Back when I first started reading comics, in the 90’s (thunder noises), I was a bit too young to have any real income and was mainly relegated to read comics that had Spider-Man and/or Venom on the cover. One of said covers was for a What If about the New Fantastic Four, made up of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk and Ghost Rider. I had never heard of this team, but the concept was too rad not to look at, so I got the issue.
That, from what I recall, was the only one I ever did get back then. I remember passing on one about Cannonball’s brother Josh because, hell, I didn’t even know who Cannonball was. Didn’t he show up once during the really shitty final season of the X-Men cartoon?
Like many comic readers, spider-clones and evil, magnetic Xaviers pushed me away from the hobby for years. I can’t really remember when I got back into it again, but I know it wasn’t long into it that I remembered the What If series. With nearly 200 issues out there, I only looked at those based on characters I knew about. X-Men and Spider-Man mostly. Then, over time, as I started to understand more about guys like Iron Man and Dr. Doom, I’d read their stories. Then Dr. Strange and Captain America. Then Fantastic Four and Namor. And so on and so forth.
Until Wikipedia came around, these comics were some of the best ways to get background on characters and storylines. I didn’t know a thing about how Strange became a sorcerer until reading these. I didn’t know the story behind how the Silver Surfer became Galactus’ flunky, only to be given independence. In fact, most of Captain America’s backstory I’ve learned from his What If issues. So thanks for the help, Uatu the Watcher.
After realizing how many of these I’ve read, I knew I had to finish the series off. And so, at the time of this article, I have about 30 issues left to go through. Once I’m done with those, it will be time for me to reflect on it with my list of the best 100 issues. Read the rest of this entry �