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January 2

In the early 1970s author and literary agent David Obst suggested to Marvel publisher Stan Lee and DC editorial director Carmine Infantino that there should be a feature film crossover featuring Marvel’s Spider-Man and DC’s Superman characters. However, there was already a Superman movie planned by Warner Bros., and a series of Spider-Man TV movies, so instead the two companies settled for an oversize comic book entitled Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century (January 2, 1976). In the story, Superman and Spider-Man must stop a world domination/destruction plot hatched in tandem by their respective arch-nemeses, Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus. The issue is non-canonical, as it assumes that the heroes and their respective cities of residence, Metropolis and New York City, exist in the same universe, with no explanation given as to why they had never before met or been mentioned in each other’s individual stories.

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January 3

Scarlet Witch and her brother, Quicksilver, debuted as a part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4 (January 3, 1964). Scarlet Witch is able to manipulate probability via her “hexes”. Casting a hex requires a gesture and concentration on her part, though the gestures are largely a focus for the concentration. Despite this precision, the hexes are not necessarily guaranteed to work, particularly if Wanda is tired or using her powers excessively. Originally capable of running at the speed of sound, Quicksilver’s exposure to the High Evolutionary’s Isotope E made it possible for the character to run at supersonic speeds of up to Mach 10 and resist the effects of friction, reduced oxygen, and kinetic impact while moving at super-speeds. Also, he has a fast metabolism and can heal more rapidly than the average human. They were depicted as reluctant villains, uninterested in Magneto’s ideologies. When Magneto is abducted by the cosmic entity Stranger, the Brotherhood dissolves and the twins declare that the end of their allegiance to Magneto. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch join the Avengers. Along with Captain America as leader, and former villain Hawkeye, the four become the second generation of the Avengers.

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January 4

Brothers Chuck and Hal Chandler were born in Los Angeles, California. As a test pilot for NASA in 1958, Chuck was piloting the experimental XF-13 rocket plane when he was captured by Skrull invaders. They attempted to interrogate him, but Chuck escaped, damaging the Skrulls’ warp drive in the process. The Skrull saucer exploded as Chuck flew away, exposing him to strange radiation. He crashed the XF-13 in the Mojave Desert, and when his younger, crippled brother Hal attempted to rescue him, Chuck disappeared, believed to have been killed. Hal, a research scientist, discovered that Chuck’s image had been imprinted on the lenses of his glasses, and that Chuck had been transformed into a two-dimensional being. When Hal wore the glasses and concentrated, he triggered a dimensional shift that caused Chuck to materialize into a three-dimensional existence. In his new form Chuck wore a green and red bodysuit, and his normal strength, speed, and durability had been tripled. 3-D Man debuted in Marvel Premiere #35 (January 4, 1977). In addition, 3-D Man had the limited quasi-telepathic ability to perceive the distinctive aura of the Skrull race, even when a Skrull has assumed another form. As the costumed 3-D Man, Chuck fought another group of Skrull agents. He battled more Skrull infiltrators, and then battled the Cold Warrior.

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January 5

Typhoid Mary is an enemy and former lover of Daredevil with low level psionic powers, including telekinesis. She has been a professional criminal employed by organized crime syndicates as an assassin in the past. She is also gravely mentally ill. Her condition was accidentally caused by a pre-Daredevil Matt Murdock. He had tracked a villain down to the brothel where Mary worked. He attacked the man, but to his surprise, the girls working there came at him. Panicking, he lashed out, knocking Mary out of the window. It was at this moment that Mary somehow became Typhoid Mary, vowing no man would ever hurt her again. Suffering from dissociative identity disorder, Mary Walker has three other abnormal personalities in addition to her seemingly healthy one. Her “Mary” personality is a timid, quiet, pacifist; her “Typhoid” personality is adventurous, lustful, and violent; and her “Bloody Mary” persona is brutal, sadistic, and misandrous. Aside from highly developed martial arts skills, Walker also possesses telekinetic powers and, more dangerously, pyrokinesis, the ability to set people or objects in her immediate vicinity aflame. Typhoid Mary first appeared in Daredevil #254 (January 5, 1988).

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January 6

At the age of 10, the child who would grow up to become The Shroud saw his parents gunned down right before his eyes. He decided to dedicate his life to fighting crime. Upon graduation from college, he joined the mysterious temple called “Cult of Kali”, where he studied various styles of martial arts. After seven years of intense training, he graduated from that temple. During the celebration ceremony, he was branded with the “Kiss of Kali”, a red-hot iron. He had the image of the goddess Kali imprinted in livid scar tissue on his face from nose to hairline and from cheek to cheek. Following a period of intense pain and hospitalization, he realized that his eyesight had been replaced by a mystic extrasensory perception. Traveling back to the United States, he adopted the masked identity of the “Shroud”. The Shroud first appeared in Super-Villain Team-Up #5 (January 6, 1976). Shroud possesses the mystical ability to create an aperture into Darkforce Dimension and to project the thick, inky gas-like substance of the Darkforce Dimension into Earth’s dimension for his own use.

