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.


  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).


  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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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