Notes and Comments: The tenth issue of Not Brand Echh was a reprint issue. NBE had just jumped to "King-Size" and apparently the mavens at Marvel needed some time to scrape together enough material for the larger issues. But they didn't leave us the reader completely in the lurch, they gave us one of "Mirthful" Marie Severin's most magnificent covers. This was also the very first issue of NBE that I actually bought off the stands, so the fact it was reprint mattered little to me back then, the stories were all fresh as daisies. But I still remember just staring at the multitude of "Marble Comics" characters jammed together on this one cover with gags aplenty scattered across the image. But since there is nothing much more for me to say about this particular issue, let use this installment to say more about NBE's number one sone, "the Way-Out Wonder" himself -- Forbush-Man!
As already noted we got our first glimpse of Forbush-Man on the cover of the very first issue of Not Brand Echh and he was rendered by no less an artist than the "King" himself Jack Kirby. But we only get to see his back, and as we'll learn this is an early variation on the "Way-Out Wonder".
Forbush-Man's origin is revealed in NBE #5 and we discover for the first time what he looks like offically.
Red wooly underwear embellished wish a stitch-one "F", a kitchen pot with two holes for a helmet, a cape cut from a blue potato sack, and oversize galoshes make up the costume of Forbush-Man.
Forubsh-Man proves so popular we get a trio of tales (with prologue and epilogue) in issue #8 as Forbush-Man attempts to join the "Revengers", the "Agents of SHEESH", and the "Ecchs Men". It all comes to naught, but it does elevate him to full-fledged mascot status and Forbush-Man becomes a mainstay of NBE as well as the larger MU in years to come.
He rates two covers on Mavel's later satire comic What The..?!
And for many years appeared monthly in the cornerbox of Marvel Age, Marvel's self-published news and hype comic in the 80's.
But as it turns out Irving Forbush pre-dates what we commonly think of as the Marvel Universe itself. He first appears as the mascot/publisher of one of Marvel's (at the time Atlas) MAD imitations. Created by Stan "The Man" Lee, Irving makes cameo appearances in all three issues of Snafu.
For some excruciating detail on Forbush-Man's career check out this mighty entry at The Appendix to the Handbook to the Marvel Universe.
One oddity I've discovered is The Forbush Gazette, two issues of a fanzine begun in 1967 before the advent of Not Brand Echh by Bill Schelly. He handed this publication off to Marshal Lanz. For more on these two early fan products check out this friendly neighborhood link.
Forbush-Man was a great creation, one of the last new characters of the classic Marvel era and arguably the last enduring character first drawn by Jack Kirby from that legendary time in Marvel's history.