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January 7

On January 7, 1929, the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. comic strip debuted. Buck is rendered unconscious, and a strange gas preserves him in a suspended animation or coma state. He awakens and emerges from the mine in 2429 A.D., in the midst of another war. After rescuing Wilma, he proves his identity by showing her his American Legion button. She then explains how the Mongol Reds emerged from the Gobi desert to conquer Asia and Europe and then attacked America starting with that “big idol holding a torch”. Using their disintegrator beams, they easily defeated the army and navy and wiped out Washington, D.C. in three hours. As the people fled the cities, the Mongols built new cities on the ruins of the major cities. The Mongols left the Americans to fend for themselves as their advanced technology prevented the need for slave labor. The scattered Americans formed loosely bound organizations or “orgs” to begin to fight back. Wilma takes Buck back to the Alleghany org in what was once Philadelphia. The leaders don’t believe his story at first but after undergoing electro-hypnotic tests, they believe him and admit him into their group.

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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 January 7-13, 2022...

155 years ago January 7, 1867 French writer Maurice Languereau is born. He works as “Caumery” and is known for stories of Bécassine illustrated by Pinchon.

145 years ago January 11, 1877 Oskar Emil Andersson is born. “OA” is an influential Swedish artist, creator of the pantomime strip Mannen Som Gor Vad Som Faller Honom In and a strip about prehistoric characters.

135 years ago January 10, 1887 Strip artist Bud Counihan is born. He originates the Betty Boop comic strip, based on the Fleischer character.

125 years ago January 10, 1897 J.P. McEvoy is born. He writes Dixie Dugan.

110 years ago January 7, 1912 Cartoonist Charles Addams is born. He is famed for specializing in macabre characters and situations.

110 years ago January 13, 1912 The Bringing Up Father comic strip begins, written and drawn by George McManus.

95 years ago January 9, 1927 Ralston “Bud” Jones is born. He draws the Mr. Abernathy feature written by Frank Ridgeway.

95 years ago January 10, 1927 Little Annie Rooney by Ed Verdier begins.

90 years ago January 10, 1932 Mickey Mouse appears for the first time in color comics with his first Sunday comics page, written and drawn by Earl Duvall and Al Taliaferro. It also introduces Bucky Bug.

90 years ago January 10, 1932 Pete the Tramp by Clarence D. Russell begins.

85 years ago January 10, 1937 Italian writer-artist Gabriele Galantara dies at age 71. He was known for his caricatures and co-founded L’Asino magazine with Guido Podrecca.

75 years ago January 11, 1947 The stop-motion film The Crab with the Golden Claws has its premiere. It’s the first animated film based on Hergé’s Tintin.

75 years ago January 13, 1947 Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff begins in more than 200 papers.

65 years ago January 7, 1957 Mrs. Fitz’s Flats by Mort Walker and Frank Roberge begins.

65 years ago January 9, 1957 Writer Daniel Wilson is born.

60 years ago January 12, 1962 Editor, writer, and artist Joe Quesada is born. He works on a variety of characters for Valiant, DC, and Marvel – where he becomes editor in chief in 2000 and Chief Creative Officer in 2010.

60 years ago January 13, 1962 Ernie Kovacs dies in a car accident at age 42. The influential comedian and writer was a Mad contributor.

55 years ago January 7, 1967 Heather McAdams is born. She’s the autobiographical comic strip creator of Cartoon Girl.

55 years ago January 9, 1967 The NBC sitcom Captain Nice by Buck Henry begins. It stars William Daniels as the superpowered captain.

55 years ago January 9, 1967 The CBS sitcom Mr. Terrific begins. It stars Stephen Strimpell as the character who gets powers for an hour with a pill.

55 years ago January 10, 1967 Blue Masque Studios writer-artist Ernest Edwards is born.

40 years ago January 8, 1982 Writer-artist Ray Thompson dies at age 76. He created the Homer the Ghost panel cartoon but was best known as creator of Fleer gum’s Dubble Bubble Kids comic strips.

40 years ago January 13, 1982 German writer Walter Pogge van Ranken dies at age 68. He co-created Tipp und Tapp with Hanns Erich Köhler.

35 years ago January 9, 1987 Actor Arthur Lake dies of a heart attack at age 81. His comics associated roles included Dagwood and Harold Teen.

35 years ago January 13, 1987 Artist Ed Kuekes dies at age 85. The Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist co-created the Do You Believe daily panel with Steve Freeley.

30 years ago January 8, 1992 Artist Aubrey Collette dies at age 71. He taught in Ceylon before creating political cartoons and moving to Australia, where his work won the Walkley Award.

25 years ago January 8, 1997 Canadian animator and artist Normand Hudon (who worked as “Rémy”) dies at age 67.

20 years ago January 10, 2002 John (Giovanni Natale) Buscema dies of stomach cancer at age 74. The award-winning artist was especially known for his work on Marvel characters including The Avengers, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Thor, and Conan.

20 years ago January 13, 2002 French artist Pierre Joubert dies at age 91. He was known for his art for Boy Scout publications.

10 years ago January 8, 2012 The gag strip Ferd’nand ends.

