As if you needed another reason to hate the Nineties

In 1996, the two big comics publishing companies realized they could suck their customers dry with poorly conceived projects elevate their characters to a whole new level by doing what was essentially a series of mashups. In a hybrid effort labeled “Amalgam Comics“, they merged characters from each imprint into one hybrid being. For instance, the main mystic characters from each line merged to become “Dr. StrangeFate”, a name I bet took at least three seconds to think up. At least, you guys. Also it was the frontrunning title for the “Dr. Strangelove” sequel, but shockingly that never came to fruition.

To be fair, somewhere under the deep cynicism of the entire concept was the nugget of a neat idea. Unfortunately, it happened during the Image Nineties, which means — say it with me now! — it had to be EXTREME!!!1! Hence we got the Batman-Wolverine abomination known as Dark Claw:

It’s Wolverine’s helmet but with Batman scallops! It’s Wolverine’s claws but with Batman scallops! It’s Batman’s cape but with … ok, that one stayed the same. They did take the iconic Wolverine massive hair wings and apply them to Batman’s boots, so at least Logan has that much influence in the costume design department. Naturally you also have to have the ripped clothing, because MTV.

I honestly don’t know what the hell is going on with that belt buckle. Did Captain America slip in here somehow? Because you could definitely deflect bullets with that thing.

The worst part of the concept is that this guy is now unkillable, no matter how bad his outfit is. And that’s bad for all of us, people.

(Image and characters © DC & Marvel Comics.)

38 Responses to As if you needed another reason to hate the Nineties

  1. though you got to admit; combining Sabertooth and Joker and make Hyena – that’s cool how it worked out

  2. Ugh. I remember when this came out, I was working in the comics shop. I was ripping on how bad it was, and my boss said to me “Everyone is enjoying this, but you have to be so negative.” I would love to let my younger self know that I was right, and this is horrible. But as bad as this is, I think the Joker/Sabertooth combo that was his villian was even worse.

  3. Frevoli:
    though you got to admit; combining Sabertooth and Joker and make Hyena – that’s cool how it worked out

    haha didn’t see your post until after I posted mine. Guess we have to agree to disagree. ;)

  4. Dan: haha didn’t see your post until after I posted mine. Guess we have to agree to disagree.

    lol it’s fine – I’ve never read it, so I’m just talking about the idea of a joker/sabertooth combo… the excecution of said idea, is another matter entirely

  5. though with regards to Doctor Strangefate – since he’s also part Proffessor Charles Xaiver, would’ve made sense to call him Proffessor Strangefate

  6. Darkclaw is horrid, however since it he was mentioned, regardless of the uncreative name Dr. Strangefate appears to be well designed character that suffer little if any at all from the Image effect!

    http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm157/dravenheart/Doctor_Strangefate_001.jpg

  7. What? I loved Dark Claw!

    Also, I was like 7 at the time.

  8. I liked the costume, my problem with this is the plot was thin at best. The worst was Darkclaw’s sidekick was made up of Robin and Jubilee called Sparrow. Somebody should’ve been boiled in oil over that decision. They also mixed Solomon Grundy and The Hulk. Also disaterous. I did like that they mixed Captain America and Superman and set in WWII.

  9. I like Darkclaw, except for the big, giant, jagged ears, and also putting them on the boots. And I don’t like the design of the claws.

  10. I thought Amalgam was a gimmick when it came out, and I still do, now that it’s long dead.
    You know what’s really cheesy? The part that makes me laugh at this costume and say, “that doesn’t looks scary, that looks silly.” It’s the Wolverine stripes on the legs. They just don’t seem to match the rest of the costume.

  11. He’s got claws, he’s got spikes, he’s daaaark, he’s X-TREME!!!!! What’s not to love with him?
    (Although I didn’t know about Hyena and find it equally horrible, although in another way)

  12. Holy mother of F***.

  13. My problem with Amalgam was the seemingly random combinations of characters. I mean, Doctor Doomsday? Oh, because they both have “doom” in their names. Clever.

    No, wait, the opposite of clever. Stupid.

  14. Dan: But as bad as this is, I think the Joker/Sabertooth combo that was his villian was even worse.

    Ugh…he looks like the Creeper on steroids at a BDSM club. But at least it gives Jeff some material for next week’s entry…

  15. Last I checked, both Bruce Wayne and Logan are at least generally clean-shaven. So why does the headpiece seem to look like he’s got some sort of giant Bat-Moustache on it?

  16. Strangely enough, Jeff, I have fond memories of some of the Amalgam comics (and it was always fun to see a detente between Marvel and DC). Super Soldier (the Superman/Captain America mashup that punkjay mentioned earlier) was a favorite, and I remember enjoying Spider-Boy and Speed Demon (the Ghost Rider/Flash mashup), and it’s hard not to want to read Bruce Wayne, Agent of SHIELD.

