When artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger co-created the Dark Knight back in 1939, it was doubtful that either man had a true sense of how ingrained into pop culture Batman would become. Every great hero needs someone to do battle against and someone to stand by their side, and after 8 decades of fighting to keep Gotham City and the world at large safe, it’s fair to say that “The World’s Greatest Detective” has crossed paths with some truly unique characters.
Here, for your education and entertainment, are 10 crazy times Batman has crossed over with other properties.
10. ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ Crossover-palooza
In 2017, the folks behind ‘The LEGO Movie’ released their next film, ‘The LEGO Batman Movie.’ Drawing heavily upon some of the characteristics most ingrained to the character – namely, family issues, personal insecurities, and the need to kick as much butt as possible – the creative team created a tongue-in-cheek film that worked surprisingly well on several levels.
Another added bonus of the LEGO format: the company was allowed to draw on LEGO’s licenses with other properties. Thanks to this, the Joker was able to put together a veritable All-Star team of villains for Batman to do battle against, including Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter), Sauron (Lord of the Rings), the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz), the Daleks (Doctor Who), Velociraptors (Jurassic Park), Gremlins, King Kong, Agent Smith (The Matrix), Medusa, and even the Great White Shark from ‘Jaws.’ All this in addition to an already sizable “rogue’s gallery” of Batman villains, some more classic than others – I’m looking at you, Condiment King!
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
A six-issue crossover event in 2015 heralded one of the more interesting match-ups in recent Batman history: Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo came calling to Gotham City. While fighting Krang and the Shredder, the Turtles and Splinter are transported to an alternate universe, where they meet up with the Caped Crusader. Shredder enlists the help of many of Batman’s greatest enemies, and it takes a super-team-up to sort it all out!
The mini-series was so successful that a second, follow-up series is in the process of being co-published by DC and IDW, owners of the two properties. Original TNMT creator Kevin Eastman actually provided some of the variant covers for the first mini-series.
8. The Beatles
Back in the 1960s and ’70s, a conspiracy “fan theory” started to float around that Paul McCartney had actually passed away, and that his band, The Beatles, were trying to cover up his death. The creative team behind the Batman comic series at the time wanted to jump on the pop-culture bandwagon, so in Batman #222, they had an extremely thinly-veiled caricature of The Beatles “guest star” so Robin could do some sleuthing to get to the bottom of this “urban legend.”
Technically, it’s not quite The Beatles, due almost exclusively to copyright issues, I’d imagine. Instead, in the comic, the band’s name is The Oliver Twists, and it’s “Saul Cartwright,” not Paul McCartney, who may or may not be dead. The issue drops a ton of not-so-subtle Beatles references throughout and features one of the goofiest twists – which we won’t spoil here – to the ending of a Batman story in quite some time.
7. Judge Dredd
Would you believe that Batman and Judge Dredd have crossed over not once, not twice, but on FOUR separate occasions? I suppose when you get two of the most stubborn-headed, violence-prone characters in all of comic book-dom together, you make sure you get your money’s worth.
Parent companies DC and 2000AD got the good times rolling in 1991 with the duo’s first crossing of paths, in the trade paperback ‘Judgment on Gotham,’ in which Judge Death uses a dimensional jumper to go to Gotham City, and Batman follows him back to Mega-City One, where he teams up with Dredd (after Dredd arrests Batman for possession of illegal weapons in his utility belt). Interestingly, this story and the other three crossovers, ‘Vendetta in Gotham’ (1993), ‘The Ultimate Riddle’ (1995), and ‘Die Laughing’ (1998) were all written by the same writing team.
6. Scooby Doo
Long before “odd couple” type of crossovers became the norm in the pages of the comic book, Batman took to the animated TV airwaves to meet up with the kids of Mystery, Inc. While most of the entries on this list feature a character or property coming to visit Batman in his comic book series, or at least a mutual collaboration, Batman & Robin stepped out of their DC comfort zone to visit the Hanna-Barbera cartoon ‘Scooby-Doo’ in the 1970s.
Since those early crossovers – two different Scooby-Doo animated “movies,” to be precise – the Dynamic Duo have further crossed paths with Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby. Making its world premiere just last month, ‘Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ is a new animated feature-length action comedy adventure, drawing such voice talent as Frank Welker, John DiMaggio, Tara Strong, Diedrich Bader, and Matthew Lillard.
