s oversized Feature Book #1 stars Zane Grey’s King of the Royal Mounted. The issue has black and white interior pages “adapted from the famous adventure strips.”

80 years ago May 1942 DC’s Flash Comics #29 introduces The Ghost Patrol, all members of which (Spoiler!) die. But this is comics. The story is by Ted Udall, Emmanuel Demby, and Frank Harry.

80 years ago May 1942 Dell’s The Funnies #64 introduces Woody Woodpecker and Oswald the Rabbit to comic books. Oh, and it’s the last issue of the title. Guess we’ll never see more comic books featuring those characters, right?

80 years ago May 1942 DC’s More Fun Comics #79 introduces the villainous Boomerang in the Green Arrow story drawn by George Papp.

75 years ago May 1947 The cover of Marvel Mystery Comics #82 announces “The coming of Namora!” Indeed! It’s “a full-length action thriller” (well, 12-page action thriller).

75 years ago May 1947 Pines’ Startling Comics #45 introduces Tygra in “Tygra of the Flame People.”

75 years ago May 1947 F.E. Howard’s Super Duper Comics #3 (and only) introduces Mr. Monster by Fred Kelly.

75 years ago May 1947 The Association of Comic Magazine Publishers (ACMP) is organized in an effort to avoid outside the industry comic book censorship. To start with, 35 comics publishers belong, though many drop out before implementation of its eventual code of standards.

70 years ago May 1952 Ik! The yucky cover featuring evil fingers on DC’s Sensation Comics #109 appears on the last issue of the series. (Felix Faust will be happier about having People Fingers when the idea is reused on Justice League of America #10 nearly a decade later.)

70 years ago May 1952 In Dell’s Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #140, Carl Barks introduces inventor duck Gyro Gearloose in a story focused on Gladstone Gander.

65 years ago May 1957 DC’s Showcase #8 features the second Silver Age appearance of The Flash. In “The Coldest Man on Earth!” by John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Frank Giacoia, Leonard Snart is introduced. Not surprisingly, he’s better known as Captain Cold.

65 years ago May 1957 DC’s Sergeant Bilko #1 introduces the TV character Sgt. Bilko to comics in a story drawn by Bob Oksner. The TV series (first titled You’ll Never Get Rich, then The Phil Silvers Show) has been airing since September 1955. (Later issues will put Silvers’ name above the title.)

60 years ago May 1962 “Stop him! If The Sub-Mariner reaches the water, he’ll become invincible!” In Marvel’s Fantastic Four #4, Namor appears for the first time in the Silver Age. “The Coming of … Sub-Mariner!” is by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Sol Brodsky. Namor says, “I’ll be back!” True, that.

60 years ago May 1962 “Is he man or monster or … is he both?” “The Coming of The Hulk” is by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Paul Reinman in The Incredible Hulk #1, the second Silver Age superhero title from Marvel Comics. It’s sure to run for years and years and years and – What?

60 years ago May 1962 He began in a radio series. Now, The Lone Ranger finds himself in the last Dell issue in The Lone Ranger #145. Who was that masked man? (It also features the last episode of the back-up feature “Young Hawk,” which began in New Funnies #65.)

60 years ago May 1962 Among the features in DC’s Strange Adventures #140 is “The Strange Adventure That Really Happened!” by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene. The meta-story includes real life DC contributors Fox and Greene and Editor Julius Schwartz.

55 years ago May 1967 DC’s Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #74 introduces Bizarro-Flash in “Superman’s Unbeatable Rival!” by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger.

55 years ago May 1967 The first issue of the fantasy anthology The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves from Charlton features art by Rocke Mastroserio, Bill Ely, Pat Boyette, Rudi Palais, and Steve Ditko.

55 years ago May 1967 Marvel’s Fantastic Four #62 introduces Blastarr, who’s hanging out in the Negative Zone. “…And One Shall Save Him!” is by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Joe Sinnott.

55 years ago May 1967 “Meet Aqua-Girl … She’s wild, wet and whacky!” DC’s Aquaman #33 introduces her in “Aqualad’s Deep-Six Chick!” by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy. (Noting that it’s all his fault, Aquaman says, “Aqualad and Aqua-Girl have gone berserk!” Yikes.)

55 years ago May 1967 Dell’s Mission: Impossible #1 marks the first (well, only) comic book series for the TV show. “The deadliest game in the world … espionage! Played against impossible odds and no rules!” Mind you, it looks as if the project may be something of a mission: impossible in comic books; it lasts just five issues – and the cover photos this issue don’t even include Martin Landau (whose career, by the way, does include cartooning).

50 years ago May 1972 Joe Kubert’s cover of Tomahawk #140 features Hawk, Son of Tomahawk, but it’s the last issue of the DC series.

45 years ago May 1977 Marvel Super Action begins with a “Big Premiere Issue” starring Captain America. (It reprints “This Monster Unleashed” from Captain America #100.)

45 years ago May 1977 More Eternals are introduced in Marvel’s The Eternals #11 by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer. They include Aginar, Druig, Kingo Sunen, and Valkin.

40 years ago May 1982 It’s “the world’s silliest comic magazine!” Marvel offers Fantastic Four Roast by Fred Hembeck – and there are many, many other contributors, too. “Welcome to the party!”

40 years ago May 1982 Dang! Issue #72 is the last for The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves from Charlton, that fantasy anthology noted in the “55 years ago” category. It features art by Fred Himes, Steve Ditko, and Pat Boyette.

40 years ago May 1982 “You will believe in …” DC’s Ghosts #112. But your faith might end, what with this being the last issue. The text piece “But the Spirit Lingers” breaks the news to readers. Oh, and the cover of DC’s The Unexpected #222 is more (shall we say) up front: “This is it! The last mind-tingling issue.”

