Comics : Not Brand Echh #6

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Lost Classics

This review was first published on: 2002.

Background...

Who says a comic book has to be good? With "Not Brand Echh", Marvel once again led the way with their ground-breaking self-parody comic. The book ran for thirteen issues, and featured such varied characters as The Beatles, The Monkees, and Alfred E. Neuman. Marvel recycled the concept twenty years later with "What The#@?!", but at the time, this was uncharted territory.

Issue #6 is a special "Big, Batty Love and Hisses Issue!" It contains three wacky stories of Love, Marvel Style. "The Human Scorch Has To - Meet The Family!", "Best Side Story!", and "With This Ring I Thee Web!".

That's a story title we will see later, on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #131, but that's a tale for another day. For now, Stan Lee edits, Gary Friedrich writes, and Marie Severin artistifies a story like few others.

In Detail...

"The Human Scorch Has To... Meet the Family"
Not Brand Echh #6 (Story 1)
Feb 1968 : SM Parody
Summary: Love and Hisses Issue, Spider-Man Parody (Spidey-Man) on Cover
Editor:  Stan Lee
Writer:  Stan Lee
Pencils:  Tom Sutton
Inker:  Tom Sutton
Layout:  Jack Kirby
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 Reprinted In: Crazy #2
 Reprinted In: Marvel Treasury Edition #14
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: The Wedding (TPB)

Peter Pooper is in love. As his Auntie May wishes him "Goodnight, be sure to keep your hot water bottle on your little tum-tum, and don't let your tootsies stick out from under the covers!", little does she know that he is in love. If only Peter can keep her from finding out about his girlfriend until after they're married. After all, she's already had 57 heart attacks this week!

So night sets, and Spidey swings out the window for his hot date - Auntie May sneaks out to go bop and stomp all night at the Granny A-Go-Go. Spidey is quite keen on this love thing, as he mooches his way through the evening - battling baddies, collecting flowers, and practicing his heart-shaped webbing. As of tomorrow, he's resigning from Sgt. Peppter's Lonely Hearts' Club Band!

But who is Peter's beloved - and how is their romance progressing? As he calls her on the phone, she tells him she can't see him tonight! "But we're supposed to be getting hitched tomorrow!" he pleads. "Oh - that's tomorrow, but tonight you've got a date? Well, at least I won't have to worry about you getting bored!" Poor Petey.

The next morning, over his Sugar Crunchies, Peter is still love-struck. Auntie May can tell from that star-struck look that Peter is in love. "AAARGGGHHHH, my poor old heart!" she screams, and collapses on the floor. But Petey's off to school, where he mixes his beloved a brutal perfume cocktail in chemistry class. Sadly, Peter's not watching carefully, and his perfume is a bit heavy on the skunk oil. But more of that later, perhaps?

As Peter arrives home, there's a letter for him. It's from her! She's sorry about last night, and she still loves him like she did they day they first met... at the JJJ Fan Club rally! Gleep! He's got to tell Aunt May... "Auntie May! I'm Getting Married!" Oops. "AAAGGGH! Call the heart foundation!"

"Oh No!" moans Peter, as Auntie May collapses in his arms. "How could I be so thoughtless? What if she should perish?" He berates himself. But... "I'm not gonna Kick Off, Stupid - this is a comic book!" blurts Auntie May, "Shaddup! And get my prescription filled!". Hmm, little does Auntie May know that a mere four hundred issues later, she finally does bite the big one. Oh, but of course that's only temporary. Hmm... I guess she's right after all, nobody kicks off in comic books.

So, Petey heads off to get some money for Auntie May's medicine. He trys the Daily Bugle, with some beautiful pictures of some birds. Since he's in love, he's gonna take pictures of romantic stuff. JJJ isn't impressed. But exit Peter, enter Spidey, with some news for Jonah. Spidey's getting married, and he wants Jonah to be there... as Worst Man! Heh. Well, so much for selling pictures. Spidey steals some pop bottles and returns them for the deposit. He still can't afford Auntie May's medicine, but he takes her some medicated jelly beans!

"That's all right dear! Just because I've given my life for you doesn't mean you have to get the best for me!" Auntie may isn't impressed either.

Well, what about Peter's Pals? Petey heads down to the Caffein Bean to tell everybody that Spidey is getting married. Everybody'll be there! Even Artie Simek! Petey's Pals aren't impressed. Heck, who is going to be there? Well, Spidey asks the Green Globule, and The Gizzard. Hey, they're keen. Except, Globby isn't quite sure where he's gonna find a green tux.

So, the day of the wedding arrives! All Spidey's biggest foes are there to wish him well. But where is the blushin' bride? In the palm of Spidey's hand, of course... 'cos Spidey is marrying... The Wisp! That two-inch beauty from the Avengers, wearing a half-inch costume. Yum!

Only a few panels left, no room for the wedding. So let's skip to the home-coming. Here's Petey coming down the stairs, to show his new life-long mate to his Auntie May. But first, Auntie May needs to do something. Hold very still... she's got a fly-swat. SWAT! Perfect shot.

"Nasty old flies carry germs, you know! Now, what was the big news you had for me?" - asks our murderous May.

"Forget it, Auntie - and bring me an alka-seltzer", as our hero sadly traipses upstairs.

In General...

Heh. Snicker. Snort. This is very silly stuff. But it's classic silly stuff, and it has lasted well through the generations. This is a lovely piece to have in my collection. "Not Brand Echh" is a bit pricey to find these days, but hey, this is a silver-age masterpiece we're talking about here.

Gary Friedrich didn't do much else on Spider-Man, but Marie Severin is a name that pops up again through the next few decades. She seems to work as an end-to-end artist, inking her own pencils. You see her in books, magazines, annuals, and such like. All good. Stan Lee edits, and back then, he really knew his stuff.

Overall Rating...

Who says comics have to be good to be good? This is worth four webs, a "must have" for any dedicated Spidey collector.