Forbush Man (Marvel)
Real Name: Irving Forbush
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Forbush-Man was a wannabe superhero (albeit one with no superpowers), with a costume comprising red long johns with the letter F on the front and a cooking pot with eye-holes on his head. Forbush-Man's appearance may be a tribute to the Golden Age Red Tornado character.
Forbush-Man appeared on the cover of the first issue of Not Brand Echh (August 1967), which was drawn by Jack Kirby and features Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer cowering in fear as Forbush Man approaches. However, Forbush-Man's first major appearance was in the lead story of Not Brand Echh's fifth issue (December 1967): The Origin of Forbush-Man, which was "conceived, created and cluttered-up" by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In this story, Forbush-Man's secret identity is revealed as Irving Forbush, the fictitious office gofer at Marvel Comics (here refered to as 'Marble Comics').
The character was supplied with a backstory, including a shrewish maiden aunt (Auntie Mayhem) who was indirectly responsible for her nephew becoming a superhero (in a fit of pique, she slams the fabled cooking pot over Irving's head, inadvertently providing him with the disguise he'd been looking for). Numerous in-jokes peppered throughout the dialogue suggested that Irving and his aunt were both jewish (a schtick repeated in at least two subsequent storylines).
Like his better known Marvel contemporaries, Forbush-Man went on to triumph over a number of super powered adversaries (starting with 'The Juggernut' in Not Brand Echh number five). All of his victories were purely accidental; lacking superhuman powers, dumb luck necessarily played a major role in all of the character's adventures.
Forbush-Man's next 'canon' appearance came in Not Brand Echh issue eight (June 1968), when he applies for membership with 'The Revengers' (The Avengers), 'S.H.E.E.S.H' (SHIELD) and finally 'The Echhs-Men' (X-Men). After each attempt ends in disaster for the group concerned, Forbush is offered a position in 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band,' which he declines, believing it better to 'quit while I'm still behind'.
Forbush-Man's third major appearance came in Not Brand Ecch number 13 (May 1969, coincidentally the comic's final issue), where he fights 'The Strangie' in a loose parody of Silver Surfer number five (April 1969). The story, once again rife with Jewish references, featured caricatures of various Marvel characters (including Spidey-Man, The Thung, The Human Scorch and The Simple Surfer). Stan Lee himself put in an appearance as Marble Comics' 'Fearless Leader' in the final two panels.
The name "Irving Forbush" was made up by Stan Lee as far back as 1956 to refer to an imaginary low-grade colleague who became the butt of many of Lee's jokes. The name cropped up repeatedly in the credit panels, Bullpen Bulletins and letters sections of Marvel comics during the 1960s. It soon became an in-joke between Lee and his readers. The Bullpen Bulletins page often promised to answer the question "Is Irving Forbush a real person?", but the following month's column would not mention him. In the early 1990s, when Comics Buyer's Guide had their fan awards, Marvel came up with its own award for assistant editors, who had been left out. Some ballots (which appeared on letters pages) listed Irving Forbush as a choice, others did not.
Forbush Man appeared in Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. as a member of 'The New Paramounts', a team consisting of Not Brand Echh characters including The Inedible Bulk. This Forbush man was apparently killed by Tabitha Smith after he failed to mind control her (she apparently had no mind).
First Appearance: Not Brand Echh (1967) #1
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View a chronological listing of this character's appearances
Captain America: Who Won't Wield the Shield? (2010)
Marvel: Now What?! (2013)
Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E. (2006)
Not Brand Echh (1967)
#1#8#10 Shame Itself (2012)
- 'The Worst of Not Brand Echh'
The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2015)
The Incredible Hulk (1968)
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