A number of us were mulling this question over, and trying to define just what is a cross-over, as opposed to a "guest-star" or a "cameo".

One of the earliest cross-overs might have been the Avengers showing up in the Fantastic Four #25-26... but others disagree.  They think the Hulk appearing in FF #12 would qualify. Or the FF in Spider-Man #1.


What do you think are the best in the Marvel Comics universe?  What's the early silver age cross-over that floats your boat?  For me, the Iron Man-Submariner cross-over from Tales to Astonish #82  to Tales of Suspense #79  fits that bill nicely.  How about you?

Fantastic Four #25

Fantastic Four #26

Fantastic Four #12

Amazing Spider-Man #1

Daredevil #7

Tales to Astonish #82

Tales of Suspense #79

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I wasn't reading many Marvel comics (really, by the time I started reading comics, the Silver Age was pretty much over) during the Silver Age, so I can't comment on what crossover I remember first.

 

Regarding favorite, I'd have to go FF/Avengers in FF #25-26 as you suggested, although the tail end wasn't as good as the beginning.

Wow ... I really don't know how to answer that question.

 

I presume we should not consider team or team-up titles, of course ... and maybe I'm trying too hard to think of the first crossover I've read versus the earliest crossover I know about (which, I think, is what you're asking) ... 

 

 

As we noted in that thread, we have to define "crossover" to all be on the same wavelength. To me, a cross-over is when a *story* crosses over into another title, such that reading one title doesn't give you the entire story. Otherwise, it seems like it's just a guest-star.

For instance, I'm not sure how you're defining "guest star" that the Avengers appearing in the FF doesn't qualify them for that status instead. If they qualify, then the FF appearing in ASM #1 and the Hulk appearing in FF #12, both in March 1963 issues, would be my first crossovers, not counting whatever issue I first read of World's Finest, as CK notes.

However, by my definition, my first one was the Challs-Doom Patrol crossover in Doom Patrol #101 (Feb 66), Challs #48 (Feb-Mar 66) and Doom Patrol #102 (Mar 66). The title listing indicates that it qualifies, to my mind.

-- MSA.

 

Oh, I'm easy, SA.  I'll let anybody define it anyway they want.

What's the earliest (first one) you ever read?

 

For me, In addition to seeing the first half of that FF/Avengers/Hulk slugfest...the first TRUE cross-over that I ever read was the Iron Man/Submariner fight that rolled from Tales of Suspense to Tales to Astonish (or vice versa) and back again.  I will always forever thank whoever it was that bought that inital run of Marvel Comics and then put them on the nickle a copy white elephant table at my grade school, allowing me to pick up vintage Jack Kirby artwork in any number of titles...including this incredible slug fest!

 

For my money, the action crossing over from one title into the other, and then back again, REQUIRING THE FAN TO BUY BOTH TITLES, forms the cross-over for me. (But even having to buy two issues of the FF to follow the Hunt for the Hulk and the Avenger's role in that climactic battle would qualify for me too...)


I recall also picking up the X-men # 9, when the Avengers cross over (guest appearance) into the X-men's adventure with Lucifer (IIRC) and being impressed that they really seem to get around!

I also have the Submariner appearance in Daredevil #7 (though it was coverless) and felt that was a great all-in-one cross-over too!

 

|But somehow, that initial FF guest-star appearance in Spidey #1, just doesn't do it for me. Perhaps because I wasn't around for it...

 

In fact, now that i think about it, there's a whole run of FF from #25 to 33 that features another Marvel hero in virtually every issue. (OK, maybe not quite, but let's count them off together...

#25-  Hulk (with Avengers appearing also)

#26- The Avengers Take-Over vs. Hulk

#27-  Dr. Strange and Submariner

#28- X-men fight along side the FF...

#29- Watcher shows up

#30- Diablo subverts the Thing (alright...so no guest-star here)

#31-Avengers show up again

#32- (Death of a Hero-- Invincible Man) (OK, so no true guest-star)

#33- Submariner returns again.

 

That's at least a half year worth of guest-stars...and this sort of treatment was only used in later years to shore up sagging sales for silver age wanna be series.  I don't think the FF were in any danger of saging sales, do you?

At least with the arrival of Chic Stone inking on #27... the whole next year of Fantastic Four adventures became more solid art-wise, for me, anyway.  And the continued story arc that starts about #35 and runs through the FF annual #3 (between #43-44) certainly helped to carry the title along. The next arc, #44-50 was one long continued story where you couldn't catch your breath, either.

