Everyone gets excited when two popular comic characters join together for an unlikely alliance. We’ve already seen the interest it generates in movies, like when The Avengers movie finally happened, the recent Captain America: Civil War, and of course all the buzz for Suicide Squad, and the Justice League movie. It brings more star power when villains and heroes join with counterparts from other franchises in a rare agreement to share the spotlight.
But amidst the team-ups we can’t wait to see and those that have worked so well, there are inevitably those that nobody saw coming. And to their credit, some of the off-the-wall ideas can actually have some entertaining results. Meanwhile, others are just such a bizarre match of characters that the only thing we’re left feeling is confusion as to why anyone thought this would be a good idea. Don’t expect any classic teams like the Fantastic Four here, because we’re delving into the 15 Weirdest Comic Book Team-Ups Of All Time.
15. THE AVENGERS AND THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY TEAMING UP AGAINST ATTACK ON TITAN
Most of the team-ups on this list are weird because of the odd-couple pairings of those involved in the alliance. This one is the exception, though. The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy are both Marvel properties and they’re both superhero teams, so there’s nothing out of the ordinary there. Where it gets weird is that they wind up fighting against the titans from the extremely popular Attack on Titan manga series.
The comic, dubbed Attack on Avengers, is only eight pages long so there’s not really any room for plot. The titans just show up in New York and start devouring people, so the Avengers respond to take down the threat. The Attack on Titan manga is known for its brutal deaths, but here it’s the heroes getting all the time to shine. Each page shows a different hero taking down the monsters in one of their signature ways, like Spider-Man using his web-slinging acrobatics, or the Hulk using his incredible strength. It looks like the Marvel guys have it in hand, but we never get a clear victor as the comic ends right as the Guardians of the Galaxy tag in to take their turn at beating some titans.
14. SUPERMAN AND MUHAMMAD ALI
As one of the most recognized characters in all of comics, Superman has done a lot of crossovers and interacted with a lot of famous people in the pages of his stories. He doesn’t usually wind up fighting those celebrities, though, which is what makes his encounter with Muhammad Ali a bit more unusual than a lot of the other run-ins with well-known figures. For one time only, Superman agreed to enter into the world of boxing for a match against one of the best, Ali.
Obviously a full-powered Superman would destroy any human, even a legend like Ali. So to keep things fair, Superman agreed to have his powers neutralized for this friendly bout to see who was the best based purely on skill. And come fight time, Superman got pummeled and lost. That was all in fun, though, while the alien force threatening Earth in this same story was no game. Superman regained his powers to take down the fleet threatening the planet, while Ali took on the alien champion in another boxing match. The two-pronged assault from this alliance was too much, and Superman stood victorious alongside Ali at the end.
13. BATMAN AND SHERLOCK HOLMES
Like Superman, Batman has been around so long now that he’s been unable to avoid some odd stories. If this one doesn’t convince you of that, don’t worry, there’s more to come from the Dark Knight on this list. But this team-up actually has a bit of logic behind it. Batman is the most famous superhero detective, and Sherlock Holmes is synonymous with the word detective. So the two meeting to solve a case together isn’t that bizarre– aside from the fact that Sherlock was supposed to be alive around the 1800s– but it’s okay, because the story explains that by the end. Kind of.
It’s a descendant of the well-known Professor Moriarty who is starting the trouble this time, and this was in the era before Batman became quite the gruff recluse he can be today. He had Robin along for the fun, and was taking help from wherever else he could get it. Even from a Sherlock Holmes who is over a hundred years old, and whose big contribution to the story is knocking down Moriarty’s descendant before Batman can get to him. And how does Sherlock stay in shape to catch such a criminal at his age? Tibetan air and a diet of royal jelly. And here you were worried the explanation would be something silly.
12. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG AND SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
For those not in the know, Archie Comics runs numerous other titles besides their well-known stories featuring Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica. The company also has the long running (no pun intended) Sonic the Hedgehog comic series. They were also trying to get some traction with a Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic in the 90s, so as is often the case, the two properties did a crossover to try and mingle their fanbases a bit.
The focal point of the story was on Sabrina and her conflict with Enchantra, and the latter looking through the multiverse for an opponent for Sabrina. Eventually she finds Sonic’s world, brings the hedgehog over, and brainwashes him into attacking Sabrina. Probably the most odd thing about the encounter is that Salem the cat is aware of Sonic being a fictional character, and even owns Sonic comic books.
Eventually Sabrina frees Sonic from the spell he’s under, they have team up to attack Enchantra and save the day, and Sonic and his friends have their memories wiped before being sent back to their world. So if you didn’t know about this encounter, that’s okay, because Sonic doesn’t either anymore.
11. BATMAN AND SCOOBY-DOO
This would turn out to be just the start of a long list of team-ups for Mystery Inc. and superheroes. Scooby would make the rounds with all the prominent DC heroes, including Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, even Harley Quinn. But as for Batman and Scooby-Doo, this isn’t even the first time they’ve crossed paths. As those of you who watched the Scooby cartoons may remember, he had frequent crossovers with the likes of Don Knotts, the Addams Family, and yes, Batman. And like Sherlock Holmes, this is a good match for Batman since Mystery Inc. are basically detectives themselves.
