For a while I was going through comic shop $1 bins and buying up anything that looked weird. I don’t really know why I was doing that–it seemed like a good idea. With comics like Adventure floating around in the world, how could I not? So now I have a longbox of comics that are weird and never-read. Last week, I began going through the box and pulling out all of the things that made my head spin in fun ways.
One of the comics is What The–?! #26. I, like most comics fans, am aware of the What If? series of comics. The general gist of What If? is that comics writers take a different path from the canon of Marvel comics and then play out what would have happened–What If Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four? is the first issue, for instance.
What The–?! lampoons the Marvel Universe. It takes the characters and the universe and turns it into something rife for parody. It isn’t hard to do–in fact, making fun of superhero comics is probably easier than writing them. It is also a cultural document, and issue 26 really speaks to this.
In a story called “What If the Fantastic Four Stayed in the Movie Biz?” Dan Slott and Manny Galan perform a comedic What If? scenario by imagining three movies that the Fantastic Four would have been in. The movies are all pitch-perfect: Home 4 Alone (where Galactus is in the Joe Pesci role), Pretty Invisible Woman, and Doin’ The Right Thing.
All of them are funny, but Doin’ The Right Thing is actually super smart. In the comic, The Thing takes the place of the Sal, the pizza place owner from the parodied film, Do The Right Thing. In Fantastic Four comics, The Thing often takes on the role of a minority character–he is the only “non-normal” member of the Fantastic Four and he can never “pass.” The comic pits him, inherently non-“normal” and equipped with a Jewish racial identity, against the youth culture of the comic–mutants.
In any case, it is funny, and I have included it below. Don’t tell anyone.