Saturday, December 15, 2012

King Konk!

I'm a Kong fan, and I 'm a Marvel fan, so this utterly delicious parody of the classic monster movie is an absolute fave. Not Brand Echh didn't last all that long, but is a real jewel in the history of Mighty Marvel. Part of the company's charm was its hip self-awareness and its ironic feel, and particularly at a time when the other large comics company seemed utterly devoid of both these characteristics. When later DC tried to imitate these qualities it came off unfortunately like a lumbering numbskull.

Here's a glimpse at Mirthful Marie Severin's alternate sketch of the cover art. Here "King Konk" is a lot more aggressive and a bit less naive than in the pose ultimately selected. I can almost see this scene as happening a few moments before the image which became the cover. See the Bulk's relative fates on both for instance. The absence of Laugh-In's Artie Johnson's curious Nazi-character also detracts. I don't know what that pop-culture adds to the final result, but it's significant.

Here's the iconic scene from the story itself, rendered by Tom Sutton and inked by Marie. The hectic density of action in one of these scenes is very much in the spirit of Will Elder and MAD magazine, and a worthy addition to that canon indeed.

We need a collection of the Not Brand Echh material sooner than later.

On a slightly other note, here's a very cool link to a guy who actually constructed a one-off model of "King Konk" clutching the Marble Heroes based on Marie's awesome cover image. Check it out to see this work in progress.

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  1. I remember the first time I'd read Not Brand Echh! I can't recall much about the story, but I was fascinated by the sight of "Superman" and "Spider-Man" in the same comic! It was always the unofficial DC/Marvel crossover series, to me! ;)

    1. True enough. And the same thing sort of happened in the Inferior Five, DC's superhero spoof comic. That's another series which needs to be reprinted.

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