Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Random Reads: What If Nova Had Been...

Teen Groove loved, loved, LOVED What If? Roy Thomas' brainchild was so cool, yet so simple: combine DC's Infinite Earths with their Imaginary Stories, but do 'em up Marvel style in a double-sized bi-monthly comic (hosted by Uatu, the Watcher, natch!) One of my all-time favorite issues of What If? was ish #15 (April 1979) in which we learned what would have happened if someone other than Richard Ryder had gained the power of Nova. I loved the occasional anthology issues of What If? because it meant we'd be treated more awesome artists than usual, and this issue didn't disappoint. John Buscema and Joe Sinnott. Carmine Infantino and Frank Springer. Ross Andru and Frank Giacoia (showing what would have happened if a dude named Peter Parker had gained the Nova-powers). Best of all were the two versions with art by Walt Simonson and Bob Wiacek (guest starring the Fantastic Four and the Kingpin, no less) and George Perez and Tom Palmer (with a whole passel of vile villains). All of course were written by Nova's creator, Marvelous Marv Wolfman. Check 'em out!

Y'know, in today's comics, those two "Novas" might just be considered run-of-the-mill (anti) heroes. Makes ya think, huh?


  1. Hey Groovster!!
    I agree What IF rocked, atleast for it's 1st 30-50 issues or so. I loved Nova back then. This was a great issue of What If, but where's the Peter Parker/Nova story. I remember he was in a wheel chair, but at the end threw away the Nova costume. Like in Spider-Man#50 Spider-Man No More!!

    If my memory servces me right. Didn't he get shot at by the burglar & a bullet bounced off him killing uncle Ben? Peter Parker was bitter from being a wheel chair correct? I have read this issue since like 1986!! Nova should have been Marvel's next great hero of the 70's like Spider-Man was in the 60's.

    I think when Sal Buscema left as penciler the book too a nose dive. Then Wolfman? Brought in that Dr.Sun robot from Tomb of Dracula. Plus RR revealing to his parent's he was Nova! GGGGRRRR!! His brother knowing was ok, & cool to me. But the lame robot his brother created & the parents knowing & Carmine Infantino's pencils killed the book. His art just didn't fit the series, the way he drew Nova's helmet always looked flat to me. Thanks for posting this gem of a issue of What If!!

    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Watcher Knows! UUmmm ....Wait that's not right? Or could it be!! He knows too!

  2. I didn't want to post the whole story, Mike, 'cause the stories are in print in tpb, so I chose my favorite two stories from the issue. I almost did the Peter Parker version, but to me,it's even more over-the-top than the two I posted, with Pete being even more of a loser than ever (he was always an even bigger loser in What If?, wasn't he?). Maybe I'll post that one later!

  3. Hey Groovster!
    That was me, aka Mike Parker with the earlier comment. Like yourself I LOVED What If. Any chance we can see the PP Nova story soon? I hope I can pick up some back issues of What Ifs to cover here too! I was stunned Nova wasn't the new Spider-Man of the 70's too. It was a great series with a great cast of characters. Not to mention the top talent the first 13 issues.



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