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What If? Classic, Volume 2 by Roy Thomas
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What If? Classic, Volume 2

by Roy Thomas, Jim Craig (Illustrator), Don Glut, Gil Kane (Illustrator), Jim Shooter1 more, Herb Trimpe (Illustrator)

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Super heroes have become a sort of mythology on their own. Who knows if thousands of years from now, our ancestors will look back on our culture and imagine we worshipped a Spider-God who kept the innocent safe, and that some invincible super soldier helped win all wars from WWII to the intergalactic wars with the Kree and Skrulls.

Who knows? I suppose it strongly depends on whether or not Marvel still holds a copyright by

Nevertheless, we’ve been given these modern gods, who have been around in one incarnation or another for 60+ years. In a way, this modern mythology has become part of our natural history. We make references to comic book characters, or events in their lives, so naturally and freely that they have become like members of our extended families or household deities or public figures. It’s interesting, then, to see sways to this natural history. “What ifs”, if you will.

This is one of the major reasons I enjoy series like What If? (and DC’s Elseworlds, as well as any other alternate reality story of this genre). That, added to the fact that I grew up reading comics, makes this tweak of established story even more interesting.

In the trade paperback What If? Volume 2 are collected several issues (minus the ads) of one of my favorite comic book series, following the original series where Volume 1 left off. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to read these issues without having to take my original copies out of their plastic and board sanctuaries (not to mention being able to read intermediate issues I might have not been able to find). However, my biggest complaint is the lack of touch-ups. The touched up cover (based on What If the Avengers had Assembled in the 1950s?) doesn’t alter the drawings, but does add a sense of depth to an originally flat cover. It would have been nice if at least some touching up were done to the rest of the issue. For example, the backup story “What if the Spider were Bitten by a Radioactive Human?” has some panels that are so in need of a cleaning up that the Roy Thomas/Uatu mash-up’s face is sometime indistinguishable from a pink blob.

Other than the occasional poor transfers from pulp to gloss, the rest of the issue is wonderful, including the letters to the editor. I particularly enjoyed the one berating the What if Jane Foster found Mjollnir?, criticizing the What If? staff for messing around too much with Celtic mythology. I bet his face was red when they explained that Thor et al. was actually from Norse mythology. I laughed out loud at that one.

Nevertheless, this is a wonderful series and worth getting for any person who like me enjoys recollecting his old comics as graphic novels so he can actually read them (or her/she if you’re female). My biggest request is to do just a little bit of touch up on future issues (maybe a rerelease?), and my second biggest request is to do the same thing with the second What If? series (as, to my knowledge, it has not been released in a serial book form).

I’ll keep buying them as long as Marvel/Disney/etc. keeps printing them! ( )
  aethercowboy | Mar 20, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roy Thomasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Craig, JimIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Glut, Donmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kane, GilIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Shooter, Jimmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Trimpe, HerbIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0785118438, Paperback)

Daredevil's secret exposed? The identity of Thor passed down to another? A new Hulk? Multiple Spider-Men? Some of the ideas that shook Marvel's foundation got their start right in the realm of remote possibility overseen by the wondering Watcher! But can even Uatu believe his eyes when Jack "King" Kirby rewrites himself and his fellow legends as the Fantastic Four? Plus: from a concept by Roy Thomas, the Avengers of 1958! Collects What If? #7-12.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:50 -0400)

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