WEIHNACHTSMARKT

by Jimmm Kelly

myff14.wmkt.eisner

Refurbished from The Christmas Spirit, SPIRIT SECTION, December 21 ’47–reprinted in THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Will Eisner (Kitchen Sink Press ’94).

25 days of adventure

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DECEMBER

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click the above calendar dates for seasonal surprises

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1st of december

advent

Adventzauber & Christkindlmarkt – Rathausplatz Wien (City Hall grounds in Vienna) 2012

This is the first day of Advent on the Christian calendar for the countdown to Christmas. Around this day in Europe and elsewhere, the traditional Christmas Market or Advent Market (Weihnachtsmarkt/Christkindlmarkt/Adventmarkt in German speaking countries) begins, where there’s lots of good things to eat, toys to buy, games to play, songs to sing.

A Short History of the
Viennese Christmas Market

from Wiener Adventzauber
http://www.christkindlmarkt.at/History.18.0.html?&L=1

The first Christmas markets were held in Vienna more than seven centuries ago, and they still hold a unique appeal for locals and visitors to this day. From the very outset these markets have been shaped by the stallholders who work there.
In 1296, Emperor Albrecht I granted Viennese traders and shopkeepers the privilege of holding a December Market for the city’s population. In the sixteenth century the Thomasmarkt – the precursor of today’s Christkindlmarkt – took place around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Beside standard goods such as textiles and groceries, the Thomasmarkt sold delicious gingerbreads and pastries which were all the rage at the time.
Around 200 years later the market’s name had changed to the Nikolo- und Weihnachtsmarkt or Krippenmarkt (crib market), and it was again given over to traders and retailers.

From its inception this market has been the exclusive preserve of small traders – after all, these were the people who ensured a steady supply of goods for the city’s burghers, even in the most difficult times. The city first celebrated Christmas as we would now recognise it in the Biedermeier period during the first half of the nineteenth century). The celebration was first taken up by the Viennese aristocracy who put up Christmas trees in their city palaces, in line with the northern German tradition.
But it was not until around 1814 and the time of the Vienna Congress that the custom of giving Christmas presents took hold. At this point the market had moved to Am Hof in the first district, and we know from contemporary invoices that it sold special Christmas goods (angels, silver-plated nuts, ribbons, lametta, candles, etc.) alongside the standard market fare.

The market finally settled at its current location on Vienna Rathausplatz in 1975. The annual Magic of Advent in Vienna, as the event is now known, has lost none of its charm and attracts more and more visitors each year. This spellbinding winter wonderland has made the transition from an exclusively Viennese event to a truly international affair with some 145 stalls. Each year more than three million visitors come to the market, including 500,000 from abroad.
The stallholders and traders provide a direct link to the market’s humble beginnings, and ensure that it has lost nothing of its charm and beauty. Year in year out, the Magic of Advent in Vienna conquers children’s hearts. The tin soldiers of yore have given way to newer toys but one thing never changes: the little ones joyful faces!

Over the centuries Viennese Christmas markets have been much more than a place to stock up on supplies, also serving as meeting place and bringing together people from all around the globe. The stallholders will continue to play their role, holding visitors under their spell and drawing the crowds for centuries to come!
see also–A Comprehensive Guide to Christmas Markets in Vienna–

http://www.vienna4u.at/christmasmarket.html

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2nd of december

wishing books

In the mid to late ’70s, I seem to have gotten on someone’s mailing list–maybe because of all the comics I sent away for in the post–and as a result THE SUPERHERO CATALOG [or CATALOGUE] and variations thereof came to my address. This was a comic-sized publication from Superhero Enterprises, with artwork by the Joe Kubert School and edited by Kubert, that advertised tons of merchandise from Marvel and DC–enough to fill a small warehouse, which it probably did. Ivan Snyder was the publisher, represented in the catalogues by his alter-ego Snyderman who shilled for the tons of goodies in each issue.

There’s some stuff that I already had, but there’s a lot that I would only wish that I’d gotten.

Below:  Various covers for the catalogues by Joe Kubert and the Kubert School. Some items for sale: including Mego dolls, a mood ring and  Stan Lee pushes a Spidey rock record; Snyder’s introduction to HEROES WORLD. A super bedroom–a fanboy’s dream salon. A library of books, books, books. Star Wars toys and such.

x7superherocatxherostuffxsupercatspreads
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3rd of december

g. i. joe

As a very little boy, I desperately wanted to play with my older sisters–but they and their friends played with dolls and whenever I wanted to join in the fun I was told to go away–because boys don’t play with dolls.

So when Hasbro introduced G.I. Joe in ’64 it was like a gift from heaven. Prompted by the TV ads, I harangued my parents relentlessly for a G.I. Joe doll–until I finally was gratified on Christmas day when Santa answered my prayers. As for all the other stuff you had to get for your G.I. Joe doll–and there seemed no end to how much you could get–I had very little of that.

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G.I. Joe ads [from BATMAN 167 (November ’64) and DETECTIVE COMICS 349 (March ’66)].

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House ad for G.I. Joe in SHOWCASE 53 (November-December ’64), featuring Joe Kubert’s cover art [from BATMAN 168 (December ’64)].

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Christmas ad for G.I. Joe–Hasbro kept coming up with more stuff you had to have for Joe [from DETECTIVE COMICS 348 (February ’66)].

There were a number of G.I. Joe one page comic strip ads in the ’65 – ’67 DC comics (usually on the inside back or inside front cover, in black and white), with excellent war art by Irv Novick (who worked on a number of DC’s war titles back then). The ads featured two smug, rich kids named Andy and George–the kind of kids that lived on the other side of town, in the swell, upper class mansions, far from my working class neighbourhood. I say this because Andy and George had everything–EVERYTHING. Their over-indulgent parents gave them every piece of G.I Joe merchandise, fresh off the factory floor. They probably never heard the word No. Selfish twerps.
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G.I. Joe ads featuring the self-satisfied Andy and George, art by Irv Novick [from DETECTIVE COMICS 350 (February ’66), 354 (August ’66) and 357 (November ’66)].

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4th of december

the origin of captain marvel jr.

November 5 ’41,  the United States is still not involved in the Second World War, when MASTER COMICS No. 21 (December ’41) comes out on the newsstands, introducing the arch super-villain, Captain Nazi, in that issue’s Bullet Man tale, which guest features Captain Marvel–this part of the adventure is written by William Woolfolk, with art by Mac Raboy.

The adventure continues into the December 12 ’41 cover-dated issue of WHIZ COMICS (No.25) which goes on sale November 28 ’41–this part is written by France E. Herron, with C.C. Beck and Mac Raboy sharing art duties. This part of the adventure introduces Captain Marvel Jr., establishing Captain Nazi as Freddy Freeman’s personal arch enemy, as the Fascist foe proves instrumental in Junior’s origin story.

Junior and Bulletman then take the battle against Captain Nazi back to MASTER COMICS No. 22 (January) ’42–on sale December 5 ’41.

On December 7 ’41, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbour, bringing the U.S. into the war–not just with the Japanese imperial forces but the Nazis, as well.

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The first and last page of Captain Nazi’s introduction in MASTER COMICS No. 21 (December ’41)–plus a plug for the BULLETMAN magazine–art by Mac Raboy; the first and last page of Captain Marvel Jr.’s introduction in WHIZ COMICS No. 25 (December 26 ’41)–by co-artists Raboy and C. C. Beck.

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Fun games for the whole family [from RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 10 (’59 – ’60) and No. 12 (’61 – ’62)]. For those Canadians who don’t have pennies–a nickel or a dime will probably do the trick.

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5th of december

tinytown

In the first issue of MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES, I talked about the wonder of Harvey comics and the fabulous Stumbo the Giant, drawn by Warren Kremer. The giant-sized STUMBO TINYTOWN No. 6 (January ’65) would have come out in Vancouver around November or December ’64, in time for the Winter holidays. At this time I was in grade one (not my happiest year of school) and  I was counting the days until Santa came to town.

A carousel is a common feature of traditional Christmas markets, but the Tinytown carousel had its own unique roustabout in the form of Stumbo:

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House ad strips, cover and first page from STUMBO TINYTOWN No. 6 (January ’65).

for more about Stumbo see: HERE THERE BE GIANTS

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Do it Cool! by Henry Boltinoff [from SUGAR AND SPIKE 69 (February-March ’67)].

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Be sure to dress for the weather and let family know where you’re headed, in case you get lost. These mazes are from RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 12 (’61 – ’62) and No. 10 (’59 – ’60).

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6th of december

nikolaustag

Nikolaus is St. Nicholas and his feast day is celebrated in certain parts of Europe (and elsewhere) on December 6. For this day, it’s traditional to give children a chocolate Nikolaus for Nikolaustag, especially in German-speaking countries.

der Nikolaus, Nikolaustag

MEISTER EDER UND SEIN PUMUCKL

episode 11. Pumuckl and the Nikolaus/Pumuckl und der Nikolaus

When Pumuckl hears the children talking about the Nikolaus coming to their house, he becomes curious. Meister Eder explains that Nikolaus brings presents in his sack to all good children, but he puts bad children in his sack and takes them away. Pumuckl won’t be good, so Eder dresses up as Nikolaus and the Kobold is mortally afraid. After Nikolaus leaves, Eder calms Pumuckl’s fears, saying that the Nikolaus brought a chocolate Nikolaus for Pumuckl, who then appreciates the saint much better.

[original air date: December 3 ’82]

Note: I have tried to find the longest youtube videos (if not always the best quality) for MEISTER EDER UND SEIN PUMUCKL, as some videos cut out too soon, before all the credits have played–yet some of the best parts are the ad libs at the end.

Pumuckl poems for Nikolaus

Sehr verehrter Nikolaus
komm nicht herein, bleib lieber draus,
glaub mir, ich bin furchtbar brav
vor allem wenn ich schnarch im Schlaf.
Willst du mich fangen, hihihi,
erwischst du mich bestimmt gar nie
ich beiß ein Loch in deinen Sack,
das ist ein feiner Schabernack,
dann purzeln alle Kinder raus,
sehr verehrter Nikolaus.

Very honoured Nikolaus
do not come in, stay outside the house,
believe me, frightful well-behaved are I–
when while asleep, and above all, when snore I.
If you want to catch me, hee-hee-hee–
even so, you certainly won’t get me–
I’ll bite a hole in your bag,
this is a fine kind of gag,
then all the kiddies will fall out,
very honoured Nikolaus.

Sehr verehrter Nikolaus,
komm schon herein, bleib in dem Haus.
Glaub mir, ich bin furchtbar brav, brav im Schlaf.
Ich beiß kein Loch in deinen Sack
so ein dummer Schabernackgar nie, gar nie …
oh ich kann nicht mehr dichten

Very honoured Nikolaus,
come in already, stay inside the house.
Believe me, frightfully well-behaved I keep, when while asleep.
I’ll bite no hole in your bag,
such a silly kind of gag
goes not, goes not…
oh I can make no more poetry

Oh lieber Nikolaus,
bleib doch draus aus diesem Haus;
es ist ein Graus
ich wollt ich wär ‘ne Maus.

Oh dear Nikolaus,
stay, nevertheless, outside the house;
this is monstrous
I wish I were a mouse.

Oh lieber großer Nikolaus,
ich bin klein und Du ein Graus.
Oh wär ich doch eine Maus
oder lieber eine Laus.

Oh rather big Nikolaus,
I am small and you monstrous.
Nevertheless, oh I wish I were a mouse
or rather a louse.

for more about Meister Eder and his Pumuckl see: MEISTER EDER FOREVERxmasAtom11.psa

PSA by Jack Schiff and Ruben Moreira [from THE ATOM No. 11 (February-March ’64)–originally printed in February ’55 cover-dated DC comics].

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7th of december

greeting cards

Dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card you write? You’ll need scissors, paste and construction paper or cardboard. SUGAR AND SPIKE provide some cards for you and yours–all by Sheldon Meyer.

Below: These greeting cards are from SUGAR AND SPIKE 68 (December ’66- January ’67), 32 (December ’60- January ’61), 56 (December ’64- January ’65) and 62 (December ’65- January ’66).

SScards68325662In fact you can turn any dead comic book into a greeting card, you don’t have to stick with the pictures above–most of the pictures on MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES will do! For more ideas on what can be done with the funnies, check 40 Uses for a  Dead Funny Book.

And as an extra treat, here’s some more paper doll cut-outs–this time with a Christmas theme–to go with the paper dolls from A CONVENTION OF PAPER DOLLS and the Paper Doll Convention Hall.

Below: Pint-Size Pin-Ups from SUGAR AND SPIKE 26 (December ’59 – January ’60) and 32 (December ’60- January ’61).

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These seasonal cover scenes by Sheldon Mayer for SUGAR AND SPIKE 20 (December ’58) and 26 (December ’59 – January ’60) would also be good for art projects, like cards or tree decorations:

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And finally some seasonal story pages from SUGAR AND SPIKE 26 (December ’59 – January ’60) and 32 (December ’60 – January ’61), respectively. May visions of Sugar Plumm (and Spike Wilson) dance in your head:

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. . .  for the first week in December, it’s time to break the bank, because these doorbusters will not stay on the racks for long . . .

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Coming out around December 1 ’38, the January ’39 cover-dated STAR RANGER FUNNIES, from Centaur Publications, is a No. 1, but don’t let that fool you [the title and the numbering had an odd past]–the cover by Jack Cole has a seasonal theme.

After CLAMOR MAGAZINE runs an article portraying the Flash as a troublemaker, the Fastest Man Alive decides to hang up his helmet and Muscleman steps up to take his place as the hero of Keystone City. Get the full scoop from Gardner Fox and E.E. Hibbard in ALL-FLASH 13 (Winter ’43) on sale December 1 ’43. Or failing that pick up 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR DC-22 (November ’73).

