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In comic books, an intercompany crossover (also called cross-company or company crossover) is a comic or series of comics in which characters, that at the time of publication are the property or licensed property of one publisher, meet characters owned or licensed by another publisher (for example, DC Comics and Marvel Comics collaborating on Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man or Wildstorm (DC Comics) and Dynamite Entertainment teaming to produce Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash). These crossovers typically occur in "one-shot" issues or miniseries.

Some crossovers are part of canon, but most are outside of the continuity of a character's regular title or series of stories. They can be a joke, a dream sequence, or even a "what if" scenario (such as DC's Elseworlds).

Avengers/JLA is in canon,[1] but most Marvel/DC crossovers are non-canon. They include those where the characters live in alternate universes, as well as those where they share the same Earth. Some fans have posited a separate "Crossover Earth" for these adventures.[2] In the earliest licensed crossovers, the companies seemed to prefer shared world adventures. This was the approach for early intercompany crossovers, including 1976's Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man and 1981's Superman and Spider-Man. A number of other DC/Marvel adventures take place on a "Crossover Earth", but later intercompany crossovers tend to present the DC and Marvel Universes as alternate realities, bridged when common foes make this desirable, as the interest in overall continuity has become a major part of even crossover comic books.

Characters are often licensed or sold from one company to another, as with DC acquiring such characters of Fawcett Comics, Quality Comics, and Charlton Comics as the original Captain Marvel, Plastic Man and Captain Atom, respectively. In this way, heroes originally published by different companies can become part of the same fictional universe, and interactions between such characters are no longer considered intercompany crossovers.

Although a meeting between a licensed character and a wholly-owned character (e.g., between Red Sonja and Spider-Man, or Evil Dead's Ash Williams and the Marvel Zombies) is technically an intercompany crossover, comics companies rarely bill them as such. Likewise, this is the case when some characters in an ongoing series are owned or to some extent controlled by their creators, as with Doctor Who antagonists the Daleks, who are not owned by the UK television network the BBC, even though the character of the Doctor is.

Published crossovers

Golden and Silver Ages

The Inferior Five #10 (Oct. 1968), cover art by Win Mortimer and Tex Blaisdell
The Inferior Five #10 (Oct. 1968), cover art by Win Mortimer and Tex Blaisdell
The Justice Society of America was created in this issue, combining National Comics' Doctor Fate, Hour-Man (as it was then spelled), the Spectre, and the Sandman, and All-American Publications' the Atom, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman. National and All-American, separate editorial imprints, shared for the first time the unofficial "DC" label due to joint publishing and distribution, but Superman, Batman, and Robin were mentioned in this issue.

Unofficial

"The Monkey's Paw", a story from Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #42 (July 1963), featured a one-panel appearance, with his costume mis-colored, by the defunct Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel, who was not yet a DC character. The letters page of No. 113 (Oct. 1971) described it as "strictly a private joke" on the part of former Captain Marvel artist Kurt Schaffenberger. The story was reprinted in No. 104 (Oct. 1970) with the costume coloring corrected.[3]
Writers during the 1960s and early 1970s sometimes engaged in a form of intercompany crossover with thinly disguised imitation versions of a competing company's characters, as opposed to parodies in satirical humor stories. In this way, Marvel's superhero team the Avengers met Squadron Sinister (later Squadron Supreme), a version of DC's Justice League of America in The Avengers #70 as Squadron Sinister, and Avengers #85–86, and #147-48 as Squadron Supreme. In Action Comics #351-353 (1967) DC's Superman met a villain called Zha-Vam, whose powers and name were derivative of Captain Marvel (then owned by Fawcett Comics) and of the magic word Shazam that gave Captain Marvel his powers. Superman similarly met versions of Marvel's Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the Sub-Mariner (the Kookie Quartet, Cobweb Kid, and the Sub-Moron) in The Inferior Five #10 (Oct. 1968).
In the 1970s, the annual Rutland Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont was used as the setting of a number of superhero comic books published by both Marvel and DC Comics. Costumed parade attendees in these books were often depicted wearing the uniforms of characters from the other company. In the fall of 1972, writers Len Wein, Gerry Conway and Steve Englehart crafted a metafictional unofficial intercompany crossover spanning titles from both major comics companies. Each comic featured Englehart, Conway, and Wein, as well as Wein's first wife Glynis, interacting with Marvel or DC characters at the Rutland Halloween Parade. Beginning in Amazing Adventures #16 (by Englehart with art by Bob Brown and Frank McLaughlin), the story continued in Justice League of America #103 (by Wein, Dillin and Dick Giordano), and concluded in Thor #207 (by Conway and penciler John Buscema). As Englehart explained in 2010, "It certainly seemed like a radical concept and we knew that we had to be subtle... and each story had to stand on its own, but we really worked it out. It's really worthwhile to read those stories back to back to back – it didn't matter to us that one was at DC and two were at Marvel – I think it was us being creative, thinking what would be really cool to do."[4][5][6][7][8] Other issues featuring the parade include Batman #237, DC Super Stars #18, Freedom Fighters #6, The Avengers #83 and 119, and Marvel Feature #2.
In 1974’s The Savage Sub-Mariner #72 story "From the Void It Came..." writer Steve Skeates unofficially continued the plot from his own 1971 story in Aquaman #56, "The Creature That Devoured Detroit!".

