17. Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) - 1055 points (13 first place votes)
Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. She was a supporting character in the original Kree Captain Marvel's comic for quite awhile, until Carol was exposed to a Kree device that basically made her like the Kree, so she was, essentially, a female version of Captain Marvel. She took the name Ms. Marvel.
Carol soon got her own series (soon, as in, right away), which lasted for a couple of years. Towards the end of her series, she joined the Avengers. However, in a controversial story, Carol was brainwashed by some time-traveling guy to fall in love with him so that she could give birth to him (as he did not have a body on our Earth). The two then left together all happy.
Chris Claremont, the writer of the Ms. Marvel series, took issue with this, and in an Avengers Annual, brought Carol back and pointed out how angry she was at the Avengers for taking her situation as genuine. In the same story, Carol was stripped of her powers and her personality, really, by the mutant Rogue.
Eventually, in the pages of X-Men (who Carol had been recuperating with), she gained NEW cosmic powers and a new name, Binary.
She stayed in outer space for some time, but returned to Earth, mostly stripped of her Binary powers, but re-joined the Avengers as Warbird.
She later joined the New Avengers as Ms. Marvel. She got another ongoing series (this one lasted a lot longer than her first one in the 1970s) and then eventually got another ongoing, this time she finally took over the Captain Marvel mantle...
16. Nightcrawler - 1061 points (18 first place votes)
Kurt Wagner, created by Dave Cockrum and Len Wein (mostly Cockrum), was a member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men.
Kurt was interesting because while he LOOKED like a demon( his teleporting powers even SMELLD like brimstone when he teleported), he was really a jocular guy who was quite religious.
He was basically Errol Flynn, if Flynn looked like a monster. He even gets the ladies like Flynn, but he left the other Flynn predilection for younger women to his teammate, Colossus.
After serving with the X-Men for many years, Kurt was injured in battle, along with Kitty Pryde. While the two recuperated, the X-Men were feared dead.
The two helped form a new team in England to carry on, calling themselves Excalibur. Here, Kurt came into his own, becoming the leader of the team. When the group disbanded, he went back to the X-Men, eventually even leading his own squad of the team. Here, writer Joe Casey has Kurt give a compelling argument to Chamber to join the team...
Kurt eventually sacrificed his life to protect the first new mutant born since Scarlet Witch said "No More Mutants." Hope turned out to be the reason mutants began to exist on Earth again, so it was probably a good bet by him.
Eventually, the X-Men rescued him from death itself and he rejoined the team, where he has been ever since. He even got another ongoing series after his death, as he became a teacher at the school...