The life of a comic book supporting cast member is a rough one. By definition, you're not who people are coming to see, so you might not even show up in any given issue. Plus, when it comes time for comic book writers to want to kill off a character for shock value, the first place they look is the supporting cast of the hero of the comic book. However, even if you somehow manage to make it through without dying, there is a very good chance that you will be dropped from the title whenever they make a change in the creative team of the comic.
This list, then, takes an alphabetical look at 15 comic book characters who were once important characters in some of Marvel's most popular comic book titles, but then vanished from the title and pretty much from the Marvel Universe itself. All of these characters are still alive but have not been involved in a comic book storyline for at least four years (most far longer than that). Hopefully a comic book writer will see one of these names and want to give them another chance!
15 MRS. ARBOGAST
One of the first things that David Michelinie and Bob Layton did when they took over the writing duties on "Iron Man" was to expand the supporting cast of the book, but more specifically, expand Tony Stark's employees at Stark International, under the theory that there would be a number of people he would have a lot to do with, so they should pop up with some frequency. Their most notable addition to the cast was Tony Stark's pilot, James Rhodes, who would eventually become a superhero in his own right when he took over for Tony and then became War Machine.
However, another notable character that they introduced was Tony Stark's wise-cracking (but also just plain ol' wise) secretary, Mrs. Arbogast. She slowly rose up the ranks as the series went along, eventually becoming a manager. Then Tony Stark "died" soon before Heroes Reborn and she was out of the book for over a decade until Matt Fraction had her as one of the investors in a new company that Tony created during Fraction's run. She hasn't been seen since 2012.
14 MORGANA BLESSING
Morgana Blessing first met Doctor Strange when they were both in a bank during a hold-up. When she learned who he was, she tried to get him to consult with her on a book that she was working on. He agreed and while they were working together, Doctor Strange's lover, Clea, determined that Morgana and Strange had been lovers in a number of past lives and that they were destined to be together. She actually left Doctor Strange because she felt that she was keeping him from his destiny. While he fought it for a while, Strange actually did end up dating Blessing.
While they were dating, he had to actually take control of her body for a time during an alien invasion when his own body was damaged. The situation was a bit too weird and they broke up. She showed up again after having written a book about Strange during a period when she thought that he was dead. Strange was mad at the book, but they made up and became good friends again. She dated Strange's brother, who was a vampire who killed himself after realizing he couldn't stop killing other people. Morgana has not been seen since, so roughly 25 years now.
13 PETER CORBEAU
Amazingly enough for someone who was such a big part of a number of major "X-Men" storylines, Dr. Peter Corbeau actually first debuted in an "Incredible Hulk" story. Corbeau was a college roommate of Bruce Banner's, and he was asked to use some of his research to help cure a captured Hulk. He came up with a way to use the sun's rays to temporarily cure Banner. Even at this point, Corbeau was best known for his impressive satellite station, Starcore.
Corbeau also turned out to be old friends of Professor Charles Xavier, and when some of the X-Men were kidnapped into outer space by Sentinels, it was Corbeau who supplied the ship that the X-Men used to rescue their missing friends. On the way back, though, the ship was damaged and Jean Grey had to absorb Corbeau's flying knowledge to land the plane. When they crashed back on Earth, Jean turned into the Phoenix. Corbeau helped Xavier track the Phoenix, but after the "Dark Phoenix Saga" ended, Corbeau was gone from the limelight. He hasn't been seen since 2000.
12 TOM CORSI
The X-Men have weird things happen to them all the time, usually involving time travel, but even within the realm of the X-Men, what happened to Tom Corsi stands out as odd (although sadly not unique). When Dani Moonstar was being hunted down by the Demon Bear, she was taken to a medical center in Westchester County. The Demon Bear followed her there and discovered Tom, a cop, and Sharon Friedlander, a nurse. He transformed them into his slaves. The X-Men freed them, but the process left both Tom and Sharon now stuck as Native Americans with enhanced strength.
Tom and Sharon ended up going to work for Xavier, serving as teachers and support staff for the X-Men both in the United States and on Muir Isle, where Tom was a member of the so-called "Muir Isle X-Men" (a group of of mutants and humans who had to come together to fight off a Reaver invasion of Muir Isle). When the X-Men moved to Utopia, Tom came along for the ride, but hasn't been seen since then, nearly seven years ago.
11 THE DAILY GRIND
During the period that Ben Reilly took over as Spider-Man after Peter and Mary Jane left New York City to start their family, Ben had a few problems. One, he looked way too much like Peter and two, he didn't have a job and couldn't pick up any of Peter's jobs because Peter was now on the other side of the country. The first problem he solved by dying his hair blonde. The second problem he solved by getting a job at a coffee shop called The Daily Grind.