40 years ago May 1982 “Because you demanded it – the triumphant return of comicdom’s award-wining epic of adventure and suspense!” DC’s The Saga of The Swamp Thing #1 (“1st all-new collector’s issue!”) is by Martin Pasko and Tom Yeates.

40 years ago May 1982 Marvel Comics moves to 387 Park Avenue South, New York City, after 10 years at 575 Madison Avenue.

40 years ago May 1982 Yes, it’s announced on the cover. Marvel’s Captain America #269 is “Introducing Team America.” “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste!” is by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike Zeck, John Beatty, and Joe Rubinstein. By the way, this is not the Team America of Team America: World Police. That movie won’t be in theaters for more than two decades. This Team America is based on a line of toys from Ideal and eventually becomes known as Thunderiders.

35 years ago May 1987 Mirage’s Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 is added to the TMNT universe, begun three years earlier.

35 years ago May 1987 In “Born Again” in DC’s “the all-new” Justice League #1, Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Terry Austin bring together a new team and introduce businessman Maxwell Lord IV.

35 years ago May 1987 The focus is on the text on the cover of DC’s Suicide Squad #1, introducing the series: “These 8 people will put their lives on the line for our country. One of them won’t be coming home!” “Trial by Blood” is by John Ostrander, Luke McDonnell, and Karl Kesel.

30 years ago May 1992 Those who have been following these monthly updates know that, last month (in quoting the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #361, which identified Carnage as “the spawn of Venom”), Turning Points said this month’s event was coming soon. And here it is! Image releases Spawn #1, with “Questions” created, written, and drawn by Todd McFarlane.

30 years ago May 1992 Valiant’s Shadowman #1 introduces Shadowman in “Jazz” by Jim Shooter, Steve Englehart, David Lapham, and Joe Rubinstein. (Shadowman also gets a cameo this month in X-O Manowar #4.)

30 years ago May 1992 In “Stone and Steel!” by Faye Perozich, Jim Shooter, and Gonzalo Mayo, Magnus Robot Fighter #12 introduces Turok and Andar to the Valiant Universe.

30 years ago May 1992 “She’s here! Meet DC’s hottest new urban commando!” Deathstroke, The Terminator #10 is “introducing the all-new Vigilante.” The story by Marv Wolfman, Art Nichols, and George Pérez is the first full appearance of the female Vigilante.

30 years ago May 1992 “They’re gross but they still get girls!” Marvel’s Toxic Crusaders #1 introduces Toxic Crusaders to comics in “The Making of Toxie” by Simon Furman, Derek Yaniger, and Marie Severin.

25 years ago May 1997 DC’s 2020 Visions begins the 12-issue Vertigo series with “Lust for Life Part One” by Jamie Delano and Frank Quitely.

25 years ago May 1997 Yeah, OK, it’s not the first time a new Ka-Zar series begins from Marvel. Let’s face it: The character was introduced in the Ka-Zar pulp magazine in 1936. But this is “The Thrilling Return of Ka-Zar Lord of the Savage Land!” by Mark Waid, Andy Kubert, and Jesse Delperdang. And this story’s got laser rifles. Just saying.

25 years ago May 1997 “He’s dying to save you.” Um, interesting power you’ve got there, Mitch Shelley. DC’s Resurrection Man by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett, and Butch Guice begins.

25 years ago May 1997 Archie’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1 recaps her origin. “Queen of Denial” is by Dan Parent, Bill Golliher, and Dan DeCarlo. (And there’s a big plug for the TV series “Friday nights on ABC-TV!”)

25 years ago May 1997 OK, you and I know that Xero was the award-winning science fiction fanzine that introduced the series titled “All in Color for a Dime” in 1960. But now DC has its own Xero #1, with “The Closer” by Christopher Priest, ChrisCross, and Tom Simmons.

20 years ago May 2002 DC’s had many Hawkman series over the years. This one starts with “First Impressions” by Geoff Johns, James Robinson, Rags Morales, and Michael Bair, with a focus on Hawkgirl.

20 years ago May 2002 In DC’s Robin #100, “a new direction is chosen!” “The Price of Justice” is by Chuck Dixon, Jon Lewis, Pete Woods, and Andrew Pepoy.

20 years ago May 2002 Fantagraphics’ Stuff of Dreams #1 – “A Kim Deitch Comic Book!” – provides funny animal entertainment. It will win the Eisner Award for the year in the category Best Story/Single Issue/One-Shot.

10 years ago May 2012 Fantagraphics’ Tales Designed to Thrizzle #8 features “Moon 69: The True Story of the 1969 Moon Launch” by Michael Kupperman. It will receive the year’s Eisner Award for Best Short Story.

10 years ago May 2012 The first issue of Marvel’s Age of Apocalypse is by David Lapham and Roberto de la Torre.

10 years ago May 2012 “You’ve heard of reality TV … Here’s the world’s first reality comic book!” So says Stan on the cover of the “fantastic 1st issue!” of Stan Lee’s Mighty 7 from Archie. Contents are by Lee – and Tony Blake, Paul Jackson, Alex Saviuk, and Bob Smith.

10 years ago May 2012 Uh oh! What’s up with these characters calling themselves Zodiac? Anyway, it’s time for the first issue of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. Contents are by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, and Danny Miki. How many variant covers does it have? Let’s just say lots.

10 years ago May 2012 OK, OK, OK. It’s not a #1, but it is the first issue. Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men #0 features an Avengers story by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho and an X-Men story by Jason Aaron and Cho.

