Mixed Pickles.

§ October 31st, 2022 § Filed under multiverse talk, superman § 27 Comments

So I forget where I saw it referenced, but somewhere out there someone had mentioned the 1996 Silver Surfer/Superman one-shot, which got me to wondering if I still had it. I had bought nearly all of the Marvel/DC crossover comics that were cranked out during that period of the 1990s when both companies were desperate to attract sales by doing pretty much anything, and that included joining forces to publish things like this.

Anyway, when I opened the shop, I pulled a boatload of comics out of my own collection to populate the back issue bins, and that included a lot of the attention-grabbing intercompany crossovers between DC and Marvel, once ubiquitous but now getting more and more difficult to find in the wild. I did give up my Superman/Fantastic Four treasury edition, foolishly, and I’ll need to replace that, but I did keep my other Superman-related Marvel crossovers, including that Silver Surfer/Superman comic by George Perez and Ron Lim:

Like how the “Death of Superman” story is Of Its Time, featuring the now-headscratching-to-newcomers elements of Red-Haired-And-Bearded Australian Son of Lex Luthor along with Artifical Glob-Life-Form Thingie Supergirl, Silver Surfer/Superman involves, for at least part of the book, the Contessa. Yeah, I know, “Who?” I’d completely forgotten about her, though once she popped up in the story I was all “oh yeah, that lady.”

She basically usurped Luthor’s position as the head of his company Lexcorp after…well, read this if you need to know her deal, and how she was sorta unceremoniously removed from the book. Anyway, she’s here in this SS/S funnybook for about the first half, and this sequence of panels features what I’m pretty sure is a writing/editing mistake EDIT: I’m wrong, I misread it:

Superman thinks the phrase “just pop out of range,” and the Contessa, just a couple of panels later, starts to mockingly quote what he thought, only to be interrupted before she could say “pop” by an actual “POP!” by the teleported entrance of the Impossible Man. And how did the Contessa hear what Superman was thinking? Did she have mind-reading powers that I forgot about? EDIT 2: Somehow I missed the “I told her” part. Ah well.

But speaking of Impossible Man, having him and Mr. Mxyzptlk as the antagonists of this story was a nice touch. The temptation of having the two heroes face off against Luthor and, say, Mephisto in a more serious conflict was likely strong.

The plot involves Mxyzptlk and Impossible Man swapping “universes” and heroes, pitting Mxyzptlk against the Surfer and so on. Which of course brings to mind Superman #50 from 1990, where it is implied heavily that Mxyzptlk travels to the Marvel Universe and torments the Fantastic Four as the Impossible Man, establishing the two characters are one and the same.

I don’t particularly like this early post-Crisis/early Byrne’s Superman run version of Mxyzptlk where he was a little nastier, a little more malevolent. I guess it was fine for one or two appearances, but I like Funny, Wacky Mxyzptlk, which he eventually evolved back into in the comics, more or less. Although I was okay with Goth Mxyzptlk from Alan Moore/Curt Swan/Kurt Schaffenberger in their “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” final pre-Crisis Supes story:

Mentioned in the story is the character Access, the Marvel/DC co-owned character whose ability was to cross characters over from either universe, and I’m presuming hasn’t been used much lately. And there’s also some track-covering with the idea that both Superman and Silver Surfer will forget this encounter, allowing it to kinda-sorta stay in regular continuity and explaining why, like, Superman won’t reference the event in a non-crossover-sanctions issue of Action or wherever.

I sort of miss those days where it seemed like every week we got a new crossover between different comic book publishers. They still happen today, of course, but not nearly as often. There’s a new Batman and Spawn book coming soon, for example. But back in the ’90s, I had that brief glimmer of hope we’d get that Swamp Thing/Man-Thing team-up the world deserved. Well, I deserved, I don’t know about you guys.

27 Responses to “Mixed Pickles.”

  • John Jakala says:

    Hey, Mike – I don’t think that was a writing or editing mistake. Superman thinks “I *told* her it’s easy for me to pop out of range” and Contessa is coincidentally referencing that previous conversation, not his current thoughts.

