Not Brand Echh #12 (Story 5)

Background

It’s only two pages but it gets its own review. This shouldn’t take much time.

Story 'Hey Kids! Free!'

  Not Brand Echh #12 (Story 5)
Summary: Spider-Man Parody (Spidey-Man) Cameo
Plot/Writer: Marie Severin
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Marie Severin

In the intro, Marie writes, “It just occurred to Stan, Marie, and Roy that what you might want most is to live life like a superhero! So, just for the heck of it, let’s see what kind of nutty gimmicks we’d like to sell ya, but can’t! Such a page might look somethin’ like this.”

There are then three ads for imaginary products. The first is “Wrap your Whole Room in Comic Panels.” It begins with “Big! 108 by 240 inches…to Hang on your Floor!” Need I say that equals 9 feet by 20 feet, probably not big enough to cover your floor? (The “Hang on your Floor” blurb is on a blue shield held up by Spidey-Man, his first of two appearances on these pages.)

The floor panel is of a city block from a web-slinging angle. But there’s more! The walls are “A western scene for staring at when ceiling mural gets to you!” a “Grand expansive sidewall of comic-book machinery!” a “Explosion and sound-effect mural - -real mind-blasting,” and “Battleground Scene: 4 battalions of defeated Nazis (please write choice -- we also have defeated trolls and a firing squad!)” The “ceiling mural” is “a full panorama of the skies a la King Kirby!” There is a helpful note: “Before applying to walls - - mark door outline to avoid exiting thru window!” and the whole thing is “only $5326.43” which, fortunately “includes postage.”

The second ad is for “Inflatable Plastic Muscles!” It shows a “Before” and “After” of a Bruce Banner-type turning from “a skinny, funny-looking weakling into a really funny-looking skinny weakling” only now with huge biceps. But you’d better hurry “only 3 sets available.” Still, there is this guarantee, “Money back if returned within 10 minutes!” It only cost “$1.00 plus $4,000 for gas tank to inflate muscles.”

Our last ad is “Live Your Own Comic Book!” Yes, it’s “a huge selection of dramatic dialogue balloons, captivatin’ captions, thoughtless thought balloons, sonorous sound effects…printed life size so that you run around or loiter just like a super-hero!” The illustration shows Spidey, Aunt May, the Hulk, the Thing, Thor, Captain Marvel, Cyclops, the Sub-Mariner, and Forbush-Man holding up various word balloons or caption boxes. Of course, most of them are mixed up so Spidey holds, “Golly!” and Aunt May holds, “It’s Clobbering Time!” Hulk has “Yea, verily, surrender, thou base varlet, ere it behooves me to thoroughly thrash thee!” while Thor has “Why everybody hate Bulk? Bulk stomp!” And, of course, Captain Marvel has lightning and the word “Shazam!” by him because, he’s, well, Captain Marvel.

To order, you send to “Not Brand Echh, Dept. Ersatz, Upper Floor, Lower Slobbovia.”

(Everyone remember Lower Slobbovia from the Lil Abner comic strip?) And all you need to include is your “entire life savings!”

General Comments

Here’s Roy Thomas’ full comment on this feature from Alter Ego #95, July 2010. “Marie really turned herself loose on these takeoffs on ads – for posters, wall-hangings, ‘inflatable plastic muscles’ (‘$1.00, plus $4000 for gas tank to inflate muscles’), and ‘Live Your Own Comic Book!’ – ‘a huge selection of dramatic dialogue balloons, captivatin’ captions, thoughtless thought balloons, sonorous sound effects – printed life size, so that you run around or loiter just like a super-hero!’ I’m not quite sure what I contributed to earn that reference in the introductory caption to ‘Stan, Marie, and Roy’ – a bit of rewriting, at most.”

But, you know, it has to be mentioned that the things that “Marie really turned herself loose on” back in 1969, don’t seem all that unusual today. We already had the inflatable muscles. Anyone remember the Hulk-Up ads?

Here’s one, as well as a picture of a kid wearing the muscles.

Are the giant word balloons so outrageous? There are, after all, things like this:

And, as for wrapping your whole room in comic panels, Fathead already sells things like this:

It’s not $5326.43 but it’s not cheap either. So…

Overall Rating

I’m giving Marie five webs for humor and clairvoyance.

Footnote

We’re halfway through! Three more stories are next. Not Brand Echh #12 (Story 6).