Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cameo Crossovers #1: Quasar #14 - Sept. 1990

Well, since I have the worst case of writer's block I've ever had at the moment, I'm skipping the Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man review for now, and will instead post this wonderful piece of useless information.

Cameo Crossovers will be an ongoing thing, featuring the many cameo appearances of Marvel/DC characters popping up in each others books. Heck, from time to time, I may post some that appear in other companies books, like Image, Dark Horse etc etc, as well. So if you see any of these 'Cameo Crossovers' anywhere, be sure and let me know.

And don't worry. As soon as this writer's block goes away, I'll get that review up.

So for the inaugural edition of Cameo Crossovers, we have a little scene from Quasar #14.

The cameo in question is from Part Two of a of a 4-part story line that ran though issues 13-16 of Quasar that was titled "Journey into Mystery". The events leading into this issue have led Quasar, along with the Squadron Supreme's Hyperion, and Makkari of the Eternals, to the lab-world of the Stranger in search of the rest of the Squadron Supreme (it's been a looooong time since I read this issue, but I'm assuming that the Stranger, who collects creatures from around the Multiverse, has 'collected' the members of the Squadron).

Anyway, as you read through the issue, you will eventually come across this page, which shows a bunch of different inhabitants of the Stanger's lab-world:

Take a good look. I mean, look really hard. Do you see him? I didn't at first, but when I did, I laughed out loud. This was one of the only comics from DC that I read during the late 80s/early 90s, so I remember being super happy with this cameo.

Yup, there he is. Up in the upper right-hand corner of the page. DC's Will Payton, otherwise known as STARMAN! Will had his own series that ran for 45 issues, starting in Oct. 1988 and running until April 1992. It was a fun series, not as good as the more popular Jack Knight Starman series that started a couple of years later in '94, but still a pretty damn good comic book.

So I guess the Stranger has visited the DC universe at some point. Who would have guessed?

That's all for this time. Feel free to contact me through here, or on the facebook page if you have any other Cameo Crossovers you'd like to see featured.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Random Panel of the Day #1


Well, here we have it, folks. Finally. After a computer crash, and a loss of some files I needed pertaining to this blog, this second post was a long time in coming, but I've finally managed to recover that which was lost, and decided it was time to sit down and write this entry.

And where better to start on a blog about Marvel and DC crossovers than with everybody's favorite character, Axel Asher, otherwise known as...Access! (Also known as 'probably NOT everyone's favorite character to a few. Or maybe a lot. I don't care, I like him.)

Just who is Access, you ask? Well, grab yourself a cup of coffee (or vodka, whatever floats your boat) and get comfortable, and I'll fill you in.

Access is a character owned by both Marvel Comics and DC Comics. He first appeared in DC vs. Marvel #1 (March 1996), the first issue in a four issue cross-over event between Marvel and DC. The character was created as a way to enable in-continuity crossovers between the two companies, an idea I thought was great! I also remember thinking "Marvel and DC characters together in one series? This is gonna be bananas!!!" Okay, I didn't actually think 'bananas', but I needed an excuse to post this picture.

Okay, back to Access. The in-story history of Access goes a little bit like this. Axel Asher first became aware of his extraordinary powers when two cosmic entities known simply as "The Brothers," (one basically is the Marvel Universe, the other, the DC Universe. Think Eternity on a larger scale) became aware of each other. This occurred as a direct result of the events in crossovers previously published by Marvel and DC (meaning stuff like Superman/Spider-Man, Hulk/Batman etc etc). Each Brother wanted to prove himself superior over the other. Picking eleven 'champions' from each universe, they pitted their heroes against each other in combat, the winner being whomever immobilized the other first. The Brother with the most wins, would be...well, the winner.

The Brothers

Axel, a normal teenager living in the New York of the Marvel Universe, happened across an old bum named Morty in an alley. Morty protected what seemed to be a big, plain old cardboard box but was in actuality a portal between the two universes. (The cardboard box/portal first appeared in the Green Lantern/Silver Surfer: Unholy Alliances one-shot (Dec. 1995) which was kind of a lead-in to the whole Marvel vs. DC crossover.) Morty also revealed that Axel was next in line to bear the powers and responsibilities of being "The Access", the person in charge of preventing the universes from merging into one. Apparently, the universes are drawn to each other because they were originally one universe that split in two when The Brothers first fought each other. According to Morty, certain 'fragments' of each universe remain in both realities, the 'box' being one, Access the other.

Axel discovered that, as Access, he had the ability to create and use inter-dimensional gateways between the the Marvel/DC universes to teleport himself to either universe. He could also summon others to him. He can merge two people he touches if one is from each universe, creating an "amalgamation" of the characters (hence the whole 'Amalgam Universe' line of books. What's that? Wait and see!). The gateways also permits time travel when crossing universes. Access can also feel the presence of anything from one universe which is present in the other.

I don't really want to go in to to much more detail about the events of any of Access's appearances, as I will be covering them when I get to the actual comic reviews. I will say this. I absolutely LOVED (and still love) this character and the idea behind him. I mean, how much fun could Marvel and DC have with this character? Well, obviously not as much as I thought they were going to. I mean, here you have a character DESIGNED to make crossovers happen in-continuity, and what happens? Pretty much nothing. Oh sure, Access was around for a couple of years, and even had two limited series of his own and appeared briefly in Green Lantern #87 (June 1997), but after that, he was gone. I remember when JLA/Avengers came out, and how excited I was that I would see Access again. Nope, nothing. I would have been happy with a cameo, or at least a mention, but instead I got...yup. NOTHING!

It just didn't make any sense to me. It was even mentioned in-story that crossovers that had happened earlier (and later) that had both companies characters seeming to occupy a 'shared earth' (meaning they seemed to both always live in the same world) were just examples of dimensional fluxes where the DC and Marvel 'verses had begun to merge again. And once Access 'fixes' the fluctuations, the characters of each universe forget the crossovers even happened in the first place. Well, I guess that could be an explanation right there for JLA/Avengers, but still, a cameo would've be nice.

Will we ever see Access again? Unlikely, but never say never. I remember asking one of the bigwigs at either Marvel or DC (I think it was Tom Brevoort) if we could possibly have Access appear again, and the answer was "We aren't allowed to use him because of DC!" (Or was it Marvel?) Wait. What? Both companies own the character so why can't...ah, I'm sure there's some legal mumbo-jumbo behind it that I don't understand, so I'm not even going to bother. If any of you out there know, give me a holler.

But what we do have, in the meantime, is great fun. If you want to check out the comics containing Access, here is a checklist of all his appearances to date:

Marvel vs. DC #s 1-4, Access's first appearance.

Doctor Strangefate #1 (April 1996), a comic set in the 'Amalgam' universe, featuring an amalgamation of Doctor Strange and Doctor Fate.

DC/Marvel All Access #s 1-4, Access's first limited series.

Unlimited Access #s 1-4, Access's second and final limited series.

And the aforementioned Green Lantern #87, where Access pops in on Jade while looking for the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. When he realizes GL isn't around, he decides to go find 'that guy with the surfboard' (meaning the Silver Surfer, for all you people who have been living under rocks).

That's it, that's all for this time. My next BIG entry on this blog will probably be a review of 1976's Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. Hope you'll all be there.