I think the world is ready for a Concrete/Thing crossover.

§ June 22nd, 2020 § Filed under cerebus, dc comics, marvel, publishing § 15 Comments

So remember last week when we were talking about the Marvel/DC crossovers, and which ones I thought we the good’uns? Well, a couple of you had questions, so let me address those first:

John Lancaster tossed his line into the water with

“Seems to me that a lot of good crossovers that aren’t Marvel/DC are getting forgotten”

and then he proceeds to list some ones that are indeed good. My focus of the post was specifically just the Marvel/DC encounters, but I had planned on address some of the crossovers involving other companies as well. In other words, let’s talk about Deathmate:

Ah, just ribbin’ ya a little, and I’ve already talked about Deathmate at length if you want to go relive that.

But yes, there were plenty of crossovers among the smaller companies, sometimes even with either Marvel or DC. A personal favorite is 1994’s Archie Meets the Punisher (AKA Punisher Meets Archie, as per the Marvel-published diecut cover version):

General reaction to this at the time when this was announced was “Whaaa–!?” and for good reason, though it turned out to actually be a bit of fun. with art by Stan Goldberg and John Buscema.

Archie Comics, in fact, seems pretty game to cross over their character with other companies even to this say. John mentioned Archie Vs. Predator (which featured some fairly shocking content for an Archie comic, but in this post-Afterlife with Archie world, pretty much anything is fair game, I suspect). We’ve also had Archie meet up with Batman ’66, and the Archie gang turned up in issue #13A of Gen13 back in ’96:

I remember that one surprising me more than the Punisher crossover, for some reason. Like, Marvel and the Punisher were fairly “mainstream” and high profile, versus a relatively unknown (though admittedly popular) indie book. Wasn’t sure what Archie was going to get out of that…except, after thinking about it for a second, exposure of the characters to an audience that might otherwise not have paid attention to them, duh.

I suspect creator-owned titles are a little easier to negotiate with when it comes to crossovers like this, simply due to less layers of bureaucracy being involved. I mean, I’m about to exaggerate a little, but assembling the deal to make this happen feels like it probably only took about five minutes:

Don’t write to tell me I’m wrong, I know I am, but you have to admit the process of Todd ‘n’ Dave getting together to team up Spawn and Cerebus probably was a great deal less involved than JLA/Avengers. And Mr. Sim wasn’t shy about letting Cerebus show up here and yonder in other people’s independent comics, which again probably consisted of a fax asking if they could use the character, and Dave faxing back “yeah, sure.” Okay, granted the two that immediately come to mind are Journey and normalman, both Aardvark-Vanaheim publications at the time, like Cerebus, but I know there were others. Alas, the fabled X-Men/Cerebus didn’t happen (beyond a piece of promo art). But look, all I got for that Mr. Monster/Swamp Thing proposed team-up was a single piece of art as well:

…so we all just have to suffer.

More on specific crossovers next time, maybe, but let’s address Thom H.’s query briefly:

“I mean, is it that difficult or costly to have an inter-company meeting to discuss splitting the costs and profits 50/50? It seems like something two lawyers could do via email.”

As it was explained to me by someone also in the comics publishing business, it’s the potential profits that are a problem. Apparently neither Marvel nor DC feel like they’d be making enough profit on bringing any of these back in print, that having only 50% of the take isn’t enough. Now it seems to me making a little money is better than making no money (believe me, I’ve told myself that plenty of times at the shop after looking at the end-of-day receipts) but the Big Two don’t see it that way, I guess.

My half-facetious solution was that each company get the rights to publish their own paperbacks reprinting their crossovers…like, DC could publish JLA/Avengers under their own trade dress, and Marvel could do the same, titling it Avengers/JLA and putting it out with their trade dress, and they could agree to just keep all the profits from their versions. But I can see other problems arising from this (like, what happens when Marvel lets theirs fall out of print almost immediately…can DC still keep publishing their own?) so that may not be much of a solution.

So I don’t know, Thom…maybe when we enter a cashless society then someday all these comics will come back into print. In the meantime…WRITE YOUR CONGRESSPERSON! I’m sure they have nothin’ else going on right now, let them deal with this issue.

Okay, more crossover talk next time? Eh, we’ll see. In the meantime, be good to each other, wear your masks and wash your hands, and for God’s sake quick setting off your firecrackers at night, old comic shop owners need to get their beauty sleep.

