Reviews of Old Comics: What If? #34


August 1982

What_If_034-00fcIt’s a special day here at Reviews of Old Comics. So far, I’ve only had one comic that reached a perfect 10 of 10, but today that changes!


This issue of Marvel’s What If? is a special science fiction anthology issue with five stories.

Born of the Sun (by Jack Williamson, art by Don Heck) One by one, the planetswere disintegrating while a religious fanatic was destroying man’s only chance for survival!
A Day in the Life of Dr. Moon (by Harry Dawes, art by Frank Bolle) A fatal disease threatens to wipe out Lunar City unless the carrier can be found and destroyed!
Microcosmic God (by Theodore Sturgeon, art by Adolfo Buylla) Kidder’s “people” were a race of super beings created to solve Man’s problems – but could they solve the ultimate problem?
Last Voyage of the Albatross (by A.E. VanVogt, art by A. M. Williams) Contact with aliens leaves a trail of mysterious clues in this sea adventure from one of science fiction’s most respected old-timers.
The Crystal Singer (by Anne McCaffrey, art by Frank Bolle) A crystal singer could mine a fortune and live almost forever – unless a mach storm robbed her of her sanity!
 What_If_034-09SERIOUS SYNOPSIS:This issue of What If? is an all-humor issue, even featuring an appearance by Obnoxio the Clown from Marvel’s humor magazine Crazy. There are many absurd premises depicted here like “What if Black Bolt got the hiccups?”, ” What if Cyclops’ Energy Beams came out of his ears?”, What If Daredevil were deaf instead of blind?” and What if Tony Stark had an eating problem instead of a drinking problem?” Some are just absurd concepts while some are humorous takes on a real premise such as Phoenix or Elektra living. Various artists and writers contribute, some according to the titles that they were doing at the time, inclucing Frank Miller doing the aforementioned Daredevil story.Oh look! Here is part of it now.



Sometimes you need a little absurdity to use as a palate cleanser. Some of the jokes are better than the others, with the high points being depicted here. The less successful ones are so bad that it gives the impression that the editor may have been rushed when assembling the issue. Marvel had attempted to do humor with its characters before, with more successful results. I’ll probably be looking up Not Brand Ecch soon, but not revisiting Damage Control.

It could be argued that the best people to do a parody of their comic isn’t the people that actually do the comic. The best comic parodies are usually done by someone without a vested interest in not upsetting someone higher up. Coincidentally, these are also the ones that don’t try to do such blatant representation of the satire.

This also isn’t an all-star collection of creators contributing to the book. Notably missing are Chris Claremont and John Byrne. If you’re going to be parodying Marvel Comics, you better have a couple pages devoted to the X-Men. Instead we get treated to multiple gags about Black Bolt and Dazzler.

If you’re looking for funny super-hero comics, check out Deadpool, John Byrne’s runs on Sensational She-Hulk, Nextwave, Agents of HATE, Ambush Bug, and so many more, I can’t list them all.



Parts of this issue have been collected in Best of What If? (ISBN: 0871358573) If you go out to buy a copy, don’t pay more than a few bucks for a Near Mint copy. It wouldn’t be unfathomable to find it in a dollar box, but less than that for a copy in collectible condition would be surprising.

FINAL RATING: 5.0 (out of a possible 10)

Ennh. There’s good and there’s bad. It all equals out to make an absolutely average comic book.