Wednesday, 21 November 2012


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
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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