Crossovers are an everyday occurrence in the comics industry, where Spider-Man hangs with Wolverine, Batman stops by Teen Titans HQ, and Aliens battle Predators. But not all crossovers make as much sense as these do. Here are a dozen of them that aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re all definitely weird.
1) Archie and the Punisher
Despite being published 20 years ago, it still seems crazy that Marvel’s violent vigilante stopped by Riverdale in Archie Meets the Punisher. Tasked by the government to capture Red, a gangster that looks exactly like Archie — specifically, to capture, not murder, because the government wanted information he had and because this was still an Archie comic — the Punisher scares the bejeezus out of Archie before realising his mistake and tracking down the criminal with the help of Archie’s friends.
2) Tarzan and Predator
“Who can we have Predator fight next? Hmm… Predator takes place in a jungle… who else lives in the jungle? I’VE GOT IT!” Such went the thought process at Dark Horse Comics that resulted in 1996’s Tarzan Vs. Predator: At the Earth’s Core. When Predators start killing beasts and people in the lost land of Pellucidar, Tarzan decides to do some hunting of his own. It’s not a bad idea for a comic, but given that Predators had already fought Aliens, Batman and Judge Dredd at that point, a guy in a loincloth might not have been the biggest draw.
3) Sonic the Hedeghog and Spawn
To be fair, in Archie Super Sonic Special #4, Spawn only talks to Sonic and his furry friends for a little bit before realising that as a literal spawn of Satan perhaps he shouldn’t be seen talking to beloved children’s video game characters. But the rest of the Image universe circa 1998, including Shadowhawk, The Maxx, Savage Dragon and more, also stopped by to help Sonic track down the Master Emerald, which was stolen from Sonic’s dimension by a villainess named Particle. Eventually, Knuckles punches reality so hard that everything gets fixed, a move that Superboy Prime would later steal for Infinite Crisis.
4) Marvel Super Heroes and The Cast of Guiding Light
The appearance of the stars of Guiding Light in several 2006 Marvel comics was no mere cameo, although it probably should have been. Instead, the soap opera and Marvel went all out, as one of the characters on the TV show suddenly gained superpowers after effectively sticking her finger in a socket (not electricity-based superpowers, for the record, just random superpowers), and Marvel superheroes travelled to the fictitious town of Springfield to check on this mysterious new super-being in a few back-up comics. No comic reader cared, and Guiding Light fans thought the episode was one of the dumbest in the show’s 50+ year history. Which is probably saying something.
5) Spider-Man and Ren & Stimpy
A shameless attempt to boost sales, Ren & Stimpy #6 did what so many Marvel comics before it have done, and threw Spider-Man on the cover. The story is delightfully insane; when Ren and Stimpy run out of powdered toast, they call Powdered Toast Man, only to discover he’s being mind-controlled by an evil genius and Spidey is subbing for him. Obviously, Spidey and PTM fight, Spidey’s breaks the villain’s control by tossing PTM into a milk truck, and then they band together to defeat the evil Dr. Dough-Naught.
6) Jerry Lewis and Superman
Superman had a ton of celebrity guest stars back in the ’50s and ’60s, including everyone from comedian Don Rickles to Orson Welles. But Jerry Lewis didn’t make an appearance in Superman, because Superman made an appearance in his comic. Yes, the Man of Steel showed up in Jerry Lewis #105 so that Clark Kent could write a story about villains trashing Jerry’s house, which somehow ends up with Lewis in Superman’s costume, and every villain in town thinking the comedian is really Superman. It’s a shame Jerry didn’t think to borrow Clark Kent’s glasses.
7) Darkman and Ash from Army of Darkness
What do Darkman and Army of Darkness have in common? They’re both movies directed by Sam Raimi, and they both have the word “Dark” in their titles. That’s about it, but that didn’t stop Dynamite from having the face-challenged superhero meet up with Bruce Campbell’s cult hero Ash after Darkman’s ex-girlfriend Julie reads the Necronomicon and turns into the Deadite queen. Given how few people remember Darkman — although it is a fun movie — this 2006 miniseries made Danger Girl Vs. the Army of Darkness seem completely sensible in comparison.
8) Jerry Lewis and Batman
Batman and Robin made a guest appearance in Jerry Lewis’ comic before Superman did, back in issue #97. Jerry and his nephew dress up as Ratman and Rotten (please try to hold your guffaws until the end), Jerry’s nephew gets kidnapped, and the real Batman and Robin arrive to save the day. This plot gets re-used almost verbatim in Jerry Lewis #112, except starring The Flash instead of the Dynamic Duo. The best thing about #97 is the cover, where the Joker has created an entire health club specifically to kill Jerry Lewis with a laser.
9) The Re-Animator, Red Sonja, Vampirella and More
Marvel and DC do company-wide crossovers all the time, Dark Horse has mixed and matched its properties, and IDW even managed to mash G.I. Joe, Transformers, Star Trek and Ghostbusters together for an adventure. So why wouldn’t comic publisher Dynamite do the same thing? Well, one reason might be their stable of characters is completely random: Vampirella, Red Sonja, Herbert West from Re-Animator, Sherlock Holmes, prototype Indiana Jones Allan Quatermain, Ash from Army of Darkness, and more star in this 2012 epic centered somewhat around the Mayan apocalypse. Somehow, it worked out far better than it really should have.
10) Jerry Lewis and Wonder Woman
And last and certainly least in the “DC superheroes shoehorned into Jerry Lewis comics,” Jerry sees Wonder Woman outside a movie theatre, falls for her, drinks some potions, fights an angry dude, is pursued by a fat Amazon, etc. It makes you wish the Joker had succeeded.
11) Superman and the Quik Bunny
DC’s 1987 promotional comic Superman and the Quik Bunny was as soul-crushingly mercenary as you could have expected. When the Weather Wizard freezes Superman in a block of ice he can’t escape — the goddamned Weather Wizard — the Quik Rabbit and his band of ethnically diverse underage children use the intelligence-promoting powers of Quik to… decipher some kind of Egyptian code or something… which somehow helps Superman… look, everybody just ends up drinking a lot of fucking Quik. Don’t think too hard about it.
12) Godzilla Vs. Charles Barkley
One could argue that Charles Barkley was a guest-star in this Godzilla comic, but one would be wrong. This stand-alone issue pitted the embiggened basketball great against the King of the Monsters in a pick-up game. If you don’t want to read a comic where Godzilla dunks a giant basketball while wearing giant Reebok sneakers, you may need to seek medical attention.
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