Archive for the ‘comic book’ Category

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Comic Books: Kirby and Severin in Not Brand Echh

Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh

Animation Resources supporter, Kevin O’Neil was reading one of our comic book articles earlier this week, and it reminded him of some treasures in his own stash of comics. So he came down to the archive and lent us his collection to digitize. Thanks, Kevin!

Current superhero comics (now referred to self-importantly as "graphic novels") take themselves VERY seriously. It’s rare for a publisher to allow a parody of its own characters… and unheard of for the creator himself to get the opportunity to make fun of his own creation. But back in the silver age of comics, cartoonists didn’t take themselves quite so seriously. Here we have the unthinkable… Jack Kirby and Stan Lee doing a parody of their own Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer comics for Marvel’s Not Brand Echh!

Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh

Not Brand Echh was a short-lived humor comic line from Marvel that parodied superhero comics. The title was derived from the term of derision used in the letters section of Marvel comics to describe competing comic book companies… "Brand Echh" was a riff on TV commercials that compared products to their competitor, "Brand X". The series ran for 13 issues from August of 1967 to May of 1969, and featured art by Bill Everett (see our recent post on Bob’s Big Boy), Roy Thomas and John and Marie Severin.

Here we have a story from the premiere issue of Not Brand Echh titled, "The Silver Burper". The plot was loosely based on the story of Fantastic Four #57 through #60… It was written by Stan Lee and drawn by the great Jack Kirby. (Inking by Frank Giacoia and lettering by Artie Simek.)

Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh

Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh

Here’s a parody that mingles the superhero universes of both Marvel and DC. Other stories in this issue lampoon Gold Key’s Magnus, Robot Fighter and Tower’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.

Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh

Marie Severin is one of the underrated geniuses behind Marvel comics. She started as a colorist for EC Comics in the 1950s, where she established a reputation for creating sophisticated color schemes that raised the level of quality above the arbitrary primary and secondary colors that filled other comics at the time. She transitioned to working as an artist on the Doctor Strange and Sub-Mariner lines, but really made her mark doing parodies in Not Brand Echh and Crazy.

Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh

One of those unanswerable questions that never seems to go away (at least at gatherings of comic book nerds) is "Who would win in a battle between Batman and Superman?" Fanboys have expended many hours debating the fine points of this and other match-ups with no clear answer. But now we finally get to see the decisive outcome of a battle royale between the "Caped Crusader" and the "Web Slinger"!

Here we have a story from the second issue of Not Brand Echh titled, "Peter Pooper vs Gnatman And Rotten". It was written by Stan Lee and drawn by the Marie Severin. (Inking by Frank Giacoia and lettering by Al Kurzrok.)

Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh
Marie Severin Marvel Not Brand Echh

Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh

Here is another great team-up of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, "The Origin of Forbush Man".

Stan Lee Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh

Buy Me At AmazonMark Evanier has a new book out titled, Kirby: KIng of Comics. I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it yet, but I’m sure it’s great. Click through the link to find out about it at Amazon. If anyone out there would like to contribute a copy to the Animation Resources library, we would greatly appreciate it!

Stan Lee Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh

Here we have a story from the fifth issue of Not Brand Echh titled, "The Origin of Forbush Man". It was written by Stan Lee, laid out by Jack Kirby, drawn by Tom Sutton, with lettering by Artie Simek.

Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh
Jack Kirby Marvel Not Brand Echh

Animation Resources is looking for collectors of gold and silver age comic books, 50s and 60s Mad magazines, 50s Playboys, National Lampoon, etc. who would be willing to lend us their books to digitize. If you’d like to help out, contact me at… sworth@animationresources.org.

Check out the new book collecting Not Brand Ecch!

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Comic BooksComic Books

This posting is part of the online Encyclopedia of Cartooning under the subject heading, Comic Books.

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Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Theory: Big Boy and the Power of Licensing- A Cautionary Tale

Bobs Big Boy

In 1936, entrepeneur Bob Wian opened a small lunch stand. He had a brilliant, yet slightly devious idea for a hamburger. If he took a standard hamburger bun and sliced it down the middle twice, instead of once… and if he took a standard hamburger patty and divided it into two small patties… he could create a double-decker hamburger that appeared to be larger than the average without costing him any more to make. He named it the "Big Boy".

Bobs Big Boy

Wian hired pretty high school girls as car-hops and dressed them in short skirts and cowboy hats. But something was still missing…

Bobs Big Boy

One day, animator Benny Washam was lunching at Wian’s stand, doodling on placemats. Wian saw that he was a cartoonist and asked him to draw a caricature of Richard Woodruff, a chubby, apple cheeked boy who helped out at the stand sweeping up after school. Washam obliged, depicting the lad in oversized checkered overalls munching on a burger.

Bobs Big Boy

Ben Washam’s Original Design

Wian loved the doodle and gave Washam his lunch for free. Bennie gave the sketch to Wian to use as a mascot for the stand.

Bobs Big Boy

Bennie didn’t think any more of it for many years…

Bobs Big Boy
Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy

Wian turned the caricature into an empire, branding not only his hamburger stand, but a line of sauces and spices and a franchised chain of family restaurants that eventually covered the entire country. A cutened version of Washam’s doodle was plastered all over the menus, signage and television advertising.

Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy

Wian knew who in the family made the decisions about where to eat… It wasn’t mom and dad, it was the kids. Outside each restaurant in the chain, he placed a huge fiberglass statue of Big Boy as a beacon to attract children…

Bobs Big Boy

And cartoonists, like assistant archivists, Alex Vassilev and JoJo Baptista!

At the restaurants, Wian gave away free comic books featuring the character. Here is an extremely rare example… Big Boy comics number one from 1956. These comics were produced by Timely Comics, which later became Marvel. They were written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett. Later issues featured the work of Archie comics artist, Dan DeCarlo. Adventures of the Big Boy is one of the longest continuously running comic book lines. It’s still being produced fifty years later.

Bobs Big Boy

Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy Comic BookBobs Big Boy Comic Book
Bobs Big Boy

Years later, when Big Boy had become a familiar figure to the entire country, Washam admitted to his fellow artists at Warner Bros that he was the cartoonist who had created the character. They laughed and teased him, saying, "Benny, you should have been heir to a hamburger fortune, but no! Your lot in life is to toil day and night making animated cartoons!" They were joking, but there’s an element of truth in it. Never underestimate the power of a doodle. The Big Boy sketch that Washam traded away for a free meal in 1936 ended up selling millions and millions of dollars worth of hamburgers.

If you would like to see more Big Boy comics, let me know in the comments.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

TheoryTheory

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.

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Friday, October 27th, 2017

Inbetweens: Wally Wood, the Michelangelo of Science Fiction Comics

Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy

In 1950, Wally Wood convinced EC publisher William Gaines to create science fiction comic books. In Weird Science and Weird Fantasy (later combined into Weird Science Fantasy) Wood knocked the ball out of the park by pencilling and inking spectacular images that defined the way science fiction looked during the fifties.

During the 1970s, Wood’s health began to decline. He suffered from chronic headaches, alcoholism, kidney failure and strokes. The health problems led him to commit suicide in 1981. He left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.

Here is a sampling of Wood’s work from around the net…

Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy

Wally had a tension in him, an intensity that he locked away in an internal steam boiler. I think it ate away his insides, and the work really used him up. I think he delivered some of the finest work that was ever drawn, and I think it’s to his credit that he put so much intensity into his work at great sacrifice to himself. –Harvey Kurtzman

Wally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy
Wally Wood Weird Science FantasyWally Wood Weird Science Fantasy

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

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