10 years ago May 2012 IDW combines two fan-favorites in Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation². The eight-issue limited series features Juan-Luc Picard and Matt Smith’s incarnation of The Doctor, along with Amy Pond, Rory Williams, The Borg, and more.

10 years ago May 2012 X-O Manowar is back from Valiant with the first issue featuring “Blades and Open Fields” by Robert Venditti, Cary Nord, and Stefano Gaudiano.

5 years ago May 2017 There have been several Youngblood series from Image. This one starts with “Youngblood Reborn Chapter One” by Chad Bowers and Jim Towe. (It also contains a “25 Years Ago…” article by creator Rob Liefeld and “As It Should Be” by Liefeld and Shelby Robertson.)

5 years ago May 2017 And Marvel has had several Man-Thing series. This one begins with stories written by R.L. Stine. (Art is by German Peralta and Daniel Johnson.)

5 years ago May 2017 Come to think of it, Marvel has also had several Iron Fist series. This one begins with “The Trial of the Seven Masters Part One” by Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins.

5 years ago May 2017 Marvel’s 12-issue America series begins with “Pa’ Fuera, Pa’ la Calle” by Gabby Rivera, Joe Quiñones, and Joe Rivera.

5 years ago May 2017 The Riverdale TV show set in the world of Archie Andrews and his friends began on The CW on January 26, 2017 (and is renewed in 2022 for a seventh season). It gets its own comic book series starting with Riverdale#1 and “the team-up you thought would never happen.” The story is by Daniel Kibblesmith and Pat and Tim Kennedy.
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April 29

The Ringo Kid, dressed all in black, is a heroic gunslinger of the 19th-century American Old West with a Caucasian father, Cory Rand, and a Native American mother, Dawn Star, variously referred to as a Comanche or a Cheyenne “princess of her tribe despite the fact that the very idea of princesses was alien to that culture, imagined by settlers of European extraction, projecting their notions of royalty onto the natives.” He was treated as an outcast because of his mixed heritage, and on the run after being falsely accused of a crime. With his sidekick Dull Knife, of his mother’s people, he roamed the frontier atop his horse, Arab. His specific mission or goal appears not to have been stated explicitly, but there is intimation of some law-enforcement. He first appeared in Ringo Kid #1 (April 29, 1954).

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You know, if the Ringo Kid took his moms name, he could have been Ringo Starr lol!

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April 28, 2022, NEAL ADAMS PASSES AWAY at the age of 80, following a battle with sepsis.

MAN BEHIND BATMAN Who was Neal Adams and what was his cause of death?
Amelia Beamer
14:58 ET, Apr 29 2022Updated: 16:24 ET, Apr 29 2022

NEAL Adams illustrated comic books for a living and shaped many of the superheroes (and villains) we know and love today.

He died on April 28, 2022, at the age of 80, following a battle with sepsis.

Neal Adams in 1979 at DC Comics

Who was Neal Adams?

Neal Adams will forever be remembered for creating the version of Batman that we all know today.

Stoic, serious, dark, and lurking deep in Gotham city, unlike the comics who had tried to make Batman a comedy before him.

In fact, he addressed the subject while on a panel at Comic-Con in 2010, when he reminisced on bringing Batman to life, along with writer Dennis O'Neil.

He said: “It was no secret that we were doing Batman right... we want it to be more realistic, more gritty. And that’s how we remember — whether it was true or not — that Batman should be.

"And when we did it, everybody went, ‘Ah, that’s it. We don’t need comedy anymore."

He is also the man responsible for X-Men and the Avengers, as well as the Green Lantern.

Adams' Green Lantern was one of DC's first black icons, and his depiction of a black superhero marked the beginning of a social conversation through comic books about issues including racism.

Another influence that Adams will always be remembered for was his activism for creatives to be paid fairly for their artwork.

He served as a voice for all creators, demanding that the comics and writers behind the paper versions of the stories made money off of them once they were adapted for the screen.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Neal Adams' son Josh Adams said in a statement that his "father was a force,”

“His career was defined by unparalleled artistic talent and an unwavering character that drove him to constantly fight for his peers and those in need."

"He would become known in the comics industry as one of the most influential creators of all time and champion social and creators’ rights."

Neal Adams loved to tour conventions and comic events

How did Neal Adams die?

Adams' wife, Marilyn, told The Hollywood Reporter that her husband died Thursday, April 28, 2022, following a complication with sepsis.

According to WebMD, when you have "sepsis, your immune system, which defends you from germs, releases a lot of chemicals into your blood."

This triggers widespread inflammation that can lead to organ damage."

How has the comic community reacted to Adams' death?

Tributes to Adams have been pouring in through Twitter.

User Comic Book Creator Magazine (@CBCMagazine) tweeted: "I'll always be grateful for the generosity of Neal Adams. Godspeed and thank you for your courage, artistry, and your gifts that gave me much more than I can say. - Jon B. Cooke"

Humanities Studio tweeted, "Neal Adams has passed away. He has many great accomplishments but to me he'll always be the definitive Batman artist. He perfectly captured the tone of Batman: A dark gothic universe where good and evil fought in masquerade costumes."

