Tag Archives: shortest day of the year


iron man picBecause December 21st is the shortest day of the year, Balladeer’s Blog always runs articles about short films, short presidential administrations (Yes, William Henry Harrison) and similar topics. This year I’m pandering to the insatiable superhero audience with this look at a Marvel Comics title that was INTENTIONALLY published as a one-shot item, making it the shortest series run imaginable.

sub-mariner picPrevious articles here have dealt with the way that, for part of the 1960s, Marvel was limiting how many titles it had hitting newsstands. That meant publishing some of their heroes in one monthly publication, with each character getting a story covering half the issue. Iron Man and Captain America shared Tales of Suspense, Sub-Mariner and the Hulk shared Tales to Astonish.

Tales of Suspense underwent a title change to Captain America beginning with the 100th issue, while Iron Man was going to move to his own title. Tales to Astonish changed to The Incredible Hulk with its 102nd issue while Sub-Mariner moved to his own namesake monthly.

robert downey jr iron manThe trouble was, both Iron Man and Sub-Mariner had one more half-issue length story left and ready to be printed, but there were no more split comic book titles to accommodate them. So, Marvel Comics published one lone issue of a comic book titled Iron Man and Sub-Mariner

Here is my review of the two stories in that “special once-in-a-lifetime issue” – Continue reading


Filed under Superheroes


William Henry HarrisonBalladeer’s Blog’s annual Shortest Day of the Year post features William Henry Harrison, America’s 9th President and the man whose term was the shortest – just 32 days. Then he died.

Harrison’s military and political career on the way to the White House is well known so I’ll focus on some of the less-covered aspects of his presidency.


Secretary of State – Daniel Webster, American Legend. Too well-known to need hyping. 

Secretary of the Treasury – Thomas Ewing. Foster father and, in an odd twist, eventually the father-in-law of General William Tecumseh Sherman. 

Secretary of War – John Bell. Recommended replacing civilian superintendents of federal armories with military superintendents.   

Secretary of the Navy – George E Badger. Established the U.S. Home Squadron.

Attorney General – John J Crittenden. Advised against paying interest on a claim of damage caused by then-General Andrew Jackson in 1818. This was 1841 when he finally cleared up this case which had been lingering over 20 years.  

Postmaster General – Francis Granger. Once said “When the sun does shine, white’s your wine” and meant every word of it, dammit! 

*** Harrison’s death in 1841 after being elected in 1840 kicked off the ridiculous – and thankfully now invalid – superstition that all presidents elected in a year ending in zero would die in office.

Through sheer chance of course, Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was assassinated in 1865, early in his second term.

James Garfield, elected in 1880, was assassinated in 1881.  

William McKinley, RE-elected in 1900, was assassinated in 1901.

Warren G Harding, elected in 1920, died in office of natural causes. Continue reading


Filed under Neglected History