Guess I should have just stocked up the trades while they were still available.

§ June 10th, 2020 § Filed under dc comics, marvel, publishing § 11 Comments

So the 11-year-old niece and the 9-year-old nephew were telling me the other day how much they wanted Marvel and DC to have their characters meet. Specifically, they wanted the Justice League and the Avengers to fight.

“Oh, they already did that!” I told them. “I can show you a book of–”

“A BOOK!?!?” they exclaimed. “Why would you want to read a book of that? We meant a Marvel and DC movie!”

Well, I figure we’re some time away from a movie like that…probably going to take the collapse of the superhero film industry to make everyone desperate enough to band together, much like the ’90s collapse of the comics industry encouraged such crossovers. But, boy, speaking of which we sure did have a lot of those crossovers between Marvel during the ’90s, and while they used to be as common as dirt in the back issue bins before, now that some time has passed they’re not quite as plentiful.

I’m sure part of the reason is the same one I’ve given before, that a lot of the shops that existed during that period, and had wholesaled stock of those titles from distributors and possibly still had extras in storage, are now gone. Maybe their stock made it to other shops, maybe that stock is languishing in some poor bastard’s garage or storage unit, but whatever the cause, those crossovers don’t seem to pop up as often as they used to. Not long ago I had a copy of the Batman/Captain America team-up, and I’d posted a pic on my Instagram…and I had multiple requests to buy it. Demand definitely outstripped supply in that case.

And it’s just not that comic…once common, low-demand examples of Marvel/DC crossovers like Spider-Man/Batman or Batman/Daredevil never seem to last long. And high-demand ones like Hulk/Superman barely even get a change to get put in the back issue bins before it’s out the door.

It’s a shame that the deals between the companies that could result in keeping them in print (like they did in a series of paperbacks collecting them all together) are gone. And no more terrible example of this is JLA/Avengers.

I pulled my copy of the oversized, slipcased hardcover set to eventually show to the niece and nephew, who will probably glance at it briefly, shrug, and tell me “this isn’t a movie,” which is fine. But it was nice to look through it again…and at this size, it’s a lot easier for me to enjoy given the eyeball problems I’ve had of late.

It really is amazing…it’s nothing short of a miracle and Kurt Busiek and George Perez were able to cram in pretty much every character ever associated with either team, fill each page witih multiple panels and plenty of dialogue, and still have it come out at the end beautiful and readable. Sometimes you hear folks talk about how “not an inch is wasted” when discussing comic art, and boy howdy, does it ever apply here.

The real shame here is that it is not in print. This should be a perennial seller, constantly available, and it practically sells itself. So much money being left on the table by not having this available, and so many new fans just missing out on it. Well, okay, some people are just downloading it for free via file-sharing, I’m sure, but they’d probably do that anyway even if it was in print.

I’m saying the book should be available, as well as the other crossover collection paperbacks. But, it was pointed out to me on the Twitters when I was griping about this very thing, the economics of it probably don’t work very well, with money on each copy sold would have to be split between Marvel and DC. My idea was that maybe each company can just publish their own version of the paperbacks and keep all the profits from their own book. Like, DC could put out JLA/Avengers, Marvel could release Avengers/JLA, identical except it’s under the Marvel label and they get all the cash. I don’t know, there’s probably reasons why that wouldn’t work (least of which that the two companies probably wouldn’t want competing products that were essential the same), but…I just want JLA/Avengers back in print. Somehow. Just look at all that work that went into it…only for it to be dropped down the memory hole.

I would like to see Marvel/DC crossovers again…I tended to enjoy most of the ones that were released. I never did get my Swamp Thing/Man-Thing comic, despite cameo gag appearances. Ah, well. I know Todd McFarlane was throwing the idea out there of a Spawn/Spider-Man team up, to generate some excitement and get folks into stores after the retail shutdowns. That’s Image/Marvel, not DC/Marvel, but it’s the same kinda thing.

In conclusion, the niece and nephew better like seeing my copy of JLA/Avengers. At the very least, I’m sure they’ll enjoy that crazy “every character from either team ever” image on the slipcase. Honestly, what kid could resist that?