Bruce Wayne’s over-protective Aunt Agatha comes for a visit and frustrates the Dynamic Duo in their war on crime, in BATMAN 89 (February ’55), at your newsstand on December 2 ’54.

On sale December 3 ’42, in SENSATION COMICS 14 (February ’43), an evergreen tree that grows next to the Canadian border, called Fir Balsam, tells her Christmas story about two children, Wonder Woman, a group of Nazis–and how she, Fir Balsam, became the Christmas tree in a family home that year–cover by H.G. Peter.

HIT COMICS 26 (February ’43) hits the newsstands on December 4 ’42. On his first case, after his introduction and death in the previous issue, the risen Kid Eternity takes the form of the famous Blackhawk when he encounters the evil Dr. Pain.

HIT COMICS 26

For December 4 ’69, in BATMAN 219 (February ’70), Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano tell a special Christmas Spirit story of the Dark Knight in The Silent Night of the Batman.BM219

After his origins in WHIZ COMICS No. 25, Captain Marvel, Jr., along with Bulletman, takes the battle against Captain Nazi back to MASTER COMICS 22 (January ’42)–on sale December 5 ’41.

Hal Jordan slips in the shower and is knocked out, so his ring finds a replacement to answer the JLA signal, bringing John Stewart (in his second appearance) into contact with the illustrious group as they try to solve the mystery of the Man Who Murdered Santa Claus, in the Super-Spectacular JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 110 (March-April ’74), on sale December 6 ’73. Also included in this issue: Plight of a Nation from ALL STAR COMICS 40 (April-May ’48)–in which the JSA with the aid of the Junior Justice Society combat juvenile delinquency; and the conclusion of Zatanna’s search for her father from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 51 (February ’67), with an extra guest-star, Elongated Man!
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8th of december

captain action

Second Sunday, time to light the second candle on the Advent wreath.

After G.I. Joe, the next doll for boys that really became a sensation was Captain Action–for Christmas of ’66. The thing with CA is that he could become so many other heroes. Some of these heroes I hadn’t heard of, but it was exciting to think that he could become Batman or Superman. I was happy to get him for Christmas, but I wasn’t too happy when I got not Batman or Superman or any other hero I cared about–but the Phantom, who I didn’t even recognize. This was the only outfit that could be found–all the others were sold out (so I found out from my parents later).

On the good side, the manufacturing of Captain Action was excellent–he stood up to all the abuse I gave him (and that was a lot). The best thing I discovered is that the rubber Phantom face that went over Action’s face was perfectly moulded to his features. This meant you could fill the face with silly puddy and remove it and have a perfect sculpture of Captain Action’s face.

Of all my dolls, Captain Action remained the most intact well into my teens. However, he was no match for my parents, when they chose to throw him out.

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Captain Action ads–left: main pencil art by Kurt Schaffenberger and an unknown artist/emebellisher [from ACTION COMICS 345 (January ’67); right: main pencil art by Kurt Schaffenberger and an unknown artist/emebellisher, with spot illustrations by Murphy Anderson (full art), Jack Kirby (pencils), Milton Caniff (pencils) and others [from ACTION COMICS 348 (March ’67)].
On sale December 31 '68, CAPTAIN ACTION No. 3 (February-March '69)--cover by Gil Kane and Dick Giordano. Will Action Boy die?

On sale December 31 ’68, CAPTAIN ACTION No. 3 (February-March ’69)–cover by Gil Kane and Dick Giordano. Will Action Boy die?

 

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CAPTAIN ACTION No.2 (December ’68 – January ’69): Doctor Evil shows up in an ad–pencil art Kurt Schaffenberger, embellisher unknown; and in a teaser page for issue 3 (February-March ’69)–art by Gil Kane.

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9th of december

whiz bang

Born in 1885, Wilford Hamilton Fawcett ran away from home to join the army when he was sixteen and fought in the Spanish-American war, in the Phillipines. Later on, in the First World War, he became a captain and gained an interest in publishing, after working on STARS AND STRIPES. Then, in 1919, Captain “Billy” Fawcett published CAPTAIN BILLY’S WHIZ BANG (a whiz bang was the name for an artillery shell in WW I). The periodical published gossip (usually about Hollywood), jokes (both tame and ribald), and other articles, poems and short stories.

WHIZ BANG was a huge success and provided the foundation for the Fawcett publishing empire.

Below: The cover and a few inside pages from CAPTAIN BILLY’S WHIZ BANG for December ’24–including the lyrics to that great old song, WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE. The lyrics are from a poem by school teacher George Washington Johnson of Hamilton, Ontario–who wrote the poem about his love, Maggie Clark. Published in MAPLE LEAVES in 1864, the poem was set to music by James Austin Butterfield soon after.
[click to enlarge]

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Complete issues of CAPTAIN BILLY’S WHIZ BANG can be found on
Comic Book Plus.

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10th of december

wienerisches weihnachten ’30

Below: In the 1930 December issues of Vienna’s small, working class newspaper–DAS KLEINE BLATT–the economic hardships and political angst are already apparent–but these are still happy times for the old city as the Christmas season gets underway and folks enjoy the offerings of the festive season.

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Meanwhile, inside DAS KLEINE BLATT, Tobias Seicherl gets a Christmas tree for his small apartment, but as usual meets with accident in his efforts to celebrate the holiday (written and illustrated by Ladislau Kmoch).

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for more about Seicherl and Struppi see: OTF.03.09.13

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11th of december

everything nice

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails 
And puppy-dogs’ tails,

That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice
And everything nice,

That’s what little girls are made of.

Or so the nursery rhyme goes. Sheldon Mayer capitalized on that verse with his SUGAR AND SPIKE title. But Sugar Plumm wasn’t always everything nice. And Spike Wilson could often be too good-hearted for his own well-being.

On sale December 18 ’58, SUGAR AND SPIKE 21 (February-March ’59) has one story where the two tots are taken to see a department store Santa,  with lots of laughs for young and old.  But the sweetest tale in this wintry issue has to be this short parable that demonstrates the relationship that is a Pint-Size Love Story:

SuSp21.love

And here’s a bitter-sweet love song for those long Canadian winter nights, by the one and only Gordon Lightfoot–
SONG FOR A WINTER’S NIGHT (originally recorded in ’67, this is the rerecorded version from the ’75 LP,  GORD’S GOLD–also available on 8-track).

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12th of december

the greatest

ALL NEW COLLECTORS’ EDITION C-56 (’78) went on sale on the 12th of December ’77–in comic book specialty stores anyways–according to the information on Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics. For myself, I ordered this tabloid edition through the mail–the way I got most of the tabloid size comics, because I couldn’t rely on finding them in the stores where I got my comics.