  • A. J. Payler says:

    Still awkward even if not a full-on mistake–one wouldn’t typically say “as you say” unless referring to something just spoken or said repeatedly in the past. Probably would have been better phrased “as you once said” or similar.

  • Mikester says:

    Yup, I misread that somehow. Ah well, we all have our scans_daily-esque reading miscomprehension moments.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    I got rid of both Superman/FF and Silver Surfer/Superman because they weren’t that good. SS/S wasn’t what I wanted from a crossover; I thought the Mxyzpyk/Bat-Mite story World’s Funnest and the earlier Warlock vs. Impossible Man in a New Mutants Annual we’re much better. S/FF was just boring.

    Incredible Hulk vs. Superman by Roger Stern and Steve Rude, however, was a blast.

  • DK says:

    Alan Moore had a ton of fun “everything you know is wrong” ideas in the 1980’s but “actually, Mr. Mxyzptlk is a chaos demon who chooses to be a goofball, now he will be pure malevolence” is waaaaay at the top of the “thats awesome” list.

    And right behind it is “if you push Superman too far he is zapping your ass right into the Phantom Zone, good luck with that.”

    The missing great pre-Crisis Supes story is him showing up on Apokolips with the Phantom Zone Projector and saying “let’s rock” Al Bundy style.

    “Looks like you’re the God of being a disembodied phantom now, Granny. You’ll never hurt a child again.”

    The Kandorians also have a teeny tiny one, which is also awesome.

    There’s a sadly abandoned plotline from the Five Years Later Legion where it is strongly implied that 1,000 years in the Phantom Zone drove Mon-El completely insane and he is always seconds from a total out of control freak-out.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    It would be cool if DC and Marvel would ever see fit to do some crossover comics again. I’d be down for a sequel to the X-Men/New Teen Titans, set in the ’80s, by Claremont, Simonson, and Austin…and maybe co-plotted by Wolfman. They could bring in The Brotherhood of Evil and The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants…or the Hellfire Club and Brother Blood as the villains. Also, now that Geoff Johns has all of these JSA plans, it could be cool to see DC partner with Archie Comics for a Golden Age JSA/Mighty Crusaders crossover set during WW II. Especially if they fight at first under the mistaken assumption that the other team are villains…Superman vs Steel Sterling; Wonder Woman vs Shield; Batman vs The Hangman; Wildcat vs The Fox; Flash vs The Comet; The Spectre vs Mr. Justice; Sandman vs The Web; The Spectre vs Mr. Justice, etc.

  • Thom H. says:

    I love “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, and I love the line “He didn’t look funny anymore.” Creepy.

    Also, there was supposed to be a sequel to X-Men/Teen Titans by Wolfman and Perez, but sadly it was scrapped:


  • Andrew Davison says:

    A giant-sized man-thing attack on Swamp Thing is something we can all get behind.

  • Brad says:

    Of course I remember the Contessa. I just assumed she stopped showing up because she finally got the Ruby Sneakers from norm.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Thom H. :

    Thanks for the info. about the proposed sequel to X-Men/New Teen Titans. It would be cool if they actually use Wolfman’s script someday. Sadly, the great George Perez is no longer with us, but Walt Simonson, John Byrne, or Paul Smith inked by Terry Austin could still be cool…along with an explanation of what was originally intended … I’d hope that if they were to ever use it they would keep it set in the ’80s.

    If a Man-Thing/Swamp Thing book were to happen, they should bring in the public domain character The Heap for a cameo…and Howard the Duck should be a supporting character.

