Not Brand Echh (1967-1969) is a 14-issue Marvel Comics series, notably a self parodying satire of Marvel's own superheroes, in addition to their many competitors.
In 1988, a four-issue mini series that continued the series satire, "What The—?!" was released, and was popular enough to run an additional 22 issues from 1989 to 1993.
In June 2015, a complete collection of Not Brand Ecch was released as part of the hardcover Marvel Masterworks series.
In November 2017, the 14th issue was released as part of Marvel Legacy.
This series contains examples of:
- The Adjectival Superhero: Marvel parodies their own use of the trope in this series, with names like The Inedible Bulk.
- Alternate Universe: The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes designated the Earth of Not Brand Echh and What The—?! as Earth-665.
- The Bus Came Back: Issue 13 was published in 1969. Issue 14 was published in 2017! That's a 48 year break!
- By the Power of Grayskull!: Parodied In "Super-hero Daydreams". Each one-page strip had an ordinary person finding themselves in a situation, dangerous or mundane, where super-powers would be handy such as being on the subway when the conductor fainted or in a queue at a cafeteria when a queue-jumper barges in and grabs the last serving of a particular dessert or needed, as in the case of the guy about to be beaten up by a gang. In each case, the daydreamer imagines saying "Sha-Marvey!" and being transformed into a super-hero and saving the day. Most such heroes are Marvel characters, though some are made-up Expys, e.g., "Wonderful Person".
- Captain Ersatz: In Issue #2, you get one guess as to who Gnatman and Rotten are a parody of.
- Curse Cut Short: The title of "What The—?!".
- Darker and Edgier: Parodied with the cover of the "Forbush Man Returns" issue of What The—?!, which is drawn in a dark realistic style that doesn't indicate the humorous contents inside.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In "The Origin of Brucie Banter", after going through a lot of lonely suffering, the Inedible Bulk gets a happy ending in which he's hired as an actor, and gets to be the Jolly Green Giant!
- The Golden Age of Comic Books: "The Human Scorch Versus the Sunk-Mariner!" Is a parody of one of Marvel Mystery Comics no. 9, with the ending pointing out how it's two heroes end up becoming dated and out of place next to superheroes of the 1960's, prompting them to retire.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: In "The Origin of Brucie Banter", The Bulk is completely clueless as to why everybody is afraid of him.
- Limited Wardrobe: In one issue, Dr. Bloom and Weed Wichards are arguing with each other, with Bloom bragging he has over a hundred suits of armor, while Weed owns over a hundred pairs of stretch socks.
- Mascot: The series mascot is the peculiar character Forbush Man.
- Militaries Are Useless: In "The Origin of Brucie Banter", the military briefly tries to take down the Bulk with a tank and two jets, but to no avail. Before they attack, a bystander notes the obvious outcome with irony.
- No-Sell: In "The Origin of Brucie Banter", the Inedible Bulk is so invincible that not even grenades, missiles or even a tank blast at point blank range can make him budge. It just feels like a mosquito bite to him.
- Number of the Beast: Parodied. As mentioned earlier, The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes designated the Earth of Not Brand Echh and What The—?! as Earth-665, just one number shy of the number of the beast.
- Official Parody
- Oh, Crap!: In "The Origin of Bruce Banter", after the Tank Driver finds out his cannon is completely useless against the Bulk, he gives a big "Ulp!" before the Bulk mistakes his cannon blast for a mosquito bite and smacks his tank away.
- Pun-Based Title: On "Brand X".
- Satire: Of Marvel's own franchises, in addition to other superhero comics.
- Self-Deprecation: Implied with the book's slogan "Who says a comic book has to be good?"
- Self-Parody: The comics also count as this.
- Shout-Out: The stories are often loaded with references to pop culture of their day. "The Origin of Brucie Banter", for instance, references Charlie Brown, Englebert Humperdink, Jefferson Airplane, Albert Einstein, Wernher Von Braun, Gyro Gearloose, Brigitte Bardot, Simon & Garfunkel, Macbeth, Playboy, Mr. Clean, the Borsht Circuit, Yubiwaza martial arts comic ads, Scrooge Mcduck, David Jannsen, Dear Tabby, Bye Bye Birdie, Shazam, Sean Connery, Esquire, The Tonight Show, and the Jolly Green Giant! What The—?! has its own share of references to late 80's/early 90's pop culture, including cameos of non-superhero comic characters like Hobbes.
- So Last Season: In "The Human Scorch Versus the Sunk-Mariner!", the battle between the original Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner (from Marvel Mystery Comics #9, 1939) is parodied, and the story ends with Chaplain America informing Human Scorch and Sunk-Mariner that they no longer fit in with the heroes of the 1960's, and thus they decide to retire to the Happy Haven Home For Halcyon Heroes.
- Spiritual Successor: The comic series "What The—?!", which was (for 1988) a contemporary take on Brand Ecch's satire, and even had Forbush Man return. It started as a 4 issue mini series, and then ran for an additional 22 issues.
- Whole Plot Reference: "The Silver Burper" from issue 1 is a comical retelling of the Silver Surfer's encounter with Dr. Doom in Fantastic Four issues #57-60.
- World of Pun: All of the characters have pun based names based on their respective superheroes. Ironed Man, Knock Furious and the Agents of S.H.E.E.S.H, Gnatman and Rotten, Stuporman, Dr. Deranged, Ecchs Men, just to name a few.