1975–1982

The first DC Comics/Marvel Comics intercompany collaboration
The first DC Comics/Marvel Comics intercompany collaboration
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man one-shot issue (March 1976), cover art by Carmine Infantino (layout), Ross Andru (finished pencils) and Dick Giordano (inks)
Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man one-shot issue (March 1976), cover art by Carmine Infantino (layout), Ross Andru (finished pencils) and Dick Giordano (inks)
The first official intercompany crossover to feature characters from the two major comic book publishers. The villains are Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus.
Superman and Spider-Man battle the Parasite and Dr. Doom, with the Hulk and Wonder Woman guest-starring
Batman and the Hulk battle the Joker and the Shaper of Worlds.
The two hottest-selling teams from each company battle Darkseid, Deathstroke the Terminator, and Dark Phoenix.
Superman and the Masters of the Universe

Unofficial

In DC Comics' Justice League of America #142 (May 1977), writer Steve Englehart re-introduced Mantis, a character he had created in Marvel Comics' Avengers, picking up the plot threads from her last appearance there and renaming her Willow.[14][15]
In X-Men #107 (Oct. 1977), writer Chris Claremont and artist Dave Cockrum introduced the Imperial Guard, characters modeled after Cockrum's previous assignment, DC's Legion of Super-Heroes. Members included heroes with the powers of, and similar costumes to, the Legionnaires Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy, Timber Wolf, Wildfire, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Star Boy, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass.[16][17]

1983–1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

Miscellaneous crossovers

Collected editions

Other collected miniseries

In video games

The concept of intercompany crossovers has also been explored in video games, usually in the form of having one video game company licensing its characters to another.

Early intercompany crossovers in games occurred by taking advantage of licensing for publishing rights. GORF in 1981, produced by Midway, has the missions Astro Battles and Galaxians, which make use of characters and names from Space Invaders (Taito) and Galaxian (Namco), which, at the time of the development of GORF, were licensed to Midway Mfg. In 1992, Tradewest released Battletoads & Double Dragon. At that time, Tradewest owned the rights for publishing of Double Dragon by Technos Japan and Battletoads by Rare. Rare developed the game, while Technos Japan was barely involved in the production.

In 1989, DIC Entertainment produced Captain N: The Game Master, a cartoon show that featured characters and settings from Nintendo franchises and other franchises appearing on Nintendo video game systems, possibly taking advantage of Nintendo's licensing system to publish games. Characters such as Simon Belmont, Dracula, and Alucard from Konami, Mega Man, Dr. Wily, and Dr. Light from Capcom, Malkil of Wizards and Warriors from Rare, and settings from Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy (by Square Enix, independent from each other at that time), Burger Time (Data East), and Faxanadu (Hudson Soft/Falcom) appeared in the series. The 1990 animated series The Power Team (part of the Video Power TV show) had characters from arcade games ported by Acclaim to the NES as well as games to which Acclaim had publishing rights. These games included NARC, Arch Rivals (Midway), Kwirk (Atlus), Wizards & Warriors (RARE), and BigFoot (based on the famous monster truck from the game by Beam Software).

The first major intercompany crossover properly licensed is the Marvel vs. Capcom series, which originally began in 1994 with X-Men: Children of the Atom. Capcom followed this act by teaming up with rival fighting game developer SNK in 1999.

After the successful Capcom/SNK crossovers, many others have appeared since then.

Midway Games' Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe pitted characters from Midway's Mortal Kombat video game franchise against DC Comics characters Superman, Batman Wonder Woman, the Joker, and others. This game was produced prior to the acquisition of Midway by Warner Bros. Since then, Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street (a WB movie) appeared in Mortal Kombat (2011) and Scorpion appeared in Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013). Kratos, from Sony's God of War franchise, appeared as an exclusive in the PlayStation 3 version of Mortal Kombat (2011).

The games Super Smash Bros. and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale were made possible by the "second party" model, in which independent developers work closely with the console maker to ensure exclusivity and quality. In both games, other third parties also appear as guest characters.

