El Ape & Deadbeat Sleeze (The Sleeze Brothers)


Created by John Carnell & Andy Lanning

“There’s an old private eye saying that goes like this ‘Keep yer ears open, yer eyes peeled, yer nose clean and the rest of ya full of beer.”

CAN YOU imagine the bastard offspring of The Blues Brothers and Blade Runner in comic form?

If you can, congratulations, you have the wisecracking, dirtiest P.I.s in the Big Apple. EL APE and DEADBEAT SLEEZE aren’t the quickest thinkers in the world, nor the most moral, but THE SLEEZE BROTHERS stumbled their way through seven adventures with help from their digitally operated secretary/receptionist Doris.

Marvel Comic’s “mature readers” imprint, Epic, had approached IPC about the possibility of reprinting two strips from its Crisis anthology, Third World War and New Statesman. Marvel president Jim Galton blocked the move, but challenged the UK contingent to come up with a couple of new projects on their own. One, Death’s Head, was a spin-off from the Transformers comic book. The other, a tale of private detective brothers with rather disreputable investigative techniques, became The Sleeze Brothers, the first wholly creator-owned title ever published by Epic.

Throughout its six-month lifespan, the comic took potshots at American politics (President Sinatra looks like Reagan on caterpillar tracks and acts like John F. Kennedy, right down to the Marilyn Monroe-clone girlfriend) as well as spoofing staples of the thriller and sci-fi genres. One issue in particular, “Murder In Space,” is a brilliant parody of both Neil Simon’s Murder By Death and Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, featuring characters named Sam Spud, Vanity Case, Charlie Chin, Miss McMuffins and Mike Mallet being knocked off one by one by a mysterious killer. Who would stay in a place called Norman’s Flotel, anyway?

In 1990, Marvel UK collected the six comics together and released a trade paperback, The Sleeze Brothers Case Files. And a final Sleeze Brothers adventure, The Sleeze Brothers: Some Like It Fresh appeared in 1991.

COMICS

  • THE SLEEZE BROTHERS
    (1989-91, Epic/Marvel Comics)
    Written by John Carnell and Andy Lanning
    Artwork by Andy Lanning

    • “Nice And Sleezy” (June 1989 #1)
    • “Reel To Real” (July 1989 #2)
    • “The Big Leap” (August 1989 #3)
    • “Murder In Space” (September 1989 #4)
    • “Down In The Sewer” (October 1989 #5)
    • “The Maltese Egg” (November 1989 #6)
    • “The Sleeze Brothers: Some Like It Fresh” (1991)

OTHER APPEARANCES

  • “Follow That Tardis” (April 1989, Doctor Who Magazine #147)
    The Sleeze Brothers meet the Doctor.

COLLECTIONS

  • “The Sleeze Brothers Case Files” (1990, Marvel) Buy this book 

FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Report respectfully submitted by Ray Banks. A special thanks to John McDonagh for the heads up.

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