Not Brand Echh #8 (Story 1)

 Title: Not Brand Echh
 Lookback: From The Beginning
 Posted: May 2018
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)


Just think. If John Verpoorten had resisted putting Spidey in for one superfluous appearance, we could have skipped this issue altogether. But there he is on page 3 panel 6 (and the legs of his costume in panel 7). So let’s get started.

Story 'What Price Forbush-Man?'

  Not Brand Echh #8 (Story 1)
Summary: Spider-Man Parody (Spidey-Man) Cameo
Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Verpoorten
Reprinted In: Crazy #1

This time, Forbush-Man, last seen in Not Brand Echh #5 (Story 1), December 1967 takes over the whole issue. “With enough super-hero guest-stars to make you swear off comics forever!” according to the cover copy. The cover itself is a masterpiece of Marie Severin madness. Forbush-Man is in the center, just below the logo, right at eye level. He rides on Giant-Sam’s shoulders, tossing flowers behind him from a bouquet he holds in his hand; like a conquering hero. There is a procession of heroes all traveling from left to right. Giant-Sam has bunny ears rising from his goggles. The Wisp flies behind him, trying to catch up, but her tiny face looks like Underdog. Hogeye, who has a third eye in the middle of his forehead, is shooting a rubber-tipped arrow and has umbrellas in his quiver; Dumb Dumb Dugan has a hole through his derby (and his head); the Black Panter is on hands and knees like a cat and sporting whiskers and claws and a tail in which he is strangling Mickey Mouse; Cyclomps has a visor that is a thermometer (with smoke rising from it); Icy-Man is transparent like ice and has an icicle hanging off his nose; the Angel-Face has hair that looks so much like a nest that it has an egg perched in the top of it; Beastly has band-aids on his bare feet; and Knock Furious, whose cigar is a lit stick of dynamite, carries a popgun with a corkscrew on it for a bayonet. Down in the lower left corner, Ignatz Mouse (from George Herriman’s old Krazy Kat comic strip) is preparing to throw a brick. No doubt, Krazy is just off-panel on the lower right. (Krazy Kat is also on the splash page of the Knock Furious story with a brick coming right down at her head. No doubt, Ignatz is behind the trashcan.) I love this cover for Ignatz alone.

The contents page is pretty restrained compared to previous issues. In his article in Alter Ego #95, July 2010, Roy Thomas thinks, “it may well be production staffer John Verpoorten who’s doing such original art as there is on the contents page (a figure of F-Man), balancing Photostats from the three stories.” Forbush-Man stands in front of a patched theatre curtain looking up at the Photostats. “The Revengers” are from page 2 panel 4 of that story, “Agents of S.H.E.E.S.H.” from page 3 panel 1 of their story, and “The Echhs-Men” from page 5 panel 5 of their story. The stage on which F-Man stands is held up by two pillars showing the smile and frown of the comedy/tragedy masks only they are smiling and frowning faces of the Thing.

Before we can get to the three stories, we have a three page prologue entitled What Price Forbush-Man?, which is where we’ll find Spidey-Man. It’s written by Roy and drawn by John Verpoorten (both of whom will be responsible for the last page of the issue as well). The title is a takeoff on all sorts of “What Price?” titles in comics. The best-known to Marvelites at the time is probably the Iron Man story “What Price Victory?” from Tales of Suspense #71, November 1965 but just look up “What Price” on GCD and see everything that you get.

On the splash page, F-Man comes swinging in on a clothesline (with a noose in the end of it). A slew of villains prepare to attack him. The Destroyer has a slingshot (and a tongue sticking out of a mouth that shouldn’t be there), Dr. Bloom fires from his finger gun, which opens up to show a very small man inside firing a popgun. Doc Ock has a boxing glove on the end of one tentacle with a note on it reading, “”If lost, return to Schmoe Palooka,” (a riff on the old comic strip boxer Joe Palooka). The Rhino, Lizard, Gladiator, Mole Man and Red Skull are also there. Ock asks why they are ganging up on F-Man and Dr. Bloom says, “He’s the one that made us all surrender back in ish #5.” (He didn’t really make them all surrender. They surrendered when it appeared that F-Man had defeated the Juggernaut.) “How do ya know that, Bloom?” asks the Rhino. “I’ve got a subscription…what else?” replies Bloom. (I apologize for mixing the regular Marvel names with the Brechh names. I’ve gotten lazy with this series and can’t be bothered to track down the Brechh name if I don’t know it.) They all converge on F-Man but his clothesline (that now has an anchor on the end of it) snaps and he falls into a manhole. (“That’s what I get for using hand-me-downs from Gnat-Man,” he says.) The villains all crash into each other and get hopelessly entangled. (The Red Skull’s mask has come off to reveal that he is Hitler.)

