It took a while, but I finally have come to my most disliked Marvel title of all time – Not Brand Echh.
Issue #1 of Not Brand Echh has already been covered in Walt’s Undervalued Spotlight #85 way back on May 13, 2011 (Thank you again Scott for that Index). There is a lot of good background information on the series there that I don’t need to repeat. Walt likes this book and the whole series a lot more than I ever will.
I am an unabashed Marvel zombie and I am proud to be one. Unfortunately, being an actual brain dead zombie would probably help make reading this series of books more enjoyable. I know they are supposed to be funny, I just find them dreadful. The artwork and content of the books certainly looks like they were trying to capture a MAD magazine type audience out of their comic collecting following. Having knowledge of comic characters outside of the Marvel universe helped in the reading with Magnus the Robot Fighter, Superman, Batman, Robin and their “funny” altered egos make appearances in this series.
Stan Lee gets most of credit when things go right at Marvel. He can shoulder the blame when something like this doesn’t work. Stan says he likes to write humour, however there is a big difference between writing timely sarcasm and one-line zingers in a comic book, then writing a complete book on humour and getting it right. It’s hard work trying to keep everyone laughing.
I did find it interesting that this book was basically given up for a change after issue #8 when it went to reprints before cancellation. Eight issues seem to be a decision point for Marvel books in the late sixties and early seventies. Title changes, direction changes, new series, and cancellations often occur right after the eighth issue. Not Brand Echh, Tower of Shadows, Chamber of Darkness, Power of Warlock, Astonishing Tales, Amazing Adventures, the western Ghost Rider is cancelled with issue #8 about to be printed. How the heck did I get on this subject!
The values of all of the Not Brand Echh have been stagnating for a long time and are way overvalued in Overstreet price guide versus the current market. Most of the books listed can barely get 50% of guide in 9.2 condition. Higher grades in 9.4 and 9.6 work hard to get the 9.2 Overstreet price. Lower grade books fair a little better. I can’t see anything on the horizon to change this going forward.
Issues #1 thru #8 are all $0.12 issues with original content. Issues #9 thru #13 are all giant size and mostly re-prints of the first eight issues, however some do contain an original story. The 46th Overstreet price guide values for Not Brand Echh are listed below.
|Not Brand Echh||8.0||9.0||9.2|
This series of books is just another example of the Overstreet Price guide not correcting prices of books that have languished for a long period of time. It’s disappointing and irresponsible to say the least.
Wow! I couldn’t disagree more! It was indeed an attempt at “Spoof” humor, and it lasted a FULL 13 issues (Issues #9-13 were “King size” with some of the greatest Marie Severin covers of the late Silver-Age. Finding issues #9,10,11,12,13 in high grade are tough indeed with those square bound covers! Even going into reprint statis (Which many books during that time did (X-Men, S.H.I.E.L.D.,etc) They are still hard to find in high grade) Jack Kirby did the only “Normal” cover with issue #1 . The Human Torch actually married Crystal of the inhumans and how many books can say they have the first Marvel DC cross-over? At 55 years old, they don’t make me laugh anymore, but at 9, they seemed incredibly funny!
On an Overstreet to LCS reality pricing basis, no question, Mike. You and Walt can argue the merits or lack thereof all day, and I can see elements of both arguments though I probably lean slightly your way, Forbush Man notwithstanding. When you say: “…however there is a big difference between writing timely sarcasm and one-line zingers in a comic book, then writing a complete book on humour and getting it right. It’s hard work trying to keep everyone laughing.” .. you make a great case for Mad #1 being the most important non-superhero comic ever published!
I’m totally with you on this one Mike. Stan Lee was no Harvey Kurtzman. This is some of the most ridiculous dreck to ever issue from the pen of Stan the Man. Of course, since Stan was, after all, his own editor, he didn’t have anybody to call him on his worst mistakes. Stan is about as funny as a crutch.
I had a hard time as a kid finding these books when originally on the stands down here in rural Ontario and was overjoyed to put together a VF complete run .I thoroughly enjoy this title as a showcase of the amazing versatility the major Silver Age Marvel artists had in their ability to create a “humorous” take on the Marvel and DC and Charlton universe.I even sought out a few of the characters that I wasn’t really familiar wiith like Magnut Robot Biter.Was it hilariously funny? No , but it was for me entertaining.Jack Kirby and Gene Colan did some really fun things artistically that showed their talents in a way that as a young artist blew me away ! Overpriced in high grade?Sure but they can be picked up without breaking the back in a thoroughly enjoyable grade.And I would be remiss if I did not gush for a moment on Marie Severin here.This is some of her most enjoyable work and as a rule was genuinely funny.
Along with books like “Plop!” and “What the”, from my personal local experience, these humour based books don’t appear to be collected much. The older books tend to have some nostalgic value, but for me, it’s not enough to pay Overstreet prices.
Good point about Marie Severin, one of the great unsung heroes of comics and one of only a handful of female creators in the early history of the medium. Her work on Doctor Strange was exemplary, even though, in most people’s eyes, she was, at best, a C-list artist. I have always felt she was grossly underappreciated largely because of her brother’s contribution to comics. Sadly, even in the revised and updated edition of Maurice Horn’s World Encyclopedia of Comics she is given no more than passing mention in John’s entry.