15 Responses to “I think the world is ready for a Concrete/Thing crossover.”

  • Adam Ford says:

    The JLA/WildCATS crossover is a thing of pure superhero beauty that fits perfectly into the Morrison JLA run. Also, Mike, have you touched on the Howard the Duck/Savage Dragon story? That’s a goodun too.

  • Just want to mention Usagi Yojimbo/TMNT… I kinda liked it.

  • I’m fond of Miami Mice/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Cerebus, especially Cerebus’ weary reaction at being called ‘dude’ by the Turtles.

  • Thom H. says:

    “Now it seems to me making a little money is better than making no money…but the Big Two don’t see it that way, I guess.”

    Hey, thanks for answering my question! I guess I don’t buy the “it won’t be profitable” angle. If you can keep the bureaucracy to a minimum, then I’m sure there’s a price point at which you can profit from reprinting material you already own.

    But I imagine the bureaucracy grows with each successive merger/acquisition. Getting Disney and AT&T legal teams to agree on a contract probably eats all the profit and then some. We just need to wait until Disney buys AT&T and then we’ll see all the Marvel/DC crossovers in cheap hardcovers. ;)



  • Randy Sims says:

    Even Flaming Carrot crossed over with Cerebus. The later, with the TMNTs.

  • Randy Sims says:

    Argh! “Then later” not “The later”

  • Robcat says:

    Ok, totally not the same thing, but I am thrilled when the Avengers hold a news conference and two reporters named Lois and Clark show up for one panel. I started a list once (pre-digital) of all the unofficial crossovers I found. Pretty sure I’ve seen Popeye, the Flintstones, Kirk and Spock, Esther and Daisy, etc. Walking randomly through other people’s comics.

    And not comics but a hee-haw salute to the greatest crossover character of all time… John Munch!

  • Matthew Murray says:

    Thanks for answering my question. Didn’t expect three posts about it! : )

  • Robert Coleman says:

    I like two crossovers with Grendel. Most recently with the Shadow and much longer ago with the Batman. They were all written & drawn by Matt Wagner.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    On the matter of lawyers and bureaucracies, I am reminded of something someone once wrote somewhere, in regard to the great length of time Warner and Fox took to come to terms over a DVD release of the Batman TV show: What you have to remember is that the lawyers negotiating these things do not really care. They are not fans, they are employees of large corporations. Whether the Batman show comes out, or the Justice League/Avengers team-up stays in print, does not matter in the slightest to them. What does matter to them is their careers, and they do not see any advantage there in going back to their bosses and saying “Okay, I was able to make the deal by giving in on a lot of points and taking less money than you told me to ask for.” From their point of view, surrender does them no good at all, while holding firm at least gives them reputations for being hard negotiators.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Robcat: If you are going to get into TV crossovers, you should consider the Buchmans from MAD ABOUT YOU. They met Phoebe from FRIENDS, Alan Brady from THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, and Gomez Addams. The last ties them to the Scooby-Doo Universe, which in turn ties them to the DC Universe.

    …and there was a Batman/Aliens comic book, so the possibility exists for a story in which Paul Buchman meets the character Burke from the film ALIENS (for those needing the joke explained, Paul Reiser played both parts).

  • Ray Cornwall says:

    The best intercompany crossover was WildCATS/Aliens, because it absolutely had lasting ramifications, killing off the Stormwatch team and leading to the Ellis/Hitch Authority.

    And it had bonus points for the amazing story of Gil Kane’s cover…


  • Roel Torres says:

    When collecting a crossover series, let one company solicit the TPBs in odd numbered years, let the other company solicit the trade in even numbered years. Keep 100% of the sales in your designated year.

  • Casie says:

    Oh my god! A Concrete/Thing crossover would be amazing! They’re missing out on this idea. Also I wish Mister Rogers and the Fonz would team up but we can all dream I guess. Great stuff, Mike.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “a story in which Paul Buchman meets the character Burke from the film ALIENS”

    “Wow, which one of us is the LEAST likeable?”

    Roel Torres: “let one company solicit the TPBs in odd numbered years, let the other company solicit the trade in even numbered years. Keep 100% of the sales in your designated year”

    That’s a good and logical way to do it. Marvel & DC would NEVER go for it, of course.