Roy, in his Alter Ego piece says, “From this point on, Stan did little if any more scripting for NBE, and left most of the supervision of the actual contents (except for covers) to Yours Truly. I’ve no recollection whether it was his idea or mine to use a framing sequence at the beginning and end of the issue but that was a natural approach. John V, another artist whose humor work was strongly influenced by Harvey Kurtzman, was a good penciler; I’d have preferred to see a slightly lighter line to his inking but I didn’t press the point…He added his own touches to our general plot – such as having Mammy Yokum from Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner” comic strip shaking her fist at F-Man on p. 2 near a wash-line whereon hung Stuporman’s cape.” Thor’s helmet (complete with blonde wig) and his hammer are also hanging from that line. The bat-signal is shining, upside-down, in the sky.

Forbush-Man joins his Auntie Mayhem (who looks very much like Mammy Yokum herself) at home. She swats him in the face with a mop, calls him a bum, and tells him to get to work. (F-Man’s face is always concealed when he is out of costume. As I said in the NBE #5 review, “Also hidden is Forbush-Man’s face throughout the story, always covered by something in the manner of the Upwind Johnson character in the “Smilin’ Melvin” story from Mad #7, October-November 1953, a riff off of Downwind Jaxon from the “The Adventures Smilin’ Jack” comic strip (October 1, 1933 – April 1, 1973) whose features were also not shown.”) By the way, Donald Duck’s head is mounted on the wall of the room.

As Irving does the cleaning, Auntie Mayhem watches the Fantastical Four on TV. Washing the dishes, Irving muses, “If I joined a superhero group, I wouldn’t be a lonely nebbish any more. I’d be a nebbish with friends!” He sees three articles in the paper. “Charlie America leaves Revengers! Famed Group Seeks Replacements!” “Secret Organization S.H.E.E.S.H. Looking for Recruits!” and “Echhs-Men on Prowl for New Members!” There’s your set-up for the rest of the issue right there.

Irving decides to answer these calls to action but he thinks he must sneak out of the house since, “It’d break [Auntie Mayhem’s] heart if she knew I was running away!” He doesn’t see that she is reading a book entitled, “How to get Your Lowlife Nephew to Join the Peace Corps!” So, Irving slips out by using a plunger to stick to the ceiling as Auntie Mayhem feeds her piranha with one of Snoopy’s legbones. (How do we know? She says, “Here, you little darlings…it’s that mutt that kept buzzing the house in his Sopwith Camel!” Meanwhile, the Sunk-Mariner sticks his head out of the little house that is also in the fish bowl.) Irving falls out a window and lands in a garbage can, scaring Mickey Mouse away. And our whole reason for reviewing this issue, Spidey-Man, is perched on the wall. “Oops! Wrong mag!” he says. (Wrong mag?! Wrong mag??!! I’m reviewing this whole thing because Spidey shows up for one panel in the wrong mag???!!!) “Lucky I landed in this trash can,” says Irv, “cause this is where I left my costume! If I can find it, that is.” He tosses out Ironed Man’s helmet, Charlie America’s shield, and other costumes including Spidey-Man’s pants (which he was just wearing in the last panel so this must be his extra costume). “’Y’know, sometimes I wonder if I’m the only superhero who knows about this trashcan!” says Irv. “Two and a half hours later,” F-Man is back in action. He tries to play his theme song on a gramophone but only gets “Dom Da Dom Dom,” which is the opening of the Dragnet theme song. And he’s off to try out for the Revengers in the story called…

This Fan - - This Forbush! (a takeoff on the Fantastic Four #51, June 1966 story, “This Man - - This Monster!”). Roy continues the scripting but Gene Colan takes up the artwork. In Alter Ego, Roy notes “Since we weren’t burlesquing any particular story in this tale, whose villain was Dang the Conqueror, I kept the cast down – just Giant-Sam, the Wisp, Hogeye, and Black Panter. (But then, this was the period when Stan had decreed that Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America couldn’t be a part of a regular lineup.}”

Looks like Giant-Sam is going by “Golightly” by the time we get to this story. He and the rest are reading their fan mail when Dang smashes in. Dang challenges any member of the Revengers to “a battle to the death – if not worse!” All three responses come from off-panel but you don’t have to see who’s speaking to know. “I was just leaving to visit a sick ant!” “I’ve gotta meet my old buddy, Mean Arrow!” “And I was planning to take a little cat nap!” Very clever dialogue on Roy’s part. Dang declares that one Revenger must “show up at the docks in half an hour – or I’ll come looking for all of you!” He departs, leaving behind a pile of bricks from where he smashed in. One of those bricks has “Property of Ignatz Mouse” on it, as the Krazy Kat gags continue.