Gee, I went out this morning to conduct a little business because I thought this post would illicit much of a response -wrong!
First of your are correct about the content of issues 9-13 there is mostly original – my bad. There was a lot of issue #1 reprinted in issue #10. They must of just seemed like reprints to me ^-^!
I agree with everyone about Marie Severin’s art on the covers. The cover I like best was issue #13 and I had a chance to buy a very high grade copy of it once for $75 but passed. Even the Borin Radd Surfer story wasn’t half bad in that one. The change they made after issue #8 in this series was format – going to giant size books. I am not certain what they were trying to accomplish there.
These books didn’t make me laugh at any age but I was always a bit of a Captain Serious growing up. Thanks for the comment AFTA.
Hey Gene – I treated Mad magazine, Archie comics and Ripley’s Believe It or Not as strictly some to read and throw out type entertainment. Somehow only super-hero comics were books you collected. Not only was I serious I wasn’t the brightest kid growing up either! Mad Magazine #1 8.0$7300/ 9.0$5318/ 9.2 $7300 Yikes!. The Mad magazines that came out in the same time period as Not Brand Echh average out at $35-50 in 9.2. Nuff said!,
Thanks Mel, I know Stan was in the business of selling comic books. Like any business man he probably looked at a successful genre of books and thought “hey I can do that” and dove in. I think he found out that just because it looked easy to do it was harder than it looked, and it takes time and resources to cultivate a large audience, Mad had already been around for 15 years and were running like a well oiled machine with the bugs all worked out..
Hi Dennis – I think that as an artist the boys & girls doing the artwork here had a ball. Ditto for getting the chance with the horror books a short time later. It had to be a treat to try something a little different artistically with these characters.
I agree these books do sell well in lower grades for say $15-20 you can pick-up most of these books in true VF, which I why I said the lower grades do fair a little better. The last couple of 9.2 #1’s I tracked went for $65-68 which is about half of the current guide price.
Thanks Charlie for chiming in. It is always good to hear your opinion from the “floor” of the convention room. I do think these books have fans like AFTA and Dennis here today. I have watched these books sell at stores, auction houses, and shows and they are going for no where near current Overstreet pricing levels.
That is a shame Mel.Marie was the go to gal to get corrections done before John Romita took on the mantel and even afterwords really.I was not the biggest fan but really did appreciate her especially her cover layouts.When she worked with John it was magic and if there weren’t such heavy handed colouring on the Wierdworld project with Big John it would have been great.You see a few pages here and there in the original art market before the color was applied and it had a subtle beauty to it that really got lost with the garish colour.
By the way, I’m not the least bit surprised that you get so much response to your posts, since I sincerely believe they are among the most interactive and entertaining on the site. It’s always a joy to jump into the dialogue with fellow travelers such as yourself.
Hi guys and Mike. I am not a big Stan Lee Fan, but I thought he did a great job on Millie the model…and I enjoyed Not Brand Echh a lot as a kid, Perhaps the first time I was introduced to parody humor. Not dis-similar to SNL and Second city.
I still laugh at the name Charlie America and the Jack Kirby art was outstanding yet very different in style to his usual manner. What a treat and it shows that Jack could change and loosen up his artistic style when the task Necessitated. And yes, Severin is pretty amazing too. If the value is in the enjoyment and not the grossly inaccurate CBPG I’d color this one a great value in entertainment and something unique in the Marvel index.
And yes the DC/Marvel cross overs surprised me as a kid. Wonderful stuff Mike. Thank you
Oh and I love the Kirby cover #1…and the Origin cover of # 3 is very attractive and the X-men cover of # 4 and # 8 are lovely to look at in high grade.
Mike,,,Jack Kirby in 1969 decided to leave Marvel. He gave Marvel six months notice or something similar. Many in the Marvel offices thought this was the end of Marvel. I think this affected titles and runs.
To survive Stan reprinted all of Jacks early stories. There were almost as many reprint series as there were new.
This introduced Marvels beginnings to a new generation but also affected new series and existing ones.
I’m suggesting Not Brand Echh was very successful and reprinted in look out world Marvel goes Mad CRAZY for 3 issues in the year 1973. In 1974 Marvel publishes Crazy Magazine that would last for decades and include appearances of Marvel characters.
What do you think ?
Thank you for all the comments and insight. I am certainly not winning the popularity side of this post with the rank and file here at comicbookdaily! I personally still didn’t like the content much so it was easy picking for me to point out how overvalued the books were monetarily in Overstreet. Clearly the books themselves struck a different chord with other readers of the time.
Dave your switch to Crazy comics and magazines (which I never read) took me back to the probable origins of Not Brand Echh. Crazy comics were first published by Atlas in 1953-54 (seven issues) was a parody/spoof comic book that focused on the Atlas books of the day. Horror, westerns, and romance books ruled back then and formed the content of those books. So Stan Lee had is eye on and hand in this genre long before Not Brand Echh. I learn something new every day and usually from the gang here at Comicbookdaily. Maybe these Crazy comics are undervalued…….
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