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In early 1980s, Marvel Comics was clobbering DC Comics on the newsstand and in comic book shops. DC’s comics were selling so poorly that in 1984, Marvel and DC discussed Marvel licensing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and more from DC Comics. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics was also facing the possibility of anti-trust hearings. Marvel was afraid that licensing DC’s characters would strengthen their image as a monopoly, so they passed on the opportunity to publish DC’s famous superheroes. One of the proposed Marvel titles was John Byrne (Marvel’s top artist) writing and drawing Superman. John liked the idea so much that he left Marvel and joined DC Comics where he wrote and drew Superman.
Today, I thought it would be fun to ask – What If Marvel Comics Had Published The Justice League?
If I was Marvel, I would have updated the rosters of both the Justice League and the Avengers, so that they included characters from both Marvel and DC. I played around with this idea for a few days and kept coming up with Justice League teams that had either too many DC characters or too many Marvel characters. I finally realized that the real fun would be the dynamics of mixing and matching characters from both comic book companies. So, I’ll be presenting my roster in pairs.
Superman and Captain America
These are icons and role models. They are the two characters you put in front of the camera. As I thought about these two, I realized that they have a lot in common. They are both characters from another world. Superman was born on Krypton, while Captain America was born in the early 1900s. They’re both patriotic. Remember Superman’s moto - “Superman fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the America way.” I think these two would be the best of friends and each would admire the other.
Black Panther and Wonder Woman
I love this combo. Both the Black Panther and Wonder Woman were born in hidden societies. The Black Panther in Wakanda and Wonder Woman on Paradise Island. Black Panther’s father was the head of Wakanda. Wonder Woman’s mother, Hippolyta, is the head of Paradise Island. Both were trained from birth to be warriors. Both left their hidden societies and traveled to America. I think these two would be team leaders and would make an amazing team.
Batman and Spider-Man
For the longest time, this combo read Batman / Iron Man, but something about that combo didn’t click. Batman / Spider-Man is actually a much more interesting contrast. Bruce Wayne chose to become Batman after he watched his parents murder. Peter Parker chose to become a superhero after his inaction lead to the death of his “father” Uncle Ben. Bruce Wayne is a millionaire, Peter Parker is usually broke. With the exception of Alfred, most of Batman’s supporting cast are crime fighters. Peter Parker’s supporting cast is filled with regular people like Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, and J. Jonah Jameson. If Peter had stopped the burglar, Peter’s uncle would have lived. Peter is driven by guilt and responsibility. But, Spidey is always making jokes. Spider-Man has always seemed like a fun character to hang out with. There was nothing Bruce Wayne could have done to save his parents life, but he grew up the exact opposite of Peter. Batman is driven, humorless, and grim. In so many ways, Peter and Bruce are two sides of the same coin.
Iron Man and Cyborg
This is a much better pairing for Iron Man. I got this idea from Marvel Team-Up #9. In this story, a robot sentry defeats Iron Man and then realizes that he has made a mistake because his sensors show Iron Man as being a cyborg. Like the Beast in the classic Disney story, Victor Stone’s (i.e. Cyborg) fondest wish is to be human again. Tony Stark is human. But to become Iron Man, he has to become a human / machine hybrid similar to a cyborg. While I don’t think Tony and Victor would be friends, I think their similarities would make for great stories.
Zatanna and Scarlet Witch
When I made my very 1st pass at building this team, I was trying to figure out what types of powers the team needed and I realized it needed a magic user. So, Zatanna and the Scarlet Witch appeared on some of my early rosters. When I came up with the idea of using combinations, I dropped these two because they were both were beautiful women who were spell casters. But, the more I thought about it, I realized these two make a great combo. Zatanna has precise control of her spells, Wanda doesn’t. I’d classify Zatanna’s magic as order, while I’d classify Wanda’s as chaotic. Zatanna is a legacy character. Her Dad, Zatarra goes all the way back to Action Comics #1 (the 1st appearance of Superman). Wanda was an orphan and isn’t sure who her parents are. Zatanna is a stage magician and thrives on people. Wanda is a mutant and has always felt like an outcast. I think these two would make a great combination and I could see Zatanna being a big sister / mentor to the Scarlet Witch.
This fantastic Thing Cake was made by Earl Vallery.
The Thing and Metamorpho
I wanted the Thing on this team because I remember when he was one of Marvel’s big three (Spider-Man and the Hulk were the other two). Plus, I have a fondness for the Thing because he is very much Jack Kirby’s super hero identity. My 1st choice was the Thing and Cliff Steele (i.e. Robotman), but that wasn’t a perfect fit. Then I realized Metamorpho was a much better choice. Ben Grimm, i.e. the Thing, is a huge orange rocky monster with a quick temper and a heart of gold. Metamorpho is chemical monstrosity with a sense of humor and a heart of gold. Neither Ben nor Rex, wanted to become monsters. Ben has hated being a monster, while Rex has adjusted so much better. I think these two would make a really cool combination.
A few final notes. I wanted to put Aquaman on the team, since he was part of the Super Friends. But, I thought Aquaman / Namor was a really bad combination. Vixen and Storm were in a lot of my early drafts, but I dropped them when I came up with the combo idea because I couldn’t come up with good partners from them. I also toyed around with using the Earth – 2 version of Huntress (the daughter of Batman and Catwoman), but I dropped her when I realized that Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker were two sides of the same coin. Lastly, I wanted my final pair to be Hawkeye and Green Arrow. They’re both archers, they’re both ladies men, they’re both outspoken; and in many ways they’re both the conscience of their teams. But, they’d hate each other and no one would stay in the room with the two of them.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you liked it, please subscribe to our newsletter. If you’ve already subscribed – THANKS! Our next newsletter, should be about my favorite cartoon - the Flintstones. If you have other ideas for combos or feedback on my team, I’d love for you to leave a comment below.
That’s Not All Folks!
After being on an episode of Nerd Lunch, the amazing Charlton Hero approached the Super-Blog Team-Up gang and asked us if we’d like to create our own Justice League teams. Charlton Hero’s blog is Superhero Satellite. Charlton created the Justice League That Time Forgot! His team includes characters from Image Comics, Marvel’s New Universe, and even Neal Adams’ Continuity Comics. Charlton goes into why he picked each character and includes the team’s origin story.
Chris, from Chris is on Infinite Earths, is celebrating his two year blogging anniversary today! To celebrate, he gave us a marvelous two-in-one post. First, he reviewed Americomics Special #1. What makes it so special? For a brief period of time, Americomics owned the Charlton Action Heroes. So, this issue features Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, and Nightshade. Second, Chris creates a Justice League of Infinite Earths and gives them a detailed origin story.
For the month of January, The Crapbox of Son Of Cthulhu, has been reviewing old science fiction comics. So, he continued the theme by creating The Justice League of Science Fiction. Mark took a classic Justice League line-up and explained who he would replace each member with. The end result is a cool team with robots, cartoon superheroes and characters from Star Trek, Star Wars, and a bunch of movies.
Walt, from Comic Reviews by Walt, built an all-star Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team. Walt borrows a page from Avengers Forever and mixes TMNT characters from comics, animation, and movies. He gets bonus point in my book because he includes Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo.
Clinton, from the Coffee and Comics Podcast, builds a classic Justice League line-up and then swaps each member out with an alternate reality version of that characters. It makes me wonder if Clinton has been watching Star Trek Discovery while drinking his cups of joe.