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Off My Mind: Why We Need More Comic Book Crossovers

We all love seeing our favorite characters from different comics interact.

Comic book crossovers can be a touchy subject with some. There are different types of crossovers we could look at. Many characters exist in vast comic book universes. When characters cross over, it's usually because of a big threat or story. Characters that might not normally appear in the same comic are often pulled together to deal with a catastrophic problem.

There are good and bad ways for crossovers to come about. The obvious important factor is we get a great story to make the crossover work and worth our time and money. When crossovers are simply done to generate sales, the point of the actual crossover becomes lessened and you get the sense that we're being taken advantage of.

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Crossovers within a comic book universe is one thing but the days of the frequent inter-company crossover are almost non-existent. If everyone can get on the same page, in planning and negotiation, we could all benefit from seeing the return of the great comic crossovers.

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Looking back, the first really big comic crossovers within companies that gained a lot of attention was MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS and CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. The first brought together many Marvel heroes and villains. They were at the mercy of the Beyonder and were supposed to fight each other in order to win what they desired most.

The point of the 12-issue series may have been to sell action figures but we ended up with a really cool story. The story was contained in the twelve issues and surprisingly, when issue #2 came out, the characters had already returned home in their respective titles. Comic book life moved on (along with major repercussions) while the main crossover was just beginning. You weren't forced to read a bunch of other series. You could just read your favorite characters' series and SECRET WARS if you wanted.

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CRISIS brought the heroes together to witness the end of the multiverse. This was where the DC Universe was changed. Characters were killed off or erased as the entire DC Universe got a reboot. Both of these had a point in bringing the heroes together. It was fun and exciting to see it all happen.

Currently we have AVENGERS VS. X-MEN. There seems to be many that are not thrilled by the story yet the series is selling well and any time we report on the book, people are interested. This isn't the first time the two teams clashed. There was a four-issue miniseries back in 1987, X-MEN VS. AVENGERS. The current crossover is on a bigger scale. Many regular series are tying into the event and we're witnessing hero fight hero.

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That's the cool thing about the crossover. Seeing heroes or villains fight others they normally don't. When we had Marvel characters fight DC characters like in 1976's SUPERMAN VS. SPIDER-MAN or UNCANNY X-MEN AND THE NEW TEEN TITANS, it was a blast. How many loved seeing Green Lantern Kyle Rayner team up with the Silver Surfer? The pairing of Batman and Spider-Man was classic. MARVEL VS. DC was the big crossover that put the two universes against each other. Of course we can't forget to mention ARCHIE MEETS THE PUNISHER.

This is where crossovers shine. Even with big events like AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, it's still characters from the same world interacting with each other. There may be some new interactions but many of the characters have met, fought or teamed up before. Seeing Superman fight the Hulk is something you don't get to see often at all. And then there was even all the Amalgam characters.

For different reasons, we don't get these big crossovers anymore. Pairing a Marvel and DC Comics character seems like a no-brainer. People want to see them and they would sell, especially if there was a great writer and artist handling the crossover. The two companions could then split the profits and live happily. They just don't want to play together anymore.

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At least the crossovers haven't been completely abandoned. IDW currently has Star Trek crossing over with Doctor Who. In November, Dynamite Entertainment is bringing Green Hornet and Kato, the Spider, the Shadow and Zorro together in MASKS, drawn and painted by Alex Ross. We've even had Danger Girl meet up with members of G.I. Joe.

What you'll notice is these crossovers aren't from Marvel or DC. IDW and Dynamite Entertainment know what readers want. They know mixing characters that have never met could make a great story that would be worth checking out. It might be seen as a cheap marketing ploy but there's nothing wrong with giving readers what they dream about. If readers are buying and enjoying them, it's a win-win situation.

It's unfortunate that we can't see the big crossovers anymore. We still get big comic book events within the Big Two but those aren't quite the same. Imagine if we could see Nightwing team up with Winter Soldier? How would the new Justice League interact with the Avengers? Just the idea of the New 52 and how the characters are a little different could make the crossovers interesting.

We've had them before. We may not be getting them now but perhaps if we're patient, we might see Marvel and DC characters work together once again. Having them all the time wouldn't be a good thing but if we could get the occasional really cool comic crossover, it would be something we'd love to spend our money on.

Tony Guerrero is the Editor-in-Chief of Comic Vine. You can follow him on Twitter @GManFromHeck. He'd even like to see some crossover between Comic Vine and other comic book sites.