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Posted by G-Man (30704 posts) - - Show Bio

In some ways, comic books are like soap operas. You follow certain characters each month and look forward to seeing what adventures or developments they go through. When characters have a huge level of popularity, you can almost follow their exploits weekly, depending on how many different titles they have or guest appearances they make. What happens to those certain characters you enjoy but aren't popular enough to warrant their own title? What happens when your favorite team member is written out of a book? They end up in Comic Book Limbo

First of all, let's be clear on what I'm referring to when I say Comic Book Limbo. Limbo does exist in comics (for example in Marvel Comics in the New Mutants). I'm talking about when characters simply disappear from all publishing schedules. We'll see characters ride off into the sunset or even get killed off only to return months or years later. Let me also be clear that I do understand these are fictional characters but a good writer makes us feel an attachment to them. So what do these unfortunate characters do when we're not reading about them? 
 == TEASER == 
Moon Knight #1 Vol. 6 (2006)
For most characters, their lives are non-stop action. The heroes pretty much experience super-villain battle after super-villain battle. Are we to believe that once their book is canceled or they leave/quit a team they get the opportunity to just sit around all day and watch television? Are they still experiencing superhero adventures but they're just not on a large enough scale to earn a telling in a printed comic book? 
 
Some might say that if a character isn't popular or selling books, it doesn't matter what they do when not seen in comics. Out of sight, out of mind? It's not just the boring or lame characters that drop out of books. There are several characters that have come back with success.  
 
Moon Knight has always been one of my favorite characters but for some reason continuously suffers from canceled series. Just in 2006, Charlie Huston and David Finch brought Moonie back with a great new series. Then it was canceled but immediately re-launched into Vengeance of the Moon Knight. Then that series went away right before Shadowland but we know he'll be returning in May courtesy of Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev. Moon Knight has pretty much always been a dedicated crime fighter. Is he still fighting evil when he doesn't have a series or is he enjoying some alone time with his longtime girlfriend Marlene
 
Another character I didn't really think about being in Comic Book Limbo is Jim Gordon Jr. We saw him as a baby in Batman: Year One. After Jim Gordon and his wife split, there wasn't much mention of him. I honestly thought he had been killed by the Joker or some other crazed Gotham City killer. Now after all these years, he's returned to Gotham City in the pages of Detective Comics. With him, we don't really know what he's been doing all these years. That's what is making his story so interesting as we get hints that the Commissioner and Barbara are incredibly uncomfortable with his return. 
 
What about other characters that seem to be MIA? What have Havok, Polaris and Rachel Summers been doing since they became part of the Starjammers? How come we've barely seen Wally West since Barry Allen returned? Is Ka-Zar still hanging out in the Savage Land? Is Elektra out killing people or doing her nails when she's not making tiny appearances in Heroes For Hire? What's Madman been doing since Mike Allred's been busy drawing I, Zombie
 
Sometimes characters return and it goes unnoticed. They might sneak their way into another character's book and you might miss the appearance. If we're to believe in who the different characters are, it doesn't seem possible that they suddenly stop doing anything interesting just because we're not seeing them in today's comics. If each character has their own life and with all the characters that aren't currently making appearances in comics, imagine all the untold stories we're missing out on. In some cases the writer that brings back a character will fill us in on what happens. Other times, we're just left hanging. 
 
Am I giving this too much thought? It's real easy to get invested in an interesting character developed by a good writer. I just can't accept missing characters are just sitting around waiting for someone to start using them in a book again. 
 
I'm curious to hear how others feel when a character they like is written out of comics. Do you just forget about them until they (hopefully) return or do you think they're having some other sort of adventures that just aren't being told?
Staff
#1 Posted by Jake Fury (18174 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man:
Awesome article. 
 
I posted a thread last week about a Marvel Missing Persons report. Literally hundreds of names were mentioned and most of them didn't have any info on their current whereabouts..
#2 Posted by G-Man (30704 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jake Fury: They're out there doing cool things and no one is telling us about them!
Staff
#3 Posted by queenfrost_ (2499 posts) - - Show Bio

I really want the Starjammers to come back to Earth already! And a Rachel/Hope meeting!

#4 Posted by sparty-dbq (781 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been wondering for months when Havok, Polaris, and Rachel were going to come back to Earth.  There's 36 X-Men books right now (give or take), you're telling me Marvel can't squeeze them in anywhere?

