Thanksgiving and comicbooks! They go together like turkey and stuffing, right?
Actually, Thanksgiving holiday themes have appeared in Marvel comicbooks LESS than a dozen times over the last 80 years. Part of this lack of Thanksgiving stories is probably due to the publishing schedule. Books shipped in November are usually completed three months or more before this annual American holiday, and who’s thinking about pilgrims and pumpkin pie in July or August?
However, there are a handful of memorable Marvel comicbook stories that feature the holiday, and in honor of Thanksgiving, we’ve compiled some of them below.
Power Pack #18 and #19
In early 1986, Power Pack volume 1 issues #18 and #19 featured Thanksgiving for a team of super-powered children: Gee, Lightspeed, Mass Master and Energizer. The team also included the son of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Storm Richards (Invisible Woman), Franklin Richards, under the code name Tattletale. Written by Louise Simonson with art by Brent Anderson and Scott Williams, it features the young quartet and friends dealing with supervillain threats and a family crisis as they hope they won’t have to miss Thanksgiving dinner together.
Vision and the Scarlet Witch Vol. 2 #6
1986 turned out to be the (only) banner year for Thanksgiving themed comics because in that year, Vision and The Scarlet Witch volume 2 issue #6 also came out. Written by Steve Englehart, with art by Richard Howell, this issue featured Wanda and Vision hosting a Thanksgiving dinner that included such guests as Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Wanda’s brother Pietro (aka Quicksilver), and his wife (at that time) Crystal of the Inhumans. All this and Dr. Strange, too. But one uninvited guest turned out to be the siblings’ father, Magneto, and superhero family hijinks ensued.
It’s doubtful that this particular story will be adapted to the upcoming WandaVision series coming to Disney+ since the Scarlet Witch’s mutant origins and Magneto connection were never established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But we may see the couple sharing a happy Thanksgiving during the series. You never know.
Uncanny X-Men #308
Marvel revisited Thanksgiving in 1994 in Uncanny X-Men vol. 1, #308. A mob of merry mutants gathered for the holiday at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Throughout the story, written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by John Romita Jr., Scott Summers (Cyclops) and the recently returned from the dead (again) Jean Grey (Phoenix) discuss their convoluted history together and decide to get married, much to their many fellow mutants’ approval.
Of course, the history between Scott Summers and Jean Grey has grown even more convoluted since, but it was a happy moment.
Punisher Vol. 9 #5
Twenty years later, in 2014, writer Greg Rucka and illustrator Marc Checchetto explored the dark side of the holiday in Punisher volume 9, #5. Frank Castle almost shared a Thanksgiving with a young man whose parents were away at war. However, the boy realizes that the Punisher is no soldier, but rather a vigilante and killer, and he refuses to break bread with him. Frank is poignantly reminded that his extreme life choices have led to him being alone.
Spider-Gwen Vol. 2 #14
Marvel most recently revisited the Thanksgiving holiday in 2017, in Spider-Gwen volume 2, #14. Gwen’s Thanksgiving dinner with Ben and May Parker is interrupted by the corrupt Matt Murdock of her universe (aka Daredevil in the standard Marvel comicbook universe) and a pack of ninjas. The comic was written by Jason Latour and illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez and Chris Visions.
The Distinguished Competition, i.e. DC Comics, has published over 30 Thanksgiving themed comicbooks in their 82+ year history. An honorable mention here must go out to JSA #54, which featured an epic holiday get-together between members of the Justice Society of America and the Justice League of America, including Batman acting the party-pooper.
Of course, Marvel and DC share a place of honor at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with their popular Spider-Man and Superman giant balloons.
At least Marvel comicbook fans have these few Thanksgiving stories available, and for that we can all be thankful.