It is obvious that the Revengers are all cowards and none of them want to meet Dang. Golightly hopes that “maybe some superhero will answer our ad in the Daily Bagel.” Now, I haven’t bothered to mention it but there has been a running gag in the first two pages of the Revengers fanmail lying around so that we can read it. This one is my favorite: “Dear Golightly – Please send me the secret of your successful comeback! – Dick Nixon.” At the time of this comic, Nixon was running for the Republican nomination after having hit bottom in 1962, losing the California Governor’s race and telling the press, “you don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Six years later, he wins the Presidency. We all know what happened six years after that, don’t we?

Golightly repairs the smashed wall using a bucket that says on it, “Plaster of Paris. Made in Kentucky.” I confess that I don’t get this gag at all. Is it supposed to be funny that something that’s “of Paris” is actually from Kentucky? Is that all there is to it? The wall collapses once again as Forbush-Man knocks on it. He tells them that he is answering their ad to become a Revenger. Hogeye isn’t interested. He ties F-Man up, notches him in his bow, and sends him flying. Golightly, however, grabs F-Man before he can fly very far. He realizes that F-Man can be the Revenger that they pit against Dang.

The Revengers sign F-Man up and take him to the docks. There, they show Dang the papers that indicate that F-Man is a Revenger. Dang immediately pulls out a mace “which I rented from Attila the Hun” and whacks F-Man over the head. The Revengers stand back and watch. Wisp tells Golightly to “do something.” “I am doing something! I’m praying for rust!” says Golightly. The Black Panter asks Hogeye, “Isn’t there some way we ought to help out?” “We could notify his next of kin,” says Hogeye.

Dang is disgusted by his easy victory. (“You are not worth bothering to kill,” he says. “I feel rather the same way myself!” says F-Man.) Instead Dang tosses F-Man into his space-time ship and sets the controls for 1,000,000 BC…”the Dawn of Time!” “Couldn’t you make it a little later maybe? Like the noon of time? I’ve already had brunch,” says F-Man. The ship flies up to where we can see that Atlas is holding up the Earth and ends up in 1,000,000 BC, passing by Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, BC from the comic strip of the same name, Alley Oop and King Guz (from Alley’s strip). Guz says, “Maybe it has more strangers from future inside” and Alley replies, “Could be! Still if we get one more that looks like Imogene Coca…” Roy explains in his Alter Ego article that Imogene Coca was “then starring in the prehistoric time travel comedy It’s About Time. I remember this show very well. I watched it as a kid and can still sing the theme song. ( It’s about time, it’s about space, about two men in the strangest place.) Joe E. Ross also starred in the show and it was such a flop that they actually decided to flip the plot halfway through the season. It started as two astronauts whose ship took them back to prehistoric times. Then the astronauts managed to get back to the present, taking some of the cavemen with them. It only lasted one season and was well over by the time Roy included this gag in Brechh, so his “then starring” is not exactly right.

The cavemen attack F-Man as soon as he opens the ship’s hatch so he goes back in and presses a button at random. This brings him back to the present where the Revengers actually are fighting and defeating Dang. When F-Man returns, Golightly thanks him. “By your sterling example, you invited us to fight Dang the Conqueror.” They declare him a Revenger for life, then set off in the space-time ship to return Dang to his own time. But, according to F-Man, “the controls of the ship were set for eternity and it’ll never stop going.” To make things worse, “I’m not really officially a Revenger at all” because “they forgot to sign my membership certificate in triplicate.” So, F-Man heads off into the sunset to visit his “second prospect – the Agents of SHEESH.”

