Marvel and DC teamed up for JLA/Avengers, one last hurrah, really

Remember When Marvel and DC Kinda Sorta Got Along?

The great thing about having your back against the wall is that it pushes you to do the things you wouldn’t think about doing when you were more successful and “safe.”

You hear the stories all the time of people who couldn’t achieve their goals because they didn’t “need” them.  They had a day job that paid good money, so their true love in life was merely a hobby. It wasn’t necessary to have that hobby pay them, so they didn’t push it as hard as they could have.

Or the stories of the unhealthy people who didn’t take better care of themselves until they had a heart attack and suddenly found themselves eating right and walking daily to survive.

Comics hit new lows in the late 1990s.  Sales were in the toilet.  Marvel was bankrupt.  No money was coming in from Hollywood, newsstands were dying fast, and comics consumers were playing video games.

Marvel and DC reached a kind of d’etente.  Both needing to boost their numbers, it was an ideal time for crossovers. And so you had DC vs Marvel, the Amalgam Universe 1 and 2, Batman/Punisher, Batman/Daredevil, Batman and Spider-Man, Green Lantern and Silver SurferSilver Surfer/Superman, and Treasury Sized Superman and the Fantastic Four.     

JLA/Avengers capped it all off in 2003,  when it all ended.  Things had changed by then.  New people were in charge at Marvel.  Hollywood success had started.  Creators jumped ship between companies.   The desperation of the late 90s was replaced by the rebirth of the early aughts.

Then Joe Quesada trash talked DC at a bad time and Bob Wayne declared an official end to dealing with Marvel from DC’s perspective.

And, today, though neither is in the same seats of power at their respective companies, the d’etente between Marvel and DC is long gone. Marvel is a Disney company now. DC has been a Warner Bros. company for decades, but the parent company began asserting themselves more in recent years, including a move of the offices to the west coast.  

You don’t see Warner Bros. and Disney team up all that often, do you?  (What’s the release date for “Roger Rabbit 2” again? Yeah, exactly.)

The trash talking might be done, but the gamesmanship is heightened.  Look at the desperate efforts the two companies go through to assert sales “dominance” in any given month.  They might as well unzip and take out their rulers now. It’s almost embarrassing.  (“Oh, yeah. you got Loot Crate?  We got Scholastic!”  “You relaunched 52 titles?  We’ll relaunch them under the same relaunch name we used two years ago and our people will eat that #$!* up.”  “You did 20 variant covers to hit 100,000 in sales? HA!  We’ll start at 52 variant covers and be up to 100 before we’re done!”  “Ha!  We did dozens of variant covers to relaunch friggin’ Star Wars in order to get it to sell in decent numbers.” etc. etc.)

Things aren’t as simple as they once were two decades back.  They also aren’t as desperate. You take the good, you take the bad.

3 Comments

  • johnpannozzi November 28, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    “You don’t see Warner Bros. and Disney team up all that often, do you? (OK, OK, they might make “Space Jam 2”, I’ll give you that.)”

    I think you’ve got Space Jam confused with Roger Rabbit, which also may get a followup someday, though whether it will feature other companies’ characters is anyone’s guess.

    Reply
  • Augie November 28, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Oops, yeah, you’re right. Thanks — I’ve updated that paragraph to make sense again. Thanks!

    Reply
  • GNN Talks Rogue One, and a Little Bit About Comics December 7, 2016 at 10:08 am

    […] Augie De Blieck looks back at a time when Marvel and DC sorta got along (link) […]

    Reply

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