Today's column is all about bringing people together. Sort of. (Archive.)
337. Team-up books
I love the classic team-up comics: Brave and the Bold! DC Comics Presents! Marvel Team-Up! Marvel Two-in-One! Great titles from when the newsstand ruled the roost and impulse-buying was the name of the game. Two cool superheroes for the price of one--hanging out, fighting, or teaming up to fight greater menaces! It made for some excellent storytelling, back in the day.
These books acted as tours through their respective super-universes. We got to see the big stars of the books encounter all the little guys-- in fact, some of the choices in these books got really off-beat at times. The obscurer, the better, as far as I'm concerned. The creators were quite good, too, especially the stories from geniuses like Bob Haney and Bill Mantlo, who produced utterly fantastic done-in-one tales.
I mean, just look at these awesome comics:
There's really a simple joy in reading a well-told story in which two characters are thrust together and forced to interact. It works not only as a fine writing experiment, but as a fun reading experiment for the audience! Team-up books tells stories you can't find anywhere else.
We're no longer in an age where a team-up comic can be successful, I'm afraid. When so much focus is put on "important," continuity-heavy comics, a book that only seeks to tell an entertaining story ends up ignored. We're seeing that now with Mark Waid and George Perez's revitalization of the Brave and the Bold. It's a great comic that's telling massively fun stories, but "fun" isn't cool anymore, and the sales keep slipping downwards. Buy it!