DC and Marvel have crossed over their superheroes officially on several occasions, but what about those times canny writers and illustrators snuck these titanic team-ups under the table? Here's a bunch of times Marvel and DC creators stealthily transcended universes.
10.) Teen Titans torches the X-Men's mansion
In 2011, former X-Men writer Scott Lobdell was tasked with writing DC Comics' reboot of Teen Titans. As part of what we can only assume was an "out with the old, in with the new" sort of burn (Ooh! Ooh!) the comic opens with an abandoned mansion in New York state's Westchester County bursting into flames. The X-Men's haunts tend to be a chichi Westchester academy, where — unbeknownst to everybody — the boathouse is a goddamn deathtrap.
9.) Clark Kent meets Thor in the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters
Clark Kent has a storied history of popping up in the Marvel Universe. He's usually on the beat, like when he walked into Thor (as seen in The Mighty Thor #341)...
...but sometimes he's nestling up to She-Hulk's bosom (Avengers #325)...
...or gawking at Marvel heroes (Avengers #296, Excalibur #8)...
...or reporting the news (Marvel Team-Up #79, Secret Wars II #7). Scans Daily has an excellent roundup of Clark's many interactions with the Marvel heroes, like the time he was rescued by Ghost Rider.
8.) The Hulk knocks out Doomsday
In 1994's Hulk #413, the Green Goliath battles foes in a virtual reality game, including a foe who bears a strong resemblance to Superman foe Doomsday. Well, his arm is pretty similar to Doomsday's, at least. Hulk also had a run-in with one of Neil Gaiman's Endless to boot, five issues later.
7.) Grant Morrison kills Doctor Doom and Wolverine
In the first issue of Morrison's run on JLA, a group of White Martians masquerading as superheroes begins executing villains with impunity. Among those disintegrated are Marvel characters Wolverine and Doctor Doom, who are ignominiously tied to posts before being zapped into piles of soot.
6.) Doctor Strange's sidekick gives the Green Lantern directions
In Green Lantern #57, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner moves to 175 Bleecker Street in New York City. But who are the tenants in 177 Bleecker Street?
Why, the Ernie and Bert of the Marvel Universe! He's moved next door to Doctor Strange and his less heralded buddy Wong, who shows Kyle around Greenwich Village.
5.) Deadpool meets Deathstroke the Terminator
Back in the day, Joe Kelly wrote Deadpool, a Marvel character who owes a stylistic debt to the DC mercenary Deathstroke the Terminator.
When it came time to write the 2006 Superman/Batman annual for DC, Kelly introduced a zany, anti-matter universe version of Deathstroke. This doppelganger is constantly interrupted before he can tell Batman and Superman his true name, which begins with the letters "D-E-A."
4.) The Flash trots into the Marvel Universe
In 1990's Quasar #17 — which was penned by Squadron Supreme writer Mark Gruenwald, no stranger to cross-universe homages — an interdimensional speedster (named "Buried Alien") materializes during a great cosmic race, wearing a tattered red-and-yellow outfit. At this time in DC Comics continuity, Barry "The Flash" Allen had jogged out of existence during Crisis on Infinite Earths. I suppose "all roads lead to the Marvel Universe" is the subtext here.
3.) Thor knocks a zombie viking into the Wildstorm Universe
At the end of Garth Ennis and Glen Fabry's 2003 Marvel miniseries Thor: Vikings, Thor tosses the evil zombie viking Harald Jaekelsson into space. Several real-world months later, in Ennis and Fabry's DC/Wildstorm miniseries Authority: More Kev, Apollo and the Midnighter battled a group of zombies in a swamp. There, they're assailed by a familiar undead viking, who the reader assumes has come down from orbit.
2.) The Rutland Halloween Parade
In the early 1970s, writers from the Big Two collaborated to set a string of comics at the Rutland, Vermont Halloween parade, thereby creating one of the first unofficial Marvel/DC crossovers. (Another early crossover occurred between Aquaman #56 and Sub-Mariner #72, a storyline that was three years in the making).
This Halloween parade story — which ran through Amazing Adventures, Justice League of America, and The Mighty Thor — centered on writer Steve Englehart's car getting stolen by supervillains. A minor plot point certainly, but real-life Rutland parade master Tom Fagan interacted with the superheroes (which led the reader to assume the opposite company's characters were hiding somewhere off-panel).
1.) Judge Dredd kills everybody for the hell of it
In 1978, 2000 AD advertised their books with this illustration of Judge Dredd blatantly murdering his competition. I love how the publisher simply did not give a fuck about discretion.
BONUS #1: John Barrowman's voice has the power to unite universes
Like some rare, extremely handsome, anthropomorphic conch shell, Captain Jack can use his dulcet pipes to summon superheroes from different universes. Copyright doesn't matter here — no do-gooder can resist Barrowman's clarion call. It's true, music has a tendency to make these two universes collide.
BONUS #2: Rosalynn Carter is the nexus of reality
In 1979, the First Lady met Spider-Woman and the Hulk at the White House. But a year earlier, she was watching Superman box Muhammad Ali in an absolutely thrilling spectacle. Coincidence? Of course not. PS: Jonathan Frakes is dressed as Captain America in this photo. Seriously.
Hat tip to Collectors Society. Exciting top image from JLA/Avengers #4, a very official crossover.