Monday, March 8, 2021

Bob Haney's Marvel Universe, A Comics Counterfactual

I've previously speculated in a couple of different ways about DC done in a Marvel manner, but it seemed like a good time to think about things in the other direction: what if somehow DC had managed to take over Marvel just as the Marvel Age was getting off the ground?

Talking about this with my friend and occasionally fellow blogger, Jim Shelley, we came up with several ideas, but since several came down to "Bob Haney," I figured that was worth a post in and of itself. This, of course, is just idle speculation, but I could see it informing a very interesting supers rpg campaign. Maybe it will look that way to you, too.

The Hulk
In this timeline, the "hero and villain in one man!" dynamic that Haney brought to Eclipso (first appearing in May of 1963) will instead get applied to Marvel's Jekyll and Hyde character, the Hulk. The Hulk would retain his more villainous "gray hulk" persona through the entirety of his short run, and Banner would be his antagonist. Just like in the real world, this series doesn't last long, so in Tales to Astonish in 1964, Haney and artist Ramona Fradon bring the camp and whimsy they would have brought to Metamorpho to the Hulk. Bruce Banner becomes stuck in Hulk form, but still tries to woo Betty Ross, while being under the thumb of her father who ostensibly has Banner on a short lease "for his own good," but doesn't hesitate to exploit his abilities.

The X-Men
"Dig this crazy teen scene!" The X-men had a rocky start, so Haney was given title, along with a new artist, Nick Cardy--the original Teen Titans team in our history. Haney made the X-Men "hip" teens and gave them new foes like the Mad Mod, and more than one motorcycle gang. The male X-Men often refer to Marvel Girl as "Marvel-chick" as a term of endearment.

The Haney/Cardy team kept the X-Men from going all reprints, though the title wouldn't really catch on until the arrival of the New X-Men, same as in the history we know.


Dick McGee said...

I dig the Marvel-Chick idea, that's just groovy.

To riff on the overall concept, how about Gardner Fox's inspired lunacy on the Avengers and perhaps a DC/Marvel character crossover akin to his DC-multiverse work with Flash of Two Worlds and the first JSA/JLA Crisis stories? Oh, and of course Doctor Strange, who he actually did a little writing on in real life...or the prime continuity, if you prefer. :)

Random Randomness said...

@Dick m gee I see where you're going. Cap of Two Worlds, Earth One and Earth Two versions of Captain America, Sub-Mariner and Human Torch. But would it be Avengers/All-Winners Squad crossovers or do we wait until Roy Thomas creates the Invaders?

Dick McGee said...

@Random Randomness I was thinking more a DC vs Marvel kind of thing where the Avengers and the JSA or JLA interact, maybe facing off against Big Bads from each others' native settings - Ultron and Darkseid, maybe? But if we were doing Cap of Two Worlds (616 and some other) I'd wait for the Invaders personally.