Brand Echh – Sick #123 – Ego-Man

In 1978, presumably because Stan Lee had begun to break through into the mainstream with his comic book huckster routine, writer Arnold Drake created the running character Ego-Man in the pages of SICK magazine, then published by Charlton. It was anything but a loving parody of the field and those in it, in particular Stan, and I have no idea who it might have been aimed at apart from industry insiders. Nevertheless, it lasted for several installments.

This third Ego-Man story takes barbed aim at the editorial staff of DC Comics, a crew that Drake would have been more familiar with than Lee. Jack Sparling, another DC ex-pat, provides the artwork here. It’s a pretty interesting relic of this era and the feelings that some of the old guard had towards it. But I don’t imagine that the average kid reading SICK could make heads or tails of it. But it’s mean.

11 thoughts on “Brand Echh – Sick #123 – Ego-Man

  1. Wasn’t Sick edited by Joe Simon at this time, Tom? I imagine Arnold Drake was selling the script to the editor, who had just as much of an axe to grind as Drake, rather than writing for the readership.

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  2. Who inked this? Looks like Adam’s (or maybe Giordano?), didn’t notice a credit box (I’ll look again – wait, did Cracked list the credits on a kind of contents page at the beginning – unfortunately I don’t have a reference available).

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  3. Drake was one of the guys pushing for health insurance benefits, who was BLACKBALLED by DC in 1968. Before this, editor Jack Miller KICKED Drake off his brand-new feature, “DEADMAN”, so that Miller could make some extra money writing it himself. The 2nd “DEADMAN” episode was actually written by Drake– but Miller got credited & paid for it. Shortly before he passed away, Drake visited DC, with 2 new scripts– a brand-new “DEADMAN” story he hoped might be illustrated by Carmine Infantino & his friend Luis Dominguez– and a “DOOM PATROL” story that would finally reveal the origin of “The Brain”. DC wasn’t interested. THOSE A-HOLES!!

    “DOOM PATROL” was created as a tribute to the style of Jack Kirby’s “FANTASTIC FOUR”, At Marvel, Drake took over “X-MEN” and the ill-conceived “CAPTAIN MAR-VELL”, in my view, doing better work than the writers he replaced (and those who replaced him), despite having to cram real stories in between horrible “soap-opera” formats. I felt his best work was on “NOT BRAND ECCH”, which if I’d known more, would not have been a surprise. I loved Drake’s work on “JERRY LEWIS”. But before long, “ye editor” FIRED Drake, after spending months accusing him of being “A COMMUNIST!!!” After intense study, I became convinced that the 2 final “CM” episodes credited to Drake were actually written by Gary Freiedrich, as the style was completely different, and they were completely INCOHERENT. I figured “ye editor” left Drake’s name on the books to bad-mouth his reputation, the same way he did with Kirby on “CHAMBER OF DARKNESS #4”.

    Like Wally Wood, Drake developed a lifelong HATRED of Lee after only a relatively short time working for him. When Drake would go to conventions, he actually wrote and performed folks songs in which he would aggressively bad-mouth the so-called “writer-editor”.

    I’ve long blamed the totally-incompetent managers of the Jacob Javitz Center (an UGLY building too far from any train station to ever be convenient) and the IDIOTS who decided to run a convention in the middle of February, when countless people were left standing in line outside during a blizard, for Arnold catching pnumonia. He was gone 2 weeks later.

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  4. Mean’s the word. For one, dissing E. Nelson is per se a cheap shot. When people can so easily be mocked, they clearly have issues making mocking them an @$$hole act.
    Only parsed this so far, but the Kahn/Orlando thing, wow, that’s a deep cut, so to speak. Orlando was in all likelihood a forerunner of what you can call the Harvey Weinstein school of management — and Julie Schwartz, well, as bad as Orlando, but bad.

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