    I didn’t like the inconsistencies in the ways that the universe played out (it seemed like the Batman amalgams should have been mutually exclusive, for example), but overall, there were some fun stories. Kind of the typical background–some of the more talented writers and artists were very successful with the idea, while others weren’t.

  17. Doornik1142:
    My problem with Amalgam was the seemingly random combinations of characters. I mean, Doctor Doomsday? Oh, because they both have “doom” in their names. Clever.

    No, wait, the opposite of clever. Stupid.

    The worst one was Captain Marvel, which was a combo of Captain Marvel and Captain Marvel. They really went all out on that one.

  18. EnderX:
    Last I checked, both Bruce Wayne and Logan are at least generally clean-shaven.So why does the headpiece seem to look like he’s got some sort of giant Bat-Moustache on it?

    Because his mask has “teeth” attached to it. It’s easier to see in this picture http://www.comicvine.com/hyena/29-55166/all-images/108-198325/77_78_darkclawhyena/105-738370/

  19. Blazing Tornado

    Yeah, Dark Claw was an abomination.

    But you know who rocked?

    Super Soldier. Super Soldier rocked.

  20. punkjay:
    I liked the costume, my problem with this is the plot was thin at best. The worst was Darkclaw’s sidekick was made up of Robin and Jubilee calledSparrow. Somebody should’ve been boiled in oil over that decision. They also mixedSolomon Grundy and The Hulk. Also disaterous. I did like that they mixed Captain America and Supermanand set in WWII.

    Yeah, but the costume was TERRIBLE. For something that powerful and noble, a little more mystery wouldn’t have gone amiss. Make superman’s cape hooded, combine with cap’s red, white, and blue striped torso, put the S in the middle of the star, give him a blue cowl like cap’s but without the wings or “A” under the hood, replace his belt with a WWII american air force insignia, keep cap’s gauntlet-style gloves, Supes’ boots and put a matching US air force insignia on the back of his cape, let him keep Cap’s shield unaltered and you’d have had something seriously cool. What we got instead was kind of lame looking.

  21. I actually enjoyed several of the Amalgams. (I even have an Amalgam Comics poster on the wall beside me) Just think of it as an Elseworlds or What If story. Some of them weren’t that great, especially the fact that there were two or three different Cable Amalgams running around, but there was some good stuff in there too. I loved the combination of Solomon Grundy and The Hulk as “Skulk.” Super Soldier was great, and Challengers of The Fantastic as well. Spider-Boy, and Spider-Boy Team Up, Speed Demon, Iron Lantern. The good outweighs the bad. Even Dark Claw isn’t really THAT awful. Sure, his costume looks like a personification of the nineties, but at least the comic was better than the Dark Claw Adventures from Amalgam Part 2.

    Much worse than Amalgam were the Vs Fights that led up to it. Wolverine beats Lobo? No. In no universe does that happen. Wonder Woman picks up Thor’s hammer, but decides not to use it because that would be cheating? That much I buy, but then she would still proceed to hand Storm her ass, because there’s no way in hell Storm wins that one.

  22. I liked the idea of Dr Strangefate, but I hated the name. At least call him something moderately clever, like “Dr Weird”…

  23. In addition to the dreadful costume combo, Dark Claw’s alter ego’s name is “Logan Wayne”. Was imagination just severely lacking in the ’90s or something?

  24. lol love the “Captain Marvel” amalgam. That’s imagination and well-thought plot for you!

  25. Robert (ProwlerKnight)

    There’s a character challenge for you Jeff, have people come up with Amalgam or their own, and have EVERY super hero useable (if you are not making profit of any kind on this sight copywright laws don’t apply, since it’s purely out of fun rather then any material gain lol)

  26. I liked the ideas of some of them – Skulk, Speed Demon, Strangefate – but I wish they’d had more time/cooperation to extend the stories. The best of them still felt like a cheat and tease.

    And Kelex is right – the Dark Claw Adventures one was rancid.

  27. Timespike: Yeah, but the costume was TERRIBLE. For something that powerful and noble, a little more mystery wouldn’t have gone amiss. Make superman’s cape hooded, combine with cap’s red, white, and blue striped torso, put the S in the middle of the star, give him a blue cowl like cap’s but without the wings or “A” under the hood, replace his belt with a WWII american air force insignia, keep cap’s gauntlet-style gloves, Supes’ boots and put a matching US air force insignia on the back of his cape, let him keep Cap’s shield unaltered and you’d have had something seriously cool. What we got instead was kind of lame looking.

