We meet at last: the TV and film characters getting better acquainted in the world of fictional crossovers

It's not just Superman and Batman. Fictional crossovers are all the rage, and a safe bet to boot

For those who have argued, “who would win in a fight, Superman or Batman?”, Hollywood hopes to have an answer  by 2015. It has been announced that the sequel to Man of Steel will see the two superheroes take each other on. The news comes straight after the announcement at the weekend that animated family The Simpsons are next year to appear in an episode of fellow cartoon, Family Guy.

“Fictional crossover”, as it is known, is popular in comic books and video games and although it has history in the world of film (see the 1962 Japanese hit King Kong vs Godzilla), it has recently become much more popular in Hollywood.

Aliens vs Predator, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Wreck-It Ralph, featuring a number of classic characters from video games, have all made it to the big screen. Perhaps most successful of all (and the reason, some have argued, for the Batman vs Superman film) has been Marvel’s Avengers series, which combines the likes of Captain America, Iron Man and The Hulk into single blockbusters.

One problem is that when “good” characters come into conflict, it will be a case of friendly fire. But Stephen Eire, president of worldofsuperheroes.com believes that there is enough of a precedent to follow.

“Initially, on the first meeting ... through some misunderstanding they end up fighting each other,” he told Radio 4’s Today. “Then they realise they are on the same side [and] move forward to fight usually two of their most dangerous villains.”

Superman and Batman are from the same DC comics stable, while Family Guy and The Simpsons are both on the Fox network. In the case of the television shows, fans of each can be introduced to the other show in what may be a very funny combination. But superhero cynics could suggest that Batman vs Superman represents the latest in a series of overly safe bets for blockbusters.

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