User Joseph Cotterill also tweeted: "RIP Neal Adams, who fought for creator rights in the comic book industry - including credit for Siegel, Shuster, and Kirby - long before it became today’s cultural juggernaut. And his Batman was *the* Batman."
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April 30

Larfleeze is the first and for a long time the only individual to wield the power of the orange light. He is said to be over several billion years old. He was taken from his parents and forced to work as a slave. His time as a slave was cruel and harsh. Cruelty and deprivation of even the most basic rights and privileges deeply affected Larfleeze, who at some point began to “hear” material possessions begging him to own them. Larfleeze eventually escaped and became a wanted criminal. He belonged to a small guild of thieves which stole a number of artifacts from the planet Maltus, including a mysterious box supposedly worth an entire star system to the right buyer. They discovered a map belonging to the Guardian Krona which led to a temple, inside of which was a Power Battery containing the orange light of avarice. Feeling its power “speak” to them, the criminals fought amongst themselves for it. Fearing the power of the orange light, the Guardians offered the two surviving guild members (Larfleeze and Turpa) a deal: in exchange for the mysterious box, the Guardians would trade the orange light with two additional conditions. First, as long as the orange light remained within the Vega system, the Guardians would agree not to interfere with it. Then secondly, for the safety of others, only one of the two thieves would be allowed to keep the orange light for themselves. Larfleeze explained that the Guardians were desperate to get the box back because it contained the fear entity Parallax. Agreeing to these terms, the two guild members fought to the death for the right to own the orange light, and Larfleeze emerged victorious. He first appeared in DC Universe #0 (April 30, 2008).

April 30, 1939
New York World’s Fair opens

On April 30, 1939, the New York World’s Fair opens in New York City. The opening ceremony, which featured speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and New York Governor Herbert Lehman, ushered in the first day of television broadcasting in New York.

Spanning 1,200 acres at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens, the fairground was marked by two imposing structures—the “Perisphere” and the “Trylon”—and exhibited such new technology as FM radio, robotics, fluorescent lighting and a crude fax machine. Norman Bel Geddes designed a Futurama ride for General Motors, and users were transported through an idealized city of the future. Sixty-three nations participated in the fair, which enjoyed large crowds before the outbreak of World War II interrupted many of its scheduled events.

Electro the Smoking Robot at the 1939 New York World's Fair
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May 1

Angel Love #1 (May 1, 1986) was created by Barbara Slate. Despite its cartoony style, and some superficial stylistic resemblance to “girl humor” comic books, it was not intended as a children’s comic; it covered “adult” issues such as drug use, pregnancy, and sexual abuse, and did not bear the Comics Code Authority seal. Nevertheless, its letter column sometimes featured letters from children. Angel Love is a young woman who has moved from her native Scranton, Pennsylvania to New York City in hopes of finding a career as an artist. So far, however, the only career she has found is as a roller-skating waitress at a restaurant. Her adventures are portrayed sometimes with realism, but sometimes with fantasy elements such as talking cockroaches and a “guardian angel” she has drawn which comes to life to attempt to grant her wishes.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (May 1, 1984) which debuted at a comic book convention held at a local Sheraton Hotel in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was published by Mirage Studios in an over-sized magazine-style format using black and white artwork on cheap newsprint. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. From their home in sewers of New York City, the turtles battle petty criminals, evil overlords, mutated creatures, and alien invaders while attempting to remain hidden from society.

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May 2

The character of Captain Comet first appeared in “The Origin Of Captain Comet”, in Strange Adventures #9 (May 2, 1951). Captain Comet, the “first man of the future”, is a mutant metahuman “born a hundred thousand years before his time”, in 1931 to a farming couple from the American Mid-West. His “metagene” was triggered by a comet passing overhead at birth. Adam Blake discovered his unique abilities as he grew; by eight years old demonstrated photographic memory by rapidly reading a whole encyclopedia and retaining the information; he could play musical instruments without training and was secretly expert at sports to Olympic record level. His Captain Comet persona began when Adam used his powers to intervene when criminals attempted to steal an advanced scientific device invented by Professor Zackro. Immediately after this, Blake and the Professor agreed Blake should become a superhero on a full-time basis, and he made his first appearance in public as Captain Comet combating giant, terraforming robot tops belonging to an alien race looking for a world to colonize. During this task, Adam built a working version of a prototype spaceship Professor Zackro had designed, which would become his personal spaceship, The Cometeer, and took up a costume, spacesuit and stun gun also invented by the Professor.

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@OGJackster - Before my time
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May 3

Melvin Potter was a costume designer who decided to become a professional criminal. He designed a suit of battle armor for himself, complete with deadly wrist blades, and became known as the Gladiator. He battled Daredevil in his first criminal outing. Gladiator first appeared in Daredevil #18 (May 3, 1966). Gladiator had one last battle against Daredevil before deciding to reform. He began undergoing therapy from Betsy Beatty, whom he later married. Now reformed, the Gladiator later allied with Daredevil and Elektra against the Hand. Gladiator has no superhuman abilities. However, he is a superb martial arts fighter and is very physically powerful. He wore a thick metal armor with a helmet and metallic gauntlets, and was armed with an arsenal of edged weapons and whirling, jagged circular saw blades made of titanium steel, one mounted on each gauntlet. Small rotors in the gauntlets cause the blades to rotate at high speeds, and the whirling blades could also be detached to serve as short-range missile weapons.

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May 4

Cain Marko is the son of Kurt Marko, who becomes Charles Xavier’s stepfather. Kurt Marko favors Charles and abuses his own son, Cain. Cain resents Charles and bullies him frequently. Cain Marko and his step-brother Charles serve in the US Army and are stationed in Korea. Marko finds a hidden temple dedicated to the entity Cyttorak. On entering, Marko finds and holds a huge ruby and reads the inscription on the stone aloud: “Whosoever touches this gem shall be granted the power of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak! Henceforth, you who read these words, shall become … forevermore … a human juggernaut!” The gem channels Cyttorak’s power into Marko. The transformation causes a cave-in, and he is buried and presumably killed, not being heard from again until a sudden assault on the X-Men’s headquarters. Xavier recounts the Juggernaut’s origin to the X-Men, and after shrugging off the mansion’s defenses and brushing aside the X-Men, Marko is seen clearly in the final panel as he confronts Xavier. He first appeared in X-Men #12 (May 4, 1965). As the Juggernaut, Marko possesses superhuman strength, being capable of shattering mountains, lifting and using buildings as weapons, and extreme durability.

