Comic Legends: How Roy Thomas Nearly Quit Marvel Over Not Brand Echh #1

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and seventeenth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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Roy Thomas threatened to quit Marvel over Stan Lee accusing him of sneaking a joke about LBJ into the first issue of Not Brand Echh.



In 1967, Marvel released a superhero-centric take on Mad Magazine called Not Brand Echh….

One of the stories in the first issue was a tale by Roy Thomas and Marie Severin that made fun of Marvel’s western heroes…

Throughout the story, Thomas had little joked peppered in the background, like showing the possible connection between Matt Dillon and Bob Dylan, right before they hit Desolation Row…

There were two jokes in the pages based on the 1964 Presidential election (I can’t say that I know why exactly, considering it was three years later. Maybe the absurdity is the joke?).

One of them references Goldwater by putting in the symbols for gold and for water…

Then there is a reference to LBJ along with a mushroom cloud…

This is referencing the infamous “Daisy” political ad that LBJ ran (just once) in 1964…

Well, as Thomas explained in Alter Ego #95 from TwoMorrows, Stan Lee was very angry when the issue came out with the LBJ joke. Lee believed that the button had been added to the comic after Lee had proofread the issue, while Thomas insisted that it was there when Lee proofed the book. Lee continued to insist that he would have never approved that joke.

This led to Thomas threatening to quit. As he recalled, “Stan, however, was adamant and, under his continued insistence that the button must’ve been altered after his proofing, I’m afraid I got a bit hot under the collar myself. I informed him that if he was accusing me of lying, as he seemed to be coming dangerously close to doing, I was out of there…quit…finis.”

Lee eventually apologized and Thomas obviously didn’t quit.

Thanks to Roy Thomas for the information!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed – Did the Most Interesting Man in the World really appear as a red shirt in an episode of the original Star Trek series?

OK, that’s it for this week!

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