The TOP 13 TEAM-UP ISSUES of the Silver and Bronze Ages

Whether it’s Marvel or DC, guest columnist Michael Eury has you covered…

Michael Eury’s The Team-Up Companion is due this week from TwoMorrows. Click here for an EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT covering what the late Jim Aparo had to say about Batman’s various The Brave and the Bold guest stars.

But we also have this groovy guest column by Michael in which he picks the TOP 13 TEAM-UP ISSUES OF THE SILVER AND BRONZE AGES.

Right on.


Sometimes, a hero can’t go it alone.

He needs a brave ally, a bold companion. Side-by-side, two-in-one, they become an unbeatable team.

It was my childhood love of Batman that made The Brave and the Bold my favorite comic book. Each issue was a gateway to the larger DC Universe — the Flash, Metamorpho, Green Lantern, Hawkman, you name ’em. By the time the creative team supreme of writer Bob Haney and artist Jim Aparo combined to make B&B DC Comics’ bestselling Batman book in the early 1970s, I was hooked…

…for life, since I’ve now written “the ultimate guide to Silver and Bronze Age team-up comics,” The Team-Up Companion. This 256-page full-color trade paperback goes behind the scenes of all the great team-up comic books of the 1960s through the 1980s: B&B, the non-Batman run of World’s Finest Comics, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Two-in-One, DC Comics Presents, the original DC/Marvel crossovers, and more. Even Saturday morning’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies animated series, where Scoob, Shaggy, and the gang met everyone from Don Knotts to Sonny and Cher, is included. So are “Team-Up Time-Out” sidebars that spotlight the fun and sometimes-freaky character combos of comics and beyond (from the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman to President Nixon and Elvis!). Topping off the tome is an issue-by-issue index of every team-up comic surveyed in the book.

To celebrate the release of my book, here are my choices for the TOP 13 TEAM-UP COMICS OF THE SILVER AND BRONZE AGES — in chronological order:

The Brave and the Bold #50 (Oct.–Nov. 1963, DC): Green Arrow and the Manhunter From Mars. It’s an oddball pairing of two of DC’s second-stringers and its scratchy George Roussos artwork doesn’t do the story any justice, but B&B #50 deserves its props as the first team-up comic book, co-billing its two heroes’ logos side-by-side on the cover.

B&B #54 (June–July 1964, DC): Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin. Writer Bob Haney and Doom Patrol artist Bruno Premiani blend perfectly on this prototypical Teen Titans comic that gathers together these young sidekicks for the first time.

B&B #79 (Aug.–Sept. 1968, DC): Batman and Deadman. With Neal Adams signing on for a short but industry-changing B&B run, this is the issue that does an about-face from 1960s campiness and returns Batman to his “creature of the night” status. It’s an oft-reprinted tale that smoothly blends the characters’ two worlds and forms a bond between Batman and Deadman that would be frequently revisited.

B&B #98 (Oct.–Nov. 1971, DC): Batman and the Phantom Stranger. Artist Jim Aparo was second only to Neal Adams as THE Batman artist of the Bronze Age, and his work on the Darknight Detective begins here in an eerie homage to Rosemary’s Baby.

Marvel Team-Up #1 (March 1972, Marvel): Spider-Man and the Human Torch. Discounting 1968’s short-lived magazine The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up #1 was Marvel’s first major attempt to franchise its webslinger. It’s also an exciting Roy Thomas/Ross Andru romp that provides the first glimpse of the sinister Sandman’s good side. Plus, it’s a feel-good Christmas story!

Marvel Two-in-One #1 (June 1974, Marvel): The Thing and Man-Thing. Technically, this first issue of the Thing’s team-up series was its third, following two Jim Starlin–produced tryouts in Marvel Feature. But here, Marvel’s most offbeat mainstream scribe, Steve Gerber, starts a short run and uses Ben Grimm’s bravado as the catalyst to bring together these mismatched co-stars.

Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976, DC/Marvel). Arguably the single most important comic book of the Bronze Age, this massive effort melds the DC and Marvel Universes into an “Earth-Crossover” while spellbinding readers with each and every page. Gerry Conway and Ross Andru are at the top of their form, aided by a who’s who of talent both credited and uncredited.

