1939: Batman Makes His First Comic Book Appearance
Though not necessary published exactly on this day in 1939, the 27th issue of Detective Comics did hit newsstands around this time. Considered by some to be the most valuable comic book in print (one sold for $1,075,000 in 2010), this issue introduced America to Batman. Originally referred to as “the Bat-Man,” the legend was created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Unlike most superheroes, Batman does not possess any superpowers, however, he is crazy smart and being a billionaire allows him to create or purchase whatever he wants to fight crime. In early comics and during the 1960’s TV show, Batman was seen as quite jovial, but over the years the Dark Knight has returned to his dark and self-torturing roots. (Main Image: DC Comics)
1908: The First Mother’s Day
It’s possible that you have been celebrating Mother’s Day all wrong. It was on this day in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, the location where you can find the International Mother’s Day Shrine. However, her quest to create Mother’s Day began three years earlier when her mother died. Ann Reeves Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers (on both sides) of the American Civil War. Anna’s goal was to create a day dedicated to peace. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating that the second Sunday of each May should be reserved for National Mother’s Day. However, during the 1920’s, Hallmark Cards and others started taking advantage of the day and began selling cards. Jarvis was unhappy thinking that they had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day and even began boycotting the holiday. By 1925, carnations became associated with the holiday, but when the American War Mothers sold them to raise money, Jarvis became upset and got arrested for disturbing the peace!
1962: Marvel Comics Smashes with ‘The Hulk’
Created by comic book writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, The Incredible Hulk made his debut on this day with his own comic book. He of course is a duel character: the mild-mannered Dr. Robert Bruce Banner and his muscular alter-ego The Hulk. The two switch out when Banner is under a lot of emotion stress. When he get angry, he “Hulks Out.” This is all due to Banner’s accidental exposure to gamma rays in his laboratory. It is said that Lee created the character as a combo of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And while his mostly turns green when gets angry, he hasn’t always. In 1977, The Hulk got his own live action TV series which starred Bill Bixby as Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the green thing. Other actors have portayed the Hulk on the big screen including Eric Bana in 2003, Edward Norton in 2008 and Mark Ruffalo since 2012 in the Avengers movies.
1869: The Golden Spike
The First Transcontinental Railroad which linked two existing railways from the eastern and western United States was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah and celebrated with the placing of the golden spike.
1954: First #1 Rock and Roll Hit
“Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and His Comets was the first rock and roll record to reach the number spot on the Billboard charts.
1975: The Original Betamax
Sony introduced the Batamax videocassette recorder as a rival in the early videotape wars. Ultimately it lost, but Sony waited until 2002 to discontinue making them. Betamax is also the name of the robot in Disney’s animated Big Hero 6.
- 1899: Fred Astaire (dancer)
- 1922: Nancy Walker (actress)
- 1960: Bono (singer)
- 1978: Kenan Thompson (actor)
- 1995: Missy Franklin (Olympic swimmer)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.