How many characters at work-for-hire publishers have been taken to other publishers, usually by their creators, re-named and used again?

The other day I was reading about Marvel's Helstrom TV series (or what little we know about it), and the reporter mentioned other characters from Marvel's horror corner that could appear. One of them was Devil-Slayer. That reminded me that the character, created by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler, began print life in the eponymous Demon Hunter at the Atlas/Seaboard line. When Atlas folded, Kraft simply introduced him in Marvel Spotlight #33.

And that led me to think: How many other times has this happened? Off the top of my head I suddenly remembered three or four more, including one character that appeared at three publishers with three different names, and two more that were both created by Howard Chaykin.

I thought it would be fun to throw it open and see how many we can list. Characters that kept their name and appearance moving from one publisher to another, like Phantom Lady and Blue Beetle, are too numerous to list and not really in our definition anyway. But characters that are poorly disguised versions of other publishers' characters -- like Justice League/Squadron Supreme -- sure, why not?

If nobody else gets the ones I'm thinking of, I'll add 'em later. Meanwhile, let's start with my above example:

Demon Hunter first appeared in Demon Hunter #1 (and only, Atlas/Seaboard, Sep 75), by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler.

He was re-used two years later by Kraft and Buckler in Marvel Spotlight #33 (Apr 77) with some minor differences and a name change. According to Wikipedia, Devil-Slayer was supposed to take the lead position in Marvel Spotlight, but the book was canceled after this issue. Instead, he was shoe-horned into Defenders. A second Devil-Slayer, grand-daughter of the first, starred in Dead of Night in 2008.

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The other Howard Chaykin character was THE SCORPION also from Atlas Comics. He did two issues then left and returned to Marvel and redid him as DOMINIC FORTUNE.

Steve Englehart crafted an intricate origin for MANTIS in The Avengers, then removed her before he left. He went to DC and took over Justice League of America and in #142 had them meet her as WILLOW. Years later when he was writing Scorpio Rose for Eclipse Comics he reimagined her as LORELEI.

For some reason, I thought Madame Xanadu and Scorpio Rose were the same character with different names at different publishers. They are both mysterious, immortal Tarot-card readers. But I can't find any confirmation of that.

Captain Comics said:

For some reason, I thought Madame Xanadu and Scorpio Rose were the same character with different names at different publishers. They are both mysterious, immortal Tarot-card readers. But I can't find any confirmation of that.

You are correct; Scorpio Rose is a retooled miniseries Steve Englehart originally pitched to DC for Madame Xanadu. CBR wrote about it here in the ongoing "Comic Book Urban Legends" column.

Here's a fuller explanation of the Madame Xanadu/Scorpio Rose connection, from the blog "They Stole Frazier's Brain": "Out of the Vault -- Scorpio Rose"

I have the two issues of Scorpio Rose that Eclipse put out in 1983. What I didn't know was that Steve Englehart revived the character again in 1996's Warrior Nun Areala: Scorpio Rose by Antarctic Press!

A fairly esoteric example is Linda Danvers as reimagined by Peter David.

She had a difficult-to-describe link to Supergirl during the time when she was a synthetic being based on Lana Lang and created by the Pocket Universe's Lex Luthor.  Yeah, that was a complex enough situation.  But it became more complex yet.

Linda Danvers at that point was an ordinary if problematic teenager who had her life changed by the Matrix Supergirl, in more ways than one.  Matrix ended up on a supernatural plot bus and briefly came back before being written out again for good.  For a few years Linda Danvers became her own take on Supergirl, one strongly influenced in appearance by the animated series version of same, with a white color scheme and very short cape and shirt.

For much of her career as a Supergirl on her own right (as opposed as a component of Matrix's fused form) Linda was attempting to rescue Matrix from a foe called Carnivore.  She eventually succeeded and had a few more stories of her own in somewhat exotic situations before her book was cancelled. 

She later turned again a (very) few times, both in a somewhat directionless plot in the DC event Reign In Hell and as a special guest star in Peter David's supernatural / noir creator owned book, "Fallen Angel", which itself had an ambiguous initial connection to his previous Supergirl work.

Fallen Angel was initially published by DC, but when resumed at IDW it had a few appearances of the Linda Danvers Supergirl, disguised and renamed just enough to avoid trouble with DC.  It was a good use of the character.

Another, pretty obscure example is Crime Buster, Chuck Chandler.  He had a long and fairly strange career in Lev Gleason's "Boy Comics" book since 1942 up until 1956. 

At one point the CCA created the need for him to leave his alias behind and be announced as just plain Chuck Chandler.