5 years ago January 12, 2017 Award-winning political caricaturist and Mad contributor Gerry Gersten dies of Parkinson’s disease at age 89.
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January 8

Frey is an Asgardian who helped construct Valhalla. After Asgard was attacked, Odin bribed two giants named Fafnir and Fasolt to restore the walls of Valhalla, by promising them Frey’s sister Idunn. Loki promised Odin that he would not have to pay the price, but as he was hoping to cause Ragnarok, Loki turned Idunn over to them anyway. Thor and Frey then arrived to confront the giants and rescue her. Thor and Frey fought the two giants, but had to stand down when Odin revealed his oath to them. The giants agreed that they would relinquish Idunn if the gods gave them the Rheingold, which included the Ring of the Nibelung. After Thor, Odin, and Loki retrieved the Ring from the gnomes, Frey was happily reunited with Idunn. Frey first appeared in Thor #294 (January 8, 1980).

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January 9

“Superduperman” is a satirical story by Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood that was published in Mad #4 (January 9, 1953). Lampooning both Superman and Captain Marvel, it revolutionized the types of stories seen in Mad, leading to greatly improved sales. “Clark Bent” is a lowly assistant to the copy boy at The Daily Dirt newspaper, where he tries, unsuccessfully, to woo the narcissistic and indifferent “Lois Pain.” Meanwhile, an ‘unknown monster’ is stalking the streets of the city. Bent changes into Superduperman to help save the day, but “boy reporter Billy Spafon” reveals himself to be the monster, “Captain Marbles.” Superduperman is unable to harm Captain Marbles until he provokes Marbles into punching himself in the head. Hoping this victory will be enough to sway Pain, he reveals his alter ego, only to be rejected again; the story closes with Pain’s putdown: “Once a creep, always a creep.”

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January 10

Natasha Romanova was born in Stalingrad, Russia. The first and best-known Black Widow is a Russian agent trained as a spy, martial artist, and sniper, and outfitted with an arsenal of high-tech weaponry, including a pair of wrist-mounted energy weapons dubbed her “Widow’s Bite”. She wears no costume during her first few appearances but simply evening wear and a veil. Romanova eventually defects to the U.S. for reasons that include her love for the reluctant-criminal turned superhero archer, Hawkeye. A revised, retconned origin establishes her as being raised from very early childhood by the U.S.S.R.’s “Black Widow Ops” program, rather than solely by Ivan Petrovitch. Petrovitch had taken her to Department X, with other young female orphans, where she was brainwashed, and trained in combat and espionage at the covert “Red Room” facility. There, she is biotechnologically and psycho-technologically enhanced—an accounting that provides a rationale for her unusually long and youthful lifespan. During that time she had some training under Winter Soldier, and the pair even had a short romance. The Black Widow’s first appearances were as a recurring, non-costumed, Russian-spy antagonist in the feature “Iron Man”, beginning in Tales of Suspense #52 (January 10, 1964). Her government later supplied her with her first Black Widow costume and high-tech weaponry, but she eventually defected to the United States after appearing, temporarily brainwashed against the U.S. The Widow later became a recurring ally of the Avengers before officially becoming its sixteenth member many years later.

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January 11

Madelyne Pryor was a cargo pilot in Anchorage, Alaska working for Scott Summers’ grandparents when she and Scott meet during a Summers family reunion. She first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #168 (January 11, 1983). A romantic relationship quickly begins between them; however, Scott is disturbed at her striking resemblance to his dead lover, Jean Grey/Phoenix. Also, she was the sole survivor of an airplane crash that occurred the same day Phoenix died on the moon. In addition, Professor X is unable to scan her mind. Scott, still recovering from Jean’s death, becomes obsessed with the idea that Madelyne is her reincarnation, eventually confronting her with his suspicions. Madelyne, furious and hurt, punches Scott and runs from him. As soon as she is alone, she is abducted by Mastermind, who had been manipulating the X-Men for months — as revenge for being driven temporarily insane by Phoenix due to his involvement in her corruption. To defeat him, Storm summons a violent storm which nearly kills Madelyne, but Scott resuscitates her. After the conflict, Scott comes to terms with the fact that Jean Grey is dead and that Madelyne is not her, and that he loves her all the same. The two are married, and Scott retires from active duty with the X-Men.

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January 12

Doc Savage was a hero originally published in American pulp magazines during the 1930s and 1940s. The heroic-adventure character would go on to appear in other media, including radio, film, and comic books, with his adventures reprinted for modern-day audiences in a series of paperback books. The Doc Savage Magazine was printed by Street & Smith from March 1933 to the summer of 1949 to capitalize on the success of the Shadow magazine and followed by the original Avenger in September 1939. Though he would eventually have his own comic title, the Doc Savage comic strip debuted in Shadow Comics #1 (January 12, 1940). Street & Smith Publications executive Henry Ralston and editor John Nanovic wrote a short premise establishing the broad outlines of the character they envisioned, but Doc Savage was only fully realized by the author chosen to write the series, Lester Dent. Dent wrote most of the 181 original novels, hidden behind the “house name” of Kenneth Robeson. Doc Savage’s real name is Clark Savage, Jr. He is a physician, scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer, researcher, and a musician. A team of scientists assembled by his father deliberately trained his mind and body to near-superhuman abilities almost from birth, giving him great strength and endurance, a photographic memory, a mastery of the martial arts, and vast knowledge of the sciences. Doc is also a master of disguise and an excellent imitator of voices. “He rights wrongs and punishes evildoers.”

