There was a time when the DC/Marvel rivalry was more on friendly business terms. That led to a number of specials and miniseries in which the heroes and villains of both universes crossed over on numerous occasions. They even created a reason for it, something occasionally bringing the universe together with the hero Access having to undo the damage. Pity that never became a full series. Then somewhere in the early 2000s the publishers of DC Comics and Marvel Comics got mad at each other and the rivalry became real. Now they only crossover with other companies and licensed properties. This may not be the point where fun died in the Big Two but it is another symptom of it, and now they just spend time robbing each others’ ideas.
The crossovers all began with the biggest characters of the two companies joining forces…once they stopped fighting each other of course…, Superman and Spider-Man. In this video by Owen Likes Comics, he goes over the history of how this historic crossover began and how it led to more crossovers between the heroes of the DC and Marvel universes.
Catch more Owen Likes Comics on YouTube.
Unfortunately (although the treatment of their own characters are already suspect lately, never mind treating their rivals’ characters with any decency) the only place to see these kinds of crossovers now would be fan sites like Super-Team Family or Crisis On Earth Prime, and even those are just covers edited together from other covers and occasionally internal art. At least shows the importance of a good comic cover. COEP has this long-running story about Dr. Strange’s obsession with curing the Joker while STF likes to make new superhero teams based on a shared theme, new romances, and his own “strange obsession” with making any characters with similar names related. (Always siblings. At least try a cousin or two if you can’t leave any of them a coincidence.)
I wonder what happened to Access, the co-owned character, or what’s become of their shared histories in the wake of DC Vs. Marvel and the Amalgam Universe (you can find those reviews here as well) thanks to the New 52 or this whole “omniverse” nonsense? The last DC/Marvel team-up was JLA/Avengers and while the various companies have teamed with other universes and licensed properties (and even that’s on a downturn outside of Batman teaming with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…yet recently Captain Kirk met Optimus Prime) it doesn’t look like Superman and Spider-Man will be hanging out together officially anytime soon.