#5 Posted by Joe Venom (1275 posts) - - Show Bio
Runaways, Loners, and a truckload of those new young heroes from the 50 state Initiative ( Melee, Cloud 9, Butterball), I think have been swept under the rug of limbo I did have some hope for Cloud 9 she had a one page story in the Age of Heroes mini but after that nothin, smh
#6 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (12607 posts) - - Show Bio

oh Creeper,Sweet Creeper, Where for art thou Creeper
#7 Posted by ShockTrooper (17 posts) - - Show Bio

What happened to the Runaways in Marvel.
#8 Posted by CaptainCyke (91 posts) - - Show Bio

As for 616, what has happened to Jonothan Starsmore? We just had an apocalypse storyline for X-Force (which was pretty anti-climatic really) which was the perfect time to bring Jono back to tie up loose strings with Jono. 
 
Oh course we are getting some Jono in Age of X... so I can get by with that for now. 
 
But yes, Where are the Starjammers?

#9 Posted by thecheckeredman (398 posts) - - Show Bio

Comics are EXACTLY like Soap Operas.

#10 Posted by goldenshot80 (7349 posts) - - Show Bio
@thecheckeredman said:
" Comics are EXACTLY like Soap Operas. "
Maybe so..
#11 Posted by Psykhophear (251 posts) - - Show Bio
Debbi Domaine/ The Cheetah II is a good example because after appearing in less than 7 issues, she just vanished and was replaced by the next Cheetah rather quickly. I find it sad because I happen to like Debbi as the Cheetah.
 
The Riddler's henchwomen Query and Echo also died out real fast with no explanation whatsoever. They could've been alongside Harley, Ivy and Catwoman today if DC gave them a chance.
#12 Posted by karrob (4278 posts) - - Show Bio
@goldenshot80 said:
" @thecheckeredman said:
" Comics are EXACTLY like Soap Operas. "
Maybe so.. "
Yep
#13 Edited by antiterra (168 posts) - - Show Bio
@Joe Venom:

Cloud 9, Thor Girl, Komodo, Hardball and Ultragirl will appear in Fear Itself: Young In Revolt (alongside Prodigy - remember him?).











Molly Hayes will probably turn up in one of the X-books at some point, but it's a damn shame that the Runaways have all but disappeared. Of all the young Marvel teams, they were always my favourite. They're markedly different from the other young teams, they bring unique storytelling potential to the table, so I really hope that Marvel have something planned for them.

The unfortunate truth is that more people are clamouring for the resurrection of Jean Grey than the return of lesser-known characters who aren't dead, aren't bogged down with decades of continuity and, as such, could open new storytelling avenue. But... they're not "famous."

#14 Posted by perry_411 (428 posts) - - Show Bio

Way too much thought put into a post about nothing.

#15 Posted by CosmicSpiral (5471 posts) - - Show Bio
@thecheckeredman said:
" Comics are Soap Operas (mostly). "
Fixed. 
#16 Posted by ApeKindaBaked (104 posts) - - Show Bio

I've actually wondered this very same thing myself.
#17 Posted by StarKiller809 (1237 posts) - - Show Bio

I always wonder what is happening to characters when they aren't in an comic book for a while.
#18 Posted by Danial79 (2337 posts) - - Show Bio

If a writer is onto it, they'll use this off-panel time to create an interesting story, such as Huston did with Moon Knight, telling us in past-tense that he had an epic battle with Bushman and was left a broken man. Because it was unseen, no one can complain about continuity errors :)

#19 Posted by NXH (1031 posts) - - Show Bio

Good OMM, G Man. 
It's sometimes good to let some characters take a break once and awhile.
I wish this happened to Daredevil after Shadowland. Not come back a month later or so with a new series (Reborn). No one cares and they never will!

#20 Posted by Blue Son (453 posts) - - Show Bio

Ka-Zar is still in the Savage Land, he's in the latest issue of the Incredible Hulks as he'll be helping the Hulk take on his former Warbound brother Miek.  
 
I think the comic book industry is suffering from character overload, there are so many characters out there you can't expect for them to have the time to touch on every single one...so they touch on their money makers, those that the fans have interest in, and everyone else gets that supporting role fill in now and then. 
 
I do have a SERIOUS bone to pick with DC thought....every since intergrating the Milestone Universe with DC you have a bunch of untapped character talent that they are just not using. I keep waiting for Icon to pop up in a Superman issue or Hardware to show up in a Batman comic book and I get bumpkis...it's really ticking me off.
#21 Posted by sixdecibels (34 posts) - - Show Bio

How about everyone involve in the Thanos Initiative? 
 
Guardians of the Galaxy, The Inhumans, The Starjammers, The Nova Corps?