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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 January 14-20, 2022...

150 years ago January 19, 1872 German artist Friedrich Lossow dies at age 34.

140 years ago January 18, 1882 Writer Alan Alexander Milne is born. His classic Winnie the Pooh stories are the basis for many Walt Disney cartoons.

120 years ago January 17, 1902 Award-winning Chicago Daily News editorial cartoonist Cecil Jensen is born. He creates the Syncopating Sue comic strip.

110 years ago January 19, 1912 Belgian writer-editor Daniel Omer de Kesel is born. He defended using comics as a means of education.

100 years ago January 19, 1922 Milton Schiffman is born. He serves as Marvel vice-president of production in the mid-1980s.

95 years ago January 19, 1927 German writer Lothar Dräger is born. He scripts material for Mosaik magazine.

95 years ago January 20, 1927 Ching Chow by Sidney Smith and Stanley Link begins.

90 years ago January 16, 1932 Award-winning editorial cartoonist Jim Berry is born. He launches Berry’s World in 1963 and is 1981-1982 Association of American Editorial Cartoonists president.

90 years ago January 19, 1932 Cartoonist, writer, and agent Jack Caprio is born. He works with Johnny Hart on B.C. and Wizard of Id, is cartoon editor for Creator’s Syndicate 1990-1998, and is National Cartoonists Society vice president 1990-1998.

65 years ago January 17, 1957 Writer and Marvel editor Ann Nocenti is born. She co-creates such characters as Typhoid Mary and Longshot and writes Daredevil for more than four years. For DC, she writes Kid Eternity and Green Arrow.

60 years ago January 15, 1962 Record introduces Iznogoud, co-created by Jean Tabary and René Goscinny.

55 years ago January 17, 1967 Award-winning writer-editor Tom Brevoort is born. He becomes Marvel Executive Editor in 2007 and Senior Vice President of Publishing in 2011.

40 years ago January 15, 1982 Cartoonist Wally Bishop dies at age 76. He created the Muggs and Skeeter strip.

40 years ago January 19, 1982 Artist Charles Plumb dies at age 82. He co-created the Ella Cinders strip with writer Bill Conselman.

30 years ago January 15, 1992 Animator and artist Walter Clinton dies at age 85. The Disney character designer and layout artist then went to MGM and then Hanna-Barbera.

25 years ago January 19, 1997 Voice artist Adriana Caselotti dies of cancer at age 80. She voiced the character of Disney’s Snow White.

15 years ago January 16, 2007 Well known comics fan Leah Adezio dies of liver and kidney failure at age 46.

5 years ago January 15, 2017 Belgian writer and editor Jean-Luc Vernal dies at age 72.

5 years ago January 17, 2017 Belgian artist Pascal Garray dies at age 51. He drew many comics using Peyo creations – including Smurfs.

5 years ago January 17, 2017 Belgian artist Pascal J. Zanon dies from complications of an operation at age 73. He was known for the Harry Dickson comic strip.

5 years ago January 18, 2017 French writer-artist Raoul Giordan dies at age 90. He worked with his brother Robert on a variety of comics characters.

5 years ago January 19, 2017 Actor and voice artist Miguel Ferrer dies of throat cancer at age 61. His comics connections include co-creation (with Bill Mumy) of Comet Man and Trypto the Acid Dog, performance (with co-performers Bill Mumy, Max Allan Collins, Steve Leialoha, and John Christensen) in the Seduction of the Innocent singing group, acting as the vice president in Iron Man 3, and voicing such characters as Martian Manhunter and Shan Yu.

5 years ago January 19, 2017 Award-winning Dutch artist Jan Kruis dies at age 83. Known for his family comics series Jan, Jans en de Kinderen, he founded the studio Jan Kruis Producties. He was knighted in 1996, and the Jan Kruis Museum opened in 2019.
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January 13

Peach Girl is a Japanese shōjo manga series centered on character Momo Adachi, her love life, friendships and rivalries. It debuted on January 13, 1998. Momo Adachi, a Yokohama high school student, is a former member of the junior high school swim team. She tans easily and her hair is bleached out because she spends so much time in the pool. Unfortunately, she is stereotyped by her classmates and is forced to endure rumors about being an “easy girl” who has had many sexual relationships. Her only “friend” is Sae who is actually responsible for copying her and spreading nasty gossips due to her jealousy of Momo. Momo is in love with Toji, a taciturn baseball player, but the scheming Sae also has her sights set on the boy. Momo’s life is further complicated with the introduction of Kairi Okayasu, a wise-cracking playboy who is determined to make her his.

