It's become something of a long standing comic book tradition - famous super hero gets injured, crippled or even killed off, and is then replaced by a new hero wearing their famous name and costume, with the original hero eventually retu...
It's become something of a long standing comic book tradition - famous super hero gets injured, crippled or even killed off, and is then replaced by a new hero wearing their famous name and costume, with the original hero eventually returning to the role after a series of struggles, not to mention fan demand for their return to their rightful place. One could say the whole concept of passing the superhero mantle to a newer,younger hero goes back to the fifties, when original Green Lantern Alan Scott and original Flash Jay Garrick let those new whipper-snappers Hal Jordan and Barry Allen take over their roles as Green Lantern and the Flash, respectively. Of course, there was a separation there of several years between Flashes and Green Lanterns, but still, you get the idea; new characters taking older heroic identities ain't nothin' new in comics.
But the trope really became popular (and overused) over the past twenty-five years or so, and is now something of a tired cliche. But as much as replacing iconic heroes is a cheap gimmick, let's not forget superhero comics are nothing if not soap operas, and ongoing soap operas are full of gimmick storytelling. Doesn't mean those some of those stories weren't entertaining, or some of those gimmick characters didn't grow into something more over time. As with all things...some gimmicks (and characters) are just cheaper than others. And some cheap gimmicks can last for years before they are undone. Case in point, our entry at #11...
11. Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter Replaces Spider-Woman Jessica Drew
The original Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was created out of corporate need more than any other reason; at some point in the seventies, Stan Lee realized if they didn't make a Spider-Woman spin-off character to their flagship hero Spider-Man, sooner or later another comic book company would take the name. So as a way of securing the copyright, Spider-Woman debuted in an issue of Marvel Spotlight in 1977. She was just meant to be a one-off character, created soley for that reason, but quickly Marvel saw potential in her, and within a year she not only had her own comic book series, but her own cartoon show on Saturday morning television.
Despite being created to be a female version of Spider-Man, much like Supergirl and Batgirl were female analogues of their popular DC Comics male counterparts, Spider-Woman ended up being an analogue in name only. Her origins, powers, and costume were totally different from Peter Parker's, and aside from also living in the same Marvel Universe as Peter, had no other real connection to him. This was a much smarter and more interesting way to approach the character, as opposed to just making her a cheap knock-off of a popular male character (and before anyone flames me for that comment, no, I don't think Supergirl and Batgirl are just cheap copies...but they did kind of start out that way). In the late seventies and early eighties, Spider-Woman was found on most products and merchandise featuring the Marvel icons, right alongside the Hulk and Captain America. She was clearly being positioned as Marvel's top female hero.
Then, in 1983, after fifty issues of her own series and an earned place in the Marvel Pantheon, her series was abruptly cancelled and her powers and costumed identity removed. Rumor has it that Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter thought a female version of Spidey (even though she really wasn't at all) emasculated Spider-Man himself. This sounds ridiculous, of course, but the fact that Jessica Drew was all but erased from Marvel gives some validity to this rumor.
Nevertheless, Marvel needed to have a character named Spider-Woman floating around occasionally, otherwise they'd lose the copyright. So in the epic crossover miniseries Secret Wars, the same event that introduced Spider-Man's new black costume, Marvel introduced Julia Carpenter, the new Spider-Woman. Although not a terrible character by any means - and with enough personality traits t