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What If It was your job to save the hobby... New Readers!

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(I'm such a ... I posted this in the Marketplace initially)



For months now, I've enjoyed many of the informative topics and entertaining exchanges that are kicked around within this forum. I resisted joining-in as I feared it would become yet another habit-forming comic related endevour... I'm sure it will... but I can't stand sitting on the bench any longer. Throw me the ball!


TOPIC: I always loved the original What If? series (and some of v2) even though many of the stories were beyond lame. The concept alway intrigued me though... fantasy stories about fantasy stories. I don't think that Marvel took the book too seriously or it (maybe) still be running today. I don't buy a slew of modern books (sorry Darth) but I feel the Ultimate books in particular are realy just individual What if Series. "What If Spider-man, the X-men or the Avengers started over from day one with different rules, in modern times with modern attitudes, etc."

I wonder if the "What if" concept has influenced anything else going on today as well.. without receiving its due?


Forgive my ignorance if this is too much for one post, but here goes...


1. Comment on how the What If? series has influenced comic writing, new concepts, general creativity, "rules", etc over the years.

2. Favorite What if? Story from the series (V1 or 2).

3. Worst What if? Story from the series. (V1 or 2)

4. Propose a WI story (and briefly outline) SERIOUS

5. Propose a WI story (and briefly outline) HUMOROUS


As Mike Myers (of Coffeetalk) would say... "Discuss amongst yourselves"


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I'm fehklemped!


Thinking...I actually have a slew of v1 what well read condition. Just cause I hawk Modern books primarily doesn't mean I've never read a bronze book tongue.gif


I like What If's for the read. Different perspective on the Marvel Universe and just puts down in print what fanboys throw around in casual comic club convo. Just that what we read is basically the industry's spin on alternate possibilities and situations.


Funny scene: What If V1 # 8 pg 11 - What if the world knew DD was blind?. Top Middle panel - Spidey busting on ol Hornhead..."Let's face it, masked man! nobody with 20-20 vision would have designed a tacky yellow "n" etc. outfit like that!" - even better, the Hostess ad on the following page is entitled "Spider-Man 'Spoils a SNATCH!' --oh MJ, ever get that not-so-fresh feeling?


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1) Most What If stories showed up as serious Marvel storylines in the 1990's and 2000's, as the Marvel hacks obviously had no new ideas. Check out the following stories for great examples:


What if Spider-man's Clone Lived

What if Phoenix Had Not Died

What If Elektra Had Lived

What If Daredevil Killed the Kingpin

What If Rick Jones Became the Hulk

What If Hulk Had the Brain of Bruce Banner

What If the Beast and the Thing Continued to Mutate

What If Thor and the Avengers Battled the Gods

What If Wolverine was an Agent of SHIELD


Along with a ton of other main stories (not to mention the myriad side-tales) that mysteriously found their way into the mainstream comics.


2) Without a doubt it is What If 3: What If The Avengers Had Never Been. This book knocked my socks off and was certainly the first reality-based, ultra-violent and extremely gritty Marvel comic I ever read. It's like the blueprint for the "grim and gritty" era that followed in the late-80's.


3) Too Many To List, but WI 9 (Avengers had Fought Evil in the 1950's) and 17 (Ghost Rider, Spider-woman and Captain Marvel Were Villains?) were horrid.


4) What If Thanos Married Death


5) What If Even a Single Marvel Writer got a New Idea.

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I should have realized.. you mentioned liking the Miller Wolverine mini.


Good recall with DD! or were you looking at the book?


I'm glad you brought some sexuality into it...


What if the BB changed into the Hulk as he was getting his grove thing on?


What if Giant Man and the Wasp changed while...?


What if Reed Richards could work on gadgets and service Sue from 8 rooms away...


What if Rouge and the Impossible man were...?



I don't want this thread to get too ridiculous too fast.

What do you think of my linking the Ultimates to it?

What about a suggestion story?


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1. Well What If...? was the Marvel version of the standard DC imaginary story. CI is right... a lot of those concepts have been cannibalized over the last decade. Other than that, not a lot of influence. DC has their own line of What if specials for a while (Elseworlds)


2. More like favourites. Hard to pin down a single issue:


V1 #1 when Spidey joins the FF and Sue leaves and the follow-up issue (21) where Reed goes nuts without Sue but she's long over him.

V1 #19 when Spidey goes Hollywood. Nice Broderick art.

V1 #13 Conan in the 70's

V1 #24 Gwen lives. Good thing she died after all!

V1 #?? Uncle Ben lives. Ben really did write the book on responsibility.


3. What if Wolverine were Lord of the Vampires during Inferno stands out as one of the worst titles but What If Iron Man had lost the Armor Wars is a real low point.

Most of the Alterniverse (no Watcher) issues at the end of the run were pretty bad.


4. What if the Image boys had stayed with Marvel?


5. What if the Image boys had stayed away from Marvel after leaving?






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Thank you CI... that's what I'm looking for!


I wanted to bring up that many of the stories actually were addressed later on although NONE (I think) followed any of the What If storylines... (it would have been cool if they followed one of the stories once and took it from there). I suppose as the Watcher indicated... it was one of many possible scenarios. Marvel could have made the whole series about 47 different endings to "What If Spider-Man joined the FF". I suppose that would be the ultimate challenge for a comic writer...see how many issues you could go without losing your readers...or.. have a new writer tell his own tale each issue.


I always thought Hulk as a Barbarian was a bit funny and the bullpen with FF powers was stupid.


