They meet. They fight. They team up to battle the bigger, ultimate evil. We all know how crossovers between comic book characters happen, but what about when the crossovers are between two companies? Well… Same thing, just waaaay bigger. Here are ten of the best inter-company comic book crossovers… Ever:
It was the first real inter-company comic book crossover, bringing together National Comics’ Doctor Fate, Hour-Man, The Spectre, and Sandman with All-American Publishers’ The Atom, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman. Published by DC, the characters would eventually migrate to the main DCU, and become the founding members of the Justice Society of America.
Just think: if there hadn’t already been Superman and Spider-Man movies in production, we may have gotten the two icons battling it out on screen. Instead, DC and Marvel decided to put out this comic books, which was humbly titled, “The Battle of the Century.” The book was written by Gerry Conway, and drawn by Ross Andru – though interestingly, Neal Adams redrew most of the Superman scenes, while John Romita Sr. finished up Spider-Man. As opposed to later crossovers which would involve Universe skipping, this book just posted that Spidey and Supes were in the same Universe, and ended up battling Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor, who teamed up in prison.
Written by Dave Gibbons, penciled by Andy Kubert, and inked by Adam Kubert, this limited series proves that with top talent, even a cash-in comic can be all kinds of good. Yes, you get the knock-down, drag out fight the title promises, but you also get a tricky crime comic, and guest stars from all over Gotham. This series was good enough to spawn two sequels (three if you count Batman and Superman vs. Predator and Aliens).
It only makes sense that since writer Robert Kirkman was in charge of Marvel Team-Up, he would bring in his most famous indie creation Invincible to team-up with Spider-Man. But what’s surprising is how funny and heartfelt the book was, as Kirkman drew a clear line between the newer hero, and his webbed inspiration.
Take Dave Sim’s cranky aardvark barbarian, and mix him Eastman and Laird’s ninja turtles at the height of their popularity for a bunch of time-traveling, butt-kicking, black and white comic book fun? Yes, please.
John Byrne in the prime of his career crafted a tale using some of Jack Kirby’s best creations… Galactus, devourer of worlds, picks the wrong planet when he decides to eat the DC Universe’s Apokolips, home of Darkseid. Oops.
This two issue series teamed up three “darker” heroes – Batman and Starman from DC, Hellboy from Dark Horse – under writer James Robinson and artist Mike Mignola to pit the trio against ancient, Lovecraftian evil.
Yes. Seriously. This exists, and it is amazing. The Punisher heads to Riverdale to apprehend a drug dealer named Red… Who basically looks like a ‘roided out Archie. That’s bad news for Archie, of course, though things do get sorted out at the end, and The Punisher only ends up ripping both of Jughead’s legs off. Just kidding.
In 1996, there was a groundbreaking crossover called DC vs. Marvel, which pitted the two universes against each other, before mushing them into a new Universe called “Amalgam.” Amalgam featured mixed up heroes like Darkclaw (half Wolverine, half Batman), and was so successful it spawned a sequel. It also, frankly, sucked. What they got wrong there, the two publishers fixed for the supremely fun JLA/Avengers. Written by the always reliable Kurt Busiek, and penciled by George Perez, sure it was an excuse to get Perez to draw every comic book character ever in one series… But it worked, as the two teams poked fun at each other’s Earths, and even impacted (sort of) the continuity of the DC Universe.
Written by Chris Claremont. Drawn by Walt Simonson. Featuring the two most popular teams of the time, pitted against the biggest evil around as Darkseid tries to harness the power of The Phoenix, this is the book that all other inter-company crossovers dream of being. Sadly, a sequel that was to be written by Marv Wolfman, and drawn by George Perez was scuttled when Marvel and DC stopped doing crossovers together… Though as we’ve seen, that didn’t really stick.