Tags Matching: what if

What If No One Cared?

I’ll be back on Monday with Ebay listings of items you may actually want. In the meantime, here’s a couple that aren’t in great demand. They perfectly demonstrate that, like all comics, What If is only as strong as the writer’s effort. What the hell are these?

What if Archangel Fell From Grace? What does it mean? I don’t understand. He’s not an actual angel. The cover tells me nothing. Insider Trading? Human Trafficking? Match fixing on the collegiate level? What did he get into?

I couldn’t tell you what might happen if The Avengers lost Galactic Storm because I, like everyone else on Earth, doesn’t remember Galactic Storm. Was it lamer or less lame than Atlantis Attacks? I like this cover art because it’s not clear if they were approaching Earth and were blown back or if they were on Earth and blown off it. I like to think the latter.

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Less Than Mystifying What Ifs: Part One

What If is the best worst comic ever. It teases and taunts, often providing cooler versions of Marvel continuity than the one they opted to go with. Other times, it demonstrates exactly why the writers made the choices they did by showing us just how wack the alternative was.

And in other cases, it just answers questions everyone in the room knows. Take a look at this issue. What If The Hulk Went Berserk? Well, what if. Then we’d probably have another one of the 500 or so issues of various Marvel comics where the Hulk goes berserk. We could add it to our collection between two other issues where he goes berserk. BECAUSE GOING BERSERK IS WHAT THE HULK DOES.

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A Request of the Utmost Importance

For real. Does anyone know what issue of What If? has the moment where The Rose uses Hobgoblin’s pumpkin bombs to kill both men? I can’t remember what the actual story was about at all, but I love that moment. Hobgoblin yells out for Spider-Man to save him. Spider-Man isn’t even in the room! It’s a great little commentary on the idea of a nemesis and it came in the form of a throwaway issue in a “oh, that’s sort of neat” series. That’s the magic of comics, man.

Was it this issue?

Pretty confident it wasn’t this one. But it seemed to go so well with the image above, I included it anyway. Buy both these issues because this series was fun for thirty or so issues.

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Two pieces of currently low priced original art for you on this Thursday afternoon. A nice prelim for Carlos Pacheco’s cover to Ultimate Avengers #2, and an original page from What If: The Punisher Killed Daredevil, a comic that I actually owned when I was in junior high, and didn’t fully appreciate until I re-read it earlier this month while in the midst of my noir kick.

That last panel of the Punisher pouncing on those guards makes the whole page. I used to redraw panels from comics whenever we got a free assignment for art homework, putting them together as a sort of collage, and that panel made it in more than a few times, though it never looked as good.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #60

It is well documented that there is a lot of love for an alternaverse storyline here on comicnoize.

The last truly well done series that did this in a steady flow way was this, a surprise hit from a relatively remote corner of the x-books.

#60 – Exiles 1

Props for this being the Marvel equivalent of Sliders meets Quantum Leap. A fun team book gathering random mutant folk from various realities as they travel into… other realities. In a very similar way to Thunderbolts being a hot Marvel team book in the late 90’s / early 2000’s, Exiles captured that same spirit and newness to a well beaten path.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #64

Jim Valentino and Rob Liefeld do their own spin on Wolverine.

But fortunately for readers, it wasn’t some strange Image crossover. It was contained in the pages of the classic WHAT IF.

Huge appreciation of this. Rob Liefeld’s finest hour? Maybe.

This issue is a great example of why Wolverine has been so hugely popular over the years. His character type is a chameleon. He was built to be a soldier, a ninja, a secret agent, a super hero, a science experiment. A victim, a villain, a hero. He fits so perfectly into any skin, any story. To be honest, his recent role as a full fledged every day hero has zero appeal to me. But here, as a soldier, or his “in continuity” adventures of the time as a secret agent / off radar type were right where he should be. Here’s to that.

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Top 100 Summer Comics… #80

It’s always been a fun concept for writer’s to play with the powers of the Fantastic Four.

Recently (well, relatively) Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo did a nice job of a Human Torch / Invisible Woman power swap. Well done, worked in the context of the story really well.

But my favorite take on this happens to fall in the pages of the almighty WHAT IF…

#81 – What If… 11

In a nice mix of vignettes, these stories from tragic to upbeat and goofy. A fun read I would recommend to any comic fan with a passing interest in the character. It’s sad that the place in the world of hero comics for these kind of issues, focused on quick, fun, sharp writing has shrunk so much in the shuffle of things.

Symbiote… meet the Hulk. And THOR.

If #1 was the spark, this was the explosion. 

Seriously, the cover alone speaks volumes. 

The Hulk and Thor BASHING Spider-Man, and him showing no impact. And a crazy pink background. Woah.

I mention the background because it’s an interesting tool that is not always used in comics. In recent years, it’s been put into a much more prominent usage – see the Morrison era New X-Men. The solid color background creates an image that if done right becomes immediately iconic and attractive to the viewer. At the same time, if the image is weak, the cover looks poorly constructed and lackluster. It’s all or nothing, and they hit it out of the park on this one. For those who’ve been reading, I made a post about a Fantastic Four run that included one of my all-time favorite covers. Not surprisingly, it utilized this solid color background device – and I loved it. 

I could ramble on and on about this issue, but let me just throw a spoiler out. If you’re mad, it’s your fault for being 20+ years late on this. Just tease your senses on this.