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May 5

Hana to Yume began its publication as a monthly magazine May 5, 1974, with Kazuko Koyeno’s illustration as the cover, with the price of 200 yen. However, in January 1975, its publication was changed from a monthly to a semi-monthly published magazine. It is a semi-monthly Japaneseshōjo manga magazine published by Hakusensha. The magazine is published on the 5th and 20th of every month. It is often nicknamed as HanaYume. The magazine is of size B5, which is roughly the size of a phone book, and always comes with furoku or free supplements such as drama CDs, pencil boards, manga anthologies, stationery and calendars.

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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 May 6-12, 2022...

180 years ago May 12, 1842 Pioneering Spanish writer-artist José Luis Pellicer is born. He co-directs the El Mundo Cómico magazine.

125 years ago May 10, 1897 Artist Walter Quermann is born. He creates Hickory Hollow Folks, which runs in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

95 years ago May 9, 1927 The Felix the Cat daily strip drawn by Otto Messmer begins from King Features.

85 years ago May 9, 1937 Burne Hogarth’s first Tarzan comic strip appears, when he takes over the feature from Hal Foster.

80 years ago May 7, 1942 Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Tony Auth is born.

80 years ago May 12, 1942 British artist George William Wakefield dies of a stroke at age 54. He was especially known for his depictions of film stars in Film Fun and of sports figures in Sports Fun.

75 years ago May 9, 1947 Writer-artist Barbara Slate is born. Her work includes Angel Love and Sweet XVI, stories for Archie, and instruction in graphic novel production.

75 years ago May 12, 1947 Writer, editor, graphic designer, and columnist catherine yronwode is born Catherine Anna Manfredi.

70 years ago May 6, 1952 Artist Dennis Jensen is born.

70 years ago May 7, 1952 Writer, artist, cartoonist, and painter Vince Musacchia is born. The Disney Consumer Products Manager of Global Character Art draws many licensed characters.

70 years ago May 9, 1952 British DC Thomson staff artist Chick Gordon dies at age 67 or 68.

70 years ago May 12, 1952 The House of Representatives approves House Resolution 596 to set up the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials. Its primary targets include comic books.

65 years ago May 10, 1957 Prolific Golden Age artist Henry C. Kiefer dies at age 67. Known for his work on Wambi and for Classics Illustrated adaptations, he also worked through studios with publication in Fiction House, Harvey Comics, Quality, Novelty, and Parents’ Magazine Press.

65 years ago May 11, 1957 Writer-artist Nick Burns is born.

65 years ago May 12, 1957 Writer-artist for Discovery Comics and Custom Comic Services Scott Deschaine is born.

60 years ago May 11, 1962 Sandy Carruthers is born. The first artist for the Men in Black comics (written by Lowell Cunningham) is an editorial cartoonist who creates the webcomic Canadiana and co-creates webcomics Ms. Molecule (with Rene King Thompson) and Spookman (with Roger McKenzie).

60 years ago May 12, 1962 Writer-artist Dick Calkins dies at age 67. Although he was best known for work on the Buck Rogers newspaper strip (based on Phil Nowlan’s Amazing Stories novel Armageddon 2419 A.D.), he also wrote Red Ryder for Dell comics.

55 years ago May 8, 1967 British Judge Dredd artist John Hicklenton is born. He creates an award winning documentary (Here’s Johnny) about his multiple sclerosis.

55 years ago May 9, 1967 Pioneering animator and comic strip artist Wallace Carlson dies at age 73. He created the Dreamy Dud animated character, animated Sidney Smith’s The Gumps in 1919, and (with Sol Hess) co-created the comic strip The Nebbs.

50 years ago May 5, 1972 Versatile animator, writer-artist, and director Frank Tashlin dies of a heart attack at age 59. He worked for almost all the major U.S. animation studios in the 1930s and 1940s.

50 years ago May 9, 1972 Shigetaka Kurita is born. He’s the set designer of 176 colored emojis in 1999, inspired by manga manpu.

45 years ago May 7, 1977 The Beano publishes the last episode of Vic Neill’s Wee Ben Nevis.

40 years ago May 11, 1982 Dutch writer-artist Jan Dirk van Exter dies at age 66.

35 years ago May 11, 1987 Peter David resigns as Marvel Manager of Direct Sales Administration in order to be a full-time writer.

20 years ago May 6, 2002 Brazilian artist and comics scholar Ionaldo Cavalcanti dies. His age at death was in the range of 66-69.

20 years ago May 7, 2002 Prolific writer-editor Robert Kanigher dies at age 86. With a career starting in the Golden Age, he scripted the introduction of the Barry Allen Flash and created characters including Black Canary, Harlequin, and Sgt. Rock.

20 years ago May 11, 2002 Animator and award-winning writer-artist Bill Peet dies at age 87. He worked for Disney Studios and wrote and drew several children’s books.

20 years ago May 11, 2002 The first annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention is held in Philadelphia.

15 years ago May 6, 2007 Argentine artist Oscar Blotta dies 19 days before his 89th birthday.

15 years ago May 8, 2007 Mexican artist Manuel Moro dies at age 77.

10 years ago May 8, 2012 Award-winning children’s book creator Maurice Sendak dies at age 83 from complications of a stroke. Many of his picture books used such traditional comic art devices as panels and speech balloons.

