Once Upon A Geek – What If (vol 1) #46 and What If (vol 2) #66


Chris Franklin and The Irredeemable Shag find their joy discussing the Marvel comic series that explores the multiverse of cause-and-effect.. WHAT IF! We discuss Chris' history with the series, then we take a deep dive into two issues:

  • What If (vol 1) #46 - “What if… Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben had Lived?”
  • What If (vol 2) #66 - “What if… Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor”

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19 responses to “Once Upon A Geek – What If (vol 1) #46 and What If (vol 2) #66

  1. 1. werid what if fact What if (along with Hulk AND GI JOE WAS ONE of the Marvels you get at my regular store in sf and my great grandma’s house in Salinas (ya know where firestrom lives)
    2. SHag I think if (and i admit it’s an if the size of them MILKY WAY) If you know SPider-man a yelling Ben parker is a living Ben Parker
    3 as a guy who’s mother,father two uncles and three brothers read comics I KNEW SPIDER man! But
    4 reading Marvel tales you FORGOT YOU KNEW THAT and they were just really good
    5 I THINK this was the best What if based on SPIDER-MAN

  2. SECOND STORY BLECK not sure i like rouge absorbing magic.
    also it’s 90s What if WICH if you remember was the book they told newbies to pitch to. So I WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY UPSET THEY DID this instead of mine

  3. Always love some alternate Earth action. Like Chris, I suspect that What If? didn’t always appear on the spinner racks at the newsstand where I bought my comics. One that I definitely remember well was What If? #9, “What if The Avengers Formed in the 1950s?” The team was 3-D Man, Venus (yes, that Venus from the Roman myths), Marvel Boy (who would become Quasar eventually, I think),Human Robot, and my personal favorite of course, Gorilla Man.

  4. What if recommendations? I think I can be of some help
    Here’s a list
    Volume 1 issue 9 what if the avengers had
    Fought evil in the 1950’s?

    2.volume 1 issue 28 what if dare devil became a agent of shield .

    What if volume one issue 8 what if the world knew dare devil was blind .

    My last one is what if volume one issue 35 what if elektra had lived .
    If wondering why the dare devil kick I picked up a copy of mighty marvel master works dare devil volume two I’m on 14 and dare devil is on adventure with ka-zar away from the savage land .by the way how did your own reread of daredevil go ?

  5. I’ve read some what if’s I can’t remember the issue numbers but remember two that I read one is what if some else other then Peter Parker got the spider power . And another one was a similar idea but it was different people becoming nova . Also I think there is three what if’s Conan the barbarian.

  6. Good show, guys. Chris classes up everything he’s in. Re: Spider-Man and Great Responsibility.

    When I looked at the origin of the phrase, the article I referenced was Brian Cronin’s on CBR in which he states that the phrase, “With great power, there must also come great responsibility” was first attributed to Uncle Ben in, of all places, the 1972 Rock Comic! It did not appear in the comics until either Amazing Spider-Man #274 written by Tom DeFalco (but this is an hallucination) OR 1987’s Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1 written by Jim Owsley. It’s POSSIBLE that Owsley, as editor of ASM #274, believed that DeFalco was referencing somewhere else and that it was always thus so I’m kind of leaning towards giving credit to DeFalco.

  7. #46 was one of my first What Ifs – I started with What If Captain America Were Revived Today? two issues earlier, so it was important as an early issue (from my POV) that didn’t have the Marvel Universe ending or whatever. It showed the WI? wasn’t a one-trick massacre and cemented my love for the series… which ended an issue later. It was one of the few series I searched flea markets and eventually comic book stores for.

    As for #66, it’s after I quit the series, but it has some of the hallmarks of the second series that I found annoying, in particular, being vague about the turning point. (Later issues would even not tell you what the what if what was on the cover – like today’s What Ifs – and that’s the most grating of all.) But it’s also emblematic of the 90sness that had taken over the series. It’s about a member of the X-Men (we’re lucky it’s not Wolverine this time). And it’s one of those power swaps that are to me the laziest What Ifs. What if Wolverine was a vampire? What if Wolverine was an Agent of SHIELD? What if Wolverine was a Hulk–I dunno. This Rogue story seemed to go interesting places though, but in concept, I find these kinds of What Ifs a little thin in terms of premise. Cool, but not deep. Kind of like the 90s.