Not only did this cross-company team-up bring together two of the most “gritty” characters of the 1990s, it actually formed a bit of a “dream team” in the creative pairing of Frank Miller writing the story and Todd McFarlane providing the artwork. It was a “one-shot” comic produced in 1994, even though a poorly-received second team-up did occur in DC’s “Elseworlds” (read: non-continuity) format later that same year.
Batman travels to New York City in his hunt for a bad guy; there, he meets up with Spawn and after the obligatory “let’s fight – oh wait, just kidding, we’re actually on the same team,” they team up to try and crack the case. Both DC and Image Comics were very explicit that this story takes place outside both characters’ continuity, even though it definitely has a contemporary feel for both. A wordy note on the inside front cover of the prestige-format book indicates as such, in no uncertain terms.
4. Power Rangers
Even though they are both cartoon-ish “good guys,” this is one of the odder pairings on our list, to be sure. Happening just last year, the six-issue mini-series actually crossed over the entire Justice League with the Mighty Morphin’ teenagers, as DC and Boom! Studios decided “heck, why not,” for the companies’ first-ever collaboration.
After MMPR bad guy Lord Zed attacks Zordon and the Rangers, a teleporter malfunction sends the evil-doers across different dimensions, and when the Rangers follow, they all find out they’ve landed in the realm of the DC super-heroes. Again, you get your standard good-guys-fight-then-team-up style of presentation, but for Power Ranger fans, team-ups don’t come much more high-profile than Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and company.
Spanning three volumes of different match-ups across a seven-year span, it’s safe to say that fans were enjoying the tales of the Caped Crusader going toe-to-toe with the titular extraterrestrial assassins. The original 1991 three-issue series actually landed an Eisner Award for artist Adam Kubert and his work on the tale; in 1993 the four-issue ‘Batman vs. Predator II: Blood Match’ was released, and 1997 brought the good times to a close with the four-issue ‘Batman vs. Predator III: Blood Ties.’
All three series see the action take place in Gotham City, so those Predators certainly are getting their frequent flier miles in with their recurring destination. While the first series lets Batman shine alone against a solo Predator, the other series work to add a bit of extra flair: the second series adds The Huntress to Batman’s aid, and the third series features Mr. Freeze and Catwoman – along with two Predators working in tandem.
2. Batman ’66 “Window Gags”
The 1966 live-action Batman TV show was a work of unique amazingness. The show worked hard to play up the “camp” aspects of Batman & Robin and their work fighting crime – nothing like the on-screen portrayals of the characters that audiences have been treated two over the last thirty years or so.
A recurring gag on the show’s first two seasons – and the ridiculously lovable ‘Batman: The Movie’ – was that of the “Batclimb.” Adam West’s Batman and Burt Ward’s Robin would be climbing up the side of a tall building on a rope, and a celebrity would pop their heads out of a window for a quick chat. There were 15 different “Batclimbs” in all, and they featured memorable guests spots from celebrities such as Dick Clark, Sammy Davis Jr., Bruce Lee, Don Ho, Colonel Klink, Lurch from ‘The Addams Family,’ and even Santa Claus.
1. Elmer Fudd
I can’t make this stuff up, folks – but DC sure can, and last year they decided to cross-over several of their properties with the zany characters from the Looney Tunes. The Martian Manhunter and Marvin the Martian sorta make sense crossing over, and the Lobo/Wile E. Coyote has a few semi-coherent threads in the idea – but the Batman/Elmer Fudd one-shot comic just sounds too nuts to be real, right? In all actuality, however: it is real, and it’s a surprisingly well-crafted story.
The main story, presented in a very Batman-esque realistic and gritty fashion, revolves around Elmer – portrayed as a lone-gun type vigilante – attempting to hunt down Gotham ganster Bugs “The Bunny,” and running afoul of the Caped Crusader in the process. The book also features a secondary tale, shown in a much more Looney Tunes type of stylization, that shows Batman inadvertently getting in the middle of a classic Elmer/Bugs feud.
There you have it, friends – 10 of the craziest Bat-crossovers to ever have happened! What did we miss on our list? What would you like to see in our future lists? Leave us a comment below and let us know!