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Amalgam Comics was a publishing imprint shared by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, in which the two comic book publishers merged their characters into new ones (e.g., DC Comics' Batman and Marvel Comics' Wolverine became the Amalgam character Dark Claw). These characters first appeared in a series of twelve comic books which were published in 1996, between the third and fourth issues of the Marvel vs. DC miniseries. A second set of twelve comic books followed one year later.
On two separate occasions, Marvel and DC co-published titles from Amalgam Comics. During the publication of Amalgam Comics, the companies treated it as if it had existed for decades, giving it a fictional history stretching back to the Golden Age of Comics, as well as retcons and reboots, such as the Secret Crisis of the Infinity Hour (an amalgam of Secret Wars, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet and Zero Hour), including an Amalgam version of the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, with Super-Soldier holding his sidekick's body.
The books even went so far as to have letter pages with readers talking about stories they had read for years from the company line. In the 24 Amalgam Comics printed, one-third of those printed included letter-columns by fictitious fans to give a larger background to the stories and to help give hints of what might happen in the next issue. The "fans'" hometowns were usually fusions of existing American cities.
The first Amalgam event occurred near the end of the Marvel vs. DC crossover event in 1996. The first twelve Amalgam titles were released in a single week, temporarily replacing both publishers' regular releases. Half the comics in the event were published by Marvel and half by DC. A year later, the stunt was repeated, but without the crossover as background. Later, both publishers collected their issues into trade paperback collections.
Between the two rounds of Amalgam Comics, the two publishers released a second crossover, DC/Marvel: All Access. A third mini-series, Unlimited Access, followed the second round. Both crossovers featured additional Amalgam characters.
Fictional origin of the Amalgam Universe
The two comic universes came together when the two physical incarnations of their respective universes (referred to as "the Brothers") became aware of each other after eons of slumber. To prevent the Brothers from destroying each other, characters from each universe battled to determine which universe would survive; several of the matches were determined through fan voting. Access, a character created for the event and co-owned by Marvel and DC, served as a gate keeper who became stuck while traveling between the two universes.
When the fighting concluded, neither universe was willing to go. To prevent total destruction, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal created an amalgamated universe, in which only Access and Dr. Strangefate knew the truth about the merge. The two characters fought against each other to reverse or preserve the change.
Access managed to separate the Brothers with the help of Amalgam's heroes; before the merge had taken place, he had planted 'shards' of the universe in Batman and Captain America. Once he discovered Dark Claw and Super-Soldier, he used those shards to give the Spectre and the Tribunal the power to restore the universes. Batman, Captain America and Access were thus able to make the Brothers realize that their conflict was pointless, and the universes were separated once again.
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During the event, pairs of Marvel and DC characters were merged into single characters. The same process was used for the teams and the fictional locations. Usually they had something in common to start with (for example, the Jack Kirby creations the Fantastic Four and Challengers of the Unknown, or water-themed heroes Namor the Sub-Mariner and Aquaman), or their names or themes allowed for clever combinations (such as Superman and Captain America's amalgamation, Super-Soldier, a reference to the Super Soldier serum that created Captain America; Bat-Thing, an amalgamation of Man-Bat and Man-Thing; or Shatterstarfire, the amalgamation of Shatterstar and Starfire).
Some minor characters are only an Amalgam version of a Marvel or DC character. For example, in Iron Lantern # 1, Senator Harrington's personal assistants Gardner and Gyrich are Amalgam Universe versions of, respectively, Guy Gardner of the DC Universe and Henry Peter Gyrich of the Marvel Universe.
Amalgam comic books
The 24 comics have been reprinted in 4 collected edition
- List of Amalgam Comics characters
- List of Amalgam Comics publications
- Fictional crossovers
- Intercompany crossover
- DCO PattyJ. "DC vs Marvel". Superman Homepage. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- Earth-Amalgam at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- "Amalgam Comics". June 20, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
- Radford, Bill (April 20, 1997). "New Amalgam comics bring back characters, add a few". Beaver County Times. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- Weiner, Robert G. (2008). Marvel graphic novels and related publications: an annotated guide to comics, prose novels, children's books, articles, criticism and reference works, 1965-2005. McFarland. p. 385. ISBN 978-0-7864-2500-6. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- Gardner at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Gyrich at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Amalgam Index at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe