Hey, I think that’s one from the same one I was remembering. At the time, for any young 'uns looking in, there was a beginning reading show on PBS called The Electric Company (Morgan Freeman got his early start there), one of whose segments was a Spider-Man adventure, where Spidey’s words appeared in a speech balloon, but with no voice. The kids had to read it for themselves.
Anyhoo, there was also a special Electric Company tie-in Spider-Man comic at the time geared toward little kids who could barely read. IIRC, The “What If” parody speculated on what a Spider Man comic would look like that was aimed at the opposite end of the educational spectrum, namely the extremely well-read academic.
Spider-Man corners the Green Goblin, and instead of a fight, there’s a debate, with each of them hammering at each others points in a politely erudite if long-winded fashion until the GG admits defeat and turns himself in.
Picture Great Debates with Polycarp and Darwin’s Finch in colored spandex and you get the idea.
“What If” was one of the few titles I subscribed to, back in its first series. Unfortunately, I subscribed only a few months before they cancelled the title at issue #45 (“What if the Incredible Hulk went berzerk?”).
Anyway, my favorite from that first batch of issues I got was, I belive, #42, “What if the Invisible Girl had died?” Basically, Sue Richards died because Annihilus, a villain from the Negative Zone, kept Reed from returning in time with something (I forget what) that could have saved her life while giving birth to Franklin. Holy crap, did Reed Richards go off when she died. I loved this full-page drawing in that book of a shattered and furious Reed, half in shadows, saying, “I’ve come for you, Annihilus. You’re going to die.”
That last issue about the Hulk was fun, too. He killed about three heroes, including the Thing, before Thor finally killed him. And Thor wouldn’t have had a chance against the enraged Hulk if the Hulk hadn’t been so blinded by fury that he left himself open.
I enjoyed several stories from both What If versions, but I’d have to say my favorite is the one where the heroes never got home from the planet The Beyonder stuck them on for the Secret Wars. It’s 25 years later, heroes and villains have built relationships, and the next generation is growing up. Then 5 of the kids manage to get back to Earth, which (I believe) they find overrun with Sentinels. There the story ends, leaving the future wide open.
The next generation of Avengers consisted of Captain America and Rogue’s daughter, Wolverine and Storm’s daughter, Thor’s son by the Enchantress, She-Hulk and Hawkeye’s son, and the Wasp’s son by… by… somebody. Dang.
Anyway, I agree: it was a very good story, and if you disagree you must not have read it. I get the feeling it was rather more to that single story issue what we saw. It seemed a bit choppy, like it was the highlights of a miniseries condensed to a 22-page story. Re-read it sometime and look at the insane amount of plot detail. I would have liked to see an ongoing series spun-off from that story – but alas, this was back when Marvel was going bankruptcy.
Note: Kurt Busiek AVENGERS FOREVER featured characters from this What If…? in the final issue of the miniseries, but only in the grand battle scenes.
No, but I’ll use this as a segue to plug the “Life of Reilly”35-part :eek: overview/behind-the-scenes/analysis of the whole Spider-Clone saga. The office politics and marketing demands are a real eye-opener, even if you dropped the Spidey titles in disgust during that mess (as I did).