Every character is somebody's favorite character, and that applies equally to comic book characters, perhaps especially in comics as there are so many to choose from.
Marvel and DC both have character catalogs four and five figures deep, with many of them weird, wacky, and/or seemingly uncool at first glance.
But because of the sheer volume, many of these weird, wacky, and/or seemingly uncool characters may never get their rightful due.
In other words, they're underrated.
But sometimes those underrated characters get a chance to take the spotlight again, as is the case with Longshot, who will appear in an upcoming arc of X-Men Legends written by his co-creator Ann Nocenti, while cult-favorite cosmic hero Jack of Hearts has been resurrected in the 'Reckoning War' storyline.
So to cut through the preamble, it's time to give these black sheep some respect as we bring to your attention 10 totally underrated Marvel Comics characters who are actually incredibly cool!
So much has been made of the ineffectiveness of Doug Ramsey/Cypher's mutant power to speak and interpret any written or verbal language he encounters in combat that Doug's total lack of fighting prowess was a key plot point in the 'X of Swords (opens in new tab)' crossover.
That idea that Doug's power is somehow 'useless' cause it doesn't involve lasers or claws has led to a tradition of dunking on Cypher as a character, and even sometimes questioning his place on the New Mutants or other X-teams.
Even long-time X-Factor writer Louise Simonson once lamented that no one loved Cypher until he was killed in 1988's New Mutants #60 (opens in new tab).
But even before his death, and especially since Cypher was resurrected a few years ago, he and his abilities have been invaluable to the X-Men and to mutantkind many times over.
In fact, in the Krakoa era, he holds the distinction of being the spokesman and interpreter of the living mutant island itself.
Created as a movie and music tie-in with Bo Derek as the proposed actor to portray her in all media, Dazzler is the gimmickiest, campiest, most ridiculous concept Marvel has ever let come to fruition - if you only judge her by her Abba-meets-roller-disco '70s costume.
Though her proposed movie and album tie-ins never came to fruition, Dazzler herself went on to join the X-Men, becoming a cult classic fan-favorite mutant along the way.
And why not? The fact is, Dazzler kicks ass. Her ability to turn sound into light has been expanded in creative and crafty ways time and time again, and her look has evolved from disco queen to aerobic video model, to an angst-inspired, darker look, and finally to her current style that combines elements of her previous looks with a modern twist.
Still, Dazzler has somehow captured our hearts and fought tooth and nail to earn our respect, even earning a slot on the one-time all-female Avengers spin-off A-Force (opens in new tab).
What a world. What a beautiful, magical, lovable world, when one of the zaniest, most inaccessibly wacky plot lines from Walt Simonson's legendary run on Thor can become a cult favorite character. While Frog Thor is undoubtedly, outwardly bizarre, his appeal is undeniable.
The original Frog Thor was Thor himself, transformed temporarily into a frog by his scheming brother Loki. But later, a second Frog Thor, known adorably as Throg was born when an actual amphibian found a sliver of mighty Mjolnir, turning him into the Frog of Thunder.
Throg has only had sporadic appearances since his debut (and maybe that's for the best - too much of a good thing and all that), with perhaps his most prominent appearances being his membership among the Pet Avengers (opens in new tab), and as part of the Thor Corps in 2015's Secret Wars (opens in new tab) limited series.
Most recently Frog Thor made a blink-and-you-might-miss-it cameo in Disney Plus' Loki episode 5, 'voiced' by Chris Hemsworth no less, and subsequently returned to comic books for a brief cameo as well.
Jack of Hearts
Jack of Hearts' costume may look like a disco playing card gone mad, and he may have a tough-to-parse origin story, but that didn't stop him from getting a revamp and a revitalized place (all too briefly, some might say) among the Avengers in the late '90s that showed exactly what even the most unlikely characters can be capable of.
The product of convoluted storytelling combined with a bizarre aesthetic, Jack of Hearts was the kind of character most writers have nightmares about. But, in his brief stint at Marvel, Geoff Johns leaned into the character, making him a key part of his Avengers team.
Though Jack of Hearts still maintained the elements that made him terrifyingly hard (or if you're of a certain disposition, impossible not) to love, he managed to be something of a break-out character for Johns's run, even when he departed for space towards its end.
Jack died in 'Avengers: Disassembled (opens in new tab),' but he's recently returned to life as part of the current 'Reckoning War' storyline in Fantastic Four.
Talk about a name fitting a concept.
This mullet-haired weirdo is called Longshot, and he's a wacky alien from the TV dimension who was genetically engineered to be the perfect film star. Even though Longshot (opens in new tab) had a well-loved limited series in the late '80s, he quickly became something of a joke thanks to his bizarre backstory and dated appearance.
But with just a few snips here and there (mainly on the back of his head), Longshot has become a fan-favorite character with an honored place among fans of a certain era of both Marvel Comics and the X-Men.
Longshot has had a few revivals over the years, and he's getting another one in the X-Men Legends anthology title this July in a story written by his co-creator Ann Nocenti.
