|"What If ... Conan was your dad?"|
|"Are you comfortable in the bucket, Conan?"|
The first half of this unusual pair of speculative adventures comes with the pedigree of Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Ernie Chan at the helm, making it effectively as legit a Conan story as any set in the Hyperborean Age. Spinning off from a Savage Sword tale, Conan is at the mercy of time-plundering wizard and former Babylonian CFO Shamash Shum-Ukin (Huh, I went to school with a Charlotte Shum-Ukin, I wonder if there's any relation). Hucked in a bucket and dropped through a time well, the timelines diverge when it turns out that Shambash Clay-Aiken or whatever his name was bought really shitty rope - in mainstream reality, Conan was able to climb out of the time well. In What If World, though, the rope snaps and he f-a-a-al-l-ls ...
|Spider-Man, you useless prole.|
Being New York in the late Seventies, there's naturally a blackout. Having taken up residence with a hard-boiled lady cab driver named Danette, Conan ends up leaving her company briefly to deal with looting in the streets below before ending up killing a few hoodlums inside the Guggenheim. I'm sad that he didn't try to fight the '78 Yankees or anything, but it's only a 48 page comic.
Being unexpectedly struck by lightning on top of the museum roof signals Conan's exit, just as it does for many golfers every year during the rainy season. In the barbarian's case, however, the lightning strike merely executes his return to ancient times, taking with him as a memento only the denim beret of his time-lost lover. Weirder words I've never before written ...
|Somehow the acoustic guitar just makes them more punk.|
When the story is revisited in 1984, it takes the uncommon tactic of spinning off a What If from a previous What If scenario - this time, Conan ISN'T struck by lightning on the roof of the Guggenheim, and is instead jumped by like forty cops and shoved in lockup. This sequel is helmed by Peter Gillis and Bob Hall, and lacks some of the gravitas and authenticity which the Thomas/Buscema/Chan endeavor had by default.
It doesn't take long for Conan to figure out the mechanics of the modern day, particularly - and again, this is the Eighties, so this is inevitably how it goes - cocaine and hookers. Dressing in a white pimp suit and sporting a PET LEOPARD, Conan calls on his former future flame Danette, only to be rebuffed because I guess her building only allows service leopards.
|If that mug was a gift, then |
he's got cheap friends.
The Watcher shows up in the last panel to tease a further sequel to this chain of stories, which unfortunately never materializes. To that end, I encourage everyone to envision their own sequel to Conan visiting the 20th Century and joining the Avengers, possibly becoming elected governor of California and then making some disappointing Terminator sequels. We might just make it happen through the power of dreams!