Most of us (especially on this site) watch so many TV shows and movies and read so many comic books that thousands of fictional characters all live in harmony within our busy brains. Deep in the recesses of our minds, Han Solo and Indiana Jones drink Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters while sitting together at Mel’s Diner and watching Lynn Minmay on the boob tube. Sadly, these fictional worlds tend to remain perennially separate from each other in the outside world, mostly due to the wonders of copyright law and expensive licensing costs. However, these hurdles have been overcome once a blue moon and the universes breached. These are the ten best crossovers ever witnessed by the modern nerd. They are often flawed spectacles, but so unique and mind-blowing that it really doesn’t matter.
10) Sealab 2021, “Murphy Murph and the Feng Shui Bunch” Sealab 2021 included occasional nods to its Adult Swim sister show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but the most awesome occasion was when a battle between Marco and an interior decorator turned out to be a video game being played by Meatwad and Master Shake. 9) Archie Meets the Punisher This crossover is so amazing just for the fact that it even happened. Placing Marvel Comic’s most violent character in the saccharine, all-American world of Archie Andrews was nothing but sheer genius. The Punisher goes hunting for a drug dealer in Riverdale who happens to be a dead ringer for Archie. Thankfully, Frank made a deal with the government to use non-lethal means in this arrest or else this could have been the last Archie comic. That would have been one hell of an ending to Archie’s long history, though!
8) The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones
Hanna-Barbera’s two famous cartoon families, the prehistoric Flintstones and the futuristic Jetsons, finally met up in this 1987 TV movie thanks to time travel antics. The cool part about this movie was that each set of characters got to spend time in the other family’s natural setting, adding up to some entertaining culture shock moments, like when George’s anti-gravity belt proved useful in helping Fred and Barney’s boss cheat at picnic field games in an effort to save Fred and Barney’s jobs. The Jetsons, the Flinstones and the Rubbles became fast friends. And Fred and George, ironically, proved to be better at each other’s jobs than they were at their own!
7) Transformers, “Only Human”
The Transformers and G.I. Joe, Hasbro’s juggernaut kids’ properties, have met each other several times in the comic books, especially in recent years. But most fans wondered what would happen if the two cartoon versions met each other, and it never happened in a full-blown way. While there were a few subtle links between the shows, the coolest and most surprising crossover happened in the third season Transformers episode “Only Human.” A handful of Autobots were captured by a crime lord and their minds transferred into human-like bodies, thank to the technology of “Old Snake,” who ran some kind of terrorist organization in the past. The Autobots of course foiled the crime lord’s plans to blow up Autobot City with bombs placed in their bodies by reclaiming and returning to said bodies. Old Snake, as he wandered off, mused that terrorists just weren’t made like they used to be and began to yell, “Cobraaaa!!!!” before lapsing into a coughing fit. We knew what he meant, though, and it was awesome that Cobra Commander was still lurking around in the “futuristic” world of 2006, and by extension had always been there, along with G.I. Joe.
6) Freddy vs. Jason (vs. Ash)
Fans had clamored for a face-off between serial slashers Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger ever since Freddy’s clawed glove was seen grabbing Jason’s hockey mask and dragging it down into hell in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday in 1993. It took a decade for it to actually happen in the film Freddy vs. Jason. Maybe the movie didn’t live up to fans’ expectations, but it’s still cool as hell and surreal to see these two horror icons duking it out on-screen. And the ending was ambiguous enough to please fans of either character. There was an excellent follow-up comic book series that threw Ash from the Evil Dead movies into the mix, as Freddy attempts to use the Necronomicon to make him more powerful than ever. Ash comes out on top, which is fine, since he may be the only character that can defeat Jason AND Freddy and leave fans happy about it. It’s too bad this didn’t get made into an actual movie, but a comic book sequel is in the works…
5) Aliens vs. Predator
Aliens and Predator are like peanut butter and jelly. It’s hard to imagine they weren’t made to go together. They were both fearsome extraterrestrial foes that ran violently rampant on humans in late 20th Century movies, so it was only natural to wonder what would happen when and if the two alien species crossed paths. Dark Horse Comics explored the awesome idea first, and the concept so intrigued people that an Alien skull was included as a trophy of the titular alien in Predator 2. The flame was fanned with crossovers across a range of media that included more comics, toys, and video games. It finally culminated in what was a foregone conclusion – two knock-down, drag-out films depicting battles between the Aliens and the Predators. While the films didn’t obtain the greatest reviews, it’s the thought that counts, right?
