Growing up, I remember an episode of Full House that crossed over with Family Matters. At the age of 8, my mind was blown at seeing Urkel interact with the Tanner family, dancing with Uncle Jesse. Seeing a character displaced into an unfamiliar setting was fascinating. At the time, I thought it would certainly be the most unexpected and delightful crossover I would ever experience. Then, I stumbled into the world of comics where the unthinkable often happened, for better or for worse.
Comics where characters published by one company meet those published by another company have always had a special appeal. In the first major inter-company superhero crossover DC’s Superman met Marvel’s Spider-Man. Since that landmark 1976 event, from time to time, comic readers have witnessed unbelievable meetings on the printed page.
The X-Men met Kirk and Spock. The Savage Dragon fought crime with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Batman brawled with a Predator. Seeing characters in unfamiliar settings, interacting with other characters they should never meet, remains a captivating storytelling device today.
It’s fitting that the best crossover in the history of the comic medium is also the most absurd. In 1994, two contrasting universes merged for a single, unforgettable experience when the Punisher occupied Riverdale in a 48-page, ad-free issue. Archie Meets The Punisher is surely the strangest crossover event in all of media, yet it excels in every aspect.