Here are 10 Thoughts about such comics:
1. They were a good tool for exposing readers to new or lesser known characters. As such, my first exposure to such characters as Deathlok, The Demon, Guardians of the Galaxy and Wildcat all came from Team Up comics.
2. The stories were typically one and done, but some writers were able to use the format to tell some really nice multi-issue stories. One of my favorites was Jim Starlin's Warworld arc in DC Comics Presents.
In this storyline, we get the introduction to Mongul and a great story where the Spectre tries to get Superman to understand he can't just punch every opponent into submission. Jim Starlin does his usual fantastic job on story and art.
3. We saw more crossovers with licensed characters in team up comics. (Doc Savage, He-Man and Saturday Night Live appeared in stories that probably never would have made it into the regular solo titles.)
4. Attempts to revive team up titles have not worked in recent years. There have been a few attempts to relaunch the Team Up title (Marvel Team Up and Brave of the Bold coming to mind) bue even when written by such well respected writers as Mark Waid, JMS Straczynki, Robert Kirkman or Brian Bendis, the titles don't seem to gain traction with today's readers.
As I've postulated on the reason why such titles fail before, but a quick recap is because any story line or comic not tied to an event or A list character is seen as unimportant by today's modern comic readers. They aren't outside of continuity. They just don't matter.
With that said, you might find it surprising to hear that Marvel is going to take another shot at the idea comic with a new team up comic centered around the Guardians of the Galaxy.
5. Bronze Age Brave and the Bold existed in a different continuity. It was a world where Batman might team up with Sgt Rock during WW II..
...and then team up with him again 30 years after the war. (To fight the devil no less.)
Check out this excellent review on the genius of Bob Haney from the Bronze Age of Blogs.and this one from friend of the FBU Chris Sims on Comics Alliance on the 7 Craziest Bob Haney stories.
6. Green Arrow holds the record for appearing as a guest star. Between Silver Age and Bronze Age appearance, Green Arrow showed up 11 times in the Brave and the Bold.
7. Did Spider-man almost lose Marvel Team Up to the Human Torch? The first 3 issues of Marvel Team Up guest starred Spider-man and the Human Torch. After issue 3 though, Spider-man would become the lead with rotating guest stars. However, starting with issue 18, the Human Torch would alternate as the lead character with other heroes assisting him.
Was Marvel playing with the idea of letting the Human Torch be the lead character? Or were these backlog stories that helped artists meet deadlines? Also, imagine pulling a bait and switch like this on today's comic shop owners.
8. While most characters who headlined a Marvel comics during the Bronze Age eventually appeared in Marvel Team Up, the one lone exception to this rule is Conan. What makes his non-appearance most puzzling is that both Red Sonja AND King Kull did appear in the title.
If I had to hazard a guess, I would say it was a combination of some sort of Marvel editorial view that Conan stories were grounded outside of the world of superheroes and some sort of mandate from the REH Estate concerning usage of the character in other titles. Still, he did appear in a couple of What-If titles, so it's hard to say exactly what the deal was with Conan.
9. Female characters were mostly equally represented across companies.
Marvel Team Up - 26 out of 149 guest stars were female (17%)
Brave and the Bold -15 appearances from issues 100 - 200 (15%)
DC Comics Presents - 14 out 97 appearances (15%)
Marvel Two In One - 11 out of 100 appearances (11%)
The number of female guest stars in Marvel Two in One is a bit lower than the others. Not sure why that might be. Perhaps the two fisted approach to the The Thing's adventures didn't suggest situations that inspired writers to use female characters. IE: A Spider-man/Black Widow seems to lend itself more readily to story ideas than say a Thing/Black Widow story.
10. Was DC Comics Presents a
I don't know where I read it, but someplace I saw it suggested that at one point the Superman team up comic was used to renew trademark of long unpublished characters. That's not an entirely unheard of practice in the industry and judging by some of the guest stars in the comic, it seems like a possibility. I guess it's also very possible that this was simply a case of a writer creating stories with characters they enjoyed. Still, one has to question why DC thought a team up story with The Atomic Knights might have been a better seller than another one with Green Lantern.
And with that, I'll leave you with this question: What was your favorite Team Up story of all time?