We’ve got Growing Pains on FUNday today!

In this week’s FUNday, we put down our already dog-eared copies of Sarah Palin’s memoir for a few moments to return to an old favorite, the zany gag magazine, What The-?!, in which two Alphans appear in cameo.

What The-?! #2
Sep 1988

The Marvel Mag of Mirth and Mayhem! That’s the tag line and the best way to describe this irresistibly silly humor book that lacked all boundaries. Filled with short parody pieces, fake ads, fake letter pages and fake bullpen bulletins, this series relentlessly tore apart anything that wasn’t nailed down while at the same time showcasing the best and most popular creators of the time.

In this issue, Puck appears tiny in the first story in one panel. Also, Shaman (as Talisman) appears in another panel in the fourth story.

The first of four 8-page parody pieces, “Superbman vs. The Fantastical Four” is written and drawn by John Byrne, the most suitable artist for such a piece.  In a back alley near the headquarters building of the Fantastical Four, Doctor Bloom’s elaborate twenty-nine phase plan unravels as Rex Ruthless out-elaborates his logic and precision with an incomprensible, rambling explanation.

As Doctor Bloom gives up, a tiny Puck can be seen holding an “Alan Thicke Fan Club” sign, a shout-out from Byrne to fellow Canadian Alan Thicke, a TV actor who was widely popular as Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains, an ABC sitcom that ran from 1985 to 1991, and was at the height of its popularity in its third season, airing right around the time this issue was published.  Note Puck’s red costume, which may be a miscoloring, as Byrne never had him in red. Puck wouldn’t put on a red costume until Alpha Flight #104 and this issue was concurrent with Alpha Flight #62.

In the fourth story, “Doctor Deranged”, written by Peter Gillis and illustrated by Phil Foglio, Shaman appears in one panel chanting, “Hail to the Sorcerer Supreme!” as he and various other mystics surround [and thoroughly irritate] Doctor Deranged in his Sanctum Sancyouverymuch.  At the time, Shaman was going by Talisman, and can be seen wearing his black and white fur costume.

In the fake Checklist, Alpha Flight is listed as “Alfalfa Flight”, a recycled joke from the previous issue.

Well, that’s all for this week’s FUNday and don’t forget to include this issue as a John Byrne Alpha Flight issue the next time it comes up in an Alpha Flight trivia game!


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