This was the comic with Muhammad Ali in it. I always considered Ali a hero, so it was something special to have him meet Superman, although it wasn’t so nice that the two had to fight. Marvel heroes fought each other whenever they met–it was their style of shaking hands–but DC heroes were supposed to be better and being heroes they should have gotten along with others who held to the same ethical standards as they

Of course, it was because of Ali’s character as a human being, more than his skills in the sweet science, that he became a hero for me and thousands perhaps millions of others like me. But as Muhammad was the heavyweight champion of the world–or had been–so it was expected that he should fight Superman, even if that made no sense given that Superman had powers beyond those of mortals.
SMvMA.AdamsKubertGuideMore about the behind the scenes  details for this title match can be found on this blog site: THE MUSEUM OF UNCUT FUNK: Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.

THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL by George Benson (written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed) from the ’77 movie, THE GREATEST.

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According to MIke’s Amazing World of DC Comics, DC SPECIAL SERIES No. 9–aka the Wonder Woman Spectacular also went on sale December 12 ’77, although this house ad says it’s December 13.

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Have fun colouring and drawing, with these pages from RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 10 (’59 – ’60) and 12 (’61 – ’62).

More drawing lessons can be found on Can You Draw, Too?

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13th of december

the wool pullover

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MEISTER EDER UND SEIN PUMUCKL

episode 15. The Wool Pullover/Der Wollpullover

The winter cold is too much for Pumuckl. Eder has the idea to get the Kobold a wool pullover to keep him warm. But this is not so easy to accomplish. First he tries the toystore, but there is nothing there that fits. Then he asks Frau Schröderbach to knit one and this is very nice, but the neck hole is too small for Pumuckl’s head. The Kobold uses scissors to cut the hole bigger, but that causes the wool to unravel, so he uses Eder’s glue, which works but is not so good when it hardens. Then Eder asks a girl in the neighbourhood if she would knit one. She begins the work, but leaves it for the morning. However, still cold, Pumuckl steals it away in the night, even though it only has one sleeve–which he transfers from one arm to the other. When the girl sees that her knitting is gone, her mother agrees to knit the pullover and brings it to the workshop. So now Pumuckl has all that he needs.

[original air date: January 7 ’83]

Eder: Du hast aber einen kleinen Hals für deinen großen Kopf.
Pumuckl: Des ist aber besser als umgekehrt.
Eder: However, you have a small neck for your big head.
Pumuckl: However, that is better than vice versa.

Läufst du über einen Gulli,
frierts Dich nicht mit einem Pulli.
Hast du keinen Pulli an,
bist du schnell am frieren dran.
So erdachte sich ein Wicht,
ein schönes Pumucklgedicht.

Dashing through the gully, splashing for a thrill,
Without a wooly pullover, you will get a chill.
When you are wearing no pullover
Then you are frozen quick all over
So does a goblin chant thereby,
Such a swell Pumuckl lullaby.

For a comprehensive list and descriptions of the 52 TV episodes for MEISTER EDER UND SEIN PUMUCKL go to the checklist: 52 Pumuckl Pick-Up.

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Below: A Break in the action from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 51 (February ’67) on sale December 13 ’66–for a public service reminder–artwork by Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene and by Henry Boltinoff, respectively.

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December 13th is Lucia (or Saint Lucy’s Day) which is celebrated especially in Italy and Scandinavian countries–and in particular in Sweden and Greenland. Some traditions of the day predate the saint herself and hark back to pagan rituals surrounding Yule–the celebration of the winter solstice in Northern Europe.

December 13th on old calendars would have corresponded to the shortest day of the year (or close to it). According to the old traditions, Lussi was a kind of witch and children had to stay inside during her night–Lussinatta (Lussi night)–nevertheless, she could still come down the chimney and steal the children away.

One Swedish tradition of Lucia is that the eldest daughter, representing the saint, rises early on the morning, dresses in a white gown and wakes her family, serving them coffee and St. Lucia buns.

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14th of december

with one magic word

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House ad for SHAZAM!–art by C. C. Beck [from DETECTIVE COMICS 430 (December ’72)].

At the drugstore on December 14 ’72 these books are due for saleChimp Manners attempts a crime at Christmas and another at New Year’s Eve, in BATMAN 247 (February ’73). HOT STUFF, THE LITTLE DEVIL, goes skating on the cover of his March ’73 issue (No. 115).  And Barnabas has to stop ruthless criminals in a fight for control of Collinwood in DARK SHADOWS 18 (February ’73). But the big news is DC’s acquisition of licensing rights for Fawcett’s Captain Marvel, as the first issue of SHAZAM! (February ’73) comes to the spinner racks.

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SHAZAM! No. 1 (February ’73)–cover by C.C. Beck, on Captain Marvel and Billy Batson, and Nick Cardy, on Superman, with Murphy Anderson inking Superman’s face; inside art by C.C. Beck. Billy meets Mr. Binder on the city street–Binder being Otto Binder, most likely who wrote many of Captain Marvel’s greatest adventures–although Otto’s brother Jack Binder was a Fawcett artist who had his own shop of artists that produced a lot of the Marvel Family art.

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Twenty years after they were put in limbo, the Marvel Family’s large cast of supporting characters appear in modern day–art by C. C. Beck; E. Nelson Bridwell’s text explains who they are.

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myff8days.cyan

. . . for the second week in December, these comics are covered . . .

Miss Beverly Hills of Hollywood hatches a scheme to get a ring on the finger of her gal pal, on sale December 8 ’50 in THE ADVENTURES OF BOB HOPE No. 7 (February-March ’51).

flash comics92The Black Canary takes over the feature spot from Johnny Thunder, in  FLASH COMICS 92 (February ’48)–cover art by Carmine Infantino. On sale December 10 ’47.

Webhead makes his second appearance in the first issue of his own Marvelous mag, on sale December 10 ’62–THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 1 (March ’63)–by Stan and Steve, with a cover by Kirby and Ditko.

December 11 ’42 brings some joy to the world when the Dynamic Duo, full with the spirit of Christmas, deck out the Batplane like a Santa Claus sleigh, then drop in on some of the loneliest men in Gotham to spread some cheer, in BATMAN 15 (February-March ’43). Meanwhile, Marc Swayze provides the cover featuring Santa, Cap and Mary for CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES 19 (January 1 ’43); while inside, Cap investigates the Phantom of the Deparment Store (by Otto Binder and Pete Costanza)–and after her introduction in the previous issue, Mary Marvel begins her training (by Binder and Swayze)–and check out the other Fawcett comics available for Christmas stocking stuffers.
captain marvel adventures 19
costanza and swayze arthouse ads for Christmas Fawcett comics

The Direct Currents for December 12 ’71 are BAT-tery powered: The Batman becomes wheel chair bound and uses four agents–Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Black Canary and Robin–to trap a drug kingpin, in the 100th issue celebration of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (February-March ’72). The Darknight Detective comes to the aid of an unemployed man who has turned to petty thievery for the love of his little daughter on Christmas Eve, in BATMAN 239 (February ’72).

France E. Herron and Jack Kirby introduce Mr. Scarlet in the first issue of WOW COMICS (Winter ’40), on sale December 13 ’41.