#22 Posted by tigerex78 (147 posts) - - Show Bio

I think you do get invested in characters and when they go away you  get upset.  We're at the writers whim.  If they want a character to go away they do if they want to bring one back that we haven't seen in years they do.  This is one of the reasons the Soap Opera comparison is made. 

#23 Posted by The Devil Tiger (1263 posts) - - Show Bio
@CosmicSpiral said:
" @thecheckeredman said:
" Comics are Soap Operas (mostly). "
Fixed.  "

@CosmicSpiral:
@karrob:
@goldenshot80:

So much truth in this sentence.
#24 Posted by Bestostero (5618 posts) - - Show Bio

Havok and Polaris definitely need to get back on the scene already...

#25 Posted by Deadknight (611 posts) - - Show Bio

I know that there was a bit of questioning when the original Death's Head appeared in SWORD, not just because he was a fairly forgotten character, but also because he was considered dead (or he'd at least been turned into Death's Head II).

#26 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

I just wanna know what the hell Wally West is doin nowadays =/

#27 Edited by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio
@antiterra said:

" @Joe Venom:

Cloud 9, Thor Girl, Komodo, Hardball and Ultragirl will appear in Fear Itself: Young In Revolt (alongside Prodigy - remember him?).

    










Case in point, none of those words mean anything to me.
#28 Posted by taqs (44 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd really like to see more of Dust and Elektra!!

#29 Posted by G-Man (30704 posts) - - Show Bio
@Blue Son: I just read Incredible Hulks with Ka-Zar. Maybe we'll find out what he's been up to since his last appearance. Then again, probably not.  
 
@Deadknight: More Death's Head would be awesome, yes? 
 
@mr.obvious: Wally West made a super tiny appearance in the last issue of The Flash. I don't think he had any lines.
Staff
#30 Posted by Joe Venom (1275 posts) - - Show Bio
@antiterra said:
" @Joe Venom:

Cloud 9, Thor Girl, Komodo, Hardball and Ultragirl will appear in Fear Itself: Young In Revolt (alongside Prodigy - remember him?).











Molly Hayes will probably turn up in one of the X-books at some point, but it's a damn shame that the Runaways have all but disappeared. Of all the young Marvel teams, they were always my favourite. They're markedly different from the other young teams, they bring unique storytelling potential to the table, so I really hope that Marvel have something planned for them.

The unfortunate truth is that more people are clamouring for the resurrection of Jean Grey than the return of lesser-known characters who aren't dead, aren't bogged down with decades of continuity and, as such, could open new storytelling avenue. But... they're not "famous."

"
:) Prodigy! Awesome! @ this point I'll take anything, but i'll keep my fingers crossed for a follow up/Spin off series. As for the Runaways I heard they were working on a movie script even did a casting then just nothing.
#31 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man: IDK if you knew this, but Marlene and Marc got married.
#32 Posted by Deadknight (611 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man:
You can't go wrong with a "freelance peacekeeping agent" like Death's Head.
 
#33 Posted by Virus_Warning (206 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm glad someone finally wrote an article on this.  I've always wondered about this since characters I like tend to vanish.  Like Chamber.  Previous to AoX where has he been.  It's not like he blends in.
Comic Limbo is just a empty void that fans can use as role-play/fanfiction timelines ^^
-Virus

#34 Posted by jloneblackheart (5499 posts) - - Show Bio
@sixdecibels said:
" How about everyone involve in the Thanos Initiative?  Guardians of the Galaxy, The Inhumans, The Starjammers, The Nova Corps? "
Guardians - disbanded according to Devastation. Warlock, Starlord, Drax and Phyla are all dead. I heard there was going to be a Rocket Raccon/Groot book or back up story?
Inhumans - Comic Limbo. Ruling the Kree and Shi'Ar empires. Black Bolt still dead.  
Starjammers - Comic Limbo - small part in Realm of Kings. I don't remember even seeing them in Thanos Imperative. 
Nova Corps - Nova and Worldmind death. Nova Force doesn't exist anymore. Remaining members chilling at Project PEGASUS? 
Moderator
#35 Posted by CasimirAngel (150 posts) - - Show Bio

It is much appreciated when a character's disappearance is explained.  Unfortunately, it doesn't happen enough.

#36 Posted by G-Man (30704 posts) - - Show Bio
@CasimirAngel: Yeah, often they just reappear and it's just "hey, how you doin'?" with no explanation on what they've been doing.  
 
I think in some parallel/alternate universe, someone is reading these unseen adventures.
Staff
#37 Posted by Sasuke (397 posts) - - Show Bio

i just want wally west back at some level. im fine with barry taking center stage but come on even if barry is num one wally is one of the most powerful people in dc he has to be doing something.

