Dear Marble Gang,
Now that it's officially Not Brand Echh the book has improved tremendously with the fifth issue. While I was let down a bit by the previous "Bad Guys Win" book, I was much smitten with the events of this particular issue.
Easily the winner in a trio of real contenders was "The Origin of Forbush Man" by Stan "The Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby. I notice that the King was helped out this time by Tom Sutton who has made a bit impression since his debut on the comic. Forbush Man is a hit with this reader, a real addition to the burgeoning Marble Universe. Loved the fact that we never see the actual face of this newest mystery man and it's very nifty to see that despite his inherent lack of skill or talent that he succeeded in his quest to become a renowned and celebrated superhero. It gives hope to all us nebishes that we too might achieve greatness despite our shortcomings.
My second favorite of the three yarns was "The Revengers vs. Charlie America" by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. This is Mr. Colan's second out in the NBE venue and it's a marked improvement with his characterizations being a bit broader than with the Scaredevil story. Liked that much like the Marvel Universe the heroes of the Marble Universe get to fighting one another for little or no reason and as for the ending, sometimes I think Charlie might be getting right when it comes to the modern world.
Finally is the Stan Lee and Marie Severin effort "The Bulk vs. The Thung" which reminded me for all the world of a vintage Popeye cartoon in which two rambunctious and suitors with violent tendencies battle it out in outrageous fashion for the attentions of a single dame. It was a funny and the send up at the end was pretty nifty.
All three stories were well paced and the art as usual was spectacular. Looking very much forward to the next issue which promises marriage if not romance, and I hope to see more Forbush Man before too much longer.
Notes and Comments: The arrival of Forbush Man (again...he was on the debut cover but without any story context) signals the beginning of a mature Not Brand Echh. The faceless stalwart takes the book into fresh spaces and not just parodies of particular issues of comics but of the notion of superheroing in general. Really liked Gene Colan's art this time out, it's broad and inviting, and more in keeping with the level of absurdity that both Marie Severin and Tom Sutton were achieving. The battle story between the Marble versions of the Hulk and the Thing lacks much motivation but does capture the singular characteristic of Marvel Comics, that their heroes would tee off against each other on a whim.
Here are the covers of the comics which inspired some of this issues fun.