Monday, 30 September 2013
Well, we're at the end of our short trip as far as looking
back at the covers to the 26 issue run of WHAT THE - - ?! goes.
Hopefully you've enjoyed the journey, along with our occasional
detours into NOT BRAND ECHH territory - I know I have.
Y'know, one of the most tedious comics I've ever read
is FANTASTIC FOUR ROAST, published back in the early '80s.
I usually enjoy FRED HEMBECK, but it just went on forever and
it seemed that it would never stop. However, I suspect that not every
What The - - ?! story was an unparallelled example of joyous jollity
and could probably rival the unceasing turgidity of FFR.
One day I'll sit down and re-read them and find out for sure.
(I re-read Roast last year, and almost lost the will to live less than
halfway in. As I was reading it in the loo at the time, my legs
had lost all sensation by the time I got through it.)
Anyone got any favourite stories from any of the featured
issues that they'd care to recommend? If so, feel free to share
your picks in the comments section.
|Copyright MARVEL COMICS|
I don't think I've ever actually read all my NOT BRAND ECHHs, so one day I must sit down and do just that. Another thing I need to do before I fall off the twig is acquire the missing four issues to complete my collection. Funnily enough, I used to have at least two, perhaps three, of them, but they were a bit battered so I threw them away. (Not something I'd do these days, I hasten to add.)
Anyway, that's yer lot as far as NBEs go, but there are still a few WHAT THE - - ?! covers coming your way in a future post, so remember to stay tuned.
As a bonus, below is a copy of the first issue - with a U.K.
price of 10d on the cover. And thus we come full circle.
I no longer recall exactly why I gave up buying WHAT THE - -?!
- "The Marvel Mag of Mirth and Mahem!" All I know is that I've
got the first 21 issues out of a 26 ish run. One day I'll track down the
final five numbers and complete the set, but that time is not yet - there
are other classics from yesteryear that I wish to re-acquire first. I doubt
I've even read most of the issues I do have past the first few - another
task to fulfill when I can work up the enthusiasm for it. So much
to do, so little time.
Thankfully, however, we've all got enough time to appreciate
the covers spread before us, so let's not waste another moment -
go to it, tiger! (As Stan would say.)
Sunday, 29 September 2013
|Images copyright MARVEL COMICS|
Seeing as how a number of you seem to have enjoyed the recent
WHAT THE - - ?! cover gallery, I thought you might like to see its
forerunner, NOT BRAND ECHH. So, herewith presented are the
first five covers - the few remaining issues in my collection will be
featured in a follow-up post whenever I remember.
|This cover was later used on MARVEL MADHOUSE #1, a|
U.K. monthly magazine published in 1981
And below is the cover to CRAZY #1 from 1972/'73 (acquired
by me while on holiday in Blackpool in 1973), which featured the
contents of NBE #8, with the order rearranged somewhat.
Back in the '60s, MARVEL published a comic called NOT
BRAND ECHH, which lasted for 13 issues. In the '70s, CRAZY
was the order of the day (3 issues featuring reprints from NBE in
the colour version of the monthly mag). If they had a humour mag
going in the '80s, I wasn't paying attention, but I was wide awake in
the early '90s when they released WHAT THE - -?! - the then-
modern version of what Not Brand Echh had been three
decades before. (It lasted for 26 issues.)
I only ever bought 21 issues, so here's the first of a three-part
series, showcasing the zany covers of Mighty Marvel's Madcap
Magazine for Mental Mutants!
Saturday, 28 September 2013
|Images copyright DC COMICS|
Here's a cracking book I got a good while back, but neglected to inform you of. It's part of the DC COMICS CLASSICS LIBRARY, and features the first three BATMAN ANNUALS. Although I'm a big fan of the MARVEL MASTERWORKS books and large-size OMNIBUS volumes, I must confess that I prefer the paper which DC uses in its reprint books. Marvel uses a glossy paper which reflects the light, whereas DC employs a matte paper which captures the mood of the traditional comic page. I wish Marvel would follow suit.
Although DC published a replica edition of the first Batman Annual a few years ago, it's handy to have it and the subsequent two editions in the same volume. Doubtless it would set collectors back a few quid to acquire original issues, so this handsome hardback edition with a dynamic dustjacket is just the ticket for all those of you who haven't yet won the lottery.
Featuring such tales as - oh stuff it - there are far too many to mention. You'll just have to get your own copy to discover just what Dark Knight delights it contains. The perfect Christmas present to give yourself before December 25th.
|Images copyright DC COMICS|
Ah, Rothesay, 1970. How it all comes back to me. The sound of the gulls, the smell of the sea - and Giant BATMAN (G61) #213. Emerging from the little side-street newsagent's clutching my prize, I was soon immersed in its pages as we (my parents and brother) strolled through the picturesque alleys of the Scottish seaside resort. (As I type this, I'm besieged by a nagging doubt as to whether my bruv obtained his copy of The FLASH #190 from the same source on the same day, or from another newsagent's on the early evening of a different day. On reflection, I think it was the latter.)
If memory serves (it gets lazier the older I get), it was on this holiday that I also bought a cheap action figure with bendy rubber arms. I had the boots from a PEDIGREE CAPTAIN SCARLET action figure with me (having swapped an ACTION MAN for it with a pal some time before), and when I placed them on the cheapo figure (I steadfastly refuse to use the word 'doll'), so tight were they that when I pulled them off, the feet came off with them. A couple of nuts and bolts from a small hardware store soon sorted that out, but so annoyed was I with those confounded boots that I threw them from the edge of the pier into the sea. Sacrilege! The boots alone would probably fetch a tidy sum on ebay nowadays.
(Before we proceed, I should perhaps allay your horror at the above act by saying I now have two Pedigree CA figures, complete with boots, so I feel that - given what they cost me - I've now repaid my debt to society for my heinous crime.)
Anyway, returning to Batman, this big 30th Anniversary Special printed a new version of "The ORIGIN Of ROBIN!", plus "HERE COMES ALFRED!", "The MAN BEHIND The RED HOOD!", "The CHALLENGE Of CLAYFACE!", as well as a Robin solo story, "The GAME Of DEATH!" Essentially, most of them were origin tales, although I recall reading in a later issue's letters page that the Alfred story had been traced from the original published comic as proofs were unavailable at the time. Quite a few early Batman tales were re-created in this way, including his debut appearance from DETECTIVE COMICS #27, which was even used for the very first ARCHIVE EDITIONS volume of ol' Bats. I seem to remember that the Red Hood story also received this treatment, but I'm not 100% certain after all this time.
So, let's have a look back at some of the pages from this landmark issue, purchased in the holidays between my transition from Primary school to Secondary. To me, it will ever scream "Rothesay, 1970!", but to you, dear reader, it will doubtless have its own sweet memories and associations. Why not take this opportunity to relive them now - and then share them with your fellow 'Criv-ites' in the comments section?