Crossing the streams.

§ June 12th, 2020 § Filed under dc comics, marvel § 8 Comments

Okay, it’s been a long day, and I’m starting to write this late, but thankfully reader Matthew Murray dropped in a question that I can type about for a few minutes here:

“…What are your favourite intercompany crossovers?”

OOH BOY. There are quite a few, actually, and now that I’m pondering the question I realize this is a post that could go on for a while. So, let’s see what I can do tonight before Mr. Sandman whisks me away to sleep.

Well, JLA/Avengers, already discussed, is a great one, I think. Really, you look at it, you look at how crammed full it is of, well, everything, and there’s literally no way it could have worked in this particular form except for the fact that it’s by Kurt Busiek and George Perez. It should have been a disastrous mess, but instead it’s a towering achievement. Good on them.

The very first intercompany crossover I bought was the second Superman/Spider-Man crossover from 1981, published as Marvel Treasury Edition #28:


…and in many ways, it still remains my favorite. Marvel and DC, for their first batch of superhero meet-ups, were trading off the producution duties, so DC did the first Superman/Spidey, Marvel did this one, DC did Batman/Hulk, and Marvel did that X-Men/Titans one.

And I think it was the Marvel-ness of it that made me really like this particular event. It very much felt like “What If Superman Was a Marvel Character?” with Supes drawn in a very Marvel style by one of the most Marvel of artists, John Buscema, and colored in more somber tones than the usual brightness of DC’s Super-books. It felt…gritter, more “realistic” if you’d pardon the expression. This was not a version of Superman I was used to seeing, and I very much took to this version of the character.

Alas, I no longer have that original treasury edition, or any of those original four crossover books from the ’70s/’80s (not counting the Wizard of Oz adaptation DC and Marvel teamed up to produce) as I have that trade paperback reprinting of the four instead. Kinda loses something shrunk down like that (especially since my eyes would probably appreciate the larger format right about now). Also, I could be wrong on this, but it feels like they colored Superman’s costume even darker in the reprint than in the original tabloid. But, it’s still a good read, if you can find a copy.

Now I briefly mentioned the other super-crossovers between Marvel and DC published around that time. I actually liked them all quite a bit, but that second Superman/Spider-Man team-up is the tops of the bunch for me. But look, that Batman/Hulk treasury was full of giant pages of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez art, and X-Men/Titans was chock full o’Walt Simonson. Those initial four comics have images and dialogue that have been stuck in my head for decades now…just a lot of fun.

Yeah, okay, surprise surprise, I’m being long-winded about this. Let’s pick up on this topic on Monday and I’ll try to think what more recent (i.e. 20 years ago) intercompany crossovers really strike my fancy.

8 Responses to “Crossing the streams.”

  • Rich Handley says:

    How about that time Gold Key’s Star Trek series crossed over with DC’s Star-Spangled War Stories?

    Yes, this actually happend!

  • Thom H. says:

    Oh, I forgot about the X-Men/Titans crossover. I don’t remember a thing about the story, but that Simonson art was gorgeous.

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    Thom: Among other things, X-Men/Teen Titans has the first hint that Jean Grey may not have been dead after all, as well as the first time the Source Wall was depicted with the Promethean Giants embedded in it. So, yeah, kind of a big deal.

    Rich: Haven’t seen that one. Is it more or less awesome than the time Marvel’s Star Trek series featured a surprise cameo from Marvel’s Dracula?

  • Dave-El says:

    The second Superman/Spider-Man crossover from 1981 was also the very first intercompany crossover I too ever bought. As a long time DC and Superman fan, I was very much taken with this approach to Superman. John Buscema drawing Superman all the time would’ve been perfect. Like you said, it was “What if Superman was a Marvel character” but it didn’t lose what makes Superman special. Clark & Lois still seemed very much like the Clark and Lois I knew from DC, just slightly more “real” for lack of a better word.

    The second Superman/Spider-Man crossover remains my favorite but JLA/Avenges by Busiek & Perez is a very, very close second.

  • Rich Handley says:

    Andrew: Basically, an issue of Gold Key’s Star Trek line was a sequel to two Star-Spangled War Stories issues. You can read more about this at an article I wrote about Star Trek comic book crossovers:

    https://www.herocollector.com/en-us/Article/star-trek-comic-book-crossovers

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    Classic: Batman/ Hulk was an oversized issue pencilled by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez in his prime and inked by Dick Giordano. It is one of the most beautiful comics ever printed. With all due respect to Herb Trimpe and Sal Buscema, JL G-L’s Hulk is my favorite of the era. Len Wein wrote a good Joker, too. I don’t like how the Hulk was treated, as Batman managed to knock him out (!) and he plays no significant role in the climax, but it’s a comic I can stare at all day.

    Uncanny X-Men / New Teen Titans is another artistic triumph- Walt Simonson & Terry Austin pull out all the stops- and features a pretty good Chris Claremont story. It’s a shame we never got the follow-up by Wolfman & Perez, featuring Brother Blood & the Hellfire Club.

    Modern: JLA/ Avengers is a minor miracle. I was a fan of the Amalgam books, my favorites being Dr. Strangefate (another great art job by JL G-L, with inks by Kevin Nowlan) and Spider-Boy Team-Up (drawn by Jose Ladronn, and super fun). I also dug Punisher/ Batman, Batman/ Captain America (among my favorite Byrne comics), Darkseid/ Galactus, and the Spider-Man/ Batman specials.

    Other than JLA/Avengers, my favorite was Incredible Hulk/ Superman. Roger Stern wrote a great story that was true to both title characters; neither outshone the other. Steve Rude’s art was amazing. He managed to channel Kirby and Swan while maintaining his own style. If you haven’t read the comic and can find a cheap copy, get it.

    I haven’t posted in awhile, Mike, but I’ve been reading and I’m glad to see you in better health and your store continuing to operate successfully. Thanks for keeping the blog going, too.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Superman/Spider-Man”

    Oh, both of those were good!!

  • My favorite is probably both Batman/Grendel books. Very interesting, and actually moved the Grendel-Prime story along just the tiniest of bits. And they’re gorgeous, of course.

    Hey, Mike Loughlin! We miss you!

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