Before the dawn of the MCU, DC had about 10 times the number of household names as its esteemed competition at Marvel. With the launch of Iron Man in 2008, however, the Marvel characters saw their fanbase increase tenfold. The characters who gained popularity took it back with them to the world of comics.
The MCU simply wasn't afraid to use obscure characters. In some cases, as with the Guardians of the Galaxy, these characters were heroes who were featured at one time and then put to the side. In any case, when fans latched onto certain characters from the films, they expected to see them when they eventually made the jump to the world of comics - so it was up to Marvel to figure out a way to shoehorn those characters back into its publishing schedule. In some cases, massive changes were made in order to match the film universe.
The following is a collection of characters who saw the most significant benefits in the world of comics following their newfound Hollywood fame. Vote up the characters that deserve all the new popularity that's come their way.
Before The MCU: The original Guardians of the Galaxy team dates back to 1968 and has virtually no relation to the characters featured in the films. For those characters, you'll have to look to the 2008 Abnett and Lanning take on the series. These new Guardians came together after Marvel's massive Annihilation event and decided to stay together to prevent a further disaster on that scale. While this series was incredible, it didn't last long, ending after two years in relative obscurity.
After The MCU: With the announcement of a Guardians of the Galaxy film being in development in 2012, Marvel Comics dusted off the franchise and assigned top-tier writer Brian Michael Bendis to oversee the new series. To give you an idea of how the previous series had done, even Bendis hadn't read it before taking over Guardians. When the film came out, Guardians mania was in such a frenzy that Marvel started to branch out into solo series focusing on the individual characters, including Legendary Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon. Even Yondu got his own series for a time. While the solo series come and go, you can expect a new Guardians of the Galaxy comic on the shelf every month for the foreseeable future.14518Well-deserved popularity?
Before The MCU: Black Panther has been a major player in the world of Marvel since his earliest appearances in the '60s. To give an idea of how crucial he is, when the most influential leaders of the Marvel Universe convened in a group known as the Illuminati, he received an offer to join (which he turned down). Even though he's been a big part of the Avengers over the years, his star was more or less fading in the 2010s.
After The MCU: With his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther's fandom experienced a massive boost. For the first time in six years, he had his own series again. Out in the real world, his star was growing to incredible heights. His merch could be found in department stores, and "Wakanda Forever" was something you could hear on the street. Recently, Black Panther has even received a B-comic - something normally only given to franchise tentpoles like Batman and Spider-Man - called Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda. His film's supporting cast has also received their fair share of benefits from the film, with Shuri and Killmonger both starring in their own titles. Outside of his own comic, Black Panther is once again an active Avenger and plays a large part in Jason Aaron's Avengers series.11111Well-deserved popularity?
Before The MCU: Loki has been terrorizing Thor for thousands of years, and just like his depiction in the MCU, he's the reason the Avengers got together in the first place. Needless to say, he's been a big deal for a while, even before the MCU.
After The MCU: When the Loki of the MCU became a bad boy antihero, Loki of the comics followed suit. No longer was he always the troublemaker; he now made attempts to become the God of Story instead of just evil. This Loki also used his newfound popularity to launch multiple attempts at solo series of his own, no longer relegated to simply playing the villain in Thor comics.8810Well-deserved popularity?
Before The MCU: Unlike her depiction in the film, Black Widow is not a founding member of the Avengers. She didn't join the team until issue #111, which is pretty deep into the book. While she has played a role in significant events throughout the Avengers' history, including in Civil War, if you're picking all-time best comic book Avengers, she just isn't on the team.
After The MCU: Because of the character's prominent position as a founding MCU Avenger, Black Widow is hardly ever without her own solo series. In fact, six different Black Widow solo series have launched since her character joined the MCU. She was also back on the main Avengers team for the first time in a while with the launch of Avengers Assemble, a comic book featuring the core members of the MCU's original Avengers film.8717Well-deserved popularity?