All this month we will be celebrating team-ups, pairs, and duos in comics with a little something we’d like to call “Feb2ary!” Well actually, we did call it that so…I suppose that’s redundant. Anyway, you can forget all about your significant other (real or otherwise) this Valentine’s Day and instead keep your browser locked onto AP2HYC all month long because there’s lots more to come!
In order to ceremoniously kick off this Feb2ary, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the best team-ups and duos in comic book history. The criteria for this list is simple, friends: the duo must have teamed up for more than one issue, and they must have had a lasting impact on comics as a whole. Keep in mind that these selections are this writer’s opinions (which are also facts), so feel free to agree, disagree, or both! Okay then, let’s start at the bottom with number six!
6. Green Hornet and Kato
Like most of the duos you will see on this list, Green Hornet and Kato have been featured in a wide variety of entertainment mediums, which I think is a testament to their overwhelming popularity.
From their humble beginnings on radio in the 1930s, Green Hornet and his trusty driver/sidekick Kato went on to appear in a couple film serials before finally breaking into the fabulous world of television with The Green Hornet in the mid 1960s. You know, the show that featured Bruce Lee as Kato? Of course, we have comics to thank for the television show, so let’s talk a bit about that.
Around the same time as the film serials, Helnit Comics published several issues of Green Hornet Comics until the property was picked up by Harvey Comics, who some of you may recognize as the very same publisher of First Love comics; just a little Valentine’s Day humor for you.
From there the duo was all over the map with comic book publishers, including stints at Dell Comics, Gold Key Comics, NOW Comics, and finally, Dynamite with a Kevin Smith run. Sheesh, what a history! These guys sure get around! Let us not forget the recent DC Comics’ crossover series Batman ’66 Meets the Green Hornet which was also written by Smith with beautiful artwork by Ralph Garman; Alex Ross‘ covers don’t hurt either.
You might say that these two vigilantes are something of a comic book institution, but let us not forget that there are still five more duos left on this list! C’mon, let’s go!
5. Power Man and Iron Fist
What started as a last ditch effort by Marvel Comics to save Luke Cage and Iron Fist’s respective solo books by combining them became one of the best team-ups of all time. Don’t you just love when things “accidentally” turn out great like that?
Power Man and Iron Fist ran for seventy-five knock-down-drag-out issues (not including the three issue story arc that started the team-up) that featured the titular heroes bopping their way to victory with flying fists and feet! If you are a fan of hand-to-hand combat, or fisticuffs if you will, this series really hits all the right marks.
Writer Jim Owsley ended the series on a rather somber note when Danny Rand (Iron Fist) gets cancer and later “dies.” At the time this was highly controversial, and is one of the those comic book deaths that is still talked about to this day. Fear not though, since Rand’s death isn’t all that it seems, and we all know too well that comic book characters don’t like to stay dead for very long.
Now some of you may be aware that Marvel/Disney/Netflix (I know, right?) is planning on introducing Iron Fist at some point in the near future. We’ve got Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage already, so that Defenders mini-series is right around the corner! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for those that have been waiting a long time for a live action portrayal of Power Man and Iron Fist, this might just be your ticket to ride! Sweet Christmas!
But enough about our hopes and dreams for the future! The list must go on!
4. Green Lantern and Green Arrow
Lots of “green” in this list, no? Anyway, coming in at number four is the legendary run by the great Dennis O’Neil, with art by the equally influential Neal Adams, in which Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) teams up with the emerald archer himself, Green Arrow!
Rather than being its own self-contained book, Green Arrow was simply injected into the pages of Green Lantern starting with issue seventy-six. What makes this team-up so interesting is the distinct difference between Jordan and Queen’s political ideologies. “Boring”, you say? Okay, okay; let me back up for a moment. The Silver Age of Comics really began with the implementation of the Comics Code Authority, which not only caused superheroes to become more popular in the medium, but also caused some…interesting changes to certain characters. One need only look at the Silver Age Batman’s rogues gallery as an example. I’m digressing, aren’t I?
Hal Jordan’s conservative views often clashed with Oliver Queen’s more radical, somewhat forward thinking views, which was something that hadn’t really been done in superhero comics at the time, and was decidedly more serious in tone than some of the goofy stuff that was going on. The duo dealt with a plethora of social issues such as racism and political corruption, and most famously perhaps, drug addiction. When Queen’s sidekick Speedy (Roy Harper) gets himself hooked on heroin, Queen initially blames himself for Speedy’s addiction since he was busy gallivanting around America with a cosmic police officer (Jordan), but Queen confronts Speedy and soon all is back to normal.
Jordan and Queen had to learn to work together despite their differences, and it made for one of the most heralded runs in comic book history. If you haven’t read this, pick up the collected editions and give them a try; the issues that are confronted throughout the series remain as relevant today as they were back then. You know, plus it has Green Lantern and Green Arrow!
We’re getting into the second half of the list now, and some of you might be thinking “I know what’s coming next”, but you will be surprised by the top three entries. Now if you would direct your attention to that little link at the bottom of the article that leads to page two, we can continue. But not until you do that so let’s get a move on!