What If #27 – July, 1981

WHAT IF #27 represents my first conscious experience with a late-shipping book.

In the aftermath of the Earth-Shattering X-MEN #137, the X-Men had reached a level of popularity unrivaled during the period. Back issue prices had skyrocketed, with issues only a couple of months old selling for $5.00 or more each. So it was incumbent upon me to make certain I got my copy fresh off the stands, or be relegated to spending big money on the back issue market.

The week WHAT IF #27 was supposed to be on sale, it failed to materialize at my local card store. And, paranoid that I was, I was certain that some bargain-basement entrepreneur had scarped up every copy that had been sent to the store, in an attempt to make a killing. And so, I convinced my friend Israel Litwack that we had to locate copies that weekend, or all would be lost.

We ended up embarking on an all-day journey that took us through and around our local community, stopping at every location that might possibly have a copy of WHAT IF #27 on its shelves. We turned up a few older issues of X-MEN (circa #112), which Israel picked up at then-bargain prices, but couldn’t find even one copy of the elusive WHAT IF #27. Finally, weary, we were forced to concede defeat.

A week or two later, the blasted book finally showed up everywhere. And it stunk, to boot.

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