Ah, the Marvel/DC Comics crossovers…
The first official instance of these rare-but-welcome treats arrived in 1975 with the publication of MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz, by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. However, once this adaptation of the classic 1900 children’s novel broke the seal, Marvel and DC wasted little time bringing the two company’s respective superhero properties into the mix.
In 1976, readers witnessed the first modern Marvel/DC superhero crossover in the form of Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century, by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, Neal Adams and John Romita Sr. Then, in the early 1980s, the companies doubled, or rather tripled down on their collaborative efforts, releasing Marvel Treasury Edition #28: Superman and Spider-Man, by Jim Shooter, Marv Wolfman and John Buscema, DC Special Series #27: Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk, by Len Wein, José Luis García-López and Dick Giordano, and Marvel and DC Present: The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans, by Chris Claremont and Walt Simonson.
In 1994, after a 12-year hiatus, Marvel and DC would team up once again by pairing the Azrael incarnation of the Caped Crusader with Frank Castle in Batman and Punisher: Lake of Fire, by Denny O’Neil and Barry Kitson, followed a few months later by Punisher and Batman: Deadly Knights, by Chuck Dixon and John Romita Jr., with Bruce Wayne back under the cowl.
These stories paved the way for a number of crossovers throughout the ‘90s, but arguably the most popular age of the Marvel/DC Comics crossovers began in 1996, with the launch of Ron Marz, Peter David, Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini’s four-issue miniseries DC vs. Marvel Comics/Marvel Comics vs. DC. Then, of course, there was the launch of Amalgam Comics – a shared imprint by Marvel and DC in which the two companies merged some of the most popular superheroes of all time over the course of two 12-issue waves of books.
Finally, in 2003, the era of Marvel and DC crossovers culminated with the release of the four-issue miniseries JLA/Avengers (aka Avengers/JLA), by Kurt Busiek and George Pérez, which was originally planned all the way back in 1979. However, unlike these aforementioned stories, not every Marvel/DC crossover was “official.”