10 years ago May 8, 2012 Argentine animator and cartoonist Carlos Loiseau dies at age 63. Working as “Caloi,” he created the comic strip Clemente.

10 years ago May 9, 2012 The Crock comic strip ends a year after the death of its creator, Bill Rechin.

10 years ago May 11, 2012 Artist Tony DeZuniga dies at age 79 after a stroke. He co-created Jonah Hex (with John Albano) and Black Orchid (with Sheldon Mayer).

10 years ago May 12, 2012 Belgian comics artist and teacher Eddy Paape dies at age 91. He was especially known for co-creating Luc Orient with Greg.

5 years ago May 8, 2017 At age 96 Ken Bald holds onto his Guinness Book of Records tribute as the world’s oldest active comics artist. (He already made it at age 94 on March 4, 2015.)

5 years ago May 8, 2017 Writer-artist Matt Furie initially decides to kill his Pepe the Frog because of its distortion by rightwing advocates.

5 years ago May 12, 2017 James Dale Cavanaugh of Clint’s Comics in Kansas City dies following injuries received when trying to stop a shoplifter. He was 66 or 67 years old.
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May 6

The second character to bear the name Starfire, and the first female, was a dark-haired, sword-wielding alien woman, debuting in Starfire #1 (May 6, 1976). Starfire was the first DC heroine to receive her own title since Supergirl in 1972. Her series took place on a strange alien world. Starfire’s world was long ago involved in a civil war between two castes: the warrior-priests and the Lightning Lords (scientists). Unable to prevail upon each other alone, each caste summoned an alien race to serve their cause. The warrior-priests summoned the Mygorg and the Lightning Lords the Yorgs. The two alien races were hereditary enemies and indeed resumed their war in their new planet. However, both turned the tables on their summoners and intended masters by enslaving them. The world was divided among the two, Mygorg and Yorg, which continued to war against each other. The original human-like inhabitants continued to survive in slavery. Starfire was born as the daughter of two slaves of different skin color. Her father was “yellow” and her mother “white”. Both slaves belonged to the Mygorg. Sookarooth, King of the Mygorg took notice of the young girl of mixed heritage and beautiful appearance. He arranged for her to be raised free and educated in his own palace, Castle Mollachon. When Starfire reached her eighteenth birthday, Sookarooth announced her to be his future mate. She fled in disgust but was pursued by the royal forces. She was saved by Dagan, a warrior-priest. The two became lovers and Dagan trained her as a warrior.

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May 7

In March 1941, Weisinger moved from Standard Magazines to National Periodicals primarily as editor of the Supermanand Batman titles. Among his earliest jobs, however, was the task of “dream[ing] up some new characters” - these resulted in the line-up of More Fun Comics #73, and took the form of Aquaman, Green Arrow and Johnny Quick. Weisinger returned to his job at National after his discharge from military service in 1946, and resumed his editorship of the Superman comics, the Batman titles and others. His tenure was marked by the introduction of a variety of new concepts and supporting characters, including Supergirl, Krypto the Super Dog, the Phantom Zone, the bottle city of Kandor, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and a variety of types of kryptonite. Pitted against Superman’s wits was Lois Lane, and under Weisinger’s editorship stories in which she sought to prove that Superman was Clark Kent abounded. Weisinger “enjoyed surprising the readers,” and to that end introduced a number of “live personalities… real people” into the comics, including Candid Camera’s Alan Funt, This is Your Life’s Ralph Edwards, Steve Allen, Ann Blyth and Pat Boone among others. Weisinger was particularly “proud of having dreamed up the "imaginary story” gimmick to motivate otherwise impossible stories,“ and for "having conceived the idea of DC’s first giant anthology - The Superman Annual.” Weisinger lived for much of his life in Great Neck, New York, and stayed there until his death from a heart attack on May 7, 1978. He was posthumously named as one of the honorees by DC Comics in the company’s 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great.

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May 8

The Uni-Power is an extra-dimensional force that possesses an individual in a time of crisis, transforming that person into Captain Universe. He first appeared in Micronauts #8 (May 8, 1979). As Captain Universe, the transformed person typically retains his or her original personality and appearance, though with Captain Universe’s costume and heroic traits superimposed over the original. The Uni-Power itself emanates from the Enigma Force, the exact nature of which, naturally, remains an enigma. It is believed, however, to be connected to the Microverse, home of the Micronauts. Although the Uni-Power typically empowers normal, non-super-powered humans, it has in the past empowered Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Commander Arcturus Rann of the Micronauts, a toddler, and a dog, among others. Its counterparts in various alternate timelines have also possessed Mar-Vell, Mr. Fantastic, a member of the alien Badoon race, a Doombot and Quasar. Because of its never-ending supply of energy it has been the target of many individuals, terrorist groups and peacekeeping agencies such as AIM, the Psycho-Man, Doctor Doom and even S.H.I.E.L.D. The first human Captain Universe was an astronaut named Captain Ray Coffin. He battled Baron Karza and sealed the Prometheus Pit between the Microverse and Earth. Captain Universe generally possesses superhuman strength, flight, Uni-Vision (microscopic vision, X-ray vision, and telescopic vision), telekinesis, enhanced senses, and a psychic awareness of imminent danger; when a person already possessing one or more of these abilities was transformed into Captain Universe, those abilities were amplified significantly.

