Archive for Crossovers

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This isn’t really comics related, but it made me laugh like a loon when I saw it — Weezer’s new video for “Pork and Beans” is one big Valentine to YouTube.

How many Internet memes can you count? Or, if you can’t remember all their names, check here.

To make this at least a little related to comics, this video is a lot like a comics crossover, except instead of Superman meeting Spider-Man or Hellboy meeting Madman, you’ve got Weezer meeting Chris Crocker, Tay Zunday and the DaftBodies girls.

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Opposites Attract

You may remember we discussed the concept of the comics crossover a while back. Well, the problem with a lot of them is that their primary purpose is marketing — stick a couple of popular characters together and hope people will buy some extra comics. The story may be alright, or it may not be. Not that many people care. What they care about is the fact that we’ve got Superman and Spider-Man together in this comic! Or Wonder Woman and Witchblade! Or Wolverine and Deathblow! We need to sell a lot of comics, think the company bigwigs, and we sure hope the suckers are willing to buy this one…

No, they’re not all that way. You find some where it’s clear that the folks involved said to themselves, “Wow, we can have a heck of a lot of fun with this. We can tell a cool stories about both of these wildly different characters, we can tell ’em so the fans won’t get mad, and even if it doesn’t sell that well, everyone who reads it is gonna LOVE it!”

Which leads me to what I believe is the greatest crossover in history.


Yes, it’s “Archie Meets the Punisher.”

Just the backstory on this one is great. The people at Archie Comics were sitting around joking about comics crossovers and picked out the Punisher, Marvel’s grim-and-gritty vigilante, as the worst possible crossover candidate for their all-American teenager. Batton Lash, the creator of the “Wolf and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre” series, heard the idea and wrote up a story proposal. The Archie folks sent it on to Marvel, still half-thinking of it as a joke — and the Marvel publishers decided they wanted to do it. Lash ended up writing the story, with art chores shared by Marvel’s John Buscema, who drew all the scenes with the Punisher, and Archie’s Stan Goldberg, who drew all the scenes with Archie.

The comic was published in 1994. The serious comics fans rolled their eyes and passed it over. The oddballs grabbed it, cackled over it, and loved it.

So how the heck do you bring two characters this different together into one comic book? Well, you start with Frank Castle pursuing a dangerous drug pusher named Red Fever — and he has to bring him in alive, because the government thinks they can get lots of info about the underworld from him. Unfortunately, Red gives the Punisher the slip, heads for the bus station, and buys a ticket. Gee, this guy looks strangely familiar…


Holy moley, you don’t think this is gonna lead to some uncomfortable mistaken-identity mix-ups later, do ya?


Hmmmm. Could be!

So the Punisher thinks Archie is Red, Archie’s friends think Red is Archie, a bunch of thugs from out-of-town are gunning for everyone, Jughead really, really likes hamburgers, and then there’s the big sock-hop over at the high school! Miss Grundy falls in love with Frank when she thinks he’s the school’s new coach, Frank marvels at how clean and crime-free Riverdale High is, and all the excitement has Arch starting his own version of the Punisher’s War Diary…


The story is almost unbelievably weird, but it’s still fun to read, and it’s still one heck of a good story. The characterizations and artwork are perfect — you don’t get stuck with either Archie or the Punisher acting out-of-character. It spotlights the great stuff that make both the Punisher and Archie work so well. Yes, the concept is bizarre, but it works because the creators loved the characters and because they were having mad, crazy, howling fun when they put it all together — and that comes through when you read the story.

If you can find it, check it out — but be prepared for a long hunt, and be ready to shell out some serious cash. This one’s reputation has grown steadily over the years, and it’s not at all easy to find any more. But it’s worth the time and worth the price.

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Crossing Over

You know what a crossover is, right? For comics fans, it’s when Superman and Spider-Man meet in a comic book. For non-comics fans, it’s when the cops from “Law and Order” meet up with the cops from “Law and Order: SVU” — when characters from one show (or comic or movie or book) meet characters from another show (or comic or movie or book), that’s a crossover.

“Freddy vs. Jason” = crossover. “Aliens vs. Predator” = crossover. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is one big crossover for animated cartoons. And Richard Belzer, the guy who plays John Munch on “Law and Order: SVU,” is the TV crossover king, since Munch has appeared in “Homicide: Life on the Street,” several different versions of “Law and Order,” “Arrested Development,” and “The X-Files.”

Anyway, comics have lots of crossovers, too. Batman meets Spider-Man, the X-Men meet the Teen Titans, Wonder Woman meets Witchblade, Archie meets the Punisher. They happen once, then never get mentioned again, because if Superman mentions that time he met the Fantastic Four and kicked Galactus on his tushie, Marvel will get mad and want to get paid for it. Nevertheless, there have been a Guatemalan metric ton of comics crossovers over the decades.

And from time to time, real people will show up in comics. Presidents will often make appearances in comics, as will some prominent scientists, sports stars, musicians, media personalities, and even particularly prominent comic book creators. But I’m aware of very few instances of a real-world celebrity making appearances in completely different comics just a month apart.

Sure, a president might show up in a Superman comic one month, then in an Avengers comic the next. But it doesn’t happen often.

And I certainly never expected it to happen with actor/writer Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

But here he is in John Kovalic’s “Dork Tower” #36:


And here he is in Aaron Robinson’s “PS238” #23:


“PS238” is set at an elementary school for superkids, so Wheaton has somehow managed to score himself some superpowers — in this case, telekinesis, which he claims to have used to make the spaceships fly around on “Star Trek.”

There’s also this angry confrontation with an evil genius wearing a pimp costume.


An evil genius in a pimp costume denouncing a telekinetic “Star Trek” actor? That’s what comics are all about, baby.

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