You might have to walk a mile on December 13 ’76 to find these new books from DC: The cowboy anti-hero JONAH HEX leaves his home in WEIRD WESTERN TALES for his own self-titled mag, beginning with issue No. 1 (March-April ’77). DC rolls out its new Dollar Comics format, beginning with THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY 251 (March-April ’77) and SUPERMAN FAMILY 182 (March-April ’77)–the cover art for the mystery mag is by Neal Adams, while the cover for the family album is by Swan and Adams.

At newsstands on December 14 ’45: For Christmas, in ACTION COMICS 93 (February ’46), Superman reunites several refugee families in China, Holland, Norway, Russia and South America. The Emerald Crusader encounters Johnny Double, the man with a double identity who hates himself, in GREEN LANTERN 18 (Winter ’45). What could drive a man to suicide? The Pliable Policeman may have the answer when Plas meets the Granite Lady in POLICE COMICS 51 (February ’46)–this foreshadowing yet funny tale is by Jack Cole, as is the winter wonderland cover.police51.granitexmas

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15th of december

superman the movie

Now to light a third Advent candle, for the third Sunday on the calendar.

In December of ’78, I had just completed a class at college in eastern religions–which I, surprisingly, barely managed to pass–when the SUPERMAN movie came out. I attribute my poor performance in the class to my inability to read our inscrutable teacher–who looked like a cross between a comic book nerd and a buddha. He would sit on a table at the front of the room (which miraculously held his weight) and utter things about George Harrison, Hermann Hesse and the abnegation of the self. Even though I didn’t do well on the class exams, I’d absorbed quite enough eastern mysticism and applied those teachings to the Christoper Reeve Superman.

STM.amancanflySUPERMAN THE MOVIE had premiered at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC) on December 10th and at a Royal charity screening in Leicester Square (attended by the Queen, in London) on December 13th, but it went into wide release on December 15th. On that opening day, I sat through the movie twice and then went back the next day to see it again. In those days, you could just stay in a theatre and watch multiple showings of a movie–which is something I’d done for other pictures, such as SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER.

As I say, I interpreted Reeve’s Clark Kent as a practice of humility similar to Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) in KUNG FU–a way of defeating the self that separates us from universal consciousness and transcendence. I  thought this would make a good (fake) religion based on Superman–what I called Supermanisim.

SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (also sometimes listed as just SUPERMAN) was supposed to come out in June of that year, to mark the occasion of ACTION COMICS’ 40th anniversary, but production was delayed and filming only completed in October. They had to rush the movie through post-production to get it in theatres by December. Unfotrunately, the Director of Photography on SUPERMAN, Geoffrey Unsworth (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), passed away at the end of October and never lived to see his work adored by millions.

It’s also a crime that Unsworth was never even nominated for an Oscar for his work on SUPERMAN. This is unbelievable to me, because one of the great pleasures of THE MOVIE–what qualifies it as a true work of art–is the cinematography. Unsworth was posthumously nominated the next year for his work on TESS–Roman Polanski’s adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES–for which the DoP was awarded the Oscar along with Gislain Cloquet who finished potography on that picture after Unsworth’s untimely death.

supermantm.ha

House ad for FAMOUS FIRST EDITION C-61 ([March] ’79), a facsimile reprint of SUPERMAN No. 1 (Summer ’39); and for ALL NEW COLLECTORS’ EDITION C-62 (’79), this tabloid could not adapt SUPERMAN THE MOVIE, but it features publicity stills from the film, as well as artwork culled from Superman comics.
US magazine cover (December 12 '78)

US magazine cover (December 12 ’78).

 

Trailer for SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (’78) wide release December 15 ’78.

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16th of december

major matt mason

Major Matt Mason was the toy to get for the Christmas of ’67. With the upcoming projected landing of man on the moon, Apollo 11, excitement was high for anything having to do with rockets or astronauts. And by the time I was an adult, we would all be living on the moon and other planets, so it was important to become familiar with all that you’d need to know about living on the moon. I was also reading lots of science fiction books around then.

My family (parents, aunts and uncles) got me a lot of the Major Matt Mason gear–more than what I got for Captain Action or G.I. Joe anyway–whether this was because they had more money now or the toys were cheaper, I don’t know. The toys probably weren’t that cheap, but they were cheaply made.

Major Matt Mason had a great range of articulation–because his joints were a combination of wire and rubber. But as any electrician would know (and I had been employed by my neighbour friend in asssisting him with his electrical projects–so I should have known) when you twist metal, the stress causes the molecular structure to break down, until the wire snaps. Which is what happened with Major Matt. In addition all his accoutrements were made of brittle plastic. There was also a jet pack of sorts which was really a plastic device with a string wound into it–it was quite clever, but after some play this also broke down.

majormattmason.ad

Major Matt Mason two-page ad with art by unknown [from DETECTIVE COMICS 368 (September ’67)].

The TV ads painted a pretty picture of what was possible–if you had the space to be in space with Major Matt.

RudySS20

House ad for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 9 (’58) [from SUGAR AND SPIKE No. 20 (December ’58)].

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17th of december

jingle jangle

As Harlan Ellison wrote in Comic of the Absurd, his wonderful essay about George Carlson’s JINGLE JANGLE COMICS–

. . . George Carlson, the incredible artist who–for forty issues of JINGLE JANGLE COMICS–scripted and drew a series of unparalleled contemporary fables called “Jingle Jangle Tales,” no longer draws. JINGLE JANGLE COMICS is long since gone. It died in December 1949. At Christmastime. During a season of joy and colored lights and children’s laughter, George Carlson went away, taking with him one of those rare and marvelous gifts we had been joyously allowed to savor from March of 1943 till that emptiest of Christmases. He went away, and he took the “Jingle Jangle Tales,” and most of all he took the “The Pie-Face Prince of Pretzleburg.”

 –Harlan Ellison, Comic of the Absurd, ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME (Ace Books, ’70, p. 248).

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JINGLE JANGLE COMICS No. 24 (December ’46), cover by Larz Bourne.

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Saga of Santa Claus, art by Jack Farr, ‘Twas Christmas Eve, art by Dave Tendlar, JINGLE JANGLE COMICS 30 (December ’47); Christmas TV-Eve, artist unknown, JINGLE JANGLE COMICS 42 (December ’48).

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First and last page of the last Pie-Face Prince, by George Carlson, JINGLE JANGLE COMICS 42 (December ’48).

More JINGLE JANGLE COMICS can be found on Comic Book Plus

EVERYWHERE IT’S CHRISTMAS–from THE BEATLES’ FOURTH CHRISTMAS RECORD–issued for their fan club on December 16 ’66.

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18th of december

a big smile

On December 18′ 56: A criminal turns up in SUPERMAN 111 (February ’57) claiming to be Clark Kent’s cousin, Judd Kent.

