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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I liked Madcap as well. He also had an appearance in Daredevil

Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:
I liked Madcap in the 80s Captain America comics, but my favorite "lost" character is Roger Stern's Bernie Rosenthal, Steve Roger's girlfriend.  Is it too much to think that maybe Lea Michele might play Bernie in future Cap movies?
I seem to think that Madcap had a run in with Wolverine as well. That must have been interesting. I seem to remember it being suggested that Madcap's healing ability is more powerful than Wolverine's mutant ability.
I think Madcap moved to DC and became The Heckler.
There's another great obscure character!

Doc Beechler (mod-MD) said:
I think Madcap moved to DC and became The Heckler.
Not necessarily Obscure but definitely minor characters (well,it is all relative) have been a bit of a favourite of mine. The ones that jump to mind are more commonly known as second-stringers. I really enjoy Red Tornado (the android) Tyler: Tom Peyer's Hourman (who is light years ahead character-wise of Rick Tyler), Hellcat, Monica (Captain Marvel) Rambeau and the Calculator (I LOVED that goofy purple costume with the big push buttons)
I agree with your choices, John. The Red Tornado had an up and down career but always strove for his humanity, Hourman III was a favorite from the 90s, the flighty, unpredictable Hellcat with the tragic past and her link to Silver Age Marvel, Captain Marvel II who I always felt got cheated by Genis-Vell who took her name twice and the Calculator who seemed to want to fight every hero at least once! 

When I first read Avengers #114 in 1973, the Swordsman was an entirely new character to me, as I'd only begun collecting the title with # 104 and so had missed his appearance in the 100th issue, and the reprints in Marvel Triple Action hadn't gotten up to his first appearance yet.  This was also the issue where I first learned that Wanda and Hawkeye had previously been villains themselves, and that the Swordsman had a very checkered past, leaving me intrigued as to all of their backstories.  The Swordsman appeared to be a very proud man who had made many mistakes but was now trying to redeem himself for the love of a woman.  But within short order, he is literally shot down, and although he gets back up, he keeps getting knocked down again and again, damaging his psyche, especially as he sees "his woman" fall for someone else.  Then he is finally slain, while trying to protect that same woman.  A very powerful story arc, in my estimation.  Reading his previous appearances, in both the Avengers and Captain America (in the Tales of Suspense era), it almost seems as if Lee & Thomas provided the perfect set up for Englehart's take on him.  His first story was a twist on Wonderman's sole Silver Age appearance (at least as a living character), as like Wonderman, the Swordsman infiltrated the Avengers as a flunky to bring about their destruction, but backed out at the last minute, but rather than being killed he survived and was misunderstood when he had a change of heart.  And then he remained a flunky for years, taking part in later schemes to destroy the Avengers, until strangely Roy Thomas has him show up to help in the fight against Ares in # 100, to try to be a genuine hero.  Thomas left it at that, but Englehart picked up that thread and to weave a tragedy over the next year and a half.

I've got one.

Anybody know the story of .....I think his name was Steven STROUD or Paul STROUD or something like that...

I encountered him in Creatures on the Loose - early MAN-WOLF (George Perez's early marvel work) - he was a gun shooting blond spy type - before they all became members of SHIELD.

I got the impression he was a well known figure around the Marvel titles but I don't remeber ever seeing him since or in any of my issues I've since added to my collection from earlier times.

...I could be wrong on the name - I'm away from my collection as we speak.......

Anyone? There's a challenge!

It would be a challenge, if we didn't have the Interwebs. But we do, so I don't even deserve credit for this one:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Simon_Stroud_(Earth-616)

http://www.comics.org/character/name/Simon%20Stroud/sort/chrono/

-- MSA

Thankyou for that.

Another obscure one I quite liked, who had a better profile was 'Crimemaster' or CrimeBuster who guested in a few early Novas - I remember a Carmine Infanito splash page - a green costume with a crash helmet?

You can really do this on your own and not have to wait for an answer. It's easy.

Put Crimebaster and Nova into Google to see if that's the right name (it is, but it's Crime-Buster). 

https://www.google.com/search?q=Crimebuster+Nova&oq=Crimebuster...

Once you have the name, put it into the GCD under Character and Sort by Series Name. It's critical to get the right spelling exactly, as the GCD is not forgiving. If you put in "Crimebuster," you get dozens of the wrong answers, since that was a major GA character. But if you put in "Crime-Buster," which you found in Googling the name, you get a full list of appearances of the guy you're asking about:

http://www.comics.org/character/name/Crime-Buster/sort/alpha/

Today, it's hard to be so obscure you can't instantly find all the information you want about him, whoever he is. Everyone can be a comics expert now.

-- MSA

So, whatever happened to Battlestar?

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