Wednesday, 21 November 2012

PART TWO OF BARRY PEARL'S WORLD OF COMICS...

 
 
 
In our previous post, celebrated guest-contributor BARRY PEARL
was reminiscing about how he first got interested in comicbooks - particularly
those of the MARVEL variety. Having related the details of what led him to
write THE ESSENTIAL MARVEL AGE REFERENCE BOOK, he now
continues with the rest of his story. Over to you, Barry...

******

 
I also sent a copy of the draft to the great and inspiring Tony Isabella,
a total stranger, and asked him if I should continue and complete the book
He took a lot of time and told me to finish it and suggested that I get involved
with web-sites connected to comics. I did, and met a lot of interesting people
- and even got connected to Roy Thomas, now editor of the definitive
history of comics, Alter Ego.

Well, I have every Marvel Comic from 1961-1977 and had all this
other stuff, but I was a total unknown and people were slightly reticent
to trust me. I remember being with one researcher when he said he'd like
to ask Stan a few questions, but didn’t know how to reach him. I said, "Do
you want me to email him and ask him?" Startled, he said, "You have
Stan’s email address? Where have you been for 25 years?"

A few years ago, Stan asked Roy Thomas and me, "Where did the
phrase, 'Make Mine Marvel' appear? We have a letter in Sgt. Fury from
a fan who uses the phrase in 1966 - does he get credit for it?" Well, here
is that funny thing about memory. 50 years later, I remembered it had first
appeared in the Special Announcements section of a Daredevil letters
column. I scanned it (above left) and sent it to Stan and Roy.
 
 
A year or two ago, Roy mentioned that two Marvel writers were both
claiming that they had coined the term 'Marvel Universe' first. Who was
right? I said that it had first appeared in one of two places, let me check it.
The first place I looked, Strange Tales, didn't use that phrase, but used
the term 'Marveldom'. The second place I looked was Fantastic Four
#56, where the term 'Marvel Universe' was first used and defined by a
reader, Tim Fox. Right after I sent that out, Nick Caputo, friend and
researcher, called and said, "How could you remember that?"
 
 
Roy Thomas did a feature on Not Brand Ecch for Alter Ego (below).
I recalled the details of the term’s origin and Roy used them. At first, the
term 'Brand X' was used in Fantastic Four #26, when a fan (Al Backer)
compliments Stan. Stan writes back: "The first couple of sentences of your
letter sounded like a TV cigarette commercial, Al! I guess we are the BRAND
X of the mag business!" Later, in Spider-Man #31 Stan writes: "He must
be a Brand X character—we don’t remember using him!" The first use of
the term 'Echh' (with a double 'h') was in the letters column of Fantastic
Four #7, by Russ and Larry Bush, of Forest Hills, N.Y.

Referring to The Thing being able to change back and forth from
Ben Grimm, they write: "Some readers think it’s a good idea, but we
think it’s ECHH!" They continue with: "Your wisecracks are also ECHH!"
Fantastic Four #43, October 1965, has the first use. "We wanna make
sure no dyed-in-the- wool Marvel madman gets stuck with one of those
inferior 'Brand Echh' versions". In Spidey #34, Stan writes, "It’s Brand
Echh, son - not Brand Ecch!" Why would anyone remember that?

 
Recently, Mike Vassallo (historian of the Atlas era of Marvel), Nick
and I were out to dinner with the person who handles Marvel’s reprints.
I began quoting some information from the special announcements page of
the Spectacular Spider-Man, a book I read almost 40 years ago. Mike
asked, "How do you remember that?"  The joke is I don’t know my cell
phone number, Mike's work address or Nick’s home address, although
I have used them a hundred times.
 
There was just something about Fantasia and using pictures to visualize
ideas that has stuck with me. If it was anything else, I don’t remember.

******

And many thanks to Barry for taking the time to grace my blog with his
presence. You'll be wanting good stuff like this all the time now, I guess.
Tough! However, you can always check out Barry's blog - here! 

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