One of my proposed "What if" stories would involve Tony Stark, Machine Man, Box, Deathlok and any other mechanical or technological genius' or robot/cyborg I'm not mentioning (and maybe with the unwilling help of Dr. Doom, Ultron, etc.) all uniting and combining effort and know how to create specific armor for 8-10 existing heroes to form a new super group with hightened powers to be called upon when more seriously threatning perils arise. I know there was a What If where IM created armor for others and another issue with the Punisher in Armor too. I'm aware of a run in IM called "Armor Wars" that I never read because I was out of comics at the time (sure hope that wasn't along what I'm suggesting here) crazy.gif. I suppose the premise of this is... What if all the armor related technology was used to create a new group. I never understood how this technology was not used more. Imagine... if TS could kick someones in his armor... What If Iron Fist or Elektra had the armor.. with their martial arts skill and ability wouldn't they be 10X deadlier?

What if the Hulk had armor.. could he be 10X stronger.. that's scary!


I know I'm rambling... I think this is a never ending topic... at least for me.


Good input!


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I think a more humorous take on it would be:


What If As Marvel Characters Aged, They Were Forced to Wear Armor?


An elderly Luke Cage stumbles into an emergency ward complaining about chest pains, and is greeted by a sauve, hearty Tony Stark, outfitted in futuristic armor. He then makes Luke an offer he can't refuse and an armored Power Man joins Tony's growing army of over-the-hill, metal-clad superheroes.


Their numbers swell as time goes by, as more heroes are attracted to the near-immortality offered by Stark's technology. Things progress well initially, until some missions go way outside fighting supervillains and become political in nature.


After Stark's plans to create a totalitarian utopia become clear (maybe his armor is driving him mad, or he's been tipping the bottle again?), the heroes revolt only to discover their life-saving armor is booby-trapped and is now their prison and quite possibly their tomb. Naturally, they regain their nobility to challenge Big Tony anyway, and the vast majority die horribly in a sea of carnage, until Stark is finally taken down.


The prologue would show supervillains quickly taking over, with mass civilian casualties and fewer and fewer heroes left alive to fight. Stark's goal may have been a perfect world, but in the end, his actions created a hell on Earth.

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What if a couple of talented creators re-interpreted the old Charlton heroes? was a favorite of mine.


I also liked What if Batman was compelled to return to crimefighting after a 10 year absence? grin.gif


The WHAT IF concept has produced some classic tales, not necessarily in the guise of a What If? story.

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"1. Comment on how the What If? series has influenced comic writing, new concepts, general creativity, "rules", etc over the years."


......i don't think it's the 'what if?' series that has influenced comics writting.........


...more so that the publishers, when they create a character that is successful tend to use and then re-use that character in every possible scenario.............that is to say, if there are certain situations that you couldn't imagine your character going through, you can bet that it will happen one day.........(classic examples: peter parker is not really spider-man, superman 'dies', wolverine looses adamantium etc........)


.........the phrase 'milk it until it's dry' ...........comes to mind.........'s actually a shame that so much of this goes on, as it becomes increasingly difficult for new readers to understand a character that has been around for a while......leading to the creation of things like DC's crisis & marvel's ultimate line, in order to 'restart' old characters.............


.........maybe some of this creative energy should go into thinking up NEW characters, that new generations could grow up with and relate to.........

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I like the idea of the series..a bunch of self-contained stories with regarding things that may or may not take place ever. This series suffers from the "good read, bad collectible" syndrome that plagued Marvel Team-Up until about a year or two ago. Look for What If to become a fairly hot "under-appreciated" title in the coming couple of years..



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What If? was the best comic run ever conceived! grin.gif Sorry, it's my favorite and I'll always enjoy it best. Short of the GL/GA run. wink.gif Sad to say the second try was so friggin' horrible it almost made me puke! mad.gif What the hell was that?


1) I'm sure the series had some influence on comicdom, but I can't point out any specific instances


2) Favorite story... I didn't really dislike any of them and I can't recall specific issue numbers (need to re-read 'em!), but there was one story (think it had to do with Spidey) where just about everyone died! Kind of sad, but it was very cool! The other is one of the Conan issues where he was stranded in present time (I think someone - Kev?) indicated it was #13, but I don't remember it being that early. Anyway, good story, but it was drawn by Ernie Chan! Best Conan artist ever!.


3) Again, I can't point out any stories I really disliked. Some I liked more than others. Oh - the ENTIRE second run of the series sucked big donkey farts! mad.gif


4) Uhhh...while I like to fancy myself an amatuer writer I'll have to think on this one for a while.


5) See above


Cool thread! grin.gif

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2. I enjoyed the first What-If series a lot! I think my favorites were #3 What if the Avengers had Never Been? and #4 What If the Invaders had Stayed Together After World War 2.


IMO the second series stunk as it seemed like every issue was some sort of Wolverine or X-Men related comic. I guess they were the popular series at the time so it financially made sense, but with the entire Marvel Universe to explore it got boring pretty quick.


I've always enjoyed reading those DC imaginary (yeah, I know they are all imaginary) tales that were published in the 50s - even though they were usually really corny.


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Good point... (credit CI too) I'm not familiar with DC's Imaginary Stories and thought Elseworlds "borrowed" from What If?. It sounds like Imaginary Stories preceeded What If? and deserves the bulk of the credit for initiating the concept of fantasy stories about fantasy stories.


Were the Imaginary Stories alternate endings to events that happened in the DC universe... or out-of-the-blue stories where DC did not want the real universe to go?


V2 did suck overall, but #50 What If Hulk Killed Wolverine was pretty cool I thought... and a nice cover.

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