So, time for my first movie article, rather than just TV. I figured I might as well make it a big one, and the word "Amalgam" doesn't pop up in Moviepilot searches, which I thought was quite frankly a comic crime. And, yes, this article was written because the photo above is truly godly.
Please note, as much to my own disappointment as your own, everything I say here is speculation. I'm just toying around, but that doesn't mean everything I say will be ludicrously impossible. I'll try to keep it grounded in reality.
Amalgam comics- why are they important?
It's a question that needs to be answered if I'm to talk about this. Amalgam Comics was an imprint created in the 90s, with a quality that made it truly unique and quite fascinating- it was shared by both DC and Marvel. In their time they published 24 issues, 12 by Marvel, and 12 by DC, all taking place in one combined comic universe- any fan of both's dream on paper, in other words.
What they did across this run was combine two characters from either universe into one- such as Wolverine and Batman into Darkclaw, or Green Skull, a combination of Lex Luthor and Red Skull; perhaps Thanoseid, an amalgamation of Thanos and Darkseid? The combinations were logical, and suited villainous or heroic intent. A great list of the characters can be found here. It was, in short, quite an epic blend of the two universes.
Have Marvel and DC ever really crossed their characters, though?
It's an obvious question to follow them blending their characters. The answer is, yes! They have. You see, the two major comic companies aren't dumb, regardless of which your favourite is- both own some of the most iconic characters in the world, and they want to capitalise on that. Whether it's for the money or for the fans, or a mix of both, you decide, but it typically ends up getting a lot of both.
In 1976 came the first official company crossover, featuring the two companies' most popular characters and their respective enemies Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus as villains. You guessed it- perhaps the titles have shifted now, but at first, it was Superman and Spiderman. In the 1981 sort of follow up, Superman and Spiderman, Hulk and Wonder Woman would guest star.
You can't deny that seeing that combination of DC and Marvel is kind of smileworthy for any fan of both, like they've put their differences aside and come together to make something great. The trend would continue- Batman VS Hulk? How about the Teen Titans and The Uncanny X-Men teaming up to battle Dark Phoenix, Darkseid and Deathstroke? Yeah, they did that too. A full list, quite comprehensive and to give you a scope of how popular the idea got, can be found on our beloved Wikipedia. (Hoping these hyperlinks are working.)
These comics, like the Amalgam comics, were treated as if the history before the events was all in line, establishing decades' worth of continuity without having to write it in. The next big crossover would come a few years after.
This led to the creation of the Amalgam universe. In 1996 a series of comics were published which was quite obviously fan service, relying on votes to determine the outcomes of five battles, plus seven preliminaries, ranging from Bats VS Cap to Lobo VS Wolverine, or to Hulk VS Superman. In short, at the end of the series, the brotherly personifications of the two franchises who were using their characters to duel were stopped by Spectre and the Living Tribunal- Marvel and DC, respectively- to pull together the universes and create the Amalgam one.
It led to a lot of hype, a lot of fights, and a lot of fanboy joy. What's most profound about it? The presence of the heroes made the two realise just how petty their feud really was. Kind of applicable to most comic fans, really. Love both.
But for the sake of the argument, a few examples...
Ultimately, all of these battles led to the Amalgam Universe, and then...
These personifications of Marvel and DC, these massive cosmic enmities...they shook hands and called it a day, in mutual respect. The same would occur after the most recent crossover- not just the JLA, but the JLAA- The Justice League of America/Avengers, published by DC Comics and Marvel comics. (Did I have to write that last line? Yes, it makes me feel fuzzy inside to think of them working together.)
As I said, this remains the most recent crossover, being in 2004, prior to any massive success with films such as the MCU, with the Xmen movies, or The Dark Knight trilogy. In truth, they were sketches on paper at this point, ideas in fruition. But that doesn't mean a crossover any time soon is possible. We sit here...waiting.
So, how can we think of a movie coming into play?
"But they're enemies!" Many are yelling. "They CAN'T work together!"
And that, I'm afraid, is where you're wrong. Marvel and DC Comics are not enemies. Despite spats here and there legally and among employees, more often than not the two get along. They have a healthy respect for each other, both owing some of the most popular, brilliant and iconic heroes and villains of our time. Nothing quite rivals them in the world of superheroes.
A common complaint is that people want to see a clear cut winner or loser, and that badly frames heroes which neither company wants, but I don't think that's necessary. Similar to what is likely to happen in Batman VS Superman, the two will clash, and then unite to fight villains- imagine Green Goblin and Joker coupled with Magneto and Loki. Forget the heroes, we want a villains crossover series.
Now, I'm not going to suggest a plot for a crossover movie, as I'm sure all of our minds rapidly pull together thoughts quickly. But I will suggest how it could work.
An Amalgam movie, or a crossover?
It's an excellent question. Where the MCU is 10+ movies in, DC's cinematic universe is just kicking in after the critical success of the Dark Knight trilogy. Both have made a lot of money and achieved a lot of success thus far. In contrast, in TV land Marvel is building their shows up, mainly on Netflix, where DC is soon to be four critically well received and popular shows in, with a few more, including a Teen Titans and Supergirl series, on the horizon. (I do not make judgements here about the success of either company. I love and enjoy both.)
Of course, both are hesitant to cross over. With their own cinematic universes at stake, and the fact the Amalgam important characters of the Xmen, Fantastic Four, and Spiderman are all lying at other studios, the whole thing is a bit fragmented. A crossover would be incredible, but it certainly isn't in the near future.
An Amalgam movie is more possible. If the companies came together to create an imprint just as the original comic publishers did, rights wouldn't be an issue, but the new characters could be created, and we could see this. The fault? Amalgam always worked better on the page, and was mainly for the novelty. It probably wouldn't work as well as a simply crossover.
What do we take from all of this?
Is a movie possible? Yes. Is it likely to be in the near future? Probably not. However, if there's one thing I hope shined through from this info, it's that the companies Marvel and DC actually respect each other and work together.
What's most important out of all of this, even being pretty bluntly put at the conclusion of the Amalgam world-
Neither Marvel nor DC are "better." They are different. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Fighting over them is petty. And, above all, they are not the ones who do the fighting:
Fans are the ones, personified in those two brothers, who polarize the franchises and create the hate wars.
If fans stopped savaging each other, and proved to the studios that we want to see a crossover, they might actually listen. You see, in both cinematic, TV, video game, merchandise and comic worlds, the companies have proved they're happy to work together, to serve the fans and to earn maximum profit. Marvel and DC might just be ready to work together- Disney and Warner Bros, in extension (now that's a bit trickier)- if fans would just give them a chance. In reality, in a decade or so when both universes are thriving and loved, a crossover movie could be easily something both companies would love to reap and share the profits of- the highest grossing movie ever made.
So, what do you think? Would you like to see a crossover event on the big screen or on TV? Be mindful I have ignored a lot of legal technicalities and financial issues, as they get in the way, and so we don't really want jargon spouted in the comments, but by all means express your desires and doubts. Let me know in the comments, and be welcome to your opinions on the big guys Marvel and DC, but any mindless bashing won't be tolerated. Don't let that discourage you. Discuss and enjoy!