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    DK– That version of Mxy isn’t Moore’s idea, he stole it wholesale from the ending of Robert Mayer’s Superfolks. In fact, there’s a lot of ideas in there that found their way into Moore’s writing…

    Most of the DC/Marvel crossovers weren’t very good, but I realized around the time Disney bought Marvel that the likelihood of new reprints had dropped to near zero and made sure I acquired all the TPBs, and I’m glad I did.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    DK– It was actually from just prior to 5YL. Mon-el’s anti-lead serum is weakening and they talk about putting him back in the Zone for his safety, and he just…freaks out. Completely. Brainiac 5 does manage to get him a better serum, but it’s clear that being in there for 1000 years did things to his mind. Levitz wrote it, then, in 5YL, Giffen ran with it. :-)

  • Thom H. says:

    Cassandra: I had totally forgotten about that Mon-El story. He really did freak out. What’s the 5YL part of that storyline?

  • Andrew says:

    Joe G – that Super Folks book is fantastic – I read it in the late 70s as a young teen the scene with the walls coming together shocked my young mind ;) I still have it, maybe a re read is in order!

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Thom–there’s some freaking out in the Valor series, when the SW6 Valor has to replace his dead younger counterpart and go into the Zone. (It got…complicated.) As for the earlier 5YL, I feel like it was sprinkled here and there. And the Trapper certainly used it as part of his attempt to keep Mon from punching him to death!

  • Cassandra: you’re right on that. And I wrote a letter to DC regarding my having cerebral palsy–at a particularly rough patch–and how I couldn’t understand how Mon-El just couldn’t function with the lead serum failing to work 100%.

    And I received a letter from, Paul Levitz himself, asking if it was okay to print my letter.I always found the way writers, editors, etc., would skirt around around a reading having a disease. He gave me his personal extension at DC and to ask for a secretary.

    The letter ran, and Paul was kind. He addressed readership in general, but also got very close to bringing up mental illness. But it also came down to Paul saying that while impossible to show in the comic, Mon–El had been suffering in silence without it being shown in the book, and because of that it looked as if he no tolerance for pain in the space of one issue.

    And we stayed in touch off and on over the years. And he always asked about my health, and then we would start joking about our hairlines. I’m looking forward to his scripting again.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    *reader having a disease

  • Thom H. says:

    Cassandra — I think maybe I didn’t read that far in 5YL. I remember Eltro Gand being expunged from Mon-El’s mind, which was supposed to make him more mentally stable rather than less, but I skipped all the Valor stuff. Thanks for the info!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne, I guess you already know, but if not, Paul Levitz and Alan Davis will be doing an Avengers: War Across Time story in January that is set after Avengers vol.1, no. 11.

    Should be intriguing to see Levitz write a Marvel Comic!

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Cassandra (and others): I was living in Rogers Park when I wrote to Levitz, so the thing with Mon-El would have been around 1987.

    Sean: yes! I am ready for that book. I think Avengers is the best first time for Levitz. And I hope he has a long career there (I hope so, since he is my age).

    Thom H.: not just the Heap, but the first of them all, the Bog Beast from a Theodore Sturgeon story Weird Tales circa 1946.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Paul Levitz is a mensch. He just is.

  • googum says:

    If I’m not mistaken, Access lost Jonah Hex in Unlimited Access #1 and never put him back!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    It would be great to see Levitz take on various Marvel series: but especially intriguing if he wrote an Imperial Guard comic…since the I.G. is basically Marvel’s version of the LOSH.

    Also, yes, bring in the Big Beast for a gathering of the muck monsters tribe!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Bog Beast–not “Big Beast”…

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Sean: Big Beast Bog Best The Beast Blue Beast Be Best. Throw them all into the, um, heap. (Marvel did use the Bog Beast in one of their oddball comics they had in the early 70s.) Hey, why not Woodgod, Man-Wolf, Werewolf by Night, and get Walt Simonson on the art. And Marvel’s newest creation…Muck-Wolf!

    You are right on the IG, though. Perfect idea.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne: If only Steve Gerber were still with us to write this Opus! Gotta throw both of DC’ Beast Boys into the mix …Gar Logan, and the other Beast Bou who was a Hero of Lalor and friend to the LOSH.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Yikes …tons o’ typos! It should be: “the other Beast Boy who was a Hero of Lallor”…