#38 Posted by DanielThomasRandKai (46 posts) - - Show Bio

My personal favorite hero, Iron Fist, was gone for awhile, but came back with a bang in Brubaker and Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist series. That eventually got canceled, but put Iron Fist back into the heart and minds of readers, and he appears more frequently in other books now.  

Another one of my favorite characters I really miss is Sunfire, he is so underrated and deserves more love! 
 

#39 Posted by Billy Batson (57802 posts) - - Show Bio

hmmm

#40 Posted by antiterra (168 posts) - - Show Bio
@Fantasgasmic said:
" @antiterra said:

" @Joe Venom:

Cloud 9, Thor Girl, Komodo, Hardball and Ultragirl will appear in Fear Itself: Young In Revolt (alongside Prodigy - remember him?).

    










Case in point, none of those words mean anything to me. "
Ha-ha! :D Case in point indeed. The first five starred in Avengers: The Initiative (very good series overall), which ended after Siege. Prodigy AKA David Alleyne was in New X-Men v2 (2004-2008). They all kinda dropped off the map after those books ended.
#41 Posted by Technoman (133 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting thinking...

#42 Posted by CellphoneGirl (18828 posts) - - Show Bio

Runaways should be making a return soon because of the movie, and i've been waiting a few years for Rachel, Havok, and Polaris to return to earth. Also isn't Elektra going to be joining the x-men or something? :P

#43 Posted by InfinityOmelette (131 posts) - - Show Bio

Squirrel Girl came back in New Avengers this year... but she only showed up 'for reals' in the last book of 2010. The New Avengers has now turned into a Nick fury back story. (which is fine by me, but I was hoping to see Squirrel Girl in some protect the baby from extreme super villain action. :)

#44 Posted by IronSpidy-Rooney (356 posts) - - Show Bio

Echo and Wonder man who were both Avengers just seemed to disappear after secret invasion.

#45 Posted by CrimsonAvenger (1162 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Hawkman? Carter Hall was in limbo for years and is still a mess I believe, I wish DC had more respect for him because he's really a neat character.

#46 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio
@perry_411:  
LOL 
 
When it's not being written it doesn't happen. I'd rather a character be off the scene until a good writer can do them justice anyways. 
#47 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio
@CrimsonAvenger:  
He had a prominent role in Brightest Day and he's dead now...
#48 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio

I always thought it was strange that Ariel didn't appear in ANYTHING for 13 years, but soon realised why when the creative teams decided to kill off as many teleporters as possible in Second Coming.  Brought back only to be killed-off.  Sometimes it's better to stay in Limbo.

Moderator
#49 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

That's why I love it when they bring back old characters.  They need to stop making so many new characters and just get some old characters back.  Case in point.  Armor from Astonishing X-men.  To me the charater is just lame.  Her power reminds me of the Black doctor who name escapes my mind.  The one whose body puts up shields when attacked.  I understand they wanted another youn character for Wolverine to yet again be a father figure too, but don't tell me they couldn't get one from the New Mutants.  I think that's why it's so cool when they bring back old villians that are so cool.  Look what they did with Hobgoblin.  They brought him back by making a guy who wanted to be hero become a bad guy.  And it works well so far.  Don't know how much I him without a glider but it still works.  In case with Havok, I think they keep putting him as far away from Cyclops because he is great leader, but when he's in Cyclops presence he's just Cyclops little brother and he get watered down.  Moon Knight is cool enough but he's a poorman Batman, no matter the differences, and Daredevil (as much as he's a stand alone and a good one) already holds that title.  Daredevil is what happens when everything goes bad for Batman.  Batman usually ends up on top while Daredevil is still just another mis-happen shor of becoming a villian.  His faith holds him together.  I got of the subject for a moment, but it's because there are way to many characters being invented.  With all the Avenger titles that were restarted or started new, I think Noh-Var is the only real new face.  They mixed up the rosters pretty well, but that's because the teams are cool.  Even the Red Hulk is still just a..........Hulk.  To many new characters.  Bring back some old ones or move some cool characters from lesser selling titles to the books. 
#50 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio
@Sasuke:
Wally sure has gotten the shaft.  I'd be pissed if I was him.   "Thanks anyway."  It's not like the Flash mantle was Barry's anyway.  It's Jay's.  Walley was such a cool character.  Watching him and Kyle come into their own together.  At least Kyle is still the major in a book.  Even preceding Guy and Jon Stewart.  Wally needs to be focused on.  He's Barry's equal, as much as his side-kick.  I''d like to see these 2 battle each other.