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What Was The First Cross-Title Comic Book Crossover?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

Reader Rob H. wrote in to ask what was the first comic book crossover that took place between multiple titles. For instance, when Human Torch and Namor first crossed over from one of their features the other, it was in Marvel Mystery Comics #8-10. Both of those features took place in the same title, so the crossover did not go outside that single comic book. The same held true for stuff like the Justice Society of America, the first time that a group of separate heroes got together and formed a superhero team made out of otherwise solo heroes. Their stories all took place in All-Star Comics. When Superman and Batman had their first real team-up, it took place just within the pages of Superman's comic book series.

In the case of Marvel Comics, the first time that a storyline started in one title and then continued to another title was a fight between Iron Man and Namor in 1966.

Namor had been in a long-running storyline in the pages of Tales to Astonish where Namor is dealing with Warlord Krang and Dorma and Dorma is trying to protect Namor by going along with Krang, but Namor thinks that Dorma just betrayed him for whatever reason and thinks she is a traitor and he is hunting them down and meanwhile, Iron Man has just had a fight against Ultimo and he is sort of wiped out, but in Tales of Suspense #79, he gets caught up in everything...

You see, in the issue (by Stan Lee, Gene Colan and Jack Abel), Iron Man is attacked by Krang and his powerful Atlantean ship. Dorma tries to stop Krang from firing a blast that SHOULD have killed Iron Man, but luckily, Iron Man's armor is able to stand up to the blast. It badly damaged his armor, though, so he is left staggering when, at the end of the issue, Namor shows up angry at Iron Man!

At the start of the next issue (by Lee, Colan and Abel - Abel, by the way, uses a pseudonym for this issue but not the previous one - odd), Namor is attacking Iron Man, which is bad news for Iron Man considering his armor is so messed up...

Iron Man pulls out the ol' Br'er Rabbit routine by tricking Namor into throwing him into an armored room where Iron Man could have time to fix his armor before Namor breaks through the door. Why is Namor pissed at Iron Man? The reason is pretty dumb. Namor was about to catch up with Krang and Dorma when he saw Iron Man fighting them and he was mad at Iron Man for stealing his vengeance (hey, no one ever said Namor made sense all of the time)...

The issue ends with Iron Man's armor fixed and Namor through the door and ready for a fight...

But what's this? It continues in the pages of Tales to Astonish?!

The story (by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Jack Kirby, Gene Colan and Dick Ayers) is a huge (and quite awesome) fight between the two until Namor spies Krang's ship and runs out in the middle of the fight.

Okay, so the story, which came out in 1966, boasted that it was the first time something like this had happened. Is that true?

Nope!

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