In Japan, Namco Bandai and its Banpresto imprint have published the Compati Hero Series (centered around Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Series, Toei and Ishimori Productions' Kamen Rider, and Sunrise's Gundam) and the Super Robot Wars series, both of which feature characters from numerous tokusatsu and anime properties.

Features characters from Taito and Namco.
Features characters and settings of games from Konami, Capcom, Data East, Rare, Squaresoft, Enix, Hudson Soft and Falcom.
Features characters of games from Midway, Rare, Atlus and Bigfoot 4×4, Inc.
Double Dragon characters were created by Technos Japan.
Akuma/Gouki from the Street Fighter series is a hidden character.
Anita from the Darkstalkers/Vampire series is a hidden character.
Marvel's Iron Man teams-up with the Acclaim Comics incarnation of X-O Manowar.
Characters from Banjo-Kazooie and Conker series, fully owned by Rare and in-development at the time of DKR release, appear along with Donkey Kong characters, owned by Nintendo.
Features characters from Nintendo, Hal and Game Freak.
Features characters from games by Nintendo, Hal Laboratory, Game Freak and Intelligent Systems.
The Game Cube version features Link from The Legend of Zelda by Nintendo and the Xbox version includes Spawn by Todd McFarlane Entertainment as playable characters.
Characters from different franchises by Konami, Takara and Hudson Soft are playable.
Features Marvel characters, as well as original characters created and owned by EA.
Features characters from Nintendo's Donkey Kong series along with Rare-owned supporting characters, including Tiptup and Timber.
Features characters from games by Nintendo, Hal Laboratory, Game Freak, Intelligent Systems, Konami and Sega.
Features Lucasfilm's Star Wars characters.
Midway's acquisition by Warner Bros. (owners of DC Comics) came a year later.
Ubisoft's Raving Rabbids characters are playable characters.
Features Kratos from Sony's God of War series.
Features characters from games by Capcom, Nippon Ichi Software, Namco Bandai and Gust.
Xbox 360 version features Rare's Banjo and Kazooie.
Features characters from Sam & Max, Penny Arcade, Homestar Runner, and Valve's Team Fortress 2.
Features Ezlo from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series.
Besides featuring Tekken characters by Namco, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions include characters by Sony and Sucker Punch.
Characters from AM2's Virtua Fighter series are playable characters.
Besides characters from Sony Computer Entertainment, it features characters by 2K Games, Sucker Punch Productions, Titan Studios, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Naughty Dog Inc, Ninja Theory Ltd., Konami and Insomniac Games.
Features characters from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph and Valve's Team Fortress.
Features characters from Sam & Max, The Venture Bros., The Evil Dead, Portal, and others.
Terry Bogard and Benimaru Nikaido from King of Fighters have been licensed by SNK Playmore.
Features characters from games by Namco Bandai, Capcom and Sega.
Characters from AM2's Virtua Fighter series are playable characters.
Characters from AM2's Virtua Fighter series are playable characters.
Mai Shiranui from SNK Playmore's King of Fighters is a downloadable character.
Features Spawn by Todd McFarlane Entertainment as a playable character.
Characters from games by Nintendo, Hal Laboratory, Game Freak, Monoliftsoft, Intelligent Systems, Sega, Bandai Namco, Square Enix and Capcom have been announced.
The console version features Akuma from Capcom's Street Fighter.
Geese Howard from SNK Playmore's King of Fighters is a downloadable character.
Noctis from Square Enix's Final Fantasy XV.
Negan from The Walking Dead
Kratos from Sony Computer Entertainment's God of War series is a playable character on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
The version of Freddy Krueger from New Line Cinema's A Nightmare on Elm Street remake is a downloadable character.
The classic version of the Predator from 20th Century Fox's film series of the same name is a downloadable character.
The version of Jason Voorhees from Paramount Pictures/New Line Cinema's Friday the 13th reboot is a downloadable character.
The version of Leatherface from the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a downloadable character.
An Alien from 20th Century Fox's film series of the same name spawned from Baraka (Mortal Kombat) is a downloadable character.
Donkey Kong and Bowser from Nintendo's Mario series, whom have Skylanders toy figures that can double as Amiibo figures for other games.
A sequel to Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Dark Horse's Hellboy is a downloadable character.
Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michaelangelo from Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are downloadable characters with shared slot and different fight styles, like Triborg.
As of November 2019, characters from games by Nintendo, Hal Laboratory, The Pokémon Company, Creatures Inc., Game Freak, Ape Inc., Monolith Soft, Intelligent Systems, Konami, Sega, Bandai Namco, Square Enix, Capcom, Atlus, Microsoft, and SNK have been announced.

