Crossovers have been a staple of comics even before Superman and Batman fought over blankets in a cruise ship suite. You usually know what to expect from them, as most team-ups follow the basic progression of meet, fight over a misunderstanding, reconcile and combine forces to fight the true bad guy -- whether it's Spider-Man and Daredevil or Green Lantern and Green Arrow, the worn plot tropes ensure that these stories all sort of blend together. But every once in a while you can find a crossover with a special twinge of insanity that makes it special.
The subject of both celebration and disdain, Archie Meets The Punisher has remained a divisive chapter in comics history. Some people like the idea of a squeaky-clean 1950s throwback clashing with the gritty culmination of latter-day murder comics, and some people are no fun at all. Really, the concept of a ginger dweeb teaming up with a guy who shoots people in the head with bullets from a gun is so stupid that it works. The fact that characters look like they're from different planets works in the comic's favor -- in fact, two different artists worked on this special to achieve that effect. It's something that can only work in comics, like spandex suits or electing Captain America to be President.
The story centered around skull-loving vigilante Frank Castle as he tracked a criminal who happened to look like a Garbage Pail Kids version of Archie. The trail lead Punisher to Riverdale, where the case of mistaken identity is resolved in good speed. Too bad the mafia hitmen from out of town didn't get the memo.
Despite a brief glimpse of Archie's descent into madness, it's definitely more of an Archie comic than a Punisher comic. You can't paint the walls with mobster blood in a book that features a guy named Jughead who is fond of Burger King crowns, so any gunfire just sort of hits the ground without hurting anyone, A-Team style. Eventually Frank figures out the rules of Riverdale, just in the nick of time. Though the Punisher could probably kill someone by chewing off his fingernail and jamming it down their trachea, he decides to go screwball and throw a dessert. It was either that or let Archie stain his sharp bowtie with a few pints of neckblood.
Archie Meets The Punisher does a decent job of bringing two wildly different characters together in an entertaining way. The comic has become such a cult favorite that it's recently inspired a follow-up.
Yep, that's an official image from a real comic. Archie Meets Predator is absolutely happening. Details are scarce as of now, but the story will no doubt chronicle the tale of the absolute worst Predator ever as he tries repeatedly to kill Archie and continues to fail in hilarious ways. If we're lucky, maybe they'll up the stakes and kill off Reggie.
Sonic's relationship with comics is a lot like hardcore fans' relationship with Sonic: a lot of people are pretty weirded out by it, their parents don't understand it, but I guess when it comes down to it they're not hurting anyone by being odd in their own little corner of pop culture. One of the least-seen issues is a 1998 annual that was never reprinted, probably because it featured a lot of Image Comics characters like Savage Dragon and Youngblood. The Sonic and Image universes sound too crazy to combine, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider they were both shallow products of the 90s that had been coasting for years, huffing 'tude fumes in a paper bag.
At the time there was no bigger Image hero than Spawn, whose movie just came out -- you know, that one with Tyler Perry in that big fat John Leguizamo suit. As disparate as the Sonic and Image universes were, if it had to happen, Spawn vs. Sonic was the showdown everyone was waiting for. It all came down to this:
That's it. Spawn says the only word anyone says after watching a trailer for Sonic Boom, and then he peaces out of the entire crossover. It's almost as if someone thought that a brutal Hellspawn with a significant bodycount wasn't a good match for a naked blue rat with red shoes. Still, it's disappointing that we didn't get the Archie/Punisher kind of mashup, especially since Archie Comics was in charge of both team-ups to begin with.
Since that was sort of a letdown, here's a bonus from Sonic's early comics days:
Dear everyone working in comics: More of this, please.