DC Comics: Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. The Flash. Green Lantern. We’ll even throw in Aquaman to be nice.
Marvel Comics: Spider-Man. Captain America. Iron Man. The Hulk. The X-Men. Eh, Ant-Man too.
Both companies have produced television shows, movies, shelves full of merchandise and especially comics featuring these characters and many more… and while characters like those from Guardians of the Galaxy and Doom Patrol might not have the fame of the “big guns”, they’ve got significant fan bases.
And then there’s Amalgam… with characters like Super-Soldier, Dark Claw, Catsai, Speed Demon, and Amazon. People who aren’t comics fans might not know these characters, but they’d probably recognize them immediately, because of what Amalgam was.
In 1976, Marvel Comics and DC comics joined for an oversized special comic book featuring Superman teeing off against Spider-Man (using a contrivance which underscores my response to the old fan question of what characters would win in a fight against each other… the only correct answer is “whoever the writer wants to win.”) In the 1980s, a few other joint projects were tried… another Superman/Spider-Man crossover, then a Batman/Hulk joint comic, and finally an X-Men/Teen Titans comic where the two teams faced off against Darkseid and Dark Phoenix. A JLA/Avengers crossover was planned, and tabled for a while due to editorial issues and artist commitments.
In 1996, the two companies produced a far more ambitious team-up: Amalgam. With a logo that blended both DC and Marvel and characters who were mixtures of properties from both companies, the ultimate fanservice was provided. Super-Soldier was a comic featuring a mixture of Superman and Captain America, as recruit Clark Kent was injected with alien DNA. Amazon was Princess Ororo Munroe of Themiscyra (Wonder Woman’s island). Iron Lantern shows just how far down the rung of popularity Iron Man was at the time, as he was joined not with Batman but with Green Lantern (Batman mixed with Wolverine to become Dark Claw.)
The efforts were popular enough to fuel a return in 1997, but the combination never really gained enough traction to continue beyond those two years.
Still, those characters exist, complete with visual design, origins, powers, archenemies and more. Maybe some day we’ll see a Generation Hex movie, crossing over a modern Marvel mutant team and the gun-toting DC lawman Jonah Hex. It couldn’t be much worse than the real Jonah Hex movie.
Question of the night: Marvel or DC?