But I digress...

You know, Randy, I have always felt that way as well!

I picked up the original printing of FF #25 at the school fund-raiser, as I mentioned elsewhere, and never got a chance to read the concluding chapter... but the build-up and cliff-hanger had me all psyched for it.

Now, fair is fair...I saw the cover of FF #25 reprinted in, gee, I think it was FF Annual #4, with the fight between the original Human Torch and Johnny, and recognised the image from the cover, but as a young drooling fanboy who didn't have an income from anything but my allowance of a dime a week, I never bought it.  That would have been a great opportunity to have read the second half, but at that point, I didn't really understand how comics came out, and had assumed that they were ALL still on sale (like Hardy Boys books...always available at some store or another...) and so I missed FF Annual #4, and FF #54..but caught #55 when it came out, and bought each issue as it came out off the rack, ever since...until 1972 and high school caught up with me.

But I always felt that #26 was somewhat of a let down, despite this incredible symbolic cover!  What a fight scene!

Randy Jackson said:

I wasn't reading many Marvel comics (really, by the time I started reading comics, the Silver Age was pretty much over) during the Silver Age, so I can't comment on what crossover I remember first.

 

Regarding favorite, I'd have to go FF/Avengers in FF #25-26 as you suggested, although the tail end wasn't as good as the beginning.

I remember the "Lonely Place of Dying", which crossed over between Batman (or maybe Detective) and New Titans. I remember this specifically because at the time I was buying off a spinner rack in a teeny little book shop in my home town, and I could only read the Batman side of the story. I imagined awesome things happening on the Titans side of it.

Since then, I bought the Titans issues that crossed over at some quarter bin somewhere, but I never got around to reading them. Guess the desire to read them kind of died off somewhere over the years.

Jeff, I don't recall the story leading into Teen Titans.
I was buying Batman, but I didn't feel that I had missed anything.

What do the rest of you say?

Yeah, I read Lonely place of Dying a while back and there didn't seem to be anything missing.  Jason wasn't a member of the Titans at that point, I presume?

 

In my own post-Silver Age youthful reading, the first true crossover by Mr SA's definition was probably a Captain America comic, where I think Moondragon was a big pink savage with a big head wearing only rags, and with a club.  At the end of it, the reader was told to follow the next segment in Hulk #-whatever.  This would be 1977-81, something like that.  I never did read the rest of that story.  It was drawn by Sal Buscema, I have no doubt of that.  I can still see his Hulk hitching a lift with a stoner.  (Or maybe it was a Hulk comic that was continued in Captain America?)

 

Some happy day, I'll find out how that story ended.

A Lonely Place For Dying focused on Tim Drake, not Jason Todd and The Titans issues spotlighted Dick Grayson. The conceit there was that Tim knew the real identities of Batman and Robin as a child, while others who sought that info found nothing! Also that Batman needs a Robin to give him balance plus to give the bad guys someone else to shoot at!

I wasn't getting Tim until he finally got a new Robin outfit and co-starred in Young Justice.

And that wasn't Moondragon in that Cap/Hulk story. It was the Vamp/Animus in a tale that also involved Marvel Man, the future Quasar!

I define a crossover as a story which is continued in another series; otherwise we're talking a guest or cameo appearance. The first one I read was Daredevil #77, but for years I read only the DD chapter of it. IIRC, the story continues into (or was it from?) Sub-Mariner, making it a crossover with Subby but a guest appearance for Spider-Man.(I'm open to correction if someone wants to fact-check me.) I also remember the Hulk and Subby going to the same theatre in an issue of Tales to Astonish (which I would have read in Marvel Super Heroes), but the line muddies there because they shared the same title. It was more of a cameo, anyway, but it was the first sense I got that these folks shared the same universe and could have bumped onto each other on a street corner.

Oh, I'm easy, SA.  I'll let anybody define it anyway they want.

That way lies madness, to my mind, or at least a less focused thread than you might have intended. Not that threads that can start with Brain Boy and get to Ann-Margret in two messages can ever be called "focused". We'll end up talking mostly about guest-stars, which were a dime a dozen, as you point out, but that's okay too. 

What's the earliest (first one) you ever read?