11 Responses to “Guess I should have just stocked up the trades while they were still available.”

  • BK Munn says:

    My friends who own my LCS have been doing tons of videos during the pandemic to move backstock (they call it “What’s in That Longbox?”) and now that the new comics are flowing, they have segued into doing vids for New Comic Book Day. After watching the second week’s offerings of new floppies I snarked “These are the comics that are supposed to save the comics industry?” Continuations of pre-COVID series with high numbering where we finally get to catch up with some lingering romantic subplot in a Kidflash storyline or whatever these things are will only bring back some of the vanished customers. And old snobs like me are only coming in for the new Gilbert Hernandez comic. I have to admit a McFarlane-illo’d Spidey-Spawn teamup would be very exciting for many. I mean, I’ve never bought anything McFarlane besides All-Star Squadron, but, y’know, a big section of the population would tune in, especially if it was a 4 issue series or something.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    I hope that this Avengers/Justice League movie will have scenes in which Korath meets Shazam, Fandral meets the guy who says Shazam, Bill Foster meets Perry White, and Commissioner Gordon meets J. Jonah Jameson.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Having thought a little more about this, I realize that the scene needs to include the Watcher with Commissioner Gordon and JJJ.

    This is, obviously, unrelated to my hope that–now that Disney has the movie rights to Fantastic Four–it will produce a movie in which Captain America and the Human Torch team up to fight Killmonger.

  • Matthew Murray says:

    I was looking at the Wikipedia page for “Intercompany Crossovers” a while ago and some of those titles are just kind of baffling in why/how they exist.

    Conan vs. Rune, Badrock/Wolverine, Superman/Tarzan, Spider-Man/Red Sonja, the list goes on.

    I do remember enjoying what I read of The Superman/Madman Hullabaloo! at least.

    1996 definitely seemed like the year with the most crossovers, but companies (including DC) have continued to do them since then. So my question to you is, what are your favourite intercompany crossovers?

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Conan and Rune had Barry Windsor-Smith in common–or, to put it another way, Windsor-Smith was using the fans’s desire to see him draw Conan again as a way to draw attention to his new series.

    Spider-Man and Red Sonja first met back when Marvel was publishing the latter character, and I guess someone really wanted to do a sequel.

    The best intercompany crossovers are those stories in which R. Crumb’s “Bob” character teams up with Aline Kominsky’s “Aline” character.

  • Thom H. says:

    These probably barely count, but Batman/Planetary and JLA/Planetary are my absolute favorite intercompany crossovers. Just perfect done-in-one stories by seasoned professionals doing amazing work. I eventually soured on the main Planetary series, but I reread these one-shots once a year.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    By the way, in case no one here has noticed this, the comic strip “Dick Tracy” has in recent years been frequently featured characters from recent strips (with Little Orphan Annie having become a regular member of the cast). Most of these cannot be called “intercompany crossovers,” as they are from strips owned by the same syndicate (e.g., “Gasoline Alley,” “Terry and the Pirates,” “Brenda Starr”). However, there have also been unofficial, just-outside-the-panel or seen-only-in-silhouette appearances by Batman, the Penguin (revealed to be the brother of early Tracy foe Broadway Bates), Popeye, and Mr. Magoo (who asked if Tracy had ever caught Squinty-Eyes).

  • Caleb says:

    I confess that one of my earliest thoughts upon hearing that Bendis was moving to DC Comics was that this was all just to lay the groundwork for some massive Batman/Daredevil crossover…

    (The Superman/Hulk and the Superman/Madman were definitely the cream of the crop, and JLA/Avengers is actually pretty shockingly good…like, just the fact that they were able to pull it off)

  • ScienceGiant says:

    But… but I LIKED “Infinity Warps.” And I liked it even better years ago when it was called “Amalgam.”

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    Rather than go on at some length about how much I wanted to love Superman/Fantastic Four but couldn’t for specific reasons*, I’ll just say my favorites from that era are Darkseid/Galactus and Batman/Captain America, both by John Byrne.

    I also have a soft spot for Azrael/Ash, mostly because nobody remembers Ash was ever a thing anymore, as well as the Gen X/Gen 13 crossovers.

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    * On the plus side, because Dan Jurgens was the driving force, we did get to see Hank Henshaw again.