The Grind was owned by a single mother whose son would often hang out at the shop. Other regulars were Buzz, a conspiracy theorist; Desiree, a model; and Jessica, Ben's girlfriend who turned out to be the daughter of the man who killed Ben Parker. When Ben Reilly was seemingly killed by Norman Osborn, the Daily Grind and its cast were ignored from that point forward.
10 JERYN HOGARTH
Jeryn Hogarth, an old friend of Wendell Rand, was the executor of Rand's estate, so he hired Misty Knight to track down the man claiming to be Danny Rand to see if he was, indeed, the son of his friend (and the heir to the Rand fortune). When he confirmed that Danny was legit, he then became Danny's personal lawyer.
When Danny formed Heroes for Hire along with Luke Cage, Hogarth was one of their very few employees, as both their lawyer and business manager. He was in charge of making sure that their cases were legit and not extralegal. He served with the group until they disbanded. Later on, he helped advise Danny when bad guys began trying to steal Rand Enterprises right out from underneath Danny's control. He hasn't been involved in a storyline since the end of the "Immortal Iron Fist" comic book series. A female version of Jeryn Hogarth (Jeri Hogarth) appears on the various Marvel Netflix TV series.
9 STEVIE HUNTER
Introduced at the tail end of John Byrne and Chris Claremont's "X-Men" run, Stevie Hunter was Kitty Pryde's dance teacher. You might think that a dance teacher would not exactly be a prominent character, but you would be wrong. Stevie very quickly was immersed into the lives of the X-Men fully, going out on the town with them and becoming a surrogate mother to Kitty (which caused a bit of a conflict with Kitty's other surrogate mom, Storm).
Stevie took on a bit of a "normal" person's point of view of the world of the X-Men, a role that Kitty initially took on herself but then became too ingrained in the world herself. Stevie and Kitty have had a number of heartfelt discussions over the years, as well as some hearty arguments. After being gone for a few years, Stevie abruptly showed up against at the start of the "X-Tinction Agenda" and then a little while later at the end of Chris Claremont's "Uncanny X-Men" run. She hasn't been seen since.
8 CHARLOTTE JONES
Charlotte Jones was a police officer who was also a single mother (her husband, also a cop, was shot and killed in a drive-by that severely wounded their young son). She met Archangel when he saved her life after the police helicopter she was traveling in began to crash. She bonded with him instantly and the two began to date. Around the same time, in an encounter with some Genoshan magistrates, she met Forge of the X-Men, who gave her her own X-men body armor. In an interesting piece of realism, she continued to use the lightweight armor going forward (why wouldn't you?).
After she and Archangel broke up, she was promoted to Detective. She was the main contact for the X-Men within the New York Police Department and continued to go out of her way to look out for her mutant friends. When Chris Claremont returned to "X-Men," Charlotte Jones came with him. She was involved in a story with the Neo, but that was cut short. She last showed up in the comics during Claremont's third run on "Uncanny X-Men" a decade ago.
7 LINDSAY McCABE
Lindsay McCabe was a barely-working actress in Los Angeles (meaning she was more successful than most actresses) who befriended Jessica Drew, secretly the hero known as Spider-Woman. The two became roommates, which led to a rough patch of a few years where various "Spider-Woman" comic book writers would come up with ways to keep Lindsay from finding out that her roommate was Spider-Woman. These mostly involved Lindsay getting knocked unconscious a lot. Jessica finally came clean after one of her enemies almost killed Lindsay, who had difficulty recovering from the attack.
She ultimately did recover and became active partners in Jessica Drew's private investigator business. She and Jessica got caught up in an adventure that led them to Madripoor, where they decided to stay for a while, running their business from there. Eventually, they went back to the States, where Lindsay helped Jessica get her full Spider-Woman abilities back. Unfortunately, she hasn't been heard from since.
6 JOY MERCADO
Joy Mercado actually first appeared in an issue of "Moon Knight" before then showing up in the "Spider-Man" titles as a reporter for the Daily Bugle. Since the "Moon Knight" character looked very different, it's a wonder why they didn't just invent a new character. In any event, Joy went on a few assignments with Peter Parker for the Daily Bugle and had a decent enough working relationship with him.
Things changed dramatically, though, when J. Jonah Jameson began producing Now Magazine. In the pages of "Web of Spider-Man," Joy and Peter would travel the world together on assignments. They grew very close to each other on their dangerous assignments, although they never quite got together (besides sharing a kiss underneath some mistletoe). Joy spent so much time with Peter that it seems unlikely that she wouldn't know he was Spider-Man, but she might have respected him enough to just keep quiet about it. After Now Magazine folded, Joy began to show up less and less. She now hasn't been seen in over two decades.
