Redartz: One feature of comics in our beloved Bronze Age was the popularity of "team-up" books. And yes, I know that the concept existed back in the Silver Age in the form of DC's "Brave and the Bold". Nonetheless, it wasn't until the 70's that you found multiple such titles on the spinner racks. And therefore the 'Team up' comic became as much a Bronze age touchstone as Giant Size comics, Treasury Editions and Hostess Ads.
Between Marvel and DC, there were four 'biggies' that exemplified the genre. Of course the aforementioned "Brave and the Bold" was one, and DC added later "DC Comics Presents". Marvel offered "Marvel Team-Up", and "Marvel Two-in-One". Perhaps a bit less imaginative than DC's titles, but the names certainly told you what you could expect to find between the covers.
And speaking of covers, below you'll find four groups of covers, representing some of each title's notables. Accompanying these will be a few comments from your humble host about these series. So buddy up and let's have a look...
Brave and the Bold
"B & B" debuted back in 1955, and for years presented various adventure features and rotating headliners. One noteworthy issue was number 28, in which the Justice League of America first appeared! But a few years later, in 1963's issue 50, B & B gave us the first team-up story, with Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter. Various heroes were paired, but by 1966 Batman became the 'host' of the book (no doubt due to the influence of the then-current Batman tv series). And Batman spent the remainder of the series' run teaming with almost everyone imaginable, including the House of Mystery!
Bob Haney wrote most of them, but other writers jumped in later in the book's run. Artists included Ramona Fradon, Carmine Infantino, Neal Adams and Jim Aparo, among others.
Marvel entered the team up niche in 1972, giving Spider-Man a second book. For the most part Spidey hogged the limelight, but a few issues teamed other characters, primarily the Human Torch and the Hulk. Efforts were made, with varying levels of success, to mesh "Team-Up" storylines with the current ones in "Amazing Spider-Man". I personally enjoyed MTU, but seldom found it as readable as Amazing. One exception to that was the phenomenal Chris Claremont run, with frequent great art by John Byrne.
Other writers included Gerry Conway, Len Wein, J.M. DeMatties and Bill Mantlo. Among the illustrators were Jim Mooney, Sal Buscema (who did a BUNCH), and Kerry Gammill.
Starting in 1973, everyone's favorite rocky orange Thing appeared in this title, giving bashful Benjy a spotlight outside of the Fantastic Four. Unlike Spider-Man, Ben Grimm never departed from the book (until it's cancellation and replacement with the Thing's solo title). He got to join forces with most everyone in the Marvel universe, including some appearances by his FF teammates. And the occasional crossover with Spider-Man was a big treat, especially the truly classic MTIO Annual 2.
Writers included Steve Gerber, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Bill Mantlo and Mark Gruenwald. Artists appearing were Ron Wilson, Sal Buscema, John Byrne and George Perez, among others.
DC Comics Presents
It seems odd that it took so long, but DC finally gave the Man of Steel a Team-Up venue in 1978, in the form of DC Comics Presents. Superman got to join up with a vast array of guest stars, right up until the book's cancellation (kind of like the Thing in MTIO; except in the case of Superman his team-ups just shifted over into the John Byrne reboot of Action Comics). One short run of this book had Jim Starlin scripts and artwork, and was a definite high point. Among the writers were Martin Pasko, Len Wein and Denny O'Neil and Gerry Conway. You found art by the likes of Jose Luiz-Garcia Lopez, Joe Staton, and Rich Buckler. Interestingly there were numerous issues in which the guest star's reknowned creators were featured on this book, such as Alan Moore writing a Swamp Thing shot, and Keith Giffen doing Ambush Bug...
Sooooo, now it's time for your input. What series did you follow? Which do you consider more successful, which had the best stories and art? Which particular stories did you enjoy, which guest stars did you most anticipate? Any that didn't make the cut but should have? We're teaming up; I got things started and you get to take it from here!