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January 14

The Bionic Woman series is a spin-off from the 1970s The Six Million Dollar Man television science fiction action series. It premiered on January 14, 1976. Lindsay Wagner stars as professional tennis player Jaime Sommers, who becomes critically injured during a skydiving accident. Jaime’s life is saved by Oscar Goldman (Richard Anderson) and Dr. Rudy Wells (Martin E. Brooks) with bionic surgical implants similar to those of The Six Million Dollar ManSteve Austin (Lee Majors). Through the use of cybernetic implants, known as bionics, Jaime is gifted with an amplified bionic ear which allows her to hear at low volumes and at different frequencies from most humans and over uncommonly long distances. She also has extraordinary strength in her bionic right arm and in both legs that enables her to run at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour. She is then assigned to spy missions of her own as an occasional agent of the Office of Scientific Information, while under the employment cover as a school teacher of middle school students. The series proved highly popular worldwide, gaining high ratings in the US and particularly so in the UK.

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January 15

Destroyer Duck was an anthology comic book published by Eclipse Comics. It was first published on January 15, 1982. The main story of the comic told of Louis “Duke” Duck, a resident of a typical anthropomorphic comic-book world, who had witnessed his best friend, identified only as “The Little Guy” or “TLG,” vanish into thin air before his eyes. Some years later, TLG reappeared only to die at Duke’s feet—but not before telling the tale of how he was exploited and destroyed by a thoughtless conglomeration, “Godcorp.” Swearing revenge, Duke vowed to take down Godcorp no matter the cost. Written by Steve Gerber and featuring artwork by Jack Kirby, the book was published as a way to help Gerber raise funds for a lawsuit he was embroiled in at the time, in which he was battling industry giant Marvel Comics over the ownership of the character Howard the Duck, which Gerber created for the company in 1973.

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January 16

Aurora, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, is the twin sister of Northstar and the former lover of Sasquatch and Wild Child. She struggled with a dissociative identity disorder for years leading to two distinctive personalities, the quiet, religious Jeanne-Marie and the outgoing, heroic, uninhibited Aurora. Aurora and Northstar worked together for years as part of Alpha Flight, including dealing with Beaubier’s struggles with her personality disorders. She was briefly a member of the X-Men and also participated in the Weapon X program in an attempt to gain control of her splintered personalities. Aurora first appeared in X-Men #120 (January 16, 1979) as a member of Alpha Flight. Aurora has the powers of flight and superhuman speed and reflexes. The greater her increase in speed, the more durable her body becomes, but this ability has not been measured. Originally, while in physical contact with her brother, usually while holding hands, the pair could emit bursts of brilliant white light with an average flash equal in intensity of one million candela. It was generally used to blind their opponents, but with the minor drawback that they were not able to control its intensity.

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January 17

Sue is the wife of hero Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man. he has at times worked for the Justice League as an administrator. Ralph and Sue share a very loving relationship. She first appeared in Flash #119 (January 17, 1961). It all started when Ralph crashed her debutante ball, using the pretense of jewel thieves to catch a glimpse of the lovely Sue. What followed was a whirlwind romance, with Sue and Ralph married a short time later. Sue stuck by Ralph’s side as he traveled around the globe as part of the Justice League. This leads to the various dangers associated with the lifestyle, including her near death at the tentacles of an alien parasite and being kidnapped by a supervillain, Sonar I, to become his consort. Through it all, Sue and Ralph stick together, even when the going gets tough. Sue and Ralph move to Opal City, content to spend their lives together as superhero detective and wife.

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January 18

Thomas “Tommy” Shepherd was raised in Springfield, New Jersey as the only son of Frank and Mary Shepherd, who are divorced. Wiccan and the other Young Avengers locate him as another teenager with ties to the Avengers using the same program devised by the Vision that Iron Lad used to locate most of the current Young Avengers. The Young Avengers find Tommy in Young Avengers #10 (January 18, 2006) in a high-powered facility in Springfield that Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) initially describes as “just juvie”, though the facility and its staff are equipped with advanced offensive and defensive technology. When they release him from his cell, it is immediately noted that Tommy, a white-haired speedster, bears a striking resemblance to Billy (“twin-like”) and Quicksilver, sharing the latter’s hair color and similar abilities. They later discover that they are in fact long lost twin brothers, and that the pair are the sons of the Scarlet Witch and her husband Vision.

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January 19

Gnarrk was a nineteen-year-old Cro-Magnon who was fascinated by the lights in the skies. He first appeared in Teen Titans #32 (January 19, 1971). One night, a comet crashed before him, embedding a chunk of crystal into his chest which expanded his mind and understanding. The jewel in his chest protected him from a volcanic disturbance by encasing him in ice. Centuries passed, and Gnarrk remained in his ice tomb. During that time, his mind still worked, and Gnarrk used his abilities to cure disease and control the forces of nature to benefit mankind. Based on psychic flashes from Lilith, the Teen Titans traveled to Southeast Asia, where they eventually found Gnarrk still encased in ice. Lilith used her powers to establish a mental rapport with Gnarrk, discovering his noble intentions. Although Lilith was dating Don Hall at the time, she nonetheless found herself attracted to the gentle soul. The Titans brought Gnarrk back to S.T.A.R. Labs but discovered that he was dying. Gnarrk remained on life support for almost a year with Lilith by his side. Gnarrk’s light in his chest eventually faded and he died. When S.T.A.R. scientists performed an autopsy, they found the stone no longer had any special abilities. Whatever abilities the stone possessed vanished upon Gnarrk’s death.

