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Amalgam Comics logo
|Parent company||DC Comics|
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Publication types||Comic books|
|Fiction genres||Superhero fiction|
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 become the Amalgam Comics character the Dark Claw). These characters first appeared in a series of 12 comic books which were published in April 1996, between Marvel vs. DC #3 and DC vs. Marvel #4, the last two issues of the DC vs. Marvel crossover event. A second set of 12 comic books followed one year later in June 1997, but without the crossover event as a background. All 24 of these issues occurred between the aforementioned issues of DC vs. Marvel.
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005 designated the Amalgam Universe as Earth-9602 in the Marvel Multiverse. DC Comics has not yet identified or numbered the Amalgam Universe in its Multiverse.
On two separate occasions – April 1996 and June 1997 – DC and Marvel co-published a total of 24 one-shot "first issues" (12 in April 1996 (six by DC and six by Marvel) and 12 in June 1997 (again, six by DC and six by Marvel)) under the Amalgam Comics imprint. The issues were presented as if the "company" had existed for decades, with stories and editorial comments referring to a fictional history stretching back to the Golden Age of Comic Books, including retcons and reboots; for example, they referred to Secret Crisis of the Infinity Hour (an amalgamation of Marvel's Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, Marvel's The Infinity Gauntlet, and DC's Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!), which featured the well-known cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, but with Super-Soldier holding the dead body of his sidekick (who is female and wears a costume similar to that of Marvel's Captain Marvel), instead of Superman holding the dead body of Supergirl. Several issues included fake letter columns to provide the illusion of background to the stories, with the "fans' " hometowns formed by amalgamating the names of existing cities.
The first Amalgam event occurred near the end of the four-issue DC vs. Marvel crossover event in 1996. In Marvel vs. DC #3, the DC and Marvel Universes were shown being combined into one - the Amalgam Universe - and the Amalgam comics were presented as the result of that. The first 12 Amalgam titles were released the following week, delaying both publishers' regular releases by one week. Six of the issues in the event were published by DC and six by Marvel. In 1997 the event was repeated, but without the crossover event as a background. Later, both publishers collected their respective issues into four trade paperback collections. All 24 of the Amalgam comic books took place between Marvel vs. DC #3 and DC vs. Marvel #4, the last two issues of the crossover event.
Between the two events of Amalgam Comics, the two publishers released a sequel crossover miniseries to DC vs. Marvel #1-4 primarily published by DC, DC/Marvel: All Access #1-4 (Dec. 1996-Feb. 1997 (issues #2-3 were both cover-dated Jan. 1997)). A second sequel crossover miniseries primarily published by Marvel, Unlimited Access #1-4 (Dec. 1997-March 1998), followed the second event. Both crossover miniseries featured additional Amalgam characters.
Fictional origin of the Amalgam Universe
The two comic book 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 (a real world vote by readers of the series was conducted to determine the outcome of five of the in-comic battles, with three of them favoring the Marvel hero). Access, a character created specifically for the event and co-owned by both Marvel and DC, served as a gatekeeper who became stuck while traveling between the two universes.
When the battles were finished, neither universe was willing to go. To prevent their total destruction, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal created an amalgamated universe, in which only Access and Doctor Strangefate (the amalgamation of Doctor Fate, Doctor Strange and Professor X) knew the truth about the merge. The two characters fought against each other to reverse (in the case of Access) or preserve (in the case of Doctor Strangefate) the change.
Access managed to separate the Brothers with the help of the Amalgam Universe's superheroes; before the merge had taken place, he had planted 'shards' of the two universes inside Batman and Captain America. Once he discovered the Dark Claw (an amalgamation of Batman and Wolverine) and Super-Soldier (an amalgamation of Superman and Captain America), he used those shards to give the Spectre and the Living Tribunal the power to restore the two universes. Batman, Captain America and Access were thus able to make the Brothers realize that their conflict was pointless and the two universes were separated once again.
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During the event, pairs of DC and Marvel characters were merged into single characters. The same was done with teams and fictional locations. Usually, the merged characters had something in common (for example, the Challengers of the Fantastic, an amalgamation of the four-member Jack Kirby creations the Challengers of the Unknown and the Fantastic Four, or the Aqua-Mariner, an amalgamation of the water-themed superheroes Aquaman and Namor the Sub-Mariner), 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 Formula that created Captain America; or the Bat-Thing, an amalgamation of the Man-Bat and the Man-Thing; or Shatterstarfire, an amalgamation of Starfire and Shatterstar).
Amalgam comic books
The 24 issues have been reprinted in four trade paperback collections:
- 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.
- Amalgam Index at The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe