The more things change the more things stay the same. Today with the multiple switching of mantles to a more “diverse” crowd instead of creating brand new characters and mantles, I wanted to look back at other times where, surprise surprise, the same things happened (if maybe not all at once). Here are the top ten diversity swaps in Marvel Comics (pre-2012)!
Heike Zemo (aka Baroness Zemo)
Spider-Man: Fear Itself #1 – February, 1992
10 – Lynn Michaels (aka Punisher)
Punisher: War Zone #7 – September, 1992
While she has barely showed up in comics in the new millennium, for the War Zone series in the 90’s she was a series regular even taking over the series for a short stint when Frank was “dead.” He got better, and she’s all but forgotten.
9 – Carolyn Trainer (aka Doctor Octopus)
Amazing Spider-Man #405 – September, 1995
Technically she isn’t a doctor so now she goes by just “Lady Octopus” which sounds more like a nickname given to her by a Brooklyn construction worker than an alias she choose for herself.
8 – Sharon Ventura (aka She-Thing)
Fantastic Four #310 – January, 1988
The Ms. Marvel before the current Captain Marvel took over that mantle which was then passed to a teenager in Jersey, was a member of the Fantastic Four and a love interest of Ben Grimm. When they were hit with cosmic radiation, Ben became even more disfigured and Sharon took on the mantle of She-Thing. She was last seen as a prisoner on The Raft.
7 – Shuri (aka Black Panther)
Black Panther vol 5 #5 – August, 2009
Although she wasn’t around for too long once the Cabal took over Wakanda, she put up a great fight and carried well the proud tradition of the Black Panther title for the years she owned it. “Doomwar” highlights the story of her legacy as Black Panther, and is a must read.
6 – Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk)
Savage She-Hulk #1 – February, 1980
She’s a lawyer and she’s green and she’s the cousin of the Hulk. You know who she is.
5 – James Rhodes (aka Iron Man)
Iron Man #170 – May, 1983
Tony just wanted to have fun so James Rhodes got the chance to take the reins of Iron Man for an extended run prior to becoming a hero in his own rights with War Machine.
4 – Monica Rambeau (aka Captain Marvel)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 – August, 1982
I’m still irritated that this isn’t the woman in the Captain Marvel comics, because she was always far more interesting to read than Carol Danvers. Since she gave up this title it doesn’t appear she has found an alias to stick with (Photon, Pulsar, Specrtrum, etc), she’ll still always be Captain Marvel to me.
3 – Jessica Drew (aka Spider-Woman)
Marvel Spotlight #32 – February, 1977
Legend has it that Spider-Woman was only created to copyright the name, but Stan Lee could come along tomorrow and give us a whole different story. Thanks to Bendis this third tier character who had little relevance past her initial 50 issue series has become an A-lister once again.
2 – Miles Morales (aka Spider-Man)
Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 – October, 2011
This boy is soon to be part of Marvel’s main continuity, so he makes the cut on this list. Of all the characters on this list, he has one of the most compelling backstories that stays the truest to the mighty Marvel tradition of heroes forged in tragedy.
1 – Beta Ray Bill (aka Thor)
Thor #337 – November, 1983
Male, female, black, white, Christian, or Muslim – we are all human. So the most diverse minority in terms of mantles swaps was an alien who was the last of their species.