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January 20

Amethyst’s premise was initially pitched to DC comics under the title Changeling, as its main character was left on earth as an infant. This name, however, was then in use by another DC teen hero, Beast Boy. Dan Mishkin decided on “Amethyst” as a replacement, which in turn inspired the jewel-themed naming of other characters in the series and nature of Gemworld as a whole. Amethyst first appeared as a special insert in Legion of Super-Heroes #298 (January 20, 1983). Princess Amethyst, the daughter of the ruling House of Amethyst, was orphaned by Dark Opal of the House of Opal. Following the death of Amethyst’s parents, the witch Citrina whisks her away to be reared in safety by the Winston family on Earth. At the age of thirteen, Amethyst is attacked by Dark Opal. After her return to Gemworld, Amethyst discovers her magical powers and gains the appearance of an adult woman. The most powerful magic users in all of Gemworld are from the House of Amethyst. Amethyst decides to use her powers to rebel against Dark Opal’s oppression over Gemworld. Upon befriending the winged unicorn Max, Princess Amethyst journeys in search of allies among The Twelve Kingdoms of Gemworld that do not support Dark Opal.

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January 21

Feron, born on an alternate Earth, was a great mage. Feron and Merlyn were both students of Necrom, their race’s Sorcerer Supreme. Necrom had discovered that aligning parallel universes would create a matrix of nearly limitless magical energy. They traveled to Earth-616, where Feron contacted the Phoenix Force. He became host to the Phoenix Force and used its powers to project an ancient tower across the omniverse, creating a copy of the tower on every alternate Earth in existence. These towers formed a permanent alignment and the energy matrix. Meanwhile, Merlyn had jumped into the energy matrix and took its powers for himself. Necrom fled with part of the Phoenix Force and the Phoenix left Feron. Feron, blaming himself for the pain the Phoenix had suffered at Necrom’s hands, stayed on Earth-616 and dedicated his life to seek forgiveness. He told his children to prepare for the inevitable return of Necrom. Centuries later, Feron’s heir, also called Feron, was trained as a mystic, and became a sentinel awaiting the coming of the Anti-Phoenix. He first appeared in Excalibur #48 (January 21, 1992). According to his teachers, Feron would become the host to the Phoenix the moment his bare feet touched the ground, so he never touched the Earth, always levitating himself with his powers. Feron felt Necrom returning to Earth-616, but when his feet touched the ground nothing happened; another person, Rachel Summers, had already become the host of the Phoenix. He assisted Rachel and her teammates battling Necrom.

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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 January 21-27, 2022...

115 years ago January 22, 1907 Czech artist Jan Fischer is born. He co-creates the series Rychle Sipy with Jaroslav Foglar.

115 years ago January 23, 1907 Actor Bob Steele is born. His cowboy roles lead to licensing his name and image to Fawcett comic books.

110 years ago January 29, 1912 German artist and animator Heinz Rammelt is born.

100 years ago January 26, 1922 Dell comics artist Guillermo Cardoso is born.

95 years ago January 25, 1927 Italian artist Gianni De Luca is born. He works for Il Giornalino.

85 years ago January 21, 1937 Award-winning Herman creator Jim Unger is born.

80 years ago January 25, 1942 Dutch store owner, publisher, writer, and Lambiek and Comiclopedia founder Kees Kousemaker is born.

70 years ago January 22, 1952 Award-winning Hungarian comics pioneer Ákos Garay dies at age 85. He drew comics for political and satirical newspapers.

70 years ago January 23, 1952 Artist-writer Klaus Janson is born. He’s especially known for his work with Frank Miller on Daredevil and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

70 years ago January 23, 1952 Artist Cara Sherman-Tereno is born. She works on such titles as Wonder Woman, Arion, and First Comics’ Evangeline.

70 years ago January 25, 1952 DC, Marvel, and Crusade writer Gary Cohn is born. He co-creates Blue Devil and Amethyst.

70 years ago January 25, 1952 Comics creator and Black Age of Comics founder Turtel Onli is born.

70 years ago January 26, 1952 Dwight Decker is born. An active comics fan since 1967, he also translates comics for U.S. readers.

70 years ago January 26, 1952 Richard Alf is born. He is co-chair of San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con in 1970, the forerunner of Comic-Con International: San Diego. The owner of the Comic Kingdom comics shop in the 1970s is also a longtime Comic-Con staffer.

70 years ago January 24, 1952 Steve Leialoha is born. He provides art for a variety of comics companies including Marvel, DC, and Harris.

65 years ago January 25, 1957 Harry J. Tuthill dies at age 71. He wrote and drew Home Sweet Home, which became The Bungle Family.

65 years ago January 26, 1957 Writer and teacher George Dewey Lipscomb dies at age 58. His biography in Invisible Men especially notes his scripts for such Classics Illustrations adaptations as David Copperfield and The Spy.