And the Dragon Cried…Forbush! is a takeoff of Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury story in Strange Tales #163, December 1967 entitled “And the Dragon Cried…Death!” This story, written by Gary Friedrich with art by Marie Severin, features the “Yellow Paw” as the villain just as the Steranko story features the Yellow Claw. In his Alter Ego article, Roy says, “The dialogue of the Chinese participants is the pidgin-English of “Terry and the Pirates” and the like, done to parody the clichés rather than to reflect them – though I suppose someone could’ve objected that the Yellow Paw is found hiding out in a Chinese laundry (or ‘Raundry,’ according to the sign in the window). I don’t recall that anyone did, though. Guess they’d noticed that NBE burlesqued everybody.” Or maybe they were living in the 1960s when people still got away with this kind of stuff and those offended were too intimidated to mention it. Roy’s defense of this story is possible but I think it’s more a matter of the tone-deafness of the 60s where, as I said, stereotypes of this sort were still used in comedy. If it was funny then, it’s not so funny now.

Knock Furious, Dumb Dumb, Jimmy Woo-Hoo, Agent Spitwell, and the Brechh version of Gabe Jones are all hiding around a corner in an alley, ready to pounce on Forbush-Man. “It might be one’a the Yellow Paw’s creeps!” says Knock. “Quiet, man! They’re playin’ ‘Suki-Yaki’ on the Oldies but Goodies,” says Jimmy Woo-Hoo, holding a transistor radio to his ear. (The first of the Asian stereotype jokes.) As I mentioned already, Krazy Kat is walking out of the alley with a brick labeled “Con’t from Cover” heading for her head, as Ignatz’s toss finally (probably) hits home.

F-Man is carrying a sack labeled “Bag of Disguises (to be used to infiltration of SHEESH HQ only).” This label changes each time we see the sack. F-Man drops the sack as Knock points a gun at him and declares, “Anybody that’d walk on the streets’a New York after dark’s gotta be a spy!” F-Man is thrilled. “You’re one of my teenage idols, right up there with Bonnie and Clyde,” says Irv. (Bonnie and Clyde has come up in NBE before because the film, a big hit, was released in August 1967.) (One of the labels on the sack during this sequence says, “By Their Satanical Majesties Request…This Bag is Condemned,” riffing off of the Rolling Stones album, “Their Satanic Majesties Request” which is itself a riff off of “Her Britannic Majesty Requests,” the statement that appears within British passports.) “Yecchh! An autograph hound! This I needed?” says Knock (whose cigar says “Tootsie Roll” on it). “Imagine!” says F-Man, “Knock Furious,…idol of millions…protector of the world…bosom buddy of Jim Steranko!” Knock and the gang try to sneak off until Jimmy notes that Irving “may be just the man we’re looking for to infiltrate the lair of the Yellow Paw.” F-Man is ready to do the job. As Jimmy listens to the Beatles singing, “I Am the Walrus” on his transistor radio, Knock tells F-Man, “Well, you ain’t Maxwell Smart but…go to it, kid!” (Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, is the inept spy played by Don Adams in the Mel Brooks-Buck Henry TV comedy, “Get Smart.”) as he puts his cigar out on F-Man’s pot helmet.

So, F-Man heads to the Chinese Laundry where the stereotype jokes start piling up. As Roy noted, the window sign reads “Raundry.” It also says, “Crean As Whisser.” The employee inside, with a pigtail and stereotyped Chinese dress, says, “Holy Mao Tse-Tung! Here comes another load of that clazy led underwear!” (Outside the shop is a woman pushing a baby carriage with a dog alongside. The woman, baby, and dog all wear Hydra masks.) F-Man’s sack is now supposed to be laundry. In one panel, it is labeled “This bag contains laundry – not money! Robbers please note!” In the next panel it says, “Groovy Bag! (If found, return to Murray the K.” (Murray the K was a DJ in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, becoming the top-rated DJ in New York during that time. I’m not sure what the “groovy bag” is all about.) In the next panel, it reads “Sorry, we ran out of funny bag labels.”

After F-Man enters the laundry, Dr. Bloom runs in to see if his cloaks are ready. The attendant says, “Light this way, sir – and we lemember, no starch!” Ouch! This just gets worse and worse. Bloom exits through a washing machine. When F-Man gets curious about this, the attendant brings out his “manager,” Sue-Wannee Liver who is based on the Yellow Claw’s daughter Suwan from the Strange Tales story. Her beauty overcomes F-Man. He races outside to tell Knock that everything in the laundry is on the up and up. Unfortunately, he has lipstick imprints all over his pot helmet. “Oh yeah? Then they must be makin’ Jean Shrimpton lipstick commercials,” says Knock. (Jean Shrimpton was a hugely successful London model in the 60s. Roy says that Jean was “apparently then making TV lipstick commercials.” I don’t know about TV but here’s one from a magazine.