    Hmmmm…. Were you looking for something like this?

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-GVu0oUhrfKg/UCySPpLnxOI/AAAAAAAAFGg/KiGyx8hSWFg/s800/SuperSoldier.png

    I think I got all your design cues in there. ;) :D

  28. spidercow2012

    So, can we have a cross-label amalgamation Character Challenge? Is it copyright infringement to create a whole new character stealing pieces from various sources, provided no directly recognizable names or indicia are used? I believe that stealing ideas is a time-honored literary tradition…

  29. EnderX:
    Last I checked, both Bruce Wayne and Logan are at least generally clean-shaven.So why does the headpiece seem to look like he’s got some sort of giant Bat-Moustache on it?

    http://www.nobatstache.com/

  30. Kelex:
    Much worse than Amalgam were the Vs Fights that led up to it.Wolverine beats Lobo?No.In no universe does that happen.Wonder Woman picks up Thor’s hammer, but decides not to use it because that would be cheating?That much I buy, but then she would still proceed to hand Storm her ass, because there’s no way in hell Storm wins that one.

    Can’t say about the Wonder Woman one, but I’ve gone with the fanon I found online for the Wolverine vs. Lobo fight – to wit, that somebody paid Lobo to throw the match.

  31. Its a pity that they had to screw this up so badly; I could see a Bat/Wolverine combo working quite nicely if you manage to do it right.

  32. And how you do do it right? To quote rocket scientist Werner Von Braun: “That’s not my department”. I challenge you lot to make a reasonably cool Bat/Wolvie combo! Muhuuhuuhaaha…

  33. Kelex:
    Much worse than Amalgam were the Vs Fights that led up to it.Wolverine beats Lobo?No.In no universe does that happen.Wonder Woman picks up Thor’s hammer, but decides not to use it because that would be cheating?That much I buy, but then she would still proceed to hand Storm her ass, because there’s no way in hell Storm wins that one.

    Remember the DC VS Marvel was just a big fan poll that was open to everyone who step foot in the comic shops at the time. I bet most of who voted never heard of Lobo.

  34. Worf: Hmmmm…. Were you looking for something like this?

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-GVu0oUhrfKg/UCySPpLnxOI/AAAAAAAAFGg/KiGyx8hSWFg/s800/SuperSoldier.png

    I think I got all your design cues in there.

    Close, but a longer cape and ditch the color yellow from everything but the belt and boots, and make it more of a metallic gold. Still, that’s pretty darn close!

  35. Blazing Tornado

    spidercow2012:
    So, can we have a cross-label amalgamation Character Challenge? Is it copyright infringement to create a whole new character stealing pieces from various sources, provided no directly recognizable names or indicia are used? I believe that stealing ideas is a time-honored literary tradition…

    Hey, if Rob Liefeld can get away with it….

  36. EnderX: Can’t say about the Wonder Woman one, but I’ve gone with the fanon I found online for the Wolverine vs. Lobo fight – to wit, that somebody paid Lobo to throw the match.

    I hadn’t heard that. That makes it a LITTLE better, but I’m still not sure I buy it. Remember the rules that were given at the time said that whichever universe lost the fight, would be completely wiped out. (WE knew this wouldn’t happen, but the characters within the stories didn’t) Would even Lobo accept a bribe that would end with himself being erased from existence?

    Wild Card: Remember the DC VS Marvel was just a big fan poll that was open to everyone who step foot in the comic shops at the time.I bet most of who voted never heard of Lobo.

    Lobo was actually pretty popular, just obviously not as much so as Wolverine. But yeah, I know WHY the writing was bad…I’m just saying it WAS bad. :)

  37. Great concept, lousy execution. Batman should have been crossed with Cap, Supes with Thor, the Big Red Cheese with Hulk, characters that had something in common besides name and popularity! Bats and Cap are both martial artists with kid sidekicks and a similar rogue’s gallery, neither Supes nor Thor are earthlings and both have godlike powers, Captain Marvel (the REAL one!) and the Hulk both have instantaneous transformations and enormous strehngth, etc.
    Would make a good contest, but Jeff would be rejecting things right and left when people strayed outside the bounds of originality. He stung me when I tried something similar. How about a contest crossing Public Domain characters, like Sherlock Dracule, Captain Horatio Nemo, or Santa Christ?

  38. Kelex:
    Lobo was actually pretty popular, just obviously not as much so as Wolverine.But yeah, I know WHY the writing was bad…I’m just saying it WAS bad.

    I know Lobo had a following among the hardcore fanboys of a certain age group. But how many of the 8-yearolds and causal readers who voted even know who he is?