Comic books have been around for a long time. Since the golden age of comics, we’ve seen the rise and fall of many comic book characters. In some cases, it’s due to issues with the characters themselves and other times it’s due to the downfall of the companies that have created them. As a result, some characters fall by the wayside forgotten, never to be seen again. We decided it would be a good idea to educate (and in some cases remind) the masses about these characters that have fallen into permanent obscurity.
Here are 10 Forgotten Superheroes!
1. Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications)
No, this is not that Daredevil! Not the one we all know and love. This is a different Daredevil. This Daredevil first appeared in Silver Streak #6 (1940). His story was cantered around Bart Hill who was rendered mute as a child after witnessing a murder and also being branded by a hot iron that left a scar in the shape of a boomerang on his chest (although, the mute aspect of the character was soon abandoned).
The characters title sold extremely well, but eventually Daredevil would fall into obscurity. Strangely becoming a background character in the very book that had his name on the title. The character is now in the public domain but is unlikely to ever return to the spotlight due to being overshadowed by the incredibly popular Marvel character of the same name.
2. The Green Lama
This is another one of the many golden age superheroes that never made it out of the golden age. First appearing in Double Detective vol. 5 #5 (1940), the story of the Green Lama was that of a rich New York resident turned Buddhist Priest that used philosophies and techniques from Buddhism to fight crime. After spending ten years in studying to be a Buddhist guru he returns to New York to spread his teachings.
But after witnessing a murder he vows to use his knowledge to fight evil. He has superhuman strength, near invulnerability and the power to levitate at will. It’s not hard to see why this character has been forgotten. A lot of aspects to the character either don’t make much sense or have aged poorly. Attempts have been made to bring the character into the modern age but they’ve been met with poor responses.
3. The Black Terror
The Black Terror made his first appearance in Exciting Comics #9 (1941) a title that was published by the now defunct Nedor Comics. He was a pharmacist by the name of Bob Benton. After creating a chemical called formic ethers that gave him superpowers, he took on the identity of the Black Terror to fight crime with his sidekick, Tim Roland. The powers he boasted included super strength, durability, stamina and agility.
He was Nedor Comics’ most popular hero up until their demise. In the 1980s, he fell into the public domain. Since then many different publishers have attempted to take the character as their own. None of these have been particularly successful. As a result, the once successful character has now become one of the many forgotten superheroes.
4. War Eagle
War Eagle first appeared in Crime Does Not Pay Comics #22 (1942). His real name was Bill Reed. As a child he fell ill with some kind of infantile paralysis disease as a child. After taking on an intense workout regimen he managed to overcome his illness and increase his strength to superhuman levels. The only problem was that this only worked for his upper body. He was still very much paralysed in his lower body. Later with more training he managed to bring his legs to the level of an average able-bodied man.
After creating a winged flight-suit he decides to use his free time to fight evil. His reasoning for choosing to do this was because he was “rich and parties bored him”. It’s not hard to see why this character has been forgotten.
5. Blazing Skull
At first glance you would probably think this is one of the Ghost Riders. But no, this is another Marvel character, Mark Anthony Todd, otherwise known as the Blazing Skull. First appearing in Mystic Comics #5 (1941), he was a member of the golden age superhero team, The Invaders alongside fan favourite Captain America.
Initially, he had no powers other than being invulnerable to fire. However, later on he was given super strength, healing powers and pyrokinesis. Marvel has used the character a few times since the golden age but largely he’s just been left forgotten. Most fans won’t even recognise him.
6. Miss Victory
Miss Victory was a golden age superheroine that first made her debut in Captain Fearless #1 (1941). She used to appear in 6-page stories that usually involved the same shot of her punching her foe in the face. Definitely, one of the real original female bad asses. It’s a shame she wasn’t given more room to grow.
She seemed to be the only one within her world that had any powers. So the men in her stories were no match for her at all. Just like most characters on this list she eventually became a public domain character. Despite pushing the boundaries in the golden age, her character design is very outdated. As such, the likelihood of her making a comeback is very slim.
7. Phantom Rider
Originally named the Ghost Rider, this Marvel character debuted in Ghost Rider #1 (1967) and contrary to what the name would lead you to believe, he had absolutely nothing to do with any of the Spirits of Vengeance (at least not until much later on).
Carter Slade aka Phantom Rider was was an expert gunslinger, knife thrower and whip fighter from the 19th century wild west. After donning a phosphorescent white costume complete with a full-face mask, a cowboy hat, and a cape to fight criminals. The mask he wore had special reflective goggles that drove evil-doers mad by exposing them to the evil within themselves.
Eventually, he was replaced by the motorcycled Ghost Rider and renamed the Phantom Rider. After this point he would only be a secondary character. He never took the spotlight again.
8. Stardust the Super Wizard
Stardust the Super Wizard was an alien who lived on a “private star” in space. From here he would monitor crime using his super sight. Other powers he has included super hearing, flight, super agility, super speed & reality manipulation.
He first appeared in Fantastic Comics #1 (1939) published by Fox Comics and appeared a total of 17 times before falling into the public domain like the rest of the Fox Comics properties. It’s quite easy to look at him as a weird, wacky character. But who knows what the character could’ve become if given the same effort that some of his contemporaries went on to receive with other publishers.
9. Jill Trent Science Sleuth
Jill Trent Science Sleuth was an adventurer from an unnamed city. First appearing in Fighting Yank #6 (1943), she was very skilled in both hand-to-hand fighting and handling guns. Not only this, but she was also an avid inventor. Inventing things such as an indestructible cloth and infrared glasses that could see through opaque objects.
The rights to her character are a subject of complication. She’s technically owned by Warner Bros but is still being used by multiple other companies without any lawsuits having been filed. Clearly, no one has found any success with her. Or else she wouldn’t be on this list. With that being said, the character still has a lot of potential in the hands of the right writers.
10. Lion Man
Ask most people who the first black superhero was and they will likely tell you it was Black Panther. They’re wrong. The first black superhero was a character named Lion Man. First appearing in All-Negro Comics #1 (1947), Lion Man was an American-born, college educated scientist sent to the African Gold Coast by the United Nations to watch over the “magic mountain”.
His real name was never revealed for some reason but the comic saw Lion Man watching over the area and fighting white antagonists. Which at the time was a pretty big thing. And just to put into perspective what the creators of this comic were up against, it was only allowed to run for one issue before being shut down by racist protestors.
So, it’s hard to say what impact this forgotten black superhero has on the creation of those that followed but the effort still deserves acknowledgement.