What If? (1977) - #1
"What If... Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four?"
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John Romita Sr.
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Cover Date: February 1977
Cover Price: US $ 0.50
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 52 pages
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Early in Spider-Man's career, he visited the Fantastic Four thinking that he could get a paying job.
In 616, he was lightly mocked for thinking that the FF paid salaries. Spider-Man gets angry and leaves in a huff.
In this reality, Sue Storm calls after Peter, who returns. A more level-headed discussion ensues, with the FF deciding that some extra muscle and a pay structure couldn't hurt after all.
The consequences of having Spider-Man on the team are then explored.
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Since this was the very first issue of What If?, there is a lengthier-than-usual introduction explaining the concept of alternate realities.
Interestingly, Marvel goes out of its way to distinguish the What If? concept (cause-and-effect results of altered actions) from DC's "imaginary stories".
For example, it is consistent with the Marvel universe that a change of mind could see Spider-Man joining the Fantastic Four.
An imaginary story on the other hand would not have to "play by the rules" - a story about Superman being a lion from the year 3000 would be fair game.
Notes on the many characters appearing in the Watcher's introduction:
- Still need to add the Squadron Supreme and Avengers members from page 3
- Yes, Earth-1 Superman really does appear in this issue.. Or at least his arm does. On page 3: "And, doubts exist as to whether Spider-Man's spectacular bout with a certain colorfully-clad alien took place in this time continuum or another.". This is a reference to the Superman Vs. The Amazing Spider-Man one-shot co-published by Marvel and DC in 1976.
- The Captain America in the reality shown where the Invaders and the Fantastic Four fight the Axis Powers might not be Steve Rogers.
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