The character had a minimalistic costume, sort of, that was essencially a sports uniform that happened to have a "C" written on the chest.

Marv Wolfman brought a very thinly reimagined version of the character back when he was writing Nova back in the mid 1970s. He turned out to be the long lost son of Nova's sometime mentor, the Comet, and both briefly joined Nova and other supporting characters in the largely forgotten team called the New Champions.  That team had a short number of appearances in Fantastic Four and Rom while fighting the Sphinx, the Skrulls, and eventually the Dire Wraiths and Galactus.

I don't think that Crimebuster from Nova and Fantastic Four was supposed to be Chuck Chandler as his real name was Frank Moore.

However the name "Chuck Chandler" was the alias of the original 3-D Man though he wasn't Crime-Buster either!

And there is a strong hint for a good candidate for a character mentioned by the Captain at the opening of this thread in your link, too.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Here's a fuller explanation of the Madame Xanadu/Scorpio Rose connection, from the blog "They Stole Frazier's Brain": "Out of the Vault -- Scorpio Rose"



Captain Comics said:

For some reason, I thought Madame Xanadu and Scorpio Rose were the same character with different names at different publishers. They are both mysterious, immortal Tarot-card readers. But I can't find any confirmation of that.

I can not only confirm it (as has already been done) but I can tell you where you got that impression. Without looking it up, I remember Steve Englehart's introduction to the Scorpio rose character from Coyote: "I took mu Madame Xanadu scripts and walked."

Similarly (not really), after Rob Liefeld was fired form "Heroes Reborn" Captain America, he "took his scripts and walked" to Image where they became Fighting american. This from the guy who once complained [paraphrasing]. "What if i want to create a fast guy? Marvel already has a fast guy. DC already has a fast guy." I imterpreted this as, "What is I want to design a costume a fast guy would wear?"

His scrpits were interchangable.

The Charlton action heroes and the Watchmen might work as an example.

Soulsearchers and Company from Claypool might also fit.  I believe it is based on an idea Peter David pitched at Marvel using existing characters but he ended up retooling it after Marvel passed.  

Is Night Force a reworking of characters from Tomb of Dracula?  I didn’t really follow either so I can’t say.

The Watchmen characters are excellent examples.

  • Dr. Manhattan = Captain Atom
  • Nite-Owl I = Blue Beelte I (Dan Garret, later Garrett)
  • Nite Owl II = Blue Beetle II (Ted Kord)
  • Comedian = Peacemaker
  • Ozymandias = Thunderbolt
  • Rohrshach = The Question

Alan Moore also used some non-Charlton characters as templates.

I've read interviews where he said he based Silk Spectre II more on Phantom Lady than Charlton's Nightshade, because the former was better known and more interesting to use. Black Canary has also been mentioned as a partial inspiration for Silk Spectre, which might be why Moore wrote a mother and daughter superhero legacy, which pertains to Black Canary after Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Comedian has some elements of Marvel's Nick Fury.

I've never read anything to confirm it, but Hooded Justice seems to have been based on MLJ's Black Hood.

Would that make Captain Metropolis The Shield? I don't have any ideas for SIlhouette or Dollar Bill.I guess Mothman could be a Hawkman swipe, but I don't feel strongly about that.

Speaking of Mothman, James Robinson seems to have lifted some elements from Mothman for the Ted Knight Starman in his '90s Starman. Mothman was depicted as mentally unstable with an alcohol problem, two attributes grafted onto the older Ted Knight in Starman.  Further, both characters were Golden Age scientists who created their own crimefighting equipment/gimmick and could fly. I don't have any evidence of a Mothman/Starman connection; I'm just noting the similarities,

As to Soulsearchers & Co., Peter David has said on numerous occasions that it was originally pitched to Marvel starring an existing husband-and-wife team. Baraka and Bridget Lockridge are, obviously, based on Daimon Hellstrom and Patsy "Hellcat" Walker (who were married at the time). But are any of the other characters pastiches, or are they entirely original?

Apprentice witch Kelly Hollister could be based on Topaz, and talking prairie dog Arnold Stanley could easily be a re-purposed Howard the Duck. But we go outside Marvel for the shape-changing Janocz, whose closest comparison is Beast Boy. And I'm at a loss to explain Peter P. Peterson, the accountant with a magic bag. 

As to Night Force and Tomb of Dracula, I've read both and don't see much similarity outside of the creative team. But I confess I wasn't looking for any, so there may be some I overlooked. I didn't know Soulsearchers was based on anything, either, until after I'd read a dozen issues or so and suddenly had a SMH moment!

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