In his A/E story, Roy reprints page 5 of this story alongside an earlier version of the page previously published in Marvelmania #5. The dialogue in the final version is almost completely different from the earlier version. There is also a note on a machine reading, “Return machinery to Jack Kirby! (Jim is finished with it now!)” that does not appear in the earlier version. Roy thinks it was Stan who added the “Kirby” gag. Is the rest Gary re-writing himself?

So which page of dialogue is better? Well, neither one of them is particularly funny. But I do like one line from the published version. On the page, Knock Furious gets into the laundry bag and F-Man takes it to Sue-Wannee. “Found some more laundry already?” she says. “Just a few odds and ends,” says Irv, “mostly cigars and eye-patches.” Sue-Wannee’s assistant puts Furious in a washing machine that is really a secret entrance to the place where all the super-villain costumes are washed. And there is a gag that I can’t pin down. While putting Furious in the machine, the assistant holds a box of “New Boo Jeer” and says, “Ah, so! Have fliendly giant standing guard in washer!” The box is a takeoff of “New Blue Cheer” detergent and I think the remark about the giant refers to an ad I vaguely remember where a giant arm comes out of a washing machine but I cannot locate that ad. Does anyone remember it?

Furious beats up the two men washing the costumes. (“Take that, you rats – an’ other classy-type fight exclamations!” He emerges from the washing machine with a gun and pulls a mask off of Su-Wannee, revealing, as F-Man puts it, “Hobblin’ Hobbits! Sue-Wannee is – the Yellow Paw!” Stunned that “My first true love [is] a super-villain,” Forbush-Man leaves, catching his foot on a power cord that he pulls from the socket, plunging the room into darkness. This allows the Yellow Paw and his henchmen to escape. As Furious and his agents pursue them outside, Knock tells F-Man to “don’t come back! But we’d love for you to work for Hydra, stupid!” “I’ve been given a dishonorable discharge from SHEESH,” says Irv, “This means…if the Echhs-Men won’t have me, it’s back to being an underpaid non-entity at Mercenary Marble.”

Which brings us to the third story, Beware the Forbush-Man, My Son! with Gary still writing but with Tom Sutton on the artwork. The title is a takeoff of the X-Men #32, May 1967 title, “Beware the Juggernaut, My Son!” which is itself a takeoff of Lewis Carroll’s line, “Beware the Jabberwock, My Son!”

In “Chestwester County,” the Echhs-Men are working out in their Dangerous Room but they aren’t doing so well. “Face it, Angel-Face,” says Marble Girl, “Nothing’s worked around here since Professor Echhs went to that big comic-mag in the sky!” (Professor X died in X-Men #42, March 1968 with a cover blurb reading, “Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary tale! This is for real!” All of which is still technically true since it didn’t say “Not a Changeling taking the Professor’s place!” as later revealed in X-Men #65, February 1970.)

Picking up a broom (because she’s the woman of the group), Marble Girl says, “”I’ll clean up the mess! We super-heroines must be good for something!” Saying, “We’ve gotta find somebody who can re-design all those gizmoes,” Cyclomps has Marble Girl take dictation (because she’s the woman of the group) of a Help Wanted ad. Soon after, Forbush-Man applies. The Echhs-Men hire him immediately. “Don’t you even want to check my references?” asks F-Man. “Who can read?” says Marble Girl, “Besides, we’re desperate! This story’s only got 4 pages left!”

That’s when Magneat-o and the Toadstool come to the door. They appear on a viewscreen, prompting F-Man to say, “They’re pre-empting the Flying Nun.”

F-Man rushes out to meet them. There, Toadstool swings his “Mickey Mantle Swatteroo” bat at him but F-Man trips and Magneat-o’s magnetism attracts Irving’s pot helmet so that it “clangs” against Maggie’s face. “Maybe I should’ve answered that ad to join the Dodge Rebellion instead of the Echhs-Men,” says Irv. Slicksilver rushes in to help. While Toadstool cowers and Magneat-o can’t get his crushed helmet off his head, the Scarlett Wench attacks with a hex. It strikes Magneat-o, turning him into a duck. Irving tries to surrender since he’s “seen the Wizard of Oz enough times to know better than to fool around with witches” but the Scarlett Wench throws another hex. This one bounces off F-Man’s helmet and rebounds on her, turning her head into that of Irv’s Auntie Mayhem. (Angel-Face recognizes Auntie because “I remember her from Brechh #5.”) Scarlett tries again. “”If this hex doesn’t work, I’m going back to being understudy on ‘Bewitched!” she says. She strikes Slicksilver this time. “Man, I’m going back to the Revengers for the 19th time,” he says but the hex turns him into a turtle. “Oh well, maybe I can join a famous recording group,” he thinks. This is a very obscure reference today but it wasn’t in 1968. At that time, the Turtles had already had a number of hits including She’d Rather Be With Me and Happy Together with more to come.