This time around they join forces while Batman is in pursuit of the villain Man-Bat. Mystery Inc. joins in to solve the problem. But the Scooby-Doo Team-Up series wasn’t even a one-off issue involving the Bat Family. In a later issue, Scooby became a temporary sidekick to Ace the Bat Hound. At this rate, maybe Shaggy is on his way to becoming the next Robin.
10. SCOOBY-DOO AND SECRET SQUIRREL
Since Scooby-Doo was already in the midst of doing a string of crossovers with other franchises, we can understand mixing it up with the other Hanna-Barbera characters too. The Flintstones and The Jetsons met, so why not Scooby meeting with both families too? That sounds fun. But an odd team-up that happened as a result was Mystery Inc. meeting Secret Squirrel, a character who probably isn’t really at the front of anyone’s mind nowadays.
Regardless, Secret Squirrel and Mystery Inc. quickly bring up all the questions the readers might have, like the absurdity of a squirrel being a secret agent— to which Secret Squirrel responds that his new friends have a house pet as one of their main members. Which is a fair rebuttal. And the fact that they’re suddenly teaming up with a talking squirrel aside, the profession of their new friend actually complements their own line of work better than any of the other humans they team up with from the works of Hanna-Barbera.
9. SUPERMAN AND BUGS BUNNY
This crossover is billed as Superman and Bugs being the stars, but it’s really a full blown crossover between the DC universe and the world of the Looney Tunes. And with that many characters there would probably be no way to tell a good story without it being rushed, so it’s actually nice that this was a four part affair. There’s plenty of time for humorous pairings, like the Flash running against the Road Runner, to create some funny moments before the story wraps up.
The overarching plot behind these two opposite worlds colliding is from the mischievous Mxyzptlk and the prankster Yoyo the Dodo working together to amuse themselves by mixing the zany Looney Tunes with the super-powered DC heroes. Adding to the chaos is that the DC characters and the Looney Tunes get personality swapped as well, leading to situations like Daffy Duck thinking he’s Batman and vice versa.
8. X-MEN AND STAR TREK
While the cast of Star Trek can’t be defined as superheroes, they do have a bit in common with the sci-fi tone of the X-Men series. They prefer to work in teams, and while the X-Men are in a constant state of trying to bridge peace between humans and mutants, the Star Trek crew has to deal with more galactic strife as they attempt to reconcile differences among the various aliens they encounter. And the X-Men are no strangers to a little space travel either, so it’s not too far-fetched that on one expedition they’d happen to bump into another well-known group of space travelers.
After the traditional misunderstanding period where the two groups view each other as enemies (which lets us see Spock do the Vulcan nerve pinch on Wolverine), they realize their common interest in stopping a threat to innocent people. The threat in this case being the mutant Proteus, who just so happens to transform a world into a replica of Scotland to… demonstrate his evil ways? Regardless, the combination of Kirk’s crew and the X-Men mutants defeat the menace, and the crossover gelled so surprisingly well that it even produced some sequels.
7. BATMAN AND THE BEATLES
Okay, so Batman and Sherlock Holmes at least shared some common ground with them both being detectives. And even Scooby-Doo made a bit of sense with them both investigating mysteries. But this Batman team-up is one that doesn’t even have any shared interests between Batman and his new friends. It’s possible Bruce Wayne is a Beatles fan, but that doesn’t really justify an alliance.
Adding to the strange situation is that the focal point of the story is Batman and Robin investigating whether Paul of the Beatles is actually dead. But likely for copyright reasons, the names of the band and its members were changed, even though it was quite obvious who they were meant to be. And to cap it all off, in the end the stand-in for Paul actually was alive, and it was the rest of the non-Beatles members who were the fakes.
6. SUPERMAN AND THE NESQUIK BUNNY
Hmm, a commercial mascot who doesn’t have his own comic line or TV show teamed up with a popular comic book hero. This couldn’t possibly be one giant ad, could it? Yeah, unfortunately this is about what you’d expect, with the Quik Bunny basically just involved as an excuse to plug Nesquik Chocolate Milk the entire time. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the movie adaption of this comic.
Even the Superman portions fall flat, focusing on his confrontation with that well-known DC villain the Weather Wizard. And for some reason Superman has trouble taking down this fearsome opponent without the help of aa handful of children and a rabbit who loves chocolate milk. Guess we know who Batman should have called when gearing up for battle against the Man of Steel in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And to top it all off, Superman even lost to the Quik Bunny in a drinking contest when they celebrated their team-up by seeing who could chug their chocolate milk down first.
5. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG AND IMAGE COMICS AND THE X-FILES
And you thought it couldn’t get any weirder than Sonic and Sabrina. At least those two are part of the same comic company, and are pretty kid-friendly characters. What does Sonic have in common with the violent heroes that Image was becoming known for? Not much, but that didn’t stop the hedgehog and his fellow anthropomorphic animals from being warped into the opposing world. And the very first person they meet there was the poster boy of Image, Spawn himself! And he wanted nothing to do with Sonic and just kind of brushed the blue blur off and went on his way? Oh, okay. That’s not really how team-ups are supposed to work, but whatever. Sonic still had all those other Image heroes to work with.
Alongside the likes of Shadowhawk, the Maxx, and Dragon, Sonic and his buds took on a character named the Doctor who had stolen the Master Emerald from Sonic’s world for some kind of reality warping plan. The gist of it is the good guys won, the Doctor died, and Knuckles the Echidna wiped the memories of all the Sonic characters about the incident. Jeez, why doesn’t Sonic ever get to remember his crossovers?
And just for some added absurdity, the whole story is a recounting of events by characters of the Image world who are explaining what happened to FBI agents Mully and Scolder. No, those aren’t typos. Sonic never gets to meet these totally original FBI characters himself, but that’s just as well since they’d probably just wipe his memory too. Poor amnesiac hedgehog.
4. ARCHIE AND THE PUNISHER
2015 brought us the surprisingly fun Archie vs Predator that saw the sci-fi action monster hunting down and killing most of Archie’s friends in a comic filled with entertaining dark humor. If the Predator had just made friends with the group a tad before eviscerating them, we might have been able to include that as one of the weirdest team-ups on this list. Fortunately, we still have another meeting between the group of teenagers and an extremely violent individual.
The misunderstanding that brings the two groups together this time is the Punisher hunting a criminal who happens to look a lot like Archie. Of course, Archie’s goofy demeanor quickly reveals him to be no threat, and in fact, Riverdale in general is so peaceful that the Punisher elects to put aside his lethal methods for this one time only. It’s a team-up that’s light on plot, but heavy on the humor of the contrasting styles of the characters, which is what actually makes this one pretty fun.
3. SPIDER-MAN AND REN & STIMPY
Huh. So Spider-Man and Ren & Stimpy apparently live in the same world. Who would have thought? Regardless, these two unlikely franchises cross paths when the cartoon cat and Chihuahua try to have a breakfast of Powdered Toast cereal, only to realize they’re out. So they call the cereal’s mascot/superhero, Powdered Toast Man, to solve the emergency, only to find Spider-Man has taken over the job. We all fall on hard times, it seems.
So Spider-Man took over the job because Powdered Toast Man is being mentally manipulated, and the Marvel icon sets out to rescue him. He quickly dispatches of the villain behind it all, a Dr. Dough-naught, but Spidey and PTM proceed to rumble anyway after Spider-Man scoffs at the idea of them teaming up again. Ren & Stimpy also offer to lend their services to Spidey as sidekicks, but he finally wises up and realizes working with these two hasn’t been working out so well.
2. THE PUNISHER AND EMINEM
Just when you thought the Punisher couldn’t get mixed up in anything weirder than his Archie encounter, this comic came out in 2009. And while the Archie crossover seemed pretty self-aware of how ridiculous it was, this team-up with Eminem isn’t as fun since it doesn’t seem to realize how silly its concept is. How bizarre is it? Thanks to this Marvel comic, Eminem has beaten the Punisher in a fight when he pistol whipped him as he rapped one of his songs. Yeesh. That’s worse for the Punisher than having three failed movie attempts.
As these things usually go, Silm Shady and the Punisher eventually found someone they could dislike together in the villain Barracuda, who kidnaps both of our heroes and takes them out to the arctic to kill them. Fortunately, the ever resourceful Eminem saves that silly damsel-in-distress the Punisher after getting free, procuring a chainsaw, and cutting into Barracuda. The Punisher shows his thanks for being rescued by uttering the word “homies” and ditching Eminem in the arctic. Probably a good decision by Frank Castle.
1. CHARLES BARKLEY AND GODZILLA
There have been some pretty odd team-ups on this list, but we really can’t think of anything more bizarre than a real life basketball player interacting with a fictional Japanese dinosaur. We’re not talking two heroic characters working together like most of the other entries. We’re not even talking about two characters with similar traits to play off of each other. This is just Charles Barkley getting enlarged to the size of a Tokyo monster to play a little one-on-one with a giant lizard.
The, uh, story (for lack of a better word) for this comic actually originated in a commercial advertising Nike. And yeah, the comic is technically a “versus” story, but we’d still count this as a team-up. They’re facing each other in basketball, after all, so they’re not exactly mortal enemies. It’s just a silly, friendly game that even ends with Barkley extending an offer to Godzilla to join his professional team. It’s a head-scratcher where this premise even came from, but it’s certainly entertaining if for no other reason than just because this truly is the weirdest team-up in comics.
Which team-up on this list do you think was the most bizarre? Were there any you found surprisingly good? Share your thoughts in the comments!