65 years ago January 27, 1957 Frank Miller is born. The writer-artist is especially known for his noir approach to projects including Ronin; Daredevil: Born Again; Batman: The Dark Knight Returns; Sin City; 300; and stories featuring Martha Washington and Elektra. He writes and directs the 2008 film based on Will Eisner’s The Spirit.

60 years ago January 22, 1962 Artist Jack Patton dies at age 61. The editorial cartoonist created the newspaper strips Restless Age and Dolly Burns (later renamed Spencer Easley).

55 years ago January 21, 1967 DC Golden Age artist Homer Fleming dies at age 84.

55 years ago January 21, 1967 The British comics magazine Pow! begins.

55 years ago January 21, 1967 The British comics magazine Mandy begins.

55 years ago January 24, 1967 Voice artist Phil LaMarr is born.

50 years ago January 26, 1972 Monster Times begins. “The world’s first newspaper of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy” is a biweekly 50¢ tabloid newspaper.

45 years ago January 22, 1977 Writer-artist James Childress commits suicide at age 35. He created the Conchy newspaper strip.

45 years ago January 24, 1977 Artist John Rosenberger dies of cancer at age 58. Sometimes working as “John Diehl,” he was known for his work for ACG and was co-creator (with Robert Bernstein) of The Jaguar and (with Robert Kanigher) of Lady Cop.

35 years ago January 23, 1987 DC writer, historian, and assistant editor Edward Nelson Bridwell dies of lung cancer at age 55. He created such characters as The Inferior Five, Angel and the Ape, and The Secret Six.

35 years ago January 23, 1987 Artist Dow O. Walling dies at age 84. He created Skeets and the Freedom Foundation Prize winner Jimmy’s Job. He was featured on the Here’s Dow TV show and was a founding member of the National Cartoonists Society.

35 years ago January 27, 1987 Artist Rod Ruth dies at age 74. An artist for Ziff-Davis pulps, he was also the first artist of The Toodles, scripted by Stanley and Betsy Baer.

30 years ago January 21, 1992 Marvel Entertainment Group stock splits two for one.

30 years ago January 25, 1992 Award-winning Italian writer-artist Guido Buzzelli dies at age 64. His work included Angelique.

30 years ago January 27, 1992 Belgian writer-artist Jacques Devos dies at age 67. He created and co-created many series for Spirou magazine.

25 years ago January 25, 1997 Tarzan and Flash Gordon comic strip artist Dan Barry dies at age 73. He also wrote and drew Indiana Jones and Predator comics for Dark Horse.

20 years ago January 21, 2002 The MTV Daria animated series ends.

20 years ago January 24, 2002 Kurt Schaffenberger dies at age 81. The award-winning artist was especially known for his work on Fawcett’s Captain Marvel and DC’s Lois Lane.

5 years ago January 21, 2017 British artist John Watkiss dies of cancer at age 55. He provided concept art for films and was especially known for his work on Conan stories for Marvel and Sandman stories for DC.

5 years ago January 21, 2017 Italian artist Alessandro Biffignandi dies at age 81. He painted covers for many Italian comics in the 1970s and 1980s.

5 years ago January 25, 2017 Prolific award-winning writer-artist Jack Mendelsohn dies of lung cancer at age 90. Although he was best known for Jacky’s Diary, which included his art, he also wrote many, many other features.
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January 22

Sabbac is depicted as a “dark opposite” to the Marvels, similar to Captain Marvel’s foe Ibac, who draws his powers from four historical villains. The dark forces of Hell gave the human Timothy Karnesthe power to become a being with powers to rival Captain Marvel. To access this power, all Karnes has to do is say the magic word “Sabbac”, and magic black lightning strikes up from the underworld and transforms him into a muscle-bound demon with super-strength, super-speed, flight, fire breath, and the ability to emit fire blasts from the palms of his hands. Like Captain Marvel’s magic word “Shazam”, the word Sabbac is an acronym for the six beings who empower Sabbac: the demons Satan, Aym, Belial, Beelzebub, Asmodeus, and Crateis. Sabbac appeared in Captain Marvel, Jr. #4 (January 22, 1943). When he first appears he joins Nazi agents, being promised power over America if he helps them conquer it, and tries to destroy transport lines to isolate East and West America.

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January 23

ThunderCats follows the adventures of the eponymous team of heroes, catlike humanoid aliens on a planet called Third Earth. It premiered on January 23, 1985. The series plot begins with the dying planet Thundera meeting its end, forcing the ThunderCats to flee their homeworld. The fleet is attacked by the Thundereans’s enemies, the Mutants of Plun-Darr, who destroy most of the starships in the “ThunderFleet,” but spare the flagship hoping to capture the legendary mystic Sword of Omens they believe is on board. The sword holds the Eye of Thundera, the source of the ThunderCats’s power, which is embedded in the hilt. The damage to the ship means the journey to their original destination is not possible, instead having to journey to “Third Earth;” which will take much longer than they had anticipated. The flagship contains the young Lord of the ThunderCats, Lion-O, as well as the ThunderCats Cheetara, Panthro, Tygra, WilyKit and WilyKat, and Snarf. Together, the ThunderCats and the friendly natives of Third Earth construct the “Cat’s Lair,” their new home and headquarters, but before long, the Mutants have tracked them down to Third Earth. The intrusion of these two alien races upon the world does not go unnoticed, however, as a demonic, mummified sorcerer calling himself Mumm-Ra recruits the Mutants to aid him in his campaign to acquire the Eye of Thundera and destroy the ThunderCats so that his evil may continue to hold sway over Third Earth.