Irving pounds on the Echhs-Men’s door demanding to be let in. Magneat-o (who is no longer a duck) uses his powers to return the Scarlett Wench’s head with a new bouffant hairdo. “Maggie, sweetie, you’re a regular Elizabeth Arden, she says. The Echhs-Men’s welcome mat is booby-trapped. It shoots F-Man off the stoop and right into the villains who have had enough. “Whatever happened to the gold old days when I got to fight a bald guy in a wheel chair?” says Maggie.

The bad guys run off. The Echhs-Men greet F-Man as a hero. “He’s gotta be the grooviest thing this side of Michael J. Pollard!” says Marble Girl. (From “Bonnie and Clyde,” among other things, remember?)

There is just one more thing that the Echhs-Men would like from Irv. “All you gotta do is make our dangerous room a safe place for us to bop and stomp!” And, of course, he makes it worse so they kick him out.

There’s one final page, an Epilogue, courtesy of Roy Thomas and John Verpooten again. Forbush-Man makes his way home. He passes by Batman who leans out a window and tells him to “Keep it quiet, willya, Mac? I got my kid in the bat-tub.” “Sorry, citizen,” says F-Man. (This is sort of a double nod to the Batman TV show. First, Batman pokes his head out a window as various celebrities did in the show. Second, Irv calls him “citizen,” a term used by Batman often in the show. And I like the pun of the “bat-tub.”) When he arrives home, F-Man tries to sneak into his apartment by swinging into the window but Auntie Mayhem thinks he is a Peeping Tom and clobbers him over the head with a rolling pin. (The rolling pin appears to be Plastic Man and F-Man’s rope is Mr. Fantastic.) His helmet dented, F-Man falls to the ground with a clatter. He has had enough. He walks past the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper’s garb. (Previously there was a Sgt. Pepper’s reference that I skipped. Irv tells Toadstool, “I always figure I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”) Ringo says, “You get a nice sound out of that helmet! Would you like to join our little group?” Irv turns him down. “I’m going back to being a lone wolf! No really famous group would ever want me!”

And the issue closes with a moral: “The Byrds in the hand are worth The Who in the bush!”

Roy adds a footnote in his Alter Ego article. “Interestingly, a fan-letter in this issue spoke of “rumors that unless sales of NOT BRAND ECHH pick up soon, you’re dropping it’ – and begging us not to. Actually, at that time, since the disappointing figures for NBE #7 wouldn’t have come in yet, quite the opposite was true. Martin Goodman, flush with good sales on the early issues, had agreed to what I suspect was Stan’s notion (at the same time as the oversize Silver Surfer #1) to metamorphose the mag into a 64-pager (68 with covers) selling for 25 cents instead of the usual 12 cents.” We’ll be getting to the first of those King-Size issues soon enough.

General Comments

I like Forbush-Man and I like the idea of a Forbush-Man issue but the execution is a bit disappointing. There are some bits that I like. “I’d be a nebbish with friends.” The Krazy Kat-Ignatz Mouse gags. The various characters who have read “Brechh #5.” And I do love that cover! But there are too many groaners like “the noon of time,” the stories are overloaded with cultural references that try too hard to be hip, and the Chinese stereotypes are truly horrendous.

Overall Rating

What with the Imogene Coca reference, the Sgt. Pepper’s appearance, and the Chinese “raundry” business, it is an interesting look into the culture of the times but, even then, I don’t think it warranted more than two webs. Now, it should probably be even lower but I’ll leave it at two in honor of Marie’s terrific cover.


I neglected two Spidey appearances, both from Esquire magazine. One from 1965 and one from 1966. We’ll cover the earlier one next (Esquire #382) and decide what to do with the other one later.

 Title: Not Brand Echh
 Lookback: From The Beginning
 Posted: May 2018
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)