Brand Echh – Fantastic Four Chronicles #2

A short-lived publication from the early 1980s, FantaCo’s CHRONICLES series of fanzines devoted each issue to a specific Marvel title (until their final annual, in which every comic book series published up to that time was reviewed.) These fanzines were pretty great, chock full of interesting information and articles as well as checklists and indexes–and fan-made comics.

One such fan produced parody comic is this short 3-page strip by cartoonist Don Martinec. I can’t seem to track down much information about Martinec, apart from the fact that he was active on the fan scene in the early 1980s and contributed to a number of zines and small press comics. But he had a great, polished comedic style, and was equally adept at channeling the aesthetic of the 1960s Marvel titles through it.

Really, there isn’t much to this short strip apart from how faithfully it mimics the source material and one dopey punchline at the end. But it’s very attractive and memorable–enough so that I remembered it almost forty years after I first read it in 1982.

The Chronicles series was published by FantaCo, a small press publisher operated out of a comic shop and mail order business. After their first release, they got cooperation and licensing agreements from Marvel through EIC Jim Shooter (which is how they could use the real FF logo and dress on this cover) but the arrangement fell apart after they printed an interview with Jack Kirby in this particular issue that Shooter took issues with. While there would be a number of additional releases before the dust cleared, before too long FantaCo was out of the Marvel fanzine business.

2 thoughts on “Brand Echh – Fantastic Four Chronicles #2

  1. I enjoyed these publications (apart from the occasional very amateurish fan drawings) and they were clearly a labour of love at the time. Remember excitedly opening this particular issue on the bus home from work, certain that the Kirby interview would have all sorts of new info on the origins of the FF (in the pre-internet days things like that could still happen). Alas, I was disappointed to see that Kirby had dismissed all such questions before the interview even began.

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