5 MICHAEL O'BRIEN
Michael O'Brien's brother, Kevin, was a scientist who worked for Tony Stark and became a good friend of his. They were such good friends that Tony actually built him his own suit of armor to be used in cases of emergency. However, Tony screwed up the armor and it turned out that anyone who would use it would be driven mad with jealousy. So, Kevin ended up trying to kill Tony, as he was now madly jealous of Tony's relationship with his then-girlfriend, Marianne. Kevin's madness ultimately led to his own death.
Michael, a cop, investigated his brother's death and ended up in the suit of armor himself, which also drove him mad and he attacked Iron Man. Ultimately, though, he was able to break free and Tony fixed the armor. Calling himself the Guardsman, O'Brien used the armor as the head of security for Project: Pegasus. He later went without the armor as the new security chief for the Avengers. After the Avengers temporarily disbanded following "Heroes Reborn," O'Brien hasn't been seen since.
4 BERNIE ROSENTHAL
When Roger Stern and John Byrne teamed up on "Captain America," one of their main goals was to give Steve Rogers a normal supporting cast, so they had Steve befriend all of the people who lived in his brownstone apartment complex, including an energetic, artistic and opinionated young woman named Bernadette "Bernie" Rosenthal. She was a glass blower who cared a lot about the issues of the day and she and Steve began to date. Rosenthal was one of the first prominent Jewish Marvel characters. She and Steve were engaged to be married, but their relationship sort of fizzled out.
Bernie then decided to become a lawyer following their break-up. Her last prominent storyline occurred towards the end of Bucky Barnes' tenure as Captain America, where she represented Bucky in court when he was put on trial for his past actions as the Winter Soldier. That was back in early 2011.
3 JILL STACY
Jill Stacy is a really strange character. She was introduced into the "Spider-Man" books in the late 1990s after Peter Parker returned as Spider-Man. When they brought Peter and Mary Jane back, they tried to emphasize their youth by having them both re-enroll in college. They also brought the Stacy family into the mix, with George Stacy's brother Arthur and his two kids, Jill and Paul, the cousins of Gwen Stacy, who were also enrolled in college.
Jill was a good friend to Mary Jane and after MJ was seemingly killed, Jill took her death very hard. She also then began to develop feelings for Peter. He was not yet ready to move on with anyone new (his old friend, Glory Grant, had also developed feelings for Peter, so he was caught in a bit of a triangle). When Mary Jane turned out to be alive, though, Jill just disappeared, despite being Mary Jane's friend in the first place.
2 TRISH TILBY
Trish Tilby debuted in the early days of X-Factor trying to get to the truth behind the so-called mutant hunters. She was doing this because she didn't trust the idea of the hunters, but she also could tell that they were hiding something (she was absolutely correct, since they were hiding the fact that they were secretly mutants themselves). Once things were out in the open, Trish had a more favorable view of X-Factor and helped them get good publicity (even though Beast hated that she revealed that he temporarily lost his intelligence fighting Apocalypse's Horsemen).
Once Beast gained his intelligence back, he and Trish began to date. While his other X-Factor teammates, Archangel and Iceman, could not manage to keep their X-Factor relationships going when they rejoined the X-Men, Beast and Trish stayed together for a number of years. When Beast had a secondary mutation, however, Trish ended the relationship, as she was being accused of being involved in a bestiality relationship. Later, Beast saved her Trish a group of reporters from Cassandra Nova; she felt like crap and apologized to Beast, who forgave her but then pretended that he was gay anyway, so it didn't matter.
1 SARA WOLFE
There are not a lot of roles in comic books for attractive, interesting women who are just platonic friends with the male lead of the comic, which is what makes Sara Wolfe stand out a lot from the pack. She was introduced as an old friend of Doctor Strange, who decided to go to work for him as his social and business secretary (the name was quickly updated to "business manager"). The idea of Sara was to show what a normal person would think about the world of Doctor Strange.
For a while, it seemed as though Sara might take on a bit of a magical apprentice role with Doctor Strange, but then he ultimately decided to go with the other-dimensional being, Rintrah. That devastated Sara, but she eventually got over it and continued to be a supporting character in a number of different "Doctor Strange" series until a storyline in the mid-1990s where Strange was seemingly split into two beings, a magical one known as Strange and a businessman known as Victor Strange. Sara went off and never came back.
Who is your favorite supporting cast member who hasn't shown up in years? Let us know in the comments section!