THOR possessed by the symbiote. Versus the Black Bolt. In a cave. BOOM.   

Dang, this was going to be for Tomorrow…

But Chris beat me to it. What If is essential, and like jello, there’s always room for more. 

So instead of holding these… might as well make some “evening delight”. 

These were made for the fanboys.

Before the original What If series, most of these ideas were strictly for fan fiction, submissions, and chitter chatter at shops, in basements and other places where tales of fictional worlds are made even more fictional. 

But the Comic Gods smiled upon us with Marvel’s What If series. I’ll admit it – I have gone back and checked out the original series, and I dig it. It’s good, but it wasn’t my first exposure. That original series debuted in 1977 and ran until 1984, about two and a half years before I got on board. So when this series debuted with the blazing headline of “WHAT IF…” I was intrigued. And after a few incredible issues, I was hooked. 

But it all started with the first issue of that second run. 

The Evolutionary War was a series that ran through some of the popular series annuals in 1986 or 1987. As opposed to the super mega-crossovers that would occasionally take over multiple comics and cross many lines, there were somewhat regular annual only crossovers that did a decent job of providing a nifty story that saw teams and characters collide without mucking up too many storylines in the main series. Atlantis Attacks, Evolutionary War, Days of Future Past (oh, loved this one…) were all good examples of this. Essentially the High Evolutionary wanted to force evolve (shocker considering his name) homo sapiens and the world at large. But it didn’t happen. What if it did?

The humans all evolved… giant heads. This included superheroes without genetic alterations, like Captain America, Hawkeye, etc… so that kind of explain El Capitan up over here with the giant dome. What about the mutants and others who were somehow altered? 

Oh they just started being called the Godlike Ones. Their powers were all enhanced and things get very heavy from there. It all ends up in not only humanity developing a uni-mind and defeating Celestials but also the “Godlike Ones” essentially destroying the universe. Roy Thomas, I owe you a big handshake for this one, because it certainly expanded my 7 year old brain. I don’t think I really wrapped my head around how meta it was for years. Classic issue. And it started an entire wave of great issues in this series that eventually fizzled. 

What If…?

Ah What If…?

Who doesn’t love a good What If…? story?

Ummmm, I specifically said a GOOD What If…? story.

That’s better. Thanks Uatu.

Narrated by everyone’s favorite Watcher (aka the only Watcher any one knows the name of), What If…? debuted in the late 1970’s, with the conceit of showing what major Marvel events would be like in other realities, or if one small thing had happened differently.

The original run of the series was pretty harmless, very much a product of it’s times. It’s late 80s/early 90s revival however… well that one tended to get pretty mean. So mean in fact, that a great many of the issues would have been more aptly titled “What if: everybody died in really mean ways?” We’re talking lots of Wolverine and Punisher going berserk stories, lots of the Fantastic Four all dying at the hands of one of the family stories, and especially lots of the good guys lose the big cross over stories…

Case in point: What If: the Marvel Superheroes Had Lost Atlantis Attacks? Just a mean, MEAN comic, and that’s coming from a guy who just 24 hours ago was posting about how he once cut the head of a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure because he wanted someone to get decapitated while playing superheroes as a kid. Every superhero that doesn’t die in the first 10 pages either turns into a brainless snake man or dies in cruel ways at the hands of the handful of super heroines who become brainwashed love slaves to the snake god Set, and who then give birth to more snakes, who then eat their mothers and the remaining snake people and over run the Earth.


Oh, no there isn’t anything more than that. That’s how it ends. Total downer with no other story in mind other than “let’s kill everybody”. Sorry guys, but Fred Hembeck did it better…

I can’t come down too hard on the “everybody dies” issues of What If…? though. They ARE a staple of the series, along with “What If: so and so joined S.H.I.E.L.D” and “What If: so and so killed so and so”. And I’m not going to try and say that the 2nd series of What If…? didn’t have some great issues. Aside from the What If: Wolverine Battled Conan the Barbarian issue shown up top, there was also this totally awesome issue that I read so often it ended up held together with staples and scotch tape:

The cover is somewhat misleading, as Jean Grey isn’t in the issue at all. But as it indicates, it’s a great riff on the classic Last Man On Earth storyline, as Wolverine turns every super hero into a vampire (killing the ones he thinks are strong willed enough to usurp his power as vampire lord, as well as the mystically powered characters), and The Punisher takes on the Charlton Heston/Vincent Price/Will Smi… Charlton Heston/Vincent Price role of last hope for humanity, with a little help from the ghost of Dr Strange. Does everybody die? Pretty much. But it doesn’t end on a downer, and almost all of those deaths MEAN something in the context of the story. Top it all of with art from the under appreciated Tom Morgan, and you’ve got possibly my favorite What If…? issue ever.

This one though… not so much.

These days, Marvel doesn’t do much with What If…? outside of the occasional set of one shots piggy backing on whatever event storyline is in play. Which is mind boggling to me. DC raked in money hand over fist with it’s Elseworld’s line for most of the 90s and 00s, the hit Age of Apocalypse cross over (dibs, Bob!) was one big multi-chapter What If…?, and the Exiles series was pretty much What If…? with a recurring cast, so you’d think that shows that there’s a market for the brand and concept, provided it continues to go beyond the same old same old.

Or not.

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