Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Images copyright respective copyright owners

In our previous post, celebrated guest-contributor BARRY PEARL
was reminiscing about how he first got interested in comicbooks - particu-
larly those of the MARVEL variety.  Having related the details of what led
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 recalled it had first ap-
peared in the Special Announcements section of a Daredevil let-
ters column.  I scanned it (above) 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.  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 in-
ferior '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 num-
ber, 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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