Oswald in Comics
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was a 1927 creation of Walt Disney and the immediate predecessor to Mickey Mouse. However Walt lost the rights to the character when he left Universal Studios. Universal had commissioned the creation of the series and distributed the film. By laws of the time it was allowed to keep the character and assign its films to other animation studios. So production of the Oswald shorts was transferred first to the Winkler Studio and then to the Walter Lantz Studio.
In all 192 Oswald shorts were released between 1927 and 1943. While initially successful, the Oswald series was canceled as its popularity had declined by the 1940s. The character was given a cameo appearance in a 1951 Woody Woodpecker film but that was his last appearance in an animated film.
The character was redesigned by Lantz studio artist Manuel Moreno, inspired by a rabbit from the short Fox and the Rabbit (1935), his new design debuted in Case of the Lost Sheep (1935), this look would be more appropriate with the colorization in cartoons and also in comics.
Oswald had more endurance as a comic book character. He had been licensed to the company later known as DC back in 1935 and had his first appearance there in the pages of "New Fun" #1. However DC ended his series in 1936.
The Walter Lantz Studio then licensed him to Dell Comics along with other of its properties. Dell published stories starring him from 1942 to the early 1960s. The Walter Lantz characters were also licensed to comic book companies outside the United States and Oswald kept making appearances for decades. However his status was not as prominent as Woody Woodpecker and his supporting cast. Oswald was becoming obscure.
In Bonkers story The Temple of Doom published in Disney Adventures #03, 1995, there is a black and white rabbit named Nimrod who appears to replace Oswald.
In 1999, Universal Studios released a new series of Woody Woodpecker: The New Woody Woodpecker Show, although Oswald did not appear, it did have licensed products and comics, having a look close to the original and the color blue.
In the Dennis the Duck episode of House of Mouse, the duck of the same name also appears to be a replacement for Oswald.
In 2006, Universal Studios traded the rights to Oswald back to the Walt Disney Company in exchange for releasing broadcaster Al Michaels from his contract. Disney then gained full rights to the 26 Oswald films created by its founder back in the 1920s. They were able to release all of them on DVD in 2007 and started selling Oswald merchandise. Meanwhile Universal has kept the rights to the other 176 Oswald films and includes some of them in its own DVD releases.
Oswald made his return as a character in the video game Epic Mickey as well as his return to comics in the graphic novel based on the game.
As the first forgotten Disney character, Oswald became the leader of the world of other forgotten and underrated Disney cartoons, making it resemble old Disneyland, with statues of him replacing Mickey. After his world became a wasteland by the Phantom Blot, Oswald went into hiding as was forced to help Mickey, his successor and younger brother, to reclaim his wasteland. Throughout the game, Mickey must also attempt to redeem himself to the wasteland as well as the brother he never knew he had.
In the upcoming sequel to Epic Mickey it's been confirmed that Oswald shall be a playable character alongside Mickey.