Who’s that guy?
Over the last couple of months as the comic book industry has faced near-virtual shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic, a smattering of calls have emerged for the Direct Market’s major publishers to work together to help generate fan interest when distribution resumes.
Spawn creator and Image President Todd McFarlane proposed a coordinated publisher effort to try to deliver events that could generate huge sales for retailers, including intercompany crossovers. Writers Gail Simone and Scott Snyder have expressed interest in Marvel-DC crossovers on varying levels, which is a horse Newsarama has been riding since even before the coronavirus crisis, although we’ve renewed our suggestions in a couple of different ways since.
But whether it’s a brand new crossover or the first-ever digital publication of past crossover events (both longshots), one thing that will likely never be revisited by DC and Marvel again is Amalgam Comics.
For readers not in the know, Amalgam was a series of 12 specials co-published in 1996 (with DC and Marvel suspending publication of their regular titles for a week) that was narratively a part of the 1996 Marvel vs DC/DC vs Marvel crossover event. Long story short, after each universe fought with each other to a standstill to decide which universe could survive, Marvel’s the Living Tribunal and DC’s the Spectre decided on a third option: to merge the universes into one.
The result was a narrative mash-up of pretty much all the respective publishers’ characters and concepts, from Dark Claw (Batman and Wolverine) and Super-Soldier (Superman and Captain America) to the JLX (Justice League and X-Men).
The somewhat goofy premise was a fan curiosity – just fun and unprecedented enough to warrant a 12-issue second go-around in 1997 even after the storyline that begat it was concluded the year before.
Despite being initially collected, the trade paperbacks have been out of print for years and none of the material has ever been published digitally. And that likely won’t change soon. Despite Marvel and DC’s knack for returning to what works for them sales-wise (we’re looking at you ‘Crises’ and ‘Wars’), and Marvel’s own exploration of the premise with characters like Spider-Gwen, Hulkverine and the Infinity Warps event, in this day and age of mega-corporate ownership and billion-dollar media merchandising rights, an official revival for reals is highly unlikely.
That’s where we come in.
In discussing crossovers and intercompany events over the last couple of months, we discovered here at Newsarama that the Amalgam premise can be something of a conversational rabbit hole. Coming up with combinations that make sense and/or seem cool is an easy way to make big chunks of work day disappear under your notice, particularly if you’re lifelong comic book fans and readers like we all are. Business hours began being spent on what we call ‘comic shop talk’ (you know, who’s the strongest … who’d win in a fight?) about potential mash-ups.
Finally we said what the heck, let’s put them on ‘paper.’
So this week we’re going to share some of the results, just for the ‘what-the-hell’ of it while most of us are still waiting for comic books to begin shipping again and our local comic book shops to reopen.
Be clear, this is just a hopefully fun little thought experiment with a small budget, that we’re gonna call (unofficially) Amalgam Again … or in 2020 terms #AmalgamAgain.
Before we introduce you to the first character, here’s a couple words about the ground rules we set for ourselves.
No do-overs. Meaning no repeating any 1996 or 1997 characters or combinations.
- On that note, the entire point of the exercise was to imagine logical or curious (and hopefully cool) amalgams inspired by the contemporary status quo of the characters, which includes the pop culture profile of and story elements introduced in the feature films and television series since the original, not just the comic book versions.
So with all that exposition out of the way, check back later Monday for our first #AmalgamAgain, the Mighty Mortal…