Comic book veteran Roy Thomas tells Bleeding Cool the story of the superhero parodies that preceded Marvel’s Not Brand Echh. Via his manager, John Cimino, he writes,
Around 1967, very shortly before Gary Friedrich and I pitched the original idea for the BRAND ECHH comic to Stan Lee, my friend Len Brown–then a young exec at Topps Chewing Gum–asked me to write a bunch of the “Krazy Little Comics” series of little 8-page comics that would parody Marvel, DC, and comic strip heroes.
Len had already named all the parody characters and written all the covers, working first with Wally Wood, then with Gil Kane (who’d be inked by Wood). I was hired to write the others.
We were happy with them, but sales were iffy. In areas where comic books sold well, they did well… in other places, not so much. So Topps didn’t go ahead with wider distribution, sad to say. Over the years, I eventually managed to reprint all 16 (I think that’s the number) of them in ALTER EGO or collections thereof, so that all are now available, although not in color as they originally were. It was a fun project.
By around the time I finished my part in it, though, I think BRAND ECHH (the soon-to-be NOT BRAND ECHH) was already going in a similar vein, so I had another outlet for my desire to continue the early MAD’s tradition of spoofing super- and adventure heroes. I’m not sure Stan ever knew I did that work for Topps, along with some Batman cards. He might not have appreciated me moonlighting, since I had a staff job at Marvel. I settled the whole thing as best I could, by not asking and not telling.