What If? Classic Volume 1, published by Marvel Comics, 216 pages, $24.99.
When Marvel Comics launched their first What If? comics series in 1977, I was a very young fan. I remember the astonishing scene on the cover of that first issue staring me in the face; "What If Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four?" Already familiar with the first confrontation between Spidey and the F.F. from reprints of the very first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, I was ecstatic at what I was about to delve into - a retelling of a classic tale, that decides to go in a completely different direction and satisfy the questions to which many of us didn't even realize we wanted answers.
The rest, as they say, is history. History, however, has never been more fun than it is in the first volume of Marvel's What If? Classic. Within it's pages are tales that thrill the reader, tickle the imagination and show off some impressive work by creators who helped write a very important chapter in comics history. Among those notable figures of such sensational sequential savvy are Roy Thomas, Jim Shooter, Herb Trimpe, Jim Craig, Pablo Marcos, Gil Kane, Klaus Janson, Frank Robbins and George Tuska, all very talented and long-admired industry veterans. By now, I hope you're getting the idea. This tome would be worth the price of admission if it were run-of-the-mill superhero fare. But, with concepts like a world without the classic Avengers (and the consequent birth of the Armored Avengers), a post W.W. II world WITH the Invaders, a Fantastic Four with wildly different super powers and the afore-mentioned Spider-Man/F.F. tale, this book is a must for Marvel fans, or any fans of good ol' knock-down, drag-out superhero action! Even those who aren't strict comics fans, but are familiar with Marvel's heavily optioned-out properties could find this collection entertaining.
What If? Classic is re-commended for all readers, and can be found at comics shops, some bookstores, and online comics retailers and auctions.
Review by Mark Allen
Order Vance's history of the American Comics Group in Alter Ego #61 at www.twomorrows.com.
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