Super-Villain Team-Up #5 (April 1976, Marvel): Dr. Doom and the Sub-Mariner. This high-concept team-up book stumbled through its run due to a frequently shifting roster of writers and artists. Issue #5 is a high-water mark for the series, however, as scribe Steve Englehart has Namor seek the Fantastic Four’s aid in dealing his with frenemy Doc Doom, and introduces into the book a needed “house hero,” the Shroud.

All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-56 (1978, DC): Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. Perhaps the finest example of artist Neal Adams’ wizardry, this unexpected combo of “The World’s Greatest Superhero” and “The Greatest” takes an absurd concept and makes it work. Its wraparound cover featuring a star-studded audience — which required the headache of likeness approvals for each celebrity depicted! — has become iconic.

Marvel Team-Up #74 (Oct. 1978, Marvel): Spider-Man and the Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players. Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are in the live audience of NBC’s Saturday Night Live (hosted by Stan Lee!) when the Silver Samurai invades the set. Soon Spidey enters the fray, encountering John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, and the rest of the SNL cast. Like Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, this offbeat merger of a comic book and the real world is a ton of fun, thanks to the scripting of Chris Claremont, the likeness-perfect art of Bob Hall and Marie Severin, and story kibitzing by the SNL staff.

Marvel Two-in-One #50 (Apr. 1979, Marvel): The Thing Battles the Thing. An early example of John Byrne’s writing as well as pencilling, this heartbreaking, action-jammed story features Ben Grimm’s attempt to restore his humanity by time-traveling to the past, where he encounters a younger version of his clobberin’ self.

DC Comics Presents #26 (Oct. 1980, DC): Superman and Green Lantern. This issue of DCCP has become highly collectible due to its preview insert premiering Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans. But the lead story should not be overlooked. Plotter/penciller Jim Starlin brings some cosmic crackle to the Man of Steel’s world in a superhero smackdown between the story’s co-stars, and Marv Wolfman’s dialogue presents a tougher take on Superman than previously seen.

B&B #200 (July 1983, DC): Batman and Batman. This double-sized conclusion to The Brave and the Bold’s long run goes out with a bang! Writer Mike W. Barr cleverly crafts a parallel story between the contemporary Batman (of Earth-One) and the Golden Age Batman (of Earth-Two), deliciously delineated by Dave Gibbons in modern and retro art styles. Plus, Barr and Jim Aparo’s Batman and the Outsiders super-team book premieres in a bonus preview insert!

The Team-Up Companion is due Sept. 14, though that may vary a bit depending on the vagaries of shipping. The 256-page, full-color trade paperback lists for $39.95 and will be available through comics shops and booksellers. You can also order it directly from publisher TwoMorrows. Click here.


— THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD: What JIM APARO Thought of BATMAN’s Many Guest Stars. Click here.


Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I have been looking forward to the book ever since I heard what the subject was. Great theme.

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  2. That Superman/Muhammad Ali has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I still have the original oversized edition of it.

    The Batman/Batman story for The Brave and the Bold” made me think of something. Several years ago I was reading the “Crisis on Multiple Earths” TPBs that reprinted the JLA/JSA teamups, and had a realization: the Batman of Earth-1 never met his Earth-2 counterpart. The two Supermen met. The two Wonder Women did also. Even the two Robins met in an early 1970s story. The indirect counterparts (like the Flashes and Green Lanterns) met all the time. Never the two Batmen. In fact, I think the Earth-2 Batman only appeared in two of those teamups; one was just a couple of panels, and one was in 1976.

    I emailed Bob Rozakis through the blog he had at the time and asked him if there was a reason why the two never met. He replied back, said that he couldn’t remember any specific reason, that there wasn’t any sort of rule against it, and it was probably just that no one ever came up with the right story for it.

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  3. The Creeper and the Joker meeting had more of an impact on little reader me than many an “official logo meets logo” team-up…!

    Bob Haney weaved masterful team-ups for The Brave and the Bold with Aquaman – those should make the list here

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  4. I don’t see how the Teen Titans/X-Men team up didn’t make this list. Especially with villains like Dark Phoenix, Darkseid, and Deathstroke in it. I was sure this would be on the list. A tru travesty of justice.

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