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When was the first DC-Marvel crossover? In issue #147 of DIAL B for BLOG, we featured the 1972 crossover between Amazing Adventures, Thor and the Justice League of America... but there was another crossover before that one -- between Aquaman #56 and Sub-Mariner #72.
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AQUAMAN #56 SUB-MARINER #72

The story begins in Aquaman #56 -- cover by Nick Cardy; story by Steve Skeates and art by Jim Aparo, with editing by Dick Giordano. According to Giordano, “We were having fun and doing what we wanted to do, because Carmine [Infantino, then-publisher of DC Comics] never read the books.”
AQUAMAN #56 - MARCH/APRIL 1971
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.“The Creature That Devoured Detroit,” introduced Crusader, a new superhero (pictured left). Crusader (Don Powers) has bad eyesight, so he invents a satellite that creates daylight in Detroit at night. Now he can continue fighting nocturnal crime! Unfortunately, the satellite also causes an explosive growth in algae that threatens to devour the city -- not as the huge monster depicted on the cover and splash page above, but as a much more realistic type of ecological menace:
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But not plants! Damn! So Aquaman locates the command center for the satellite that's causing the hyper-activated algae growth and breaks in. He barricades the door from the guards, and...
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The End? Well, according to writer Steve Skeates' original plot, Aquaman #57 would have picked up right where #56 left off -- with our hero fleeing Detroit after destroying the satellite. Aquaman makes it to Lake Erie, only to discover that he has lost his ability to breathe underwater and his telepathic powers. However, this Aquaman series was canceled in 1971 with #56.

Three years passed, and Steve Skeates was now at Marvel, writing a Sub-Mariner story illustrated by Dan Adkins and Vince Colletta, and edited by Roy Thomas. The always-clever Skeates decided to transform his unused Aquaman plot into a Sub-Mariner story! It picks up the action right where Aquaman #56 left off, and even recaps the plot by showing an unidentified Aquaman's finger (with the wrong glove color) on a satellite destruct button.
THE SAVAGE SUB-MARINER #72 - SEPTEMBER 1974
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Note the caption: "Who that man is... and why he wished to destroy the satellite... that need not concern us!" Uh, OK. But now we all know... it's AQUAMAN'S (mis-colored) hand! It seems that destroying the satellite somehow created another underwater slime creature. Look out, underwater slime creature -- here comes Prince Namor, the Savage Sub-Mariner!
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Instead of Aquaman in Lake Erie discovering he's lost his ability to breathe underwater and his telepathic powers, it's Subby in the ocean discovering that because of the creature Aquaman inadvertently created, he's lost his ability to see. No problemo, he just punches blindly!
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Needless to day, every ounce of Subby's power is quite enough to defeat the creature that grew in the sea. Later, he gets his sight back. And that's how the story ended -- a full three years later! Ironically, just as the first part of this story had run in Aquaman #56, that book's final issue, the second part ran in Sub-Mariner #72, the last issue of that title. Thank you Steve Skeates, for the first -- or at least ONE of the first -- DC-Marvel crossovers!

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