I always loved the minor heroes and villains like the Elongated Man, the Swordsman, Hourman, et al. Even characters who appeared only once or twice can be interesting. Certainly there can be untapped potential as well. These are some I always had a soft spot for:

  • The Weirdo Legionnaire-- from Adventure Comics #341. Yes, I know who he really is but I was disappointed that he wasn't an actual character, even though he was listed on the roll call. It would have been great to have a truly bizarre looking character like that on the team. I liked the idea of a masked three-headed, four tentacled stocky hero wanting to protect his secret identity. See my avatar!
  • The Prowler-- though he debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #78, I never heard of him until The Defenders #62-64 though his name wasn't mentioned until #64 and he didn't do much. Then in the "album" issue of Amazing Spider-Man #181, they showed examples of the heroes that Spidey worked with: The Fantastic Four, Daredevil and.......the Prowler (though he wasn't named there either!). I finally got the Marvel Tales that reprinted his first appearance. I liked his look and his place in Marvel history.
  • Tyros the Outcast from Atlantis-- from Brave & Bold #51, thanks to a mystic gem he was mutated into a giant winged frog-thing and battled Aquaman and Hawkman. He stole a magical horn that allowed him to command birds but his ability to command fish was his from the beginning. Aquaman even said only he and Tyros had that power. I think that they missed out on giving Aquaman a great rival. Tyros had more going for him than the Sea-Thief or Cutlass Charlie!
  • The Ant-- this apparently super-powered acrobat from Teen Titans #5 fought the Fab Four but he wasn't really a crook. I always wondered why the TT never asked him to join! Not only that, but he never appeared again (I think). Maybe it was his name...
  • DC's Libra--a little late maybe but his first appearance in Justice League of America #111 was seared in my memory. What a great issue--a 100 pager! But he left me with a lot of questions like how did he build a satellite? And his power stealing tech? I know that they tried to answer them when he reappeared in Final Crisis but I wasn't that impressed by it.

Those are some of my picks. What are yours?

 

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The Weirdo Legionnaire-- from Adventure Comics #341. Yes, I know who he really is but I was disappointed that he wasn't an actual character, even though he was listed on the roll call. It would have been great to have a truly bizarre looking character like that on the team. I liked the idea of a masked three-headed, four tentacled stocky hero wanting to protect his secret identity. See my avatar!

 

So that's who that is!  It's Jimmy, right?

 

The Prowler-- though he debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #78, I never heard of him until The Defenders #62-64 though his name wasn't mentioned until #64 and he didn't do much. Then in the "album" issue of Amazing Spider-Man #181, they showed examples of the heroes that Spidey worked with: The Fantastic Four, Daredevil and.......the Prowler (though he wasn't named there either!). I finally got the Marvel Tales that reprinted his first appearance. I liked his look and his place in Marvel history.

 

Is he the guy with the covered face and the 'quilted' elements of his costume?  His Ma probably insisted he wore those in case he fell over...

 

From off the top of my head, I love the Bug, the New Gods character who gave up a life in a superpowered Utopia to live amongst the insect-like underclass, to help them and suffer with them.  There was a lot of mileage in that concept and it undercut the simple good/bad dichotomy Kirby had set up with New Genesis v Apokalyps.  He only really got a single issue under Kirby's pencil and then he drew the short straw in Cosmic Odyssey, when SOMEONE DIED!

 

Great look too, with those freaky mirrored eyes.

 

I always liked Marvel's Nighthawk from The Defenders.  His navy, red, and yellow costume that he wore right after he became a hero was exactly the kind of costume my brother and I were drawing for our homemade superheroes at the time.  He's always been the epitome of "generic hero" in my mind.

On the villain side, I like the Wrecking Crew for Marvel and The Cadre for DC.  These are generic bad guy teams that can be plugged in anywhere.  You want a group to go rob a bank?  Call the Crew/Cadre.  You want a group operating as part of a larger criminal organization?  Call the Crew/Cadre.  You want a more powerful villain to hire a group to go ambush his archenemy?  Call...you get the idea.

 

The Wrecking Crew were also conspicuously blue collar working men, too, which set them apart, and gave their voices a distinctiveness.  Possibly the African-American chap amongst their number made them trailblazers in the ethnic representation stakes too?  Iron Fist and Luke Cage were 50% Afro-American, even if you expand their team to include Colleen and Misty, but perhaps the Wrecking Crew preceded them?  In which case 25% Afro-American wasn't bad!

 

I've always had a soft spot for Nighthawk too, but I've realised lately that his name rhymes with a not very edifying Irish perjoritive term!  See here.  (Not suitable for work, small children or the faint-hearted, by the way.  ... But you might like it Rich!)

To Figs: Nope, it's not Jimmy Olsen though there is a resemblance. He is a character connected to the Legion, though!

And yes that is the Prowler AKA Hobie Brown, Marvel's first attempt at a true African-American unless the Falcon beat him to it. He used pneumatics throughout his unique outfit for different effects plus he had claws before Wolverine!

The Bug from the New Gods was named Forager. You must have Micronauts on your mind still! :-) The first non-Kirby revival had a blue-skinned woman called Jezebel on the "team". So she's even more obscure!

To Rich: Yes the Wrecking Crew were Marvel's go-to baddies when they needed villains for the short term. Interesting enough that Thunderball (the black member) wasn't blue-collar. He was a scientist and the brains of the group.

Nighthawk is a favorite of mine, too. From Batman take-off to C-list villain battling Daredevil to rising up to B-lister hero status in the 70s as part of The Defenders, he was probably the most emotionally messed up (like most "normal" people) hero Marvel had. Plus he lucked out as being a teammate of the Hulk while his TV show was on!

DC in the 70s could have had their own version of the Wrecking Crew with The Renegades from Freedom Fighters #11. Four Native Americans (Chief Crazy Horse, Tall Tree, Rain-in-the-Face and Thundercloud) possessed super-speed, giant growth, water control and lightning vision, respectively. They could have been a challenge to any hero or team but sadly they only appeared once.

 

As I recall, at least one member of the Wrecking Crew was decidedly not blue-collar, as I'm thinking one of them was as physicist gone bad or something like that.  Off the top of my head, however, I can't name him.

 

A quick gander at Wikipedia (yes, I know exactly how accurate it is) suggests that Thunderball has a Ph.D. of some sort, most likely in physics.

The Bug from the New Gods was named Forager. You must have Micronauts on your mind still! :-)

 

Do I now, Mr Superhero Encyclopaedia?

 

 

Although there might be some connections between the two Bugs.  If you are going to steal, steal from the best...

Interesting enough that Thunderball (the black member) wasn't blue-collar. He was a scientist and the brains of the group.


OK, you've re-earned your Mr Superhero Encyclopaedia title...

He was one of the Bugs, a seperate race on New Genesis and the story was titled "The Bug" but his name was Forager and he was wearing a hood! Actually he carried a shield, too, a Kirby trademark!

Figserello said:

The Bug from the New Gods was named Forager. You must have Micronauts on your mind still! :-)

 

Do I now, Mr Superhero Encyclopaedia?

 

 

Although there might be some connections between the two Bugs.  If you are going to steal, steal from the best...

Interesting enough that Thunderball (the black member) wasn't blue-collar. He was a scientist and the brains of the group.


OK, you've re-earned your Mr Superhero Encyclopaedia title...

Randy Jackson said:
As I recall, at least one member of the Wrecking Crew was decidedly not blue-collar, as I'm thinking one of them was as physicist gone bad or something like that.  Off the top of my head, however, I can't name him.

Thunderball.
He'll always be The Bug to me...
Fair enough!
RE: Thunderball :-)

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