I came across my very own No-Prize, pictured above, earlier this evening. I received it in 1998 after writing in and getting a question published in one of Stan Lee's Soapbox columns - I think I asked some asinine question about Stan's role with the company or some such noise. To earn a No-Prize, one usually had to explain away a seemingly unexplainable gaffe within one of Marvel's books (Mr. Fantastic is drawn with three arms? He must be stretching his back into the shape of a fist so he can punch someone!), but the rules got a little lax in the '90s: all one had to do was get a question published and the once-lofty prize got shipped out en masse, lucky for me.
What's funny about this is that my name is misspelled on the envelope - I go the double-C route with "McClelland", and what's written above drops the second "C" and capitalizes the first "L". What's funnier is that my name is also printed incorrectly in the Soapbox and the handful of books in which it appears. What really takes the cake, though, is that I have a sinking feeling that I misspelled my own name - the one I've had since birth! - on the letter I sent in. I don't have any proof of this, but I can distinctly remember seeing my letter printed and saying "this is my fault. THIS IS MY FAULT!" So, for posterity, my name in the catalogue of Stan's Soapbox No-Prize winners is officially "Jeff McLelland". Dammit!
I've probably written a total of four letters to comics in my life (and none in the last, oh, ten years), but I also had a letter printed in a Superman: Man of Tomorrow letters column and was awarded the "Baldy" award for that issue - something they ran with for a good long while over at DC. I never received anything in that regard, leading me to believe that the Baldy award didn't actually exist. I mean, at least with the No-Prize, you get SOMETHING - an empty envelope with a stock image of Spider-Man on the front. Thus the irony of the situation: I got more of a prize from being awarded a No-Prize.