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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Marvel Asks the Hard Questions

In the long history of Marvel's What If... there has never, ever been a question as awesomely ridiculous as the one posed by Gary Friedrich, Don Glut, and Herb Trimpe in 1979.

Sgt. Fury may pale in comparison with Sgt. Rock, but anybody who can blast aliens with a laser rifle during The War To End All Wars In Outer Spaaaaace while quoting himself is a force to be reckoned with. Plus, if you look at that corner-box, not even having his spacesuit ripped as he ran through the cold vacuum of space could stop him from delivering the hot, lasery justice of the United States of America.

Sadly, the interiors aren't nearly as exciting as that cover. But then again, what could be?

The problem, of course, is the almost complete lack of Space Nazis, which--along with a plot that revolves largely around Fury risking his life to save a computer-robot that communicates solely in ticker-tape--dooms this one to relative obscurity. But it does have its high points.

For instance:

Yes, that man is smoking a pipe inside his crazy space helmet. For some reason, Fury's cigar on the cover didn't phase me at all (he is, after all, Nick Fury, and that cigar's pretty much part of his costume), but when Sam Sawyer shows up with a pipe, that makes it a pattern. And really: That's got to be inconvenient.

But even with that, the whole thing just goes on and on with the Watcher popping up every few pages to explain that the attack on Station Pearl by the Red Lizard-Men of Beta Space (!) is a lot like something else that happened on December 7, 1941, until finally, on page 38, we get what we've all been waiting for.




Incidentally, I wonder if, in a world where Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions allowed for space travel by the 19th century and the existence of Earth as a unified political body allied with other space-faring civilizations, the word "kraut" actually existed, or if Fury just made it up on the spot to deal with Baron Strucker.

More importantly, however, is another question that's raised in this issue, and that is this: If there are Space Nazis in this alternate What If dimension, then it would follow logically that there would also be an Interdimensional Space-Hitler.

And trust me: That guy would make a dandy villain for Civil War.

More Purely Theoretical Fun From the Pages of What If...?:

| The Hypothetical Adventures of Conan, Part One |
| The Hypothetical Adventures of Conan, Part Two |


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has ruined my life.

Until I can find an excuse to say "Awwright, Howlers -- let's take these ratzis!" in perfect context I cannot rest ever again.

8/07/2006 1:50 AM

Blogger McGone said...

Maybe my favorite post ever. Thank you for introducing me to the image of a man with a pipe in his space helmet. Because that. Is. Genius.

8/07/2006 2:43 AM

Blogger jonni said...

Is it me, or do those aliens look a lot like the Draconians from Doctor Who?

Once again though, I doff my hat to you Mr Sims, for casually blowing my mind on Monday morning.

8/07/2006 4:44 AM

Blogger Brandon Bragg said...

I'm sorely tempted to find a fishbowl and a pack of Marlboros and give this helmet-smoking thing a whirl.

Wait a minute... That came out totally wrong.

Meh, you know what I mean.

8/07/2006 7:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam Sauwyer's not the only person who does this. I just picked up Eclipso: The Darkness Within #2 from a library book sale that was selling a bunch of cheap comics, and the high point of that comic was that Will Magnus was smoking that pipe he always has with him ON THE MOON. Then again, what else would you expect from the creator of the Metal Men?

8/07/2006 10:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Fury may pale in comparison with Sgt. Rock

You're dead to me, Sims.

8/07/2006 10:53 AM

Blogger Mark Fossen said...

I distinctly remember buying this issue off the newsstand back in the day - one of the first comics I bought, if memory serves

8/07/2006 1:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, this is a good blog web site, you have great comic book pictures. So I guess I am saying "good job" on your blog web site about comic books. I do not remember that comic book, I guess it is not about history because they did not have it in space for real, but that is why it is "WHAT IF", like for example "WHAT IF" it did not happen one way, it was a different way (like for example Batman was a lady and not a man). So that is kind of weird but it looks like it is pretty funny and interesting probably (but you have to say it is not real or people will be confused, they might think it is "the real story".) I know it is your blog web site, I am just trying to help (I don't want people to be confused about if the comic on the blog web site really happened in the comic book world, instead it is made up).

8/07/2006 2:57 PM

Blogger Kevin said...

I'm pretty sure that Sgt. Rock wouldn't need a space helmet, so yes Sgt. Rock > Sgt. Fury. Something about whipping space nazis with ammo belts creates breathable oxygen (or at least with comic book science it does).

8/07/2006 4:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moose N Squirrel said...

"'Sgt. Fury may pale in comparison with Sgt. Rock'

You're dead to me, Sims."

Sgt. Fury does ondeed suffer in coparison to the (one true) Rock. Also while Fury has Gabe, Dugan, and Dino; he suffers from the continued presence of Pinky.

However Col. Fury rocks!

rgl (what will we do tonight, Dumdum ...)

8/07/2006 7:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sgt. Fury does ondeed suffer in coparison to the (one true) Rock.

You ungrateful punk! If it wasn't for Fury we'd all be speaking Space German!

8/07/2006 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re Moose n Squirrel' latest:

Ich verstehe nicht.

And now the 'm' issing from my previous post

8/07/2006 7:50 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Like it's my fault that Fury is a pale simulacrum for the One True Sarge. Heck, even Marvel realized as much, and took him in the much more entertaining Super-Spy direction.

Meanwhile, Frank Rock's still punching Nazis to death when he runs out of bullets. It's just how he rolls.

8/07/2006 8:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fury is a pale simulacrum for the One True Sarge

Sgt. Rock does not love war, though, as a proper meat-made killing machine should. Indeed, he has notably requested that we stop the war so he can get out. Sgt. Rock wants to cut and run! Truly, the Space Terrorists have already won.

8/07/2006 9:33 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Sgt. Rock is fighting a war against the very concept of war itself. There is nothing manlier.

8/07/2006 10:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As cool as Space Nazi's are I'm still going with the The Hover Rack as the best thing ever.

8/07/2006 11:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If World War II was fought in space... um, where was World War I fought? And by who?

8/08/2006 12:20 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

In space, obviously, against the Space-Kaiser.

The economic collapse of Postspacewar Germany is what allowed Interdimensional Space Hitler to rise to power in the first place.

8/08/2006 8:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Interdimensional Space-Hitler." Unlike the ISB's usual punch to the face, this is a fine wine to be savored.

8/19/2006 1:54 PM


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