Save for The Invaders, What If? was one of the most entertaining new comics of the Bronze Age. Whereas the former was a work of Retro-Continuiity, blending the classic advenures of Timely's Big Three - Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and the Human Torch into a broader canvas fitting into the Marvel Universe, the latter was just the opposite...sort of. What If? was about answering the questions many of us fanboys had asked about certain key moments in Marvel's history. What if Spidey had joined the Fab 4? What if the Hulk had gained intelligence? These questions had been nagging and now we got answer of sorts. The fourth issue of What If? even contributed to the new history of the Invaders by showing how there had been a Captain America when Steve Rogers was on ice. So it wasn't a great shock when there appeared a back-up feature in What If? which showcased how the Inhumans, the Eternals, and the Titans were all connected. It took elements of stories told by Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin and others and wove them into a nifty fabric that was in the end greater than the sum of its parts.
The Eternals - Secrets from the Marvel Universe was a nifty one-shot which featured all eight of these short back-up tales from issues #23 to #30 of What If?. The series was written by Mark Gruenwald and Peter Gillis. They are drawn mostly by Ron Wilson, though Rick Buckler does contribute one chapter. These stories function almost exactly like Jack Kirby's Inhumans back-up from Thor so many years before. In fact it can be seen as a continuance of that same series. The back stories of the Eternals, the Inhumans and the Titans seem to conflict at first glance, but a little manipulation and the application of a nimble imagination and we see that what was once in conflict is become elegant and beautifully blended.
These stories were also collected in The Eternals - The Dreaming Celestial Saga. I'll be taking a look at that tome tomorrow.