4) King Kong vs. Godzilla
This was the ultimate monster movie showdown between the east and the west. King Kong wasn’t a part of Godzilla’s monster universe, but he was the most famous movie monster of American cinema. So, it was only natural that he would “swim” across the ocean to face Japan’s #1 kaiju. The movie makers must have figured that 17 years was enough time since World War II to allow for such a symbolic battle. Regardless, it’s hard not to experience giddy joy when seeing these two icons brawl. The only downside is that Kong emerges as the apparent victor, with Godzilla’s fate left in question after an underwater battle. It’s a downside because even most Americans prefer a badass, fire-breathing lizard to a giant, ass-scratching monkey.
3) Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg accomplished a major coup by convincing Warner Brothers, Paramount and Universal to allow their classic cartoon characters to appear alongside Disney’s as denizens of the Roger Rabbit movie’s Toon Town. (The only glaring omissions were Popeye, Felix the Cat and Tom and Jerry, since the rights could not be acquired.) Essentially, the cartoon characters were all actors who worked for movie studios just like their flesh-and-blood counterparts, and within the world of Roger Rabbit they freely intermingled. The crowning moment is when Bugs and Mickey both showed up together, the only time that had ever happened, to taunt a falling Detective Valiant. There was also the mind-blowing scene at the end when tons of characters from different companies show up together in one room, not to mention the prevalent use of Acme throughout the film. See, amazing things can happen when big corporations cooperate!
2) Marvel Vs. DC
The 1996 Marvel Vs. DC limited series wasn’t the first time the two comic book giants had allowed their characters to meet up, but it was certainly the most fun of their crossovers. Several of each company’s top characters were pitted against each other in more or less even match-ups, and the fans got to vote on the outcome of half of those matches. Some of the results weren’t surprising, such as Spider-Man defeating Superboy, Superman defeating the Hulk and Wolverine defeating Lobo. There were a few upsets, though – Storm bested Wonder Woman and Silver Surfer took out Green Lantern. Batman defeated Captain America, which is not so surprising when you see who’s had more successful movies or anything, really. The whole event resulted in the creation of the Amalgam universe, in which each company’s characters were merged together for a short time to create something new. The results were a mixed bag, but it was fun and amazing to see the two long-time rivals of the comic book world work side-by-side and have a blast doing so. Honestly, it felt like the apocalypse was upon us. But in a good way.
1) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics presented perhaps the biggest crossover of all time. Moore unified all classic literature into one narrative, creating a single landscape composed of all human creative consciousness. To start with, Moore utilized the excellent idea of combing some of classic fiction’s most memorable and imaginative characters onto one “superhero” team — Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, the Invisible Man, Allan Quartermain, and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, not to mention their nemeses Fu Manchu, Professor Moriarty and the Martians. But there’s so much there in the background; almost every character and background detail comes from a work of literature, some well-know, some totally obscure. You have to wonder how many hours of research Moore put in to make this happen. Then there was the movie version, which took a great concept and fashioned it into a great big turd.
Robert Bricken is one of the original co-founders of the site formerly known as Topless Robot, and its first editor-in-chief, serving from 2008-12. He brought the site to prominence with “nerd news, humor and self-loathing” as its motto, raising it from total internet obscurity to a readership in the millions, with help from his savage “FAQ” movie reviews and Fan Fiction Fridays. Under his tenure Topless Robot was covered by Gawker, Wired, Defamer, New York magazine, ABC News, and others, and his articles have been praised by Roger Ebert, Avengers actor Clark Gregg, comedian and The Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman, the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax, and others. He is currently the managing editor of io9.com. Despite decades as both an amateur and professional nerd, he continues to be completely unprepared for either the zombie apocalypse or the robot uprising.