  8. Great episode. Love hearing you and Chris go over these issues and hope you both team-up for more of them.

    When I first read #46, I thought that “costume under the tablecloth” was Pete’s hiding place, and I never went back to realize it was Ben who put it there as a “gotcha” until you guys mentioned it here.

    I found it interesting how Pete and Ben shared this guilt where they both felt they could have been a “hero” and save May, which is possibly unintended, but a solid commentary on masculinity. And it appears to absolve Pete of almost all responsibility, where he becomes kind of a puppet. Uncle Ben, might be a terrible person for Pete to be around when he’s Spider-Man.

    As far as #66 goes, I wasn’t familiar, or that interested, but it was actually pretty good. I was also confused by Odin’s being powerless to do anything about what was happening, but a happy ending, even if in right ridiculous scrappy clothes, is a pretty welcome conclusion to a What If…?

    Floating heads
    Marvel tales
    The kind of masculine hero stuff
    Ben is a terrible person to be a part of his life
    Mr. Big? What is this? What I’d

  9. I remember the Spider-Man story pretty well! It was a different take on an earlier What If story where Peter, as Spidey, stops the Burglar in the first place, then he, Peter/Spidey, becomes an insufferable movie star. But Uncle Ben doesn’t get shot. I had already read most of the first 18 issues of Amazing Spider-Man when this was published, thanks to the Pocket Books collections, so I was hip to most of the story beats. However, the John Jameson climax was eminently forgettable. Those little Pocket Books editions gave me an appreciation for Steve Ditko’s art that I had not previously had. I had seen him on Shade, The Creeper (in World’s Finest), the Demon (in Batman Family) and fill-ins, and I was not thrilled. However, seeing what he did on Spider-Man, with a fuller, more solid ink line, was a revelation! Clearly Frenz is aping Ditko in this story, but the drawings seem to me to be too sketchy, not nearly as confident as Ditko’s.
    It wasn’t until I listened to this podcast and was thinking about it later, that I realized the untold aspect of this story. Without Aunt Mae, her friend Anna has no reason to call on Uncle Ben. So Anna never introduces her niece to Peter! What if Mary Jane Watson married Harry Osborn!

    1. Terry, I was going to bring up MJ, and also the fact that Ben figured out Peter’s secret identity the same way MJ was revealed to have done so shortly after this issue was published, by seeing Spider-Man swing into the Parker house! So, did MJ know the secret in this universe, but avoided Peter since Anna probably wasn’t as pushy with Ben? Or…maybe after a few years, Ben and Annna started dating, and possibly marrying, which would make Peter and MJ semi-related! The mind boggles.

      1. If MJ never meets Peter, she never meets the rest of the gang. It’s only due to knowing Peter she comes into the orbit of Gwen, Harry etc. MJ always had her own thing going on. There’s an interesting What If…? What If Mary Jane never met Peter Parker…?

  10. I also lived in an area with little-to-no spinner rack presence for What If? Vol 1. (That, or it was extremely popular and sold out immediately.) Vol. 2 had some enticing stories towards the beginning and became a C-Tier book for me, something I would happily pick up if there were no favorites on the rack at the time. A few V2 stories that stick out in my mind:
    -The End of the World crossovers: Atlantis Attacks, Inferno, & The Evolutionary War each had stories where our heroes lost the big event. In the case of the first two, it saw lots of death and unusual alliances. The Evolutionary War was the best of the three as it presented the outcome as something possibly good, even if the ethics of getting there were deeply flawed.
    -What if Daredevil Killed Kingpin: This tied in heavily with the Spidey gang war stuff and led to a new status quo I wish could’ve been explored further.
    -My other favorite (along with the Evo War) is What if the X-Men stayed in Asgard? Half of the X-Men/New Mutants stick around to live in Asgard as their life looks to be better there. It has a mix of tragedy and triumph, tells an epic tale within 22 pages, and leaves you wanting to know about the folks who chose to return to Earth. Valentino crushes it on script and art.

  11. Great episode! I had to read What If (vol 2) #66 – “What if… Rogue Possessed the Power of Thor” and wow was it an EXTREME 90’s comic! I-loved-it . Even the 90’s artwork style and Rogue’s haircut. Not once was it boring! Which probably means I need to get in my TARDIS and go back and live in 1994 again lol keep up the good work and have a Crystal Pepsi on me!

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