Thursday, August 01, 2019


I guess with all of the fanzines out there spoofing your heroes (not to mention "Brand Echh" itself, National Periodicals, taking cheap shots at-cha what with comic book editor "Stan Bragg" popping up in ANGEL AND THE APE) mebbee you should get in the game and make some dough SPOOFING YOURSELF! That's exactly what Marvel themselves did with this legendary late-sixties title which did what all those fanzines were doin' for a good five years already! True there's nothing as shocking as GOD COMICS or THE IMPOSSIBLE FIVE MEET SUPERBEARD in these pages, but ya gotta admit that Lee and company did a real bang-up of it going as far as they could without flamin' up the ire of the Comics Code Authority, even though in a few spots you woulda thunk that Dr. Fredric Wertham himself woulda overcome his natural pacifist tendencies, taken a cab right down the Marvel HQ and slugged Lee a good one inna nose, that's how daring NOT BRAND ECHH could get at times!

Yeah I know that as far as these "stoopid" comics as Robot Hull called 'em in his CREEM mag review of HOWARD THE DUCK (not quite my idea of stoopid comics low art but wha' th' hey?) go there might have been quite a number of duds slipped in between the truly genuine and expected groaners. Thankfully the misses in NOT BRAND ECHH are outweighed by the GOOD deliveries as far as comic book stoopidity is concerned. And what with the take-offs on comic book, tee-vee shows and moom-pitchers to be found, not to mention way-too-obvious swipes of classic Wallace Wood and Jack Davis artforms originally found in the grandaddy of 'em all MAD (sometimes CREDITED as such!) you know that the guys at Marvel weren't just stealin' for the mere sport of it like all those other MAD comic book swipes that popped up in the sixties and seventies, eh?

Like the best in comic humor, the corny courts the daring as old tropes get re-troped so to speak and stories you read for years in those MAD paperbacks are re-done with Richard Burton and Liz  Taylor taking Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray's place in a KING KONG remake. But this 'un's mostly about the comic books and if you still have a li'l bit of glowing huzzah for the state of the newsstand ca. 1968 you'll probably get more outta the beautiful stoopidity that oozes outta NOT BRAND ECHH which for once proved that comics weren't exactly made for suburban slobs like ourselves, but the Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids could enjoy these as well.

Lotsa in-joke and snipes to be seen too, not only regarding Marvel and their Direct Competition but with the Comics Code themselves who get more'n a few jabs within these pages. For the long-time comic fanabla NOT BRAND ECHH is whatcha'd call custom-made for the typical fanzine-laden history-obsessed tightass what with such humble scenes where the EC horror comics hosts meet none other'n Archie (a sly reference to the rumor that the CCA was a plot by Archie's John Goldwater to destroy Bill Gaines for his STARCHIE story!) and other interesting "happenstances" which I'm sure'll get quite a few anal-retentives tryin' to top each other re. the snide in-references! And as far as the bell-bottomed longhairs who read this went, I get the feelin' that they were more'n surprised to see the new hipster acts of the day from the Jefferson Airplane, Beatles and Turtles to Moby Grape gettin' name dropped thanks to the likes of Gary Friedrich who I'm sure was listenin' in unlike ol' Stan himself! (The CHEAP THRILLS takeoff was a whole lot better'n anything that woulda popped up in DC's early-seventies spoof venture PLOP!).

An' so, like thrill to the adventures of the likes of Spidey-Man, Charlie America, the Inedible Bulk and the Fantastical Four and keep in mind...back then this was satire, not the real thing like you get today!


Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

Ecch! was at least not (Disney) sappy.