One of the best aspects of the past decade of Marvel Comics is that it has made use of characters from every corner of the Marvel 616-Universe, moreso than any prior decade. That has included stalwart favorites, forgotten supporting characters, and a massive list of new stars who went from debut to title-anchoring characters in a span of years.
That is very, very impressive.
After creating over 100 comic guides, I know that some characters have a tendency to completely disappear after a major run tapers off due to low sales. Hey, if it happened to the X-Men it can happen to anyone! Just look at how many characters DC has completely erased in the same decade!
Jokes aside, many of Marvel’s Bronze Age mainstays didn’t survive the one-two punch of Jim Shooter’s linewide realignment in the mid-80s plus transition to a cooler, grittier, more extreme world of comics heading into the 90s.
This was especially true of the second-tier stars of the original 1972-1986 run of The Defenders. Hulk still had his ongoing title, Dr. Strange hopped from his 70s title to the brief Strange Tales to his lengthy 1988 ongoing, and Namor scored a new ongoing in 1990. The supporting cast – both of the original team and the “New Defenders” soft reboot – were not so lucky. Characters like Nighthawk, Hellcat, Gargoyle, Devil-Slayer, Cloud, and Valkyrie went virtually unknown to most 90s readers.
This is the most surprising for Brunnhilde The Valkyrie, who occupied an existing role in the Marvel Universe as the head of Odin and Hela’s Valkyrior, those Norse warrior women on winged steeds who ferried souls of dead warriors to the afterlife. Yet, Valkyries in general appeared more in the late 80s than Valkyrie in specific thanks to Dani Moonstar’s ongoing connection to Asgard in New Mutants! [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Guide to Marvel’s Valkyrie