[[quoteright:289:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/DeathMate.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:289:[-Oh, [[IncrediblyLamePun this blood's for ME]]? I could have sworn it was someone else's. Silly me-].]]

-> '''Their love will end worlds!'''
-->-- ''Death Mate'' advertisement; it proved to be right in an [[HilariousInHindsight ironic way]].

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is a tragic story. Once there were two friends who worked at two different comic companies. Steve Massarsky worked for Creator/ValiantComics, and Jim Lee worked for Creator/ImageComics. The two came up with an idea: why not initiate an IntercontinuityCrossover? After all, it's TheNineties and crossovers are all the rage!

So, having arranged the crossover, called "Deathmate", each company gets to work. Billed as "THE BIGGEST CROSS-OVER EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF COMICS!!" Deathmate was doomed from the start. Designated by color rather than issue numbers (namely Yellow, Blue, Black, and Red) plus two book-end issues, "Deathmate Prologue" and "Deathmate Epilogue", the four main issues were written so they (In theory) could be read in any order. In practice, however, they were a disjointed and [[ContinuitySnarl snarled]] mess, not at all helped by the Valiant side keeping a tight editorial leash, and the Image side letting the writers and artists do whatever they wanted.

The premise behind Deathmate was weak to begin with: ''[[ComicBook/DoctorSolar Solar: Man of the Atom]]'', and ''ComicBook/WildCATs' '' Void met, had sex, and this "begins to unravel the strands of time, creating an AlternateUniverse where Image and Valiant characters exist side by side".

If the weak premise wasn't bad enough, Valiant's and Image's writers knew nothing about the other company's characters, resulting in a ton of CharacterDerailment, even though most of Image's side barely qualified as "characters" to begin with. The art, done in the over-the-top Image style, was disgusting to behold, and to top it all off, Deathmate may have been responsible for UsefulNotes/TheGreatComicsCrashOf1996.

You see, Valiant (as a byproduct of its unique real-time continuity system) was super serious about shipping schedules and deadlines, and produced all its contributions on time. Image, on the other hand, was notorious for its ScheduleSlip, so, the Valiant half of Deathmate was produced on time, but the Image half was produced late. (Creator/RobLiefeld produced his issue, Deathmate Red, a year late, and his contribution to the Valiant-published Prologue issue was completed only after Valiant editor-in-chief Bob Layton came to his house, refused to leave until it was done and inked it in a hotel room.)

By the time the Image half came out, interest in it had dried up, but shop owners had pre-ordered massive numbers of issues when the cross-over had started, and were now left with mountains of unsellable comics. This, more than any other single event, contributed to the collapse of the comic industry in the '90s. Deathmate was also one of the events that lead to the fall of Valiant Comics, as it flooded the company with Image artists, and caused a fundamental shift in the way the company was run.

The advertisement for ''Deathmate'' said "Their love will end worlds!" While it was talking about Solar and Void, it could also be said to be true of Valiant and Image. This disastrous "pairing" did indeed destroy worlds: It destroyed the world where the comic book industry makes $500 million per year. [[CreatorKiller It destroyed]] the world where Valiant Comics so much as existed, much less was the third highest selling comic company. And it destroyed the world of small comic book shops, many of which went out of business.

Not ever to be confused with ''Manga/DeathNote'', which thankfully had a set schedule, cohesion, and didn't end up crippling its own medium.
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!!Tropes include:
* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: People fleeing Toyo Harada's dystopia live in the sewer.
* CanonWelding: Due to Doctor Solar and Void making out in Unreality, the Image Comics and Valiant Comics universe combine.
* CrossOver: Of Image Comics and Valiant Comics
* {{Dystopia}}: Two of them: one ruled by the genocidal tyrant Toyo Harada and another controlled by Mother May I.
* DeusExMachina / EleventhHourSuperpower: [[spoiler: Union somehow shields the two universes from the effects of Void and Solar kissing]].
* LegacyCharacter: The Geomancers
* PunnyName: Mother May I
* PuppetKing: The Council that supposedly rule along side Mother May I is actually controlled by the latter.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Many subplots are left unresolved such as Ivar and Adam going to the past to find the Geomancer of that era, Magnus trying to kill Battlestone and overthrowing Toyo Harada. [[spoiler: The destruction of the combined universe means these plotlines will never be resolved.]]