Fame is fickle and while you may be at the top of your particular mountain today, you can just as easily find yourself at the bottom again the next. Some comic creations just weren’t built to last. They either followed a particular trend, were based on a popular toy that has now fallen into obscurity or served an editorial mandate. It’s not that they aren’t good characters or were not well written. They just failed to hang onto the audience beyond the initial burst of attention and achieve the longevity of a Spider-Man, for example.
10 Obnoxio the Clown
Obnoxio the Clown is a vulgar, cigar chomping middle-aged man in a torn and dirty clown suit. Obnoxio was the “host” of Marvel’s humor magazine “Crazy” and starred in a comic book one-shot. In the comic, Obnoxio “teams” with the X-Men to battle the mutant Eye-Scream, who can become any flavor of ice cream imaginable and to insult Wolverine. Obnoxio appeared in two short stories in issues of the “What If…?” comedy offshoot “What the…?” and hasn’t been seen since. Which is probably for the best.
9 3-D Man
3-D Man was created as an homage to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s Captain 3-D. Chuck Chandler was a skilled test pilot for NASA in 1958 when his rocket plane was captured by Skrull invaders. Escaping and destroying their ship, Chuck was bathed in the explosion’s radiation and crashed. Chuck’s scientist brother Hal found no sign of Chuck among the wreckage. Finding Chuck’s flight goggles, Hal discovered that Chuck had been transformed into a two dimensional being on the lenses.
By concentrating, Hal and Chuck could become the composite being called the 3-D Man. He had three times the abilities of a man at peak human perfection and could “see” disguised Skrulls. After a brief heroic career, Hal retired the 3-D Man and had a family. The power was later stolen by the Triune Understanding.
8 Rom: Space Knight
The Rom comic was created as a companion to the ultimately unsuccessful toy line from Hasbro. In the comic, Rom was a cyborg space knight from the planet Galador. Rom lands on Earth in pursuit of the shape changing Dire Wraiths. He is befriended by an earth woman Brandy, who falls in love with him.
During his pursuit, Rom encounters many heroes including the X-Men, Power Man, Iron Fist, the Hulk. When the Dire Wraiths invade SHIELD Headquarters, Rom aids the Avengers in an all out war. Rom banishes all the Dire Wraiths on Earth to Limbo and then returns to Galador. With the aid of the Beyonder, Rom is reunited with Brandy on Galador.
7 Big Hero 6
In the Marvel comic, the Japanese government wanted its own state sanctioned hero team with a consortium of politicians and businessmen creating it. They reluctantly accepted terrorist Silver Samurai as the field commander. Secret agent Honey Lemon, criminal Go Go Tomago and 13 year old genius Hiro Takachiho and his robotic dragon bodyguard Baymax complete the team. On their first adventure, Big Hero 6 teamed with Japan’s premier superhero, Sunfire.
Ebon Samurai, Sunpyre, Wasabi-No-Ginger and Fred join the team with Hiro in charge. They have adventures in Japan and abroad, encountering Alpha Flight and Spider-Man. Their biggest success was against Doctor Octopus’ Octobots. They are now completely forgotten next to their Disney movie counterparts.
6 Power Pack
Created in the mid 1980’s, Power Pack was the first team of pre-teen superheroes that operated mostly without adult supervision.The series follows Alex, Julie, Jack and Katie Powers after they gain their powers from a member of the horse-like Kymellian race. Unlike most children in comics, the Powers come from a loving, stable home with both parents. However, until recently, the parents knew nothing about their children’s superhero activities.
Power Pack was heavily involved in some of the most devastating occurrences of the era including the Mutant Massacre and Inferno events alongside the X-Men, Cloak & Dagger and the New Mutants. Surprisingly, the Fantastic Four initially didn’t know about Power Pack. Franklin Richards was an occasional member named Tattletale. But the Richards family only knew them as “Franklin’s friends”.
Marvel writer Bill Mantlo’s son opened up a Micronaut toy for Christmas in 1977 and Mantlo was instantly stuck with inspiration. He convinced Marvel’s editor Jim Shooter to acquire the rights from the Mego Corporation and Mantlo began writing their adventures.
Originating in the Microverse, the Micronauts came together to fight the murderous dictator Baron Karza who took over Homeworld. The Micronauts encountered the Fantastic Four as they battled their own villain from the Microverse, the Psycho-Man. They became trapped on Earth at action figure size and battled several villains including the Molecule Man. After returning to the Microverse, The Micronauts defeated Karza once and for all. Bug eventually grew into the main universe and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.
4 Scourge of the Underworld
The concept of the “Scourge of the Underworld” was a plot device used by writer/editor Mark Gruenwald to remove villain characters at Marvel. Gruenwald targeted those characters that were “too minor, redundant or ill conceived”. The character was used by other writers but disappeared into obscurity .
Scourge approached a villain while in a disguise, shot them with an explosive-tipped bullet and said “Justice is served”. The largest gathering of villains that Scourge had killed at once was eighteen, ironically at a meeting on what to do about the Scourge killings. The original Scourge would not kill a villain if it meant harming a hero. Scourge was planning to kill Kraven the Hunter but couldn’t while Kraven battled Tigra. Others have assumed the Scourge persona but the identity of the original Scourge has never been revealed.
Ultragirl made a huge splash with her own comic in 1996 and then quickly faded. Suzy Sherman was an average Southern California girl who wanted to break into modeling. However, when her half Kree physiology asserted itself, she gained superpowers similar to those of Captain Marvel and the body type of a bodybuilder, dashing her modeling aspirations.
Ultragirl was associated with, but not part of, the New Warriors involved in the Stamford incident. But Suzy was still caught in the backlash of hate and abuse against all the New Warriors. Ultragirl joined the Initiative and registered immediately. Ultragirl saved fellow New Warrior Justice from the deranged Thor clone Ragnarok. The last time she was seen was when she interviewed (unsuccessfully) to be the nanny for the child of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones-Cage.
2 Shogun Warriors
Shogun Warriors is based on the Japanese toy line licensed to the US toy company Matel in the late 70’s. The toys were highly articulated and shot weapons from its fists. Due to the inevitable safety concerns of child injuries, the toys were gone from US shelves by 1980. They were also precursors to Transformers, although some parts needed to be removed to achieve the transformation.
In the comic, the Shogun Warriors were giant robots piloted by three men: American stuntman Richard Carson piloting Raydeen, Japanese test pilot Genji Odashu piloting Combatra and African oceanographer Ilongo Savage piloting Dangard Ace. The robots were created by the mysterious Followers of Light with the mandate to battle evil. Finally, a mysterious alien force decided that Earth’s technology had outpaced its morality and destroyed the three robots off panel.
In the Marvel comic, Godzilla burst free from an iceberg in Alaska and made his way across the Continental United States before finally arriving in New York City. Godzilla’s chief antagonists were Dum Dum Dugan of SHIELD and Red Ronin, the giant fighting robot. When Godzilla neared NYC, however, he had to battle the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and Spider-Man. The series ran for 24 issues but Godzilla appeared in other comics in a heavily mutated form.