Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest What If…? Stories Ever Told!
10. “What If Conan the Barbarian Walked the Earth Today?” What If…? #13
There was definitely some vote-splitting between this one and its sequel. I didn’t combine the two, though, since they were so dramatically different from each other. This issue, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by John Buscema and Ernie Chan, was basically like an issue of Conan where Conan did, indeed, end up on Earth in modern times. The later story took the idea to a WHOLE other level.
9. “Matt Murdock, Agent of…S.H.I.E.L.D.” What If…? #28
Written by Frank Miller and Mike Barr, with art by Miller and Klaus Janson, this was a fun action adventure story with great artwork from Miller and Janson.
8. “Legacy” What If…” #105
Written by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz with art by Frenz and Bill Sienkiewicz, this was the only What If…? issue to be so popular that it got its own spin-off series! This is the series that introduced Spider-Girl, daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson-Parker, who went on to have her own awesome series for over 100 issues!
7. “What If…the Avengers Had Become the Pawns of Korvac?” What If…? #32
Written by Mark Gruenwald (with an assist from Peter Sanderson) and drawn by Gruenwald (layouts), Greg LaRocque (finishes) and likely more than a literal TON of inkers, this was a dark follow-up of the famed Korvac Saga. This took the idea of “Everyone dies” (a recurring What If…? trope) and took it a whole other level.
6. “What If Gwen Stacy Had Lived?” What If…? #24
This issue was lucky enough to have the original artist from the death of Gwen Stacy, Gil Kane, do the layouts for the issue! Frank Giacoia finished Kane’s layouts and a bunch of inkers inked it. Tony Isabella wrote the issue, which was a strong melancholic approach to Gwen surviving. Yes, she lives, but this is Spider-Man, if one thing goes right something ELSE must go wrong, and the issue does not end happily. At least everyone makes it out of the issue alive!
The top five is on the next page!
5. “What If Captain America Were Not Revived Until Today?” What If…? #44
Peter Gillis wrote a powerful tale of how bad things would have gotten if Cap wasn’t around to stop them. Especially when a bad guy revives the 1950s Cap and uses him to basically turn the United States into a fascist state. Luckily, when the REAL Captain America is revived, he is so awesome that he is able to turn the tide. Sal Buscema and Dave Simons did the artwork for the issue.
4. “What If the Watcher Was a Stand-Up Comedian?” What If…? #34
This classic all-humor issue has such awesome humorous What If…?s as “What If the Fantastic Four Were Bananas?” “What If Nick Fury Had to Wear an Eyepatch on His Right Eye Instead of His Left Eye?” “What If Black Bolt Got the Hiccups?” “What If…Ka-Zar…Were a Middle-Aged Accountant Instead of a Savage?” “What If All the Super Heroes Who Now Lived in New York City Moved to Toledo, Ohio?” and the classic “What If Wonder Man Were a Woman and Power Man Were a Girl?” This issue has tons of these very funny gags in it.
3. “What If the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Powers?” What If…? #36
You might think that the Fantastic Four without their powers would basically be the Challengers of the Unknown, and that’s exactly where John Byrne went with this story (he wrote and drew the issue) as he tells one of the best Challengers of the Unknown stories you’ll ever see, only not even starring the actual Challengers!
2. “What If Phoenix Had Not Died?” What If…? #27
Jo Duffy wrote this tale that was one of the more harrowing “Everybody dies!” style issues of What If…? Jerry Bingham does a great job on the art, with inks by a few different people (mostly John Stuart). Years later, Chris Claremont was able to do a version of this story that was closer to what he actually had in mind had Jean lived.
1. “What if Bullseye Had Not Killed Elektra?” What If…? #35
Frank Miller and Terry Austin gives us this heartwarming “road not taken.” It is amazing that we actually got to see Miller himself write and draw these stories featuring his Daredevil characters. It was a rare treat.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!