The original Prometheus, Curt Calhoun, debuted in Blue Beetle #3 (May 8, 1986). Curt Calhoun is a small-time criminal working for supervillain Doctor Alchemy and is hired to steal a quantity of the metal promethium from KORD Inc., an organization owned by Ted Kord. Although successful, both Calhoun and Dr. Alchemy are captured by Kord’s alter ego Blue Beetle. On release from prison, Calhoun aids the Blue Beetle against the villain the Calculator and is offered a position as a foreman at KORD Inc. by Kord. While saving Kord from an industrial accident, Calhoun is covered with metals laced with promethium. En route to the hospital, Calhoun’s ambulance is attacked by members of the supervillain team Hybrid. The leader Mento transformed the metal covering Calhoun into a permanent metallic shell. Assuming the alias “Prometheus”, the reluctant Calhoun fights alongside Hybrid in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the New Teen Titans. The original Prometheus possesses a metal epidermis, which confers superior strength and durability. Calhoun is also capable of raising the temperature of his armored form to several hundred degrees Celsius.

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May 9

Karl Amadeus Mordo became a student of the Tibetan sorcerer known as the Ancient One. When Mordo plotted to kill his teacher, Dr. Stephen Strange learned of the plot. Mordo was forced to cast restraining spells to prevent Strange from warning the Ancient One. The Ancient One, however, was fully aware of Mordo’s plot and of Strange’s desire to warn him. He offered to free Strange if Strange would accept the Ancient One’s magical teachings. Strange agreed, despite the requirement that he abandon his former life. The Ancient One trained him to be a formidable opponent of Mordo. Eventually Mordo was exiled by the Ancient One. Mordo’s abilities were similar to those of Doctor Strange, but Mordo was particularly skilled at astral projection and hypnosis, as well as mesmerism. He was more than willing to use powerful black magic and invoke demons, both of which Strange was reluctant or unable to do. Mordo’s use of these darker arts would sometimes backfire. The evil Mordo became an open foe of Doctor Strange. He first appeared in Strange Tales #111 (May 9, 1963).

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May 10

Constantine is unusual among comic book characters in that he has aged in real time since his creation. During the first year of his solo series, Constantine celebrated his 35th birthday. In the relevant issue Constantine is reading a newspaper when he notices the date on the cover is his birthday, making his date of birth May 10, 1953. In Hellblazer, it was mentioned multiple times that the aging process of Constantine himself might be different due to the demon blood that he obtained from Nergal. His mother, Mary Anne, died giving birth to John and his stillborn twin brother because an earlier abortion—forced on her by John’s father, Thomas—had weakened her womb. Because he was unable to accept responsibility for his wife’s death, Thomas blamed John and the pair grew up with a deep dislike for one another. Constantine is shown to be someone with a wide and international circle of contacts and allies, and is adept at making friends. At the same time, his close friends inevitably suffer or are outright killed simply by being in his life; this has left a severe mark on him. Constantine also has a reputation as being one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world. Despite this, Constantine rarely uses magic, instead choosing to use his wits to trick his opponents.

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May 11

Looking to comics as a vehicle for their ideas, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster formulated a different take on the concept of the superman, with the character being a physically powerful hero. They pitched this unsuccessfully to newspaper syndicates as a comic strip. Siegel sent it to National Comics in New York where it languished in a drawer. When a publisher had difficulty deciding on an appropriate cover for a new magazine called Action Comics, someone pulled out the Superman proposal, showing him lifting a car with his hands. The publisher allegedly called it “ridiculous”, but still decided to later put it on the cover. He wrote Siegel and Shuster and asked them if they could put together a 13-page story for Action Comics #1. Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to the company for $130 and a contract to supply the publisher with material. The Saturday Evening Post reported in 1960 that the pair was being paid $75,000 each per year, still a fraction of DC’s Superman profits. In 1964, when Siegel and Shuster sued for more money, DC fired them, prompting a legal battle that ended in 1967, when they accepted $200,000 and signed away any further claim to Superman or any character created from him. DC soon took Siegel’s and Shuster’s names off the byline. In 1969, Siegel and Shuster attempted to regain rights to Superman using the renewal option in the Copyright Act of 1909, but the court ruled Siegel and Shuster had transferred the renewal rights to Detective Comics in 1938. Siegel and Shuster appealed, but the appeals court upheld this decision. Detective had re-hired Siegel as a writer in 1957, but fired him again when he filed this second lawsuit. In 1975, Siegel and a number of other comic book writers and artists launched a public campaign for better compensation and treatment of comic creators. Warner Brothers agreed to give Siegel and Shuster a yearly stipend, full medical benefits, and credit their names in all future Superman productions in exchange for never contesting ownership of Superman. Siegel and Shuster upheld this bargain. In addition, any media production which includes the Superman character must include the credit, “Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster”. The first issue with the the restored credit “created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster” was Superman #302 (May 11, 1976).

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May 12

Caliban is an albino mutant with a pale complexion and large yellow eyes. He has the ability to psionically sense other mutants out to several miles away and track their movements. He also has the ability to psionically sense, absorb, and turn the psionic energy of fear radiated by humans against them, inducing more intense fear within their minds. At some point in his life, he is banished from his home by his father, who called him Caliban, after a character from the play The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Learning of his mutant tracking ability, Callisto uses Caliban to locate other disenfranchised mutants and organizes them into the Morlocks, a band of homeless, rejected mutants. Caliban senses the presence of nearby mutants and enters a New York City nightclub seeking their friendship. He finds Storm, Dazzler, Kitty Pryde, and the original Spider-Woman in the club, and has a misunderstood confrontation with them. Though the battle ends peacefully, Caliban returns to his home underground. Caliban’s first appearance was in Uncanny X-Men #148 (May 12, 1981).

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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 May 13-19, 2022...

245 years ago May 19, 1777 British cartoonist and illustrator Richard Newton is born.

170 years ago May 14, 1852 Henri Julien is born. An artist working as artistic director for the Montreal Daily Star, he may be the first Canadian cartoonist employed by a newspaper full-time.