Mine could've been ASM #1 and FF #12. I still have my beat-up copy of AF #15, and I know my first issue of FF was #8, so I was on board for those. I don't have those issues any more, but I'm pretty sure I read those. I know I read FF #25, so one of those would count, were those cross-overs.

The first TRUE cross-over that I ever read was the Iron Man/Submariner fight that rolled from Tales of Suspense to Tales to Astonish (or vice versa) and back again.

 I was not a big fan of those double comics back then, so I missed that one. I've since picked them up, but they were not high on my radar. The Challs-DP one beat that one by a few months--it's possible Stan was inspired by seeing DC do it--so it would've been my second one anyway. There weren't that many back then, really.

Frankly, I was not a big fan. It was hard enough finding the next issue of a title I liked, much less being forced to go find another title--possibly one already out that I just skipped--to get the whole story. That's why I liked DC's approach, despite the drawbacks to having such condensed plots. Sometimes, I read the second part of a two-part story without realizing that there had been a first part!

But even having to buy two issues of the FF to follow the Hunt for the Hulk and the Avenger's role in that climactic battle would qualify for me too...)

LOL! You lost me there. A two-issue guest-star seems entirely different to me than a cross-over, but that's just me. When I got home and had to go back out to hunt down a title I'd never bought before, THAT was a cross-over, and not something to be joyful about, really. Especially when I had to ride my bike to three or four drugstores to be sure I could track it down.

But somehow, that initial FF guest-star appearance in Spidey #1, just doesn't do it for me. Perhaps because I wasn't around for it...

Yeah, the only difference there would be that you're seeing it in hindsight, after the fact rather than being drawn to it on the spinner rack as with the others. That's a good reason to rank those high on your Favorite Guest-Star appearances. And, obviously, if you didn't read ASM #1, it wasn't your earliest of anything.

In fact, now that i think about it, there's a whole run of FF from #25 to 33 that features another Marvel hero in virtually every issue. (OK, maybe not quite, but let's count them off together...

I think you're pushing the outside of the envelope including some of those. Sub-Mariner is a difficult case, because while he ended up with his own feature/title, he started as an FF villain in FF #4. So at what point does his villain-of-the-month status become guest-star/cross-over? Subby didn't have his own feature for another year or so after that. Heck, Dr. Doom later got his own feature, so maybe all his appearances are guest-starring roles, too...

I also have a hard time counting The Watcher as a cross-over guest-star. He did have his own narrator series elsewhere, but he never appeared anywhere else besides the FF as a participant character. At that point, all those guys--Black Panther, Watcher, Inhumans, etc.--create cross-over issues. Madness, I say!

Throwing in Diablo is a tough sell. Little known fact: Stan Lee once said that he thought Diablo was the worst villain he ever created! I wanted to tell him, "Oh no, Stan, you created some that were MUCH worse," but I didn't think that would be consoling.But I did do a column on Diablo as a result. 

So my count would be the FF had five issues with guest-stars in that period: #25-26, 27, 28, and 31. I would guess Stan realized it was an easy way to create a plot base, considering he was working with Kirby. It also probably was designed to help promote those characters in Marvel's flagship comic, rather than draw more customers to FF.

It's possible that first Avengers visit boosted sales on both comics, or at least the Avengers, so they were brought back to try it again. Although considering they weren't even mentioned in all that mass of copy on the cover to #31, it's hard to know what Stan was thinking.

the continued story arc that starts about #35 and runs through the FF annual #3 (between #43-44) certainly helped to carry the title along. The next arc, #44-50 was one long continued story where you couldn't catch your breath, either.

Those were great issues, for sure, some of the best of the SA. Note, there was a two-issue crossover with DD in #39-40, plus a three-issue crossover with the Inhumans in 44-46 before the Watcher-Silver Surfer-Galactus crossover that is (rightfully) considered one of the best FF stories of them all. Crossover madness, I say!

-- MSA


I don't think you can say that a character is crossing over to another title if the character isn't appearing in his or her own title or series at that time.

For instance, The Hulk still had his own title when he appeared in FF 12, so some might consider that a cross-over. However, The Hulk did not have his own series when he appeared in FF 25 and 26 or two months later when he appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 14.

Sub-Mariner did not have his series yet in those early FF, Avengers, X-Men and Daredevil stories. I would label those as guest appearances.Maybe not even that, as he was mostly portrayed as an antagonist.

 

Hoy

 

 

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