On Wednesdays, The Amazing Justin Palm! gets drunk as shit and reviews an issue of Marvel Comics’ “What If?” so that you, the reader, can enjoy his drunken ramblings about a comic book whose sole purpose is to talk about shit that never happened, so it doesn’t matter at all. Dear Internet: You’re welcome.
Okay, so there’s a backup comic in this week’s issue. It’s.... odd. It wants to be funny, but it’s not really. But it’s there, so here it is.
So, sort of like they used to do in “Not Brand Ecch!” (Marvel’s answer to Mad Magazine. I’ll write about it some time), this back up has Marvel Editor Roy Thomas take over for the Watcher in full Watcher garb. Just... just go with it, this is about to get pretty weird. Because in this universe, everyone (except mad scientists?(GIANT mad scientists)) are anthropomorphic animals. So we meet Webster Weaver (REALLY?), a nerdy spider who lives with his Aunt Mayfly and Uncle Bug. And.... okay, lets cut to the chase, this is Spider-Man but with bugs and animals.
So, here’s who everyone is this time: Flash is a goat named Trash, Liz Allen is a … pink snake with hair? Or something? JJJ is a jackass named J. Jonah Jackass (of course), and Betty Brant is (most offensively, in my humble opinion) a pig named Miss Grunt. Webster goes to a science experiment, where the (strangely gigantic human) mad scientist accidentally bathes himself in radiation, goes crazy, and bites Webster’s arm. This, naturally, gives the spider human powers, and thus Webster becomes the Spectacular Man-Spider.
Dear god, it gets worse. Okay, you know Spider-Man’s origin, so can we skip to the meat? Uncle Bug dies because of Man-Spider’s inaction, and thus he becomes a hero. Moving on. All his villains have animal counterparts: Culture Vulture is a vulture with a diploma, Rude Rhino is a rhino in a vest and derby, Marvin the Hunter is a lion with a knife (truly upping the ante in terms of weaponized lions), there’s a truly terrifying Dr. Octopus clone who is now a cat with nine octopus arms coming out of his ass, Leapin’ Lizard is a Lizard in a labcoat (so no real change there) - there’s a bunch more, and they just get worse, so moving on.
There’s actually sort of a plot now- since we have 2 pages left- and the silliness just gets amped up. Some one threatens to destroy the Earth’s atmosphere, so Man-Spider is on the case. The final boss? An anthropomorphic can of bugspray. This is in no way a dated reference (in terms of destroying the Earth’s atmosphere? Just... just look up CFCs, kids). Man-Spider escapes the bugspray, the bugspray isn’t really captured or anything, Roy Thomas is suddenly turned into a woodchuck, the end.
Once again, really, that’s how it ends. It’s not as funny as Not Brand Ecch was, it’s mostly just a less cheerful Captain Carrot riff (I don’t actually know if Captain Carrot came out before this, but I’m a firmly pro-Captain Carrot person, so let’s go with that). But, it is what it is, a back up issue in a comic that doesn’t count. You kinda gotta see it to believe it, I guess.
Guys. This is a panel from this issue, and that's seriously only half the villains with bad names.