The motion picture DESTINS, directed by Richard Pottier is released on December 18 ’46 in France. In the movie Tino Rossi plays a dual role as André Cartier and his twin brother, Fred Cartier. André is an up and coming singer, raising his young son on his own, when his no-good brother kidnaps the child and holds him for ransom. The movie features Rossi singing what became France’s best-selling Christmas song of all time, PETIT PAPA NOËL–

On sale December 27 ’56, SUGAR AND SPIKE celebrate their very first Christmas and play with the big smile (a piano), in issue No. 6 (February-March ’57). As Sugar and Spike never get any older, all their Christmases are the same Christmas, I guess–but this is the first issue where they celebrate that universal Christmas.

Below: In the story, the two little ones have fallen asleep in the car on the way to Spike’s grandmother’s house . . . and when they wake up, they go downstairs to find a big smile (what we in our foolishness call a piano):

SuSp6.smile
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19th of december

das weihnachtsgeschenk

pumucklgeschenk

MEISTER EDER UND SEIN PUMUCKL

episode 13. The Christmas Present/Das Weihnachtsgeschenk

Pumuckl wants to give Eder a secret present for Christmas, but has some trouble arranging it. He hears the little girls in the neighbourhood talking about how a present should be made with love, so he steals the present that one of them has made with love for her mother. In the end, Pumuckl realizes his mistake and seeks to make his own present for the Meister Eder. The silver paper that Pumuckl uses to make this special present comes from the chocolate Nikolaus that he got for Nikolaustag.

[original air date: December 17 ’82]

Pumuckl: Oh, und ich – ich kann gar nichts denken, und gar nichts schenken.
Eder: Das reimt sich auch.
Pumuckl: Ja, aber das reimt sich so traurig. Ich hab’ immer noch kein Geheimnis.
Eder: Du Pumuckl, des ist mir ehrlich gesagt auch lieber. Ja doch, wenn du’s denken anfängst, dann ist man sich nie ganz sicher, was dabei rauskommt.

Pumuckl: Oh, and I – I can think of nothing to start with and nothing to part with.
Eder: This also rhymes.
Pumuckl: Yes, but this rhymes so sadly. I still have no secret present.
Eder: You know Pumuckl, about this I always like to say that , when you start to thinking, then you never know for sure what will come of it.

pumuckl und die musik

hour.witching1ad

House ad for THE WITCHING HOUR No. 1 (February-March ’69) on sale December 19th ’68 [from CAPTAIN ACTION No. 3 (February-March ’69)].

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20th of december

an all-american winter

Sheldon Mayer’s Scribbly is spending Christmas on the farm with his little brother, but Scrib begins to worry about his mother all alone in town; so he writes a letter to the Hunkel family and they stop in on Scrib’s mother; then everyone heads to the farm to all be together and ring in the New Year, in ALL-AMERICAN COMICS No. 11 (February ’40)–on sale December 20 ’39. Also in this issue, the devious (but divine) Stella Tor holds Gary Concord and Guppy captive, as she conspires to make war on the Earth–cover by Jon L. Blummer.

all.amaerican11

On December 20 ’46, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE begins its run in New York (and goes in wide release for the rest of the country on January 7 ’47).


Rudy59.bulbs

Christmas bulbs game from RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 10 (’59).

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21st of december

the story of snoopy’s christmas

Snoopy vs the Red Baron

Snoopy’s Christmas, PEANUTS by Charles M. Schulz, December ’68, in DON’T GIVE UP CHARLIE BROWN (Fawcett Crest ’69)

 

The Irish Rovers cover SNOOPY VS. THE RED BARON

Quiet Jungle’s cover version of SNOOPY’S CHRISTMAS, from their LP: THE STORY OF SNOOPY’S CHRISTMAS (’68)

Snoopy, of course, had many encounters with the Red Baron in the PEANUTS strip. These were based on the real life Red Baron, Baron von Richtofen. Snoopy, the World War I air ace flying his Sopwith Camel, may have been playing the part of Canadian air ace Billy Bishop–although the American World War II air ace, Charlie Brown, likely played a part in Charles M. Schulz’s flying beagle fantasy.

The rock group. the Royal Guardsmen, had a big hit in ’66 with their recording of SNOOPY VS. THE RED BARON (music and lyrics by Phil Gernhard and Dick Holler). As a follow up, they recorded the holiday tune released in ’67, SNOOPY’S CHRISTMAS (music and lyrics by George David Weiss, Hugo & Luigi).

I had and still have the cover of the latter song on the ’68 LP, THE STORY OF SNOOPY’S CHRISTMAS, by the Canadian band, Quiet Jungle.

Below: LINUS is an Italian publication that began in April ’65 [April 2013 saw the end of its run]–named for Linus van Pelt and reprinting PEANUTS and other foreign comics, translated into Italian–but also publishing original Italian comics, as well as articles on culture, society and politics. The cover and pages below are from LINUS No. 33 (December ’67), including an inset colour fold-out featuring the Peanuts gang by Charles M. Schulz, plus Valentina by Guido Crepax . The PEANUTS Sunday page is translated from the original August 13 ’67 strip.

linus33.december67linus33.insert
linus33.snoopy
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. . . For the third week in December, check your list and check it twice . . .

Gone With the WindOn December 15 ’39, David O. Selznick’s production of Margaret Mitchell’s GONE WITH THE WIND comes to the theatre screens–directed by Victor Fleming, starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

comiccavalcade5.coverComing out on December 15 ’43, COMIC CAVALCADE No. 5 (Winter ’43) presents Wonder Woman’s battle with a grifter named Zara who runs the cult of the Crimson Flame–this issue’s holiday cover is by Frank Harry.

Dell’s FOUR COLOR 882 (’58) Presenting Senior Zorro–find out who he is and how he came to be, in a story based on the popular Walt Disney TV show starring Guy Williams–with story art by Alex Toth–at your newsstands on  December 31 ’57. The entire contents of this issue are reprinted in ZORRO No. 1 (January ’66) from Gold Key.fc882.zorro1

On newsstands December 18 ’53, in COMIC CAVALCADE 61 (February-March ’54), Nutsy Squirrel invents the “Galunk” which repels flying saucers. Meanwhile, DC acquires the license from Fawcett to publish HOPALONG CASSIDY, the incredibly popular cowboy character portrayed by William Boyd (who owned all licensing rights) on film, radio and television. In 1904, Clarence E. Mulford created the character (the real life Butch Cassidy may have inspired the name), publishing several novels; although the literary version of Hoppy was originally rough around the edges, when Boyd began playing the character in movies, starting in ’35, he was cleaned up. Fawcett published the first issue of the comic book in ’43 and the series resumed in ’46, with DC taking over with issue 86 (February ’54).

SUPERMAN 167 (February '64) , art by Swan and Klein.


SUPERMAN 167 (February ’64), art by Swan and Klein.

On sale December 19 ’63, in SUPERMAN 167 (February ’64), Brainiac and Luthor team up, as Brainiac’s true origin and android nature is first revealed–see more in 50 Light Years to Lexor.

CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS No. 1 (March ’41) presents the origin and first appearance of Simon and Kirby’s patriotic super-soldier, on sale December 20 ’40cover pencils by Kirby.

detectivecomics156.coverAs the old year winds down–and a new year approaches–on December 21 ’49, Batman crashes the Batmobile and injures himself, but uses the opportunity to build the Batmobile of 1950 with all new schematics and state of the art technology, in DETECTIVE COMICS 156 (February ’50)–cover by Dick Sprang.

On December 21 ’72, there will be nightmares before Christmas: Werewolves and hell, vampires and parallel realms–THE HOUSE OF MYSTERY 211 (February ’73) has got ’em all. Then, Jason Blood attempts to exorcise the Primal Entity from the Howler, in THE DEMON No. 6 (February ’73). Meanwhile, DC debuts first issues of reprint comics, all cover dated February-March ’73–JOHNNY THUNDER, SECRET ORIGINS and FOUR STAR BATTLE TALES.
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22nd of december

meet mort morton jr.

Fourth Advent Sunday and the fourth candle on the wreath is lit.

Below: On sale December 22 ’42, among the features in MORE FUN COMICS 88 (February ’43) is a Johnny Quick yarn told from the point of view of  Johnny’s sidekick, Tubby Watts.

morefun88jq.tubby

As I said in Jack Schiff’s Shift, Johnny Quick was the creation of writer Mortimer (“Mort”) Weisinger and Morton (“Mort”) Meskin. Maybe for this reason, a lot of the Johnny Quick stories were signed Mort Morton, Jr.  And on occasion, the semi-ficitonal Mort Morton Jr. would break the fourth wall and appear in a story, as he does in  issue 88. The splash page shows a paper on the lampstand signed  “by Mort Morton and Cliff”–Cliff being the inker, Cliff Young. The writer of this story is not known (probably not Weisinger who was doing his miltary service at the time).

Tubby comes to Mort Morton Jr.’s office to complain that he doesn’t get enough credit–Morton always shows the over-sized companion in needing rescue or talking about food. In this story, Meskin gives Mort Morton a better office set-up than he probably had himself.

Tubby then relates a tale of how, when filming a newsreel in a boat on a river–Johnny Chambers [the secret identity of Johnny Quick] handling the camera, while Tubby paddles the boat–they spied a group of Nazi saboteurs trying to blow up a train bridge above the river. Saying his magic formula, Johnny goes into action, but his head is creased by a stray bullet and he plummets to the river below. Tubby puts himself in the way of the falling Quick–however Johnny has lost his memory.

The saboteurs having been successful in blowing up the bridge, it’s up to Tubby to alert the authorities, leaving useless Johnny behind on the river bank. The engineers come to inspect the damage and fear it will take months to repair the bridge. Tubby laments that he is too fat and stupid and falls by accident down to the river bank below, on top of Johnny which cures the speedster’s amnesia. Johnny Quick then flies into action and repairs the bridge in swift order–only to come under aerial attack by the saboteurs, who have their own bomber airplane [why they didn’t just use that in the first place is never explained]. But the flying speedster defeats the Nazis, before the scheduled train can make its crossing over the bridge.

Having finished his tale, Tubby fenagles Mort Morton Jr. into buying him lunch.

WW135.rudyad

House ad for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER ANNUAL No. 13 (’62) [from WONDER WOMAN 135 (January ’63)].

Montreal’s Couer de Pirate–ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU (2013)

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23rd of december

the christmas spirit

On the night before Christmas, Will Eisner’s crime fighter, the Spirit, would not pursue criminals, as he always trusted in the Spirit of Christmas on that special night. Consequently, most Spirit Sections that came out on the Sunday closest to Christmas would feature a special Christmas Spirit tale.

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Warren’s THE SPIRIT No. 12 (February ’76)–Christmas issue–on sale December 23 ’75–cover and inside front page by Will Eisner, cover coluring by Ken Kelly.

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Front page from the Christmas Spirit for December 19 ’48 and last page from the Christmas Spirit for December 22 ’46–reprinted in Warren’s THE SPIRIT No. 12 (February ’76).

In the mid-’70s, with money I earned from my paper route, I subscribed to Warren’s SPIRIT magazine and it was one of those mail deliveries I always looked forward to with great anticipation. Issue 12’s winter-time collection was a most memorable event. Even though I continued my subscription after Kitchen Sink took over the magazine–and they did an admirable job–it’s the Warren magazines that I liked best and remember with greatest fondness.

The picture that is adapted for the masthead of this MY FAVOURITIE FUNNIES issue [top] is taken from the Christmas Spirit for December 21 ’47. In this story a little boy named Joy is abandoned and struggling for survival in Europe, in the aftermath of World War Two–when a frail Santa Clause arranges for Joy to come to America as a Christmans gift. This story along with the other Christmas Spirits is reprinted in THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Will Eisner (Kitchen Sink Press ’94).

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24th of december

rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

Rudy61.cover

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 10 (’59)–cover by Rube Grossman.

In the ’50s (and into the early ’60s), National Periodical Publications (DC) published an annual RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER funny book–which featured one long story, plus games and other merriment for little kids–from cover to cover, as there were no ads. The editor for these comics was Larry Nadle, with Rube Grossman providing most of the art. As you can see from the checklist below, these funnies often came out two months before Christmas, probably to increase their shelf-life and to compensate for late delivery in some areas. The last such issue was a Giant-sized Annual with reprints.

In the ’70s, DC revived the concept, now publishing a tabloid-sized funny book–the pilot for what would be the ongoing LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION series [erroneously referred to as Treasury Editons by some Marvel acolytes–Marvel copied the format later on with their MARVEL TREASURY EDITIONS]. The Rudolph editions initially used reprints from the original comics, but later added new work by Sheldon Mayer and Tenny Henson. Sol Harrison was the editor on the bulk of these–with Joe Orlando editing the last two ALL-NEW COLLECTORS’ EDITIONs, as well as the very last such collection which was a digest-sized comic

myffchecklist.neg

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

C-20

LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION (tabloid size)
C-20 (’72) on sale October 24 ’72 [above]
C-24 (’74) on sale October 11 ’73
C-33 (February-March ’75) on sale November 11 ’74
C-42 (February-March ’76) on sale November 6 ’75
C-50 (’76) on sale October 4 ’76
ALL NEW COLLECTORS’ EDITION (tabloid size)
C-53 (’78) on sale October 13 ’77
C-60 (’78) on sale May 15 ’78 [Rudoph’s Summer Fun]
BEST OF DC (digest size)
No. 4 (March-April ’80) on sale December 3 ’79

 

No. 1 (’50) on sale October 27 ’50

No. 2 (’51) on sale October 3 ’51

No. 3 (’52) on sale October 10 ’52

No. 4 (’53) on sale October 9 ’53

No. 5 (’54) on sale September 29 ’54

No. 6 (’55) on sale September 29 ’55

No. 7 (’56) on sale September 27 ’56

No. 8 (’57) on sale September 26 ’57

No. 9 (’58) on sale September 30 ’58

No. 10 (’59) on sale September 29 ’59

No. 11 (’60) on sale September 29 ’60

No. 12 (’61) on sale September 28 ’61

No. 13 (’62) on sale October 30 ’62 [Annual]

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RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 12 (’61)–art by Rube Grossman.