In films and television

The Simpsons has infrequently featured guest appearances from characters owned by other companies, examples include Jay Sherman from Sony Pictures Television's The Critic, Ren and Stimpy, and the Flintstones in a couch gag.

Crossover between Toho's Godzilla and RKO Pictures' King Kong.
Featuring guest characters from DC comics including Superman, Lois Lane and Wonder Woman
Featuring guest appearance by the Lone Ranger
Crossover between Harvey Comics' Casper the Friendly Ghost and Hanna-Barbera characters, including Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.
Features cameos by Hanna-Barbara, Studio Peyo, and Namco-owned characters.
Features guest appearances by Usagi Yojimbo.
Features appearances by cartoon characters owned by Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal and MGM.
Crossover with characters owned by Disney, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, Bagdasarian Productions, and others.
Features appearances by Tom and Jerry, Droopy, Beetlejuice, the Care Bears, Wile E. Coyote's stunt double, and images of Betty and Veronica.
Features two characters from toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel.
Crossover Episode with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Features characters from PBS, Nickelodeon, and Disney Channel children's TV shows.
Features guest appearances by characters from Usagi Yojimbo, Planet Racers, and Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa.
Features appearances by movie monsters like the Metaluna Mutant from Universal's This Island Earth, Ro-Man from Robot Monster, and others.
Features children's TV characters owned by HiT Entertainment, Cosgrove Hall Films, Hanna-Barbera, and others.
Features appearances of characters based on vehicles by motor companies like Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and others. Also features appearances of characters based in aircraft vehicles in its spin-off Planes such as Airbus and Boeing.
Features characters such as Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Mickey Mouse, Batman and more, and historical characters such as Jesus Christ, Michael Jackson, George W. Bush and more.
Features characters such as Autobot's and Decepticon's able to morph in to vehicles from companies like Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Features an appearance of Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street.
Features appearances by video game characters owned by Nintendo, Sega, Capcom, Namco Bandai, Konami, Atari, Activision, EA, and others. Also features appearances electronic products and operating systems by IBM, Xerox, Microsoft, Apple Inc., Google, Amazon, Dell, HP Inc. and others. Even features appearances of characters based on sugar product companies in the arcade video game Sugar Rush like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hershey, M&M's, Nabisco and more.
Features appearances by Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; Milhouse van Houten from The Simpsons; Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and Lando Calrissian from the Star Wars Saga, and others.
Features a cameo by Quicksilver (whose film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, though the character himself is owned by Disney/Marvel).
Features an appearance by Quicksilver (whose film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, though the character himself is owned by Disney).
Couch gag features appearances by Adult Swim's Rick and Morty.
Features an appearance by Spider-Man (whose film rights are owned by Sony Pictures, though the character himself is owned by Disney).
Features a cameo by David Dunn from Disney/Touchstone's Unbreakable.
Features appearances by King Kong, the Daleks, and the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park.
Features a post-credits scene featuring cave paintings of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah.
Features characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Features appearances by characters like King Kong, Mechagodzilla, the T-rex from Jurassic Park, Voltron, and others.
Features an appearance by Spider-Man (whose film rights are owned by Sony Pictures, though the character himself is owned by Disney).
Crossover sequel to Disney/Touchstone's Unbreakable and Universal/Blumhouse's Split.
Features an appearance by Spider-Man (whose film rights are owned by Sony Pictures, though the character himself is owned by Disney/Marvel).
Features footage of King Kong, owned by Universal Pictures.
An animated adaptation of the six-issue intercompany crossover comic book miniseries Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Features appearances by Sonic the Hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower
Features characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
King Kong owned by Universal Pictures
Features characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Features appearances by characters owned by Paramount, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., Hasbro, etc.

See also

References

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  3. ^ Voger, Mark; Voglesong, Kathy (2003). "Front Page Romance". Hero Gets Girl!: The Life and Art of Kurt Schaffenberger. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 1-893905-29-2. 'That was sort of an 'in' joke.' [artist Kurt Schaffenberger] later told an interviewer. '[Editor] Mort [Weisinger] knew what I was doing. We both figured at that time that Captain Marvel was a thing of the past...He was colored differently – green instead of red, I think. But then when reprinted in a Lois Lane Annual [sic], they put the red union suit on him.'
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  14. ^ Cronin, Brian (September 15, 2005). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #16!". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012. Englehart next began a run on Justice League of America, and in issue No. 142, Mantis showed up! Only this time, she was calling herself Willow.
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  29. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 267: "This prestige one-shot marked Frank Miller's return to Batman, and was labeled as a companion piece to his classic 1986 work Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. The issue was drawn by Todd McFarlane, one of the most popular artists in comic book history."
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