Updated on 16 October, 2021
Comic Crossovers are comic book related one-shots that take place in the pages of a comic book. They follow a specific character or role and can range from a small story to a major event, depending on where the writer is taking the character. Usually a major crossover occurs when two or more characters from two or more different titles join up to fight crime in one town, for example, or when one superhero is presumed dead and another becomes the new crime-fighting hero. There have been some pretty good Comic Crossovers over the years, like Batman and Robin and Batgirl. Other well known examples are Green Lantern and Superman, The Incredibles and Booster Gold and the DC Universe, including Green Lantern, Superman and Justice League, and Super Boy and Teen Titans.
Some of the most popular Comic Crossovers happen within the pages of a single comic book series. This type of crossover is usually shortest, but it often involves two or more separate storylines. For instance, in the Batman comics, both Robin and Batgirl become Robin and Batgirl when they undergo a relationship while Batman is off saving the city. In the New York City series, Firestorm and Heat Wave become Firestorm and Heat Vision when they become friends while Superman and Wonder Woman were friends in the Smallville TV show, while Wolverine and the X-Men and Spider Man and the Fantastic Four have crossovers that take place over a specific time period in each character's history. Some longer term favourite comic book characters, like Iron Man and Spider Man, have multiple long term story threads, with one character living between the two others. One example is the Secret Wars series, which takes place between the Civil War and the New Avengers storylines.
Comic book writers often work in teams to create these types of comic book crossover events. Two people may be involved in an early story that becomes part of an ongoing comic book storyline. Such crossover events can lead to new characters being introduced and used as part of ongoing main storylines, or can simply lead to new creative possibilities for existing characters.
When this happens, some readers may prefer certain characters and certain stories over others. There are times, however, when two or more similar comic book series will be combined into one long story. These crossovers can be successful if readers want to see certain characters in different settings, or if they are looking for a reason for the writer to use a certain character. A major example of this is the X-Men series, which has featured characters from the original X-Men comics and the modern era of the Marvel comics.
Another thing to keep in mind when thinking about comic book crossovers is that sometimes a certain storyline will be more likely to appear in a crossover event than in the other titles of the series. For example, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the New Avengers series have appeared in consecutive issues of the former, while the New Avengers series features Spiderman and the X-Men in their title. The X-Men have also featured several crossovers with popular franchises like Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk, though these series didn't quite connect in a big way. With that said, it is often the case that the most successful comic book crossovers tend to feature established characters that readers will recognize and identify with.
For those readers who enjoy the shock value of a surprising plot twist, a crossover event can provide just the kind of surprise they are looking for. Even though many comic book readers won't admit it at first, shock value is often what keeps them going through a comic book series. With that in mind, it can help to give a comic a much more mature feel and allow it to build up the excitement that many readers look for.
In addition to building interest in a shared series, a crossover event can also help to raise the sales of individual issues of a comic book series. This is true regardless of whether the crossover events are part of a long ongoing story or a special one-off issue. While some readers may be offended by some crossover merchandise featuring characters from an entirely different comic book series, others may find the merchandise entertaining and even somewhat educational.
As an independent comic book writer, your ability to create interesting comic book crossovers is limited only by your imagination. Just keep in mind that while you may want to incorporate one character into another you should always make sure you do so as subtly as possible. Some readers won't care about your incorporating a character into a comic they are already familiar with, while others will be irritated and may even express displeasure. It is up to you to determine which factors are important to you as a writer and how much care you wish to put into your work.