In Disney+'s new show, What If...?, we see alternative worlds where the Marvel superheroes that we all know and love turned out very differently. What if Steve Rogers didn't become Captain America? What if the Avengers never existed? What if T'Challa Became Star-Lord?
Of course, the episode that many comic fans are dying to see is 'What if the Marvel Superheroes Were Zombies?' which is an adaptation of the Marvel Zombies storyline.
These undead creatures first appeared in a three-part saga, Crossover, back in 2004. It was creative, scary, twisted, and unlike anything we'd seen before. I mean, we've had Spider-Ham and the Ape-Vengers but, up until this point, we've never seen Iron Man ripping his teammates to shreds or Spider-Man wolfing down innocent civilians.
So, when the original story came to an end, readers were eager to see more of this Zombiverse. As a result, Marvel churned out a slew of new comics including sequels, spin-offs, prequels, crossovers, and reboots. And with the undead superheroes making their MCU debut soon, now looks like the perfect time to look back at Marvel Zombies.
10. The Marvel Zombies Debuted In Fantastic Four
Even though Marvel Zombies are one of the most popular comics in recent years, they didn't originate in the conventional Marvel world.
By the time the 2000s rolled around, Marvel editorial believed new readers were turned off by comics since their stories were tied to decades of convoluted continuity. To counter this, Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch and others were tasked with forging a reboot for modern readers that existed alongside the traditional comics called Ultimate Marvel.
Not only did these retellings of Spider-Man, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four help Marvel get out of their slump, these stories were universally praised. In fact, readers were eager to see these heroes crossover with the original Marvel line-up.
And when Ultimate Reed Richards journeyed to another universe in Ultimate Fantastic Four #21, readers believed this highly teased crossover was going to happen. However, Ultimate Reed soon learned he had arrived in a world infested by undead superheroes and supervillains who craved human flesh.
This story was hailed as a masterpiece, inspiring the creation of an official Marvel Zombies series several months later written by Mark Millar, Greg Land and Walking Dead creator himself, Robert Kirkman.