130 years ago May 16, 1892 Wally Robertson is born. The Scots artist is known for work on Charlie Chaplin comics.

125 years ago May 15, 1897 Glenn Chaffin is born. He writes Tailspin Tommy.

115 years ago May 13, 1907 Lord Longbow by Richard Thain begins in the Chicago Daily News.

110 years ago May 16, 1912 Artist John Liney is born. He ghosts Carl Anderson’s Henry strip – and draws Dell’s Henry comic book.

105 years ago May 16, 1917 Animator and writer-artist Hal Seeger is born. The director of the Hal Seeger Productions animation studio is known for his work on the Betty Boop strip and Leave It to Binky. He creates Muggy Doo, Boy Cat.

105 years ago May 18, 1917 Writer-artist Bill Everett is born. He creates Marvel’s Namor the Sub-Mariner and co-creates Marvel’s Daredevil with Stan Lee.

80 years ago May 14, 1942 Irish artist René Bull dies at age 69.

80 years ago May 15, 1942 Chris Ishii creates a comic strip in the internment camp newspaper Santa Anita Pacemaker. The featured character will eventually be named Lil’ Neebo, short for “Little Nisei Boy.”

80 years ago May 16, 1942 British comics magazine Funny Wonder merges with Wonder.

80 years ago May 18, 1942 Influential underground comix publisher of Apex Novelties Don Donahue is born.

80 years ago May 19, 1942 Writer, publisher, teacher, and filmmaker Shirrel Rhoades is born. He becomes Marvel Entertainment Publisher and Executive Vice President.

75 years ago May 16, 1947 Award-winning “King of 3-D Comics” Ray Zone is born. The film historian is an artist and specialist in 3-D.

75 years ago May 16, 1947 British artist Reginald Perrott dies of throat cancer at age 32. In addition to his comics work and war art, he was studio manager of Mickey Mouse Weekly.

70 years ago May 14, 1952 Writer Eric Dinehart is born.

70 years ago May 16, 1952 Cartoonist and comic book artist Christopher Kelly Browne is born. He’s also a strip artist in the Mort Walker studio.

65 years ago May 15, 1957 Artist, editor, and art director Gary Leach is born. He’s especially known for his work on Disney comics.

65 years ago May 16, 1957 Writer and storyteller Henry Vogel is born.

60 years ago May 17, 1962 Dr. Malcolm Bourne is born. The writer’s work includes Tales of Ordinary Madness, drawn by Mike Allred.

55 years ago May 19, 1967 Writer and Quad Star Comics self-publisher Anthony Monzo III is born.

20 years ago May 15, 2002 Artist Arthur Peddy dies at age 85. The co-creator of Phantom Lady worked at the Iger shop in the Golden Age and drew for DC, Marvel, and more.

20 years ago May 17, 2002 Cartoonist Dave Berg dies of cancer at age 81. While he was especially known for his Mad series “The Lighter Side of …,” he’d worked in comics beginning in the Golden Age.

20 years ago May 17-19, 2002 Motor City Comic Con I is held in Novi, Michigan.

15 years ago May 17, 2007 Award-winning writer Lloyd Alexander dies at age 83. His Chronicles of Prydain series was the basis for Walt Disney’s The Black Cauldron.

10 years ago May 16, 2012 Artist Ernie Chan dies of cancer at age 71. He also worked as “Ernie Chua” and was especially known for his work on horror titles and on Conan, Kull, and Power Man.

5 years ago May 18, 2017 Mexican artist, teacher, and art director Oscar González Guerrero dies at age 91. He co-founded the ¡Ka-Boom! Estudio with his son and daughter-in-law.

5 years ago May 19, 2017 Artist-writer-editor Rich Buckler dies of cancer at age 68. He worked for Marvel and DC, created Reagan’s Raiders, created Deathlok with Doug Moench in Marvel’s Astonishing Tales, co-created DC’s All-Star Squadron, and formed Visage Studios with his son Rick and Walter McDaniel.
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May 13

Rory Regan had grown up helping his father, a junk man who owned a pawn shop named Rags'n'Tatters. His father always dreamed of making a better life for Rory and constantly promised that someday he would make Rory rich. While drinking with his friends one night, his father discovered $2 million stuffed inside an old mattress that had been pawned just recently. He and his friends decided to hide the money for Rory, since they were too old to truly benefit from it. The money turned out to be the loot from an armored car heist and when the hoods came to the shop to get it, they shot down some electrical wires and used them to torture Rory’s father and his friends into revealing where the money was hidden. Rory arrived soon after and seeing his father in agony attempted to free him from the wires. A final shock of power ran though the old men and grounded out at Rory, knocking him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, his father and friends were dead and the hoods responsible were gone. Using a costume made out of old rags he became Ragman, “The Tatterdemalion of Justice.” Rory appeared to have gained the physical abilities of the men who were electrocuted as they were all touching when the final blow of electricity flew through them and into Rory. He had an acrobat’s agility, a strongman’s strength, and a boxer’s skills. He first appeared in Ragman #1 (May 13, 1976).

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May 14

Colonel Luther Manning is an American soldier from Detroit, Michigan, who, after being fatally injured, is reanimated in a post-apocalyptic future only to discover that what remains of his dead body has been turned into the experimental Deathlok cyborg by Simon Ryker. He verbally communicates with his symbiotic computer, to which he refers as the abbreviated “‘Puter”. He battles the evil corporate and military regimes that have taken over the United States, while simultaneously struggling not to lose his humanity. Although initially announced as the new lead feature for Marvel’s Worlds Unknown comic, under the title “Cyborg”, the first Deathlok appeared in Astonishing Tales #25 (May 14, 1974).

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