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Stop and Go Game, RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER No. 10 (’59).

The Cadillacs–RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (’57)–

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. . . for the last week in December, faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more . . .

BLACKSTONE THE MAGICIAN gets his own comic book, when EC debuts the first issue (Fall ’47) on sale (around) December 23 ’47. The funny book is a tie-in with the radio program, BLACKSTONE, THE MAGIC DETECTIVE. On the radio, Ed Jerome played the real life Harry Blackstone Sr.–a famous stage magician of the day. EC only published the first issue of the comic, after which Timely picked it up with No. 2.

flash105.cover

Out on December 23 ’58, the Fastest Man Alive gets his own comic book, beginning with the February-March ’59 issue of THE FLASH (No. 105, which continues the numbering from FLASH COMICS), as Sam Scudder, the Mirror Master, makes his first appearance–cover by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

The world’s fattest man, Rollo disguises himself as Santa Claus to pull off his crimes, but the Boy Commandos are going to end his sleigh ride, in DETECTIVE COMICS 132 (February ’48). The Justice Society enter the world of Fairyland where the evil Lorelei is stirring up trouble, in ALL-STAR COMICS 39 (February-March ’48). Both books go on sale on Christmas Eve, December 24 ’47.

For Boxing Day, December 26 ’63, DC has these returns of the season: Dream Girl makes her first appearance in ADVENTURE COMICS 317 (February ’64), as some of the Legionnaires are transformed into tots and Lightning Lass becomes Light Lass. Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud and the Haunted Tank team up in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 52 (February-March ’64). Doc Magnus creates the Gas Gang, in METAL MEN 6 (February ’64). Lois runs a computer simulation that shows her life as Krypton Girl, in SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND LOIS LANE 47 (February ’64). A long list of Superman’s friends guest stars on a TV program that honours the Man of Steel, in ACTION COMICS 309 (February ’64) [and JFK makes a posthumous appearance]; meanwhile, in the Supergirl story, the fate of Argo City is retold.

Action309.feb64

Check your newsdealer on December 27 ’50 for these Direct Currents: Blabber Mouse decides to leave his comic strip for the real world, because his story lines are getting redundant, in COMIC CAVALCADE 43 (February-March ’51).

The Legion and the Fatal Five team up to destroy the Sun-Eater, but it is Ferro Lad who makes the ultimate sacrifice, in ADVENTURE COMICS 353 (February ’67). Ralph and Sue Dibny travel to London, where the Elongated Man deals with the pranks of two rival youth gangs–the Mods and the Rockers–in DETECTIVE COMICS 360 (February ’67). Both books are scheduled for December 27 ’66.

December 29 ’59, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD 28 (February-March ’60) presents the first appearance of the Justice League of America, as the super-heroes battle the menace of Starro the Conquerorcover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.

For New Years Eve, December 31 ’59, DC brings in some strays: ACTION COMICS 261 (February ’60) has Linda Danvers finding a stray cat she names “Streaky”; when the cat is exposed to a fragment of X-Kryptonite it gains super powers. In ADVENTURE COMICS 269 (February ’60), Aquaman finds a boy exiled from Atlantis, who he names Aqualad, as the kid sidekick makes his first appearance–also in this issue, the editor of ALL-STAR COMICS consults Green Arrow about a story.
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25th of december

merry christmas

edergeschenk

episode 38. Eder’s Christmas Present/Eders Weihnachtsgechenk

On Christmas Eve, Pumuckl must wait to see the present that Eder has promised him. One by one different neighbours and customers come by and Eder is caught short with what gifts to give them. He gives over the little wooden case he had promised to Pumuckl, but then the postman comes to the door delivering just such a box that Eder had mistakenly mailed to himself. So Pumuckl gets his Christmas present in the end. But as the credits roll, yet another visitor comes to the door with a present. Herr Bernbacher and Herr Stürtzlinger both make appearances in this one.

[original air date: December 17 ’88]

Der Lebkuchen im Mund
die Ker-erzen so rund,
der Bra-aten gesund
das i-i-ist ein Grund
zum Freuen si-ich und
zum Singen eine Stund’.

der Lebkuchen = the gingerbread
die Kerzen = the candles
der Braten = the roast
ein Grund = a reason
zum Freuen sich = so to be happy
zum Singen = so to sing
eine Stunde = an hour
SS69.peacepsa

Public Service Ad–from SUGAR AND SPIKE 69 (February-March ’67).

Elvis Costello and the Attractions–WHAT’S SO FUNNY ‘BOUT PEACE, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING (written by Nick Lowe)–video filmed in Vancouver, B.C., ’78

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. . . More spectacles of the historic at the end of the year . . .

THE ATOM 11 (February-March '64), art by Kane and Greene.

THE ATOM 11 (February-March ’64), art by Kane and Greene.

December 12′ 63, while on an ocean voyage with Jean Loring, Ray Palmer finds that their ship will meet the same fate as the Mary Celeste, if the Tiny Titan doesn’t take action, in THE ATOM 11 (February-March ’64).

The NEW GODS are coming to the spinner racks on December 22 ’70. Who are they? The latest epic creation from “King Kirby. Don’t miss the exciting first issue (February-March ’71)–it’s sure to be a collectors’ item.

Action385.cover On December 23 ’69, the Man of Tomorrow embarks on an epic journey through  all time and space. The odyssey begins in ACTION COMICS 385 (February ’70). Where will the Immortal Superman end up? That’s a mystery in space and time–cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

December 24 ’40, bound for Europe on board a relief ship to help out with the war effort, Tex Thomson’s ship is blown up by saboteurs–presumed dead, Tex returns to the United States and adopts the identity of Mr. America to fight for home and country, in ACTION COMICS 33 (February ’41).

LL15.coverLL15.boxNo, your eyes are not deceiving you–the cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye is not a fake–it’s real. This all happens inside  SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE No. 15 (February ’60)–in a novel length story by Robert Bernstein and Kurt Schaffenberger.  Don’t be late, when this issue goes on sale December 24 ’59.
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December 25 ’73, in BATMAN 255 (March-April ’74, old villain Professor Milo returns, as the Dark Knight is hunted by a were-wolf–also in this Super-Spectacular issue, stories of the entire Batman family.

Alan Scott encounters a mysterious individual called Vandal Savage who turns out to be a million years old, when the villain makes his first appearance in GREEN LANTERN QUARTERLY No. 10 (Winter ’43)–cover by Irwin Hasen–coming your way December 29 ’43.

Who? Why? Where? What is Hawkman? Get the answers in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD No. 34 (February-March ’61). When? On December 29 ’60 at your local comic dealer
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All on sale dates might be approximate, as provided by Mike’s Amazing World of Comics (The Newsstand) and by other sources.

All characters, logos, and images are owned and © 2013 by current copyright holders. They are used here for educational and review purposes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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