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January 24

The Beyonder first appeared in Secret Wars #1 (January 24,1984) as an unseen, nearly omnipotent being who kidnapped the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe and had them do battle on another planet called Battleworld. The Beyonder is the sum total of an entire multiverse called the Beyond-Realm or simply “Beyond”, hence the name “Beyonder”. This dimension was originally believed to be accidentally accessed by lab technician Owen Reece. Part of the energy from the dimension escapes and imbues Reece with near-infinite powers, which he wields as the villainous Molecule Man. The remaining energy of the pocket dimension gains sentience and curiosity, and becomes the Beyonder. The Beyonder creates a planet called “Battleworld” out of pieces of various planets and abducts a number of superheroes and supervillains from Earth and forces them to fight each other so that he can observe the never-ending battle between good and evil.

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January 25

The Royal Flush Gang are a group of playing card-themed supervillains who are usually thwarted by the superheroes they encounter. They first appeared in Justice League of America #43 (January 25, 1966). Their code names based on an ace-high straight in poker: King, Queen, Jack, Ten and Ace. The original Royal Flush Gang was Professor Amos Fortune’s childhood gang. With Fortune himself as Ace, they fought the Justice League on two occasions, using Fortune’s luck-altering “stellaration” technology to realize the fortune-telling significance of playing cards. After Fortune abandoned the Gang, they attempted to steal paintings containing clues to a hidden treasure but were thwarted by the Joker’s manipulations. Fortune’s gang wore costumes based on the suit of clubs. The second Royal Flush Gang was set up by Green Lantern villain Hector Hammond. Hammond led the group as “Wildcard”. This version wore costumes based on the suit of spades. The gang split up and went on to have separate criminal careers before re-establishing themselves, without Hammond.

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January 26

Jack Taggert worked on an experimental pilotable suit for Project: Firepower for Edwin Cord. Taggert debuted in Iron Man #230 (January 26, 1988). The project was ostensibly designated by the U.S. Armed Forces, in conjunction with Senator Boynton, to serve as an ultimate deterrent against opponents of the United States. However, when Iron Man launched his “Armor Wars”, attacking armored villains and even government agents without provocation, the Firepower program was modified with the specific goal of stopping Iron Man. While Taggert continued to train for the fight with Iron Man using a simulator rig, Boynton invited Tony Stark out to the first formal demonstration of the Firepower suit, believing that Iron Man would somehow find out from his “ex-employer”, and hoping to lure the rogue Avenger into a trap. Stark chose to observe the tests from an SE helicopter, piloted by Jim Rhodes, thus allowing Stark to slip away as Iron Man and attack Firepower without his absence being noticed by Boynton or the military. Iron Man found that the massive Firepower suit was able to withstand his attacks, and Firepower was even able to ambush Iron Man through a canyon wall. However, Stark and Rhodey quickly realized that the military would consider them “acceptable losses” in stopping Iron Man, so just as Taggert was being ordered to target the chopper, Iron Man flew away. Taggert launched the “Terminax”, a low-power nuclear missile, and completely destroyed the Iron Man armor, leaving its bloody bits to fall to the desert floor.

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January 27

In 1898, Mina Harker (née Murray) is recruited by Campion Bond on behalf of British Intelligence and asked to assemble a league of other extraordinary individuals to protect the interests of the Empire. Together with Captain Nemo, Mina travels to Cairo to locate Allan Quatermain, then on to Paris in search of Dr. Jekyll; finally in London she forcibly recruits Hawley Griffin, The Invisible Man, who completes this incarnation of the League. Meeting with Professor Cavor, the League is sent against Fu Manchu in his Limehouse lair, who has stolen the only known sample of cavorite and plans to use it to build an armed airship, against which Britain would have little defence. Having eventually retrieved the cavorite, the League delivers it into the hands of their employer — none other than Professor Moriarty, who plans to use it in an airship of his own, with which he will bomb his adversary’s Limehouse lair flat, taking large parts of London and the League itself with it. An aerial battle above London commences, and the League eventually triumphs. Mycroft Holmes replaces Moriarty as the League’s employer, and the extraordinary individuals are given the task of remaining in the service of the Crown, awaiting England’s call. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen began adventuring in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen #1 (January 27, 1999).

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January 28

The Comics Code Authority (CCA) was revised a number of times during 1971, initially on January 28, 1971, to allow for, among other things, the sometimes “sympathetic depiction of criminal behavior… [and] corruption among public officials” (“as long as it is portrayed as exceptional and the culprit is punished”) as well as permitting some criminal activities to kill law-enforcement officers and the “suggestion but not portrayal of seduction.” Also newly allowed were “vampires, ghouls and werewolves… when handled in the classic tradition such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and other high caliber literary works. Zombies, lacking the requisite "literary” background, remained taboo.

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