If you've taken a look at our wiki pages here on Comic Vine, you know there's a ton of comic book characters you may have never even heard of. Comics have been around for a long time. Most of the focus has been on the successful "big name" characters and comics that have managed to stand the test of the time. For each Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man, there's about a dozen or so characters that simply faded away. Now there's a book that turns the spotlight on some of these forgotten superheroes.
This latest book is written by Jon Morris and published by Quirk Books. It features over 250 pages of some pretty bizarre characters. Just looking at the cover, you get an idea about the strange creations you never heard of. We're happy to say that you can also find them in our wiki. Did you know there were characters such as Fatman, Doctor Hormone, Bozo the Iron Man, Kangaroo Man, and Rainbow Boy, among others?
The book is broken down into different sections, starting with, of course, the Golden Age.
This truly was a golden era. It's fascinating to see so many different attempts at creating heroes and many of them simply being abandoned. There's some nice visuals as well, which makes sense given comic books are a visual medium.
For each character, you get a full page view of an early cover featuring them. There's at least a page of text describing the character and any known information on the creation and why publication ceased. In some cases, another couple pages is given to a character with more information and images.
With the Silver Age, you start to see some more vaguely familiar characters. It could be that the time was closer to the present or perhaps less risks and obscure characters were created. In the cases you come across the familiar characters, it's interesting to think about why they're including here and makes you think about the character's success or lack of one. Each character's story is different. The reason they faded away varies. Reading some of reasons as to how and why they were created makes you look at them a little differently.
There's also some cases where characters have been recently resurrected due to becoming public domain characters or if the rights-holder simply wants to ensure they don't loose them.
Brain Boy is a character Fred Van Lente and Dark Horse recently brought back. They modernized the character and I had no idea he was originally created long ago. DC also released DIAL H in 2012 as part of their second wave of New 52 titles. The series had some weird and interesting ideas but didn't make it very far.
The Modern Age section covers the 1970s to the present. What's fascinating here again is the choice of some of the characters. What defines a character as "regrettable"? Many more of these will be familiar to newer and current readers. You'll also find some characters like 3-D Man, Brother Voodoo, Captain Victory, Squirrel Girl, and even Prez, that have had attempts or are currently being resurrected in some form or another.
There is a nice reminder that even characters introduced in a successful line of comics, such as the X-Men books, have become casualties and are mostly forgotten.
This is a book comic fans can enjoy. Just flipping through the pages makes you realize how lucky some of the lasting characters are. It's also clear why other characters have been forgotten. You can pretty much find all these characters here on Comic Vine but you wouldn't necessarily know what to look for to find some of these bizarre and fascinating characters.
This makes a great coffee table book or gift for that hard to shop for comic reader in your life. You and others may be impressed by the history and how far back some of it goes. The hardcover, full color book was released on June 2 and has a retail price of $24.95. You can also get it online at places like Amazon for $19.05.
The book is eye-opening in some ways. You never realize how many superheroes have come and gone. It also makes it more impressive to see the ones that have managed to stand the test of time. With publishers and Hollywood constantly seeking out their next big franchise, it'd be interesting to see if any other forgotten superheroes in this book manage to get resurrected.