Ka-Zar may seem like your run-of-the-mill Tarzan rip-off, but he's the kind of character that could only exist in the Marvel Universe – meaning he's the lost child of a rich family raised in a world of hidden dinosaurs.
The original Ka-Zar actually predates the Marvel Universe, having debuted in a 1936 pulp story written by eventual Marvel Comics publisher Martin Goodman which was later adapted to Marvel Comics #1 (opens in new tab).
The modern Ka-Zar first showed up in 1965's Uncanny X-Men #10 (opens in new tab) in the team's first adventure to the Savage Land, a hidden world in the antarctic where dinosaurs, prehistoric creatures, and other more mysterious beings dwell.
Ka-Zar went on to star in a mostly forgotten '70s title that left him in Marvel limbo for many years. But he got a new lease on life in the '90's when Mark Waid and Andy Kubert launched a cult favorite Ka-Zar (opens in new tab)series which brought the character back into the Marvel Universe.
Since then, Ka-Zar has had regular appearances as a supporting character in many titles, especially alongside his wife Shanna the She-Devil (a fellow pulp adventure jungle character brought into Marvel Comics), and returned to the pages of his own limited series back in September in Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land (opens in new tab).
A flying green blob who speaks gibberish should not work. And yet, the X-Men's resident Slimer lookalike manages to remain popular not just with readers but apparently with ladies (and sometimes fellows) as well. A product of the Weapon X program, Doop seems to be as powerful as he is bizarre.
If it seems like we're down on Doop, we're not - his baffling nature is all part of his charm, in fact. But sometimes appearances aren't deceiving at all, and Doop is as inscrutable as he looks from the outside.
Doop's popularity began with his introduction in Peter Milligan and Mike Allred's X-Force. Doop managed to stand out as quite possibly the weirdest part of a book full of weirdness. It's actually kind of impossible to explain Doop's powers, as he seems to be able to do whatever the hell he needs to at any given moment, even surviving in the vacuum of space. He also speaks in his own unique language, which was partially adapted into the language of Krakoa in the current X-Men era.
Supposedly a product of the Weapon X program, Doop floated his way into the hearts of fans, many of whom have wholeheartedly embraced the mystery that is Doop, to the point where he's even received his own limited series titled All-New Doop (opens in new tab).
Has there ever been a better accidental pun than "Giant-Size Man-Thing?"
Those who know fear may burn at the Man-Thing's touch, but those who never matured beyond sophomoric jokes laugh at his name. Add to his pun-tastic moniker a lifetime of relative obscurity and a movie so bad most people have erased it from their brains, and you've got a monster man who guards not just the nexus of all realities, but the nexus of all bad jokes as well.
And yet, Man-Thing isn't just an unfortunately named rip-off of Swamp Thing (he debuted two months earlier, for one thing). He is the keeper of the place where the many dimensions and timelines of Marvel comics come together, and one of Marvel's most unique and tragic characters.
Since writer Steve Gerber used a unique narrative style to tell the story of Man-Things devolution from man to, well, thing back in the '70s, he's become a cult-favorite character and a staple of the larger Marvel mythos.
In fact, he's celebrated 50 years since his 1971 debut in 2021, with a series of one-shots titled Curse of the Man-Thing (opens in new tab) in which he teamed up with other Marvel heroes.
Great Lakes Avengers
Comprised entirely of nearly useless and bizarre characters, the Great Lakes Avengers (opens in new tab) have had a few rides on the merry-go-round, and have often opportunistically changed their branding to match whatever super-team was successful at any given moment.
But despite having characters like Flatman, Dinah Soar, Big Bertha, and even Squirrel Girl (a candidate for this list herself, in some ways) among their ranks, there's something to be said about a group of characters that manages to hold together despite seeming collectively unlovable to their peers and to the people who they wish to protect, but who simply want to use their talents to save the world.
Some of the team's characters almost made it to TV in a scrapped adaptation of Marvel's New Warriors that was closer in both cast and premise to the idea of the Great Lakes Avengers, but the show never came to fruition.
Still, there's a great comeback story for the Great Lakes Avengers just waiting to be told, like the Bad News Bears of comic books.
The breakout character of 1991 - sorry Deadpool!
After a well-received 50-issue solo run that included team-ups with the New Warriors and the Avengers, Darkhawk (opens in new tab) faded into relative obscurity, though many writers who grew up reading his adventures have attempted to bring him back over the years.
Despite the nostalgia for the character that exists among fans of a certain age, for many fans who got into comic books post-Darkhawk, his Iron Man-meets-Wolverine-meets-Spider-Man vibe comes off dated and alienating. And it doesn't help that the best parts of his original title have been mostly out of print or hard to find for years.
Nonetheless, Darkhawk has remained on the minds of Marvel-ites for 30 years as of 2021 - and Marvel took notice of the milestone with a limited series titled Darkhawk: Airborne (opens in new tab) which introduced a new hero in the mantle of Darkhawk.
Help us settle an argument by figuring out what are the most useful superpowers