What If?, for those of you who may not be giant nerds, is an on-again, off-again series from Marvel comics, filled with tales of alternate realities and hosted by the cosmic-powered, blue-toga'd Watcher. The Watcher's entire race are bald, emotionally detatched voyeurs in blue togas who observe other civilisations for no discernable reason* and are not adverse to telling easily-illustrated tales of the wonders of the cosmos.
The series filled two major needs: firstly, it had about a hojillion artists, and each of them got to draw the Watcher as he or she had always envisioned him, from concerned alien baby:
To grotesque, horrifying alien baby:
But more than merely a vehicle for the apparantly burning need of all comic book artists to draw their own radical new type of alien baby in a blue toga, What If? allowed comic book writers free reign: as all of the stories were set in alternate dimensions, all bets were off. Mostly, this involved taking some major or minor event in Marvel continuity, putting a new spin on it, and killing off as many characters as logically possible, from a dead Iron Man in a story about the Hulk going nuts, to a pretty cool little yarn where giant snake gods eat literally everyone on earth.
But as cool as it always was to see how Captain Britain was going to get killed off this issue, the really great thing about What If? was when it suddenly veered off at right angles and gave you something like this:
Ghost Rider getting ready to sacrifice Pope John Paul II. I don't even remember why anymore. I'm just glad I saved the picture.
*Note to any comic book nerds that may read this post: Earth X was a shitty reimagining of the Marvel cosmology, and I choose to ignore it, so there.