Dear Marble Gang,
Love that Not Brand Echh has gone King-Size! It clearly let the mavens at Marvel unleash a wider array of spoofs and lampoons our way. The cover by Marie Severin is a dynamite piece giving us a glimpse at the array of things included in this issue.
My favorite piece in this issue was "Where Stomps the Scent-ry!" starring "Captain Marvin" by "Rascally" Roy Thomas and 'Genial" Gene Colan and inker "Fearless" Frank Giacoia. The reason is simple, I am a big Captain Marvel fan and seeing this parody of the first few issues by the same team that produced them was utterly fantastic. There's plenty of goofiness in the premise of the "Kreep" Captain that Roy and Gene had little problem finding stuff to mock.
Next was "Mean Hornet!" by Roy and "Terrific" Tom Sutton. While the TV show may well be gone, it is far from forgotten as this little blast of ballyhoo shows quite clearly. The gimmick of having our duo stumble across the dial trying to find a new home on television was a clever way showcase a multitude of caricatures.
To my surprise "Casey at the Bat!" by Roy and Tom comes in third. This was a hilarious spin on the classic poem and seeing the "Bulk" as Casey was ideal casting. But my favorite moments are seeing first Cooney (Bucky) and Burrows (Professor X) dying on base. Fantastic parody of a classic.
"Bet There's Be Battle!" by Roy and "Mirthful" Marie Severin was exceedingly well crafted and hew closely to the comic book it spoofed but I thought as good as it was it was too long for the joke. Howdy Doody as the "Puppet Mister" was a stroke of genius by the way. And the Sunk-Mariner as Mr. Spook gag is starting to wear thin, it seems like to pops up every issue. One thing this story did capture was the pointlessness of some of the skirmishes the Marvel heroes engage in some of the time.
"Mirthful" Marie hit a homerun with her Super-Hero Greeting Cards" but the gag was thin though funny.
"Arch and the Teen-Stalk!" by Roy and newcome "Jaunty" Jim Mooney was a delightful idea but the execution didn't live up to the inspiration. Seeing the Frankenstein Creature atop the beanstalk was a surprise but not enough to rescue this stumbling parody. The art was dandy though.
And surprisingly "Boney and Claude" by "Groovy" Gary Friedrich and artist "Jocular" John Verpoorten comes last for me this issue. While I haven't seen the movie, I did a general sense of it from this winding yarn. But alas I laughed very little as the hapless "Borrow Gang" pillaged and robbed their way across the pages. Did like the appearance of Plastic Man by the way and I've noticed he keeps popping up in the strangest places.
All in all a fine outing and a book worthy of his expanded status and worth my hard-won quarter. Looking forward to the next issue.
Notes and Comments: Roy Thomas says this is the closest to all-Roy issue of NBE that we'd get and it wasn't of his choosing. Stan Lee had pulled back on contributions and only Gary Friedrich was available to alternate. So to stretch out things and lighten the load he tossed in the poem "Casey at the Bat" by Thayer. It proved quite successful in my eyes. Jim Mooney showing up on the Archie spoof was surprise for sure and a happy one. The Green Hornet's appearance is much welcomed as it reminds me of a show I still like and wish I could own. (Why is there no home collection of this series?) I've little doubt that Marie Severin cooked up those greeting cards on her own as they look like the gags she produced for the in-house entertainment of her colleagues in the Bullpen. I was surprised at the weakness of the Bonny and Clyde parody, which for me never really got going beyond a repeated joke about the banjo music. I have a soft spot in my heart (and possibly in my head) for Marvel's Space-Born Super-Hero Captain Marvel so of course I love the parody here by the very folks who made the original. Spot on stuff and the nifty references to another Captain Marvel were neat as well.
Here are some of the comics which inspired some of the stories in this issue.