Who’s New (relatively speaking) in the DCU?

On Thursday I asked for help on Twitter listing the most successful original (non-legacy/revamp) DCU characters created since 1990.

My original thought was to look for characters who had solo series lasting at least 5 years, and all I could come up with was Hitman. Maybe Impulse, depending on how you defined original. I asked on Twitter, and @JCorduroy suggested Harley Quinn, whose solo series didn’t last that long, but who has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the Batman corner of the DCU, and I realized the criteria might be a bit too tight.

Thanks to everyone who’s helped me come up with this list so far:

Characters/Teams with long-running series:

  • Azrael
  • Hitman
  • Impulse*
  • Static (Milestone)
  • Steel*
  • Stormwatch/The Authority (WildStorm)
  • Birds of Prey – new team with pre-existing characters

*I’m not 100% certain Impulse and Steel qualify as original. They’re spinoffs of existing characters, but they’re new roles and identities, so they’re certainly more original than, say, Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl, Tim Drake as Robin, or Linda Danvers as Supergirl.

Characters with less successful or no series, but who have made a major impact:

  • Harley Quinn – import from Batman: The Animated series. Solo series was short, but hard to imagine the Bat-verse without her.
  • Renee Montoya – I’m a little less certain about her than Harley.
  • Bane
  • Doomsday

I’m not counting Young Justice, since there’s so much overlap with the Teen Titans in concept and membership that I’m not sure you can really consider it a new team. A couple of people suggested Resurrection Man, but his series only lasted about two years, and he basically disappeared afterward. We’ll have to see how well the new book does. Chase was also suggested, but sadly her series crashed and burned despite being made of awesome.

So…who am I missing?

Again, I’m looking for original DCU characters created since 1990 that have had a long-running series or made a huge long-term impact on the DCU.

I know there are more Milestone and Wildstorm characters or teams with long-running series, but I’m not familiar enough with them to be able to say which have been the most successful.


9 thoughts on “Who’s New (relatively speaking) in the DCU?

  1. Jesse

    I know these don’t technically count, because they used existing names, but Blue Beetle (Jamie), Manhunter (Kate), and Starman (Jack) & Stargirl are different enough from the originals that it seems like they should be counted. It’s almost like in some cases they had a mostly original character but used an existing legacy name to give it more legs and brand recognition.

    The only other two I thought of were Booster Gold (but maybe he was late ’80s?) and Aztek.

    1. Ben Hall

      Booster Gold was mid to late 1980s. What about the concepts like the Darkstars, The Newer Lantern Corps Such as Red, The D.E.O., Justice League Elite/The Elite?

  2. Mike W.

    Hmm… Hitman is the first character who comes to mind. Also Plastic Man though not original he was greatly revamped and was given an entirely different personality than what I originally thought was the character. JLA did wonders for that character for me. And Bart as Impulse was really just another version of Kid Flash which he eventually became.

    In the 90’s… that is a rough one. Robin-Tim Drake having his own series away from Batman was refreshing. And seeing different identities come forth of different chracters such as Blue Beetle, The Question, Robin, Batgirl to name a few has been refreshing.

    However, back to the original question. There really hasn’t been many new characters who have just taken off and been welcome into the masses. Unless it was on a team book where they were part of the group and you had to take them with all the others.

    Even all the other characters who came along with Hitman like Arsenal and Argyle, and I think Damage was in that series too… can’t remember. In fact I can’t really remember many of them.

    Superboy though not original we found out was a wholly different character than any other who came before him.

    Yeah I think the reason behind now getting many responses is there aren’t very many who were worth remembering. Hopefully Mr. Terrific will be good. I am actually looking forward to that title.

  3. Ben Hall

    The 1994 Legion of Super-Heroes Reboot had some original characters such as Gates.

    The 853rd characters from dc one million while mainly being derivative had some originals. Mainly in a Superman title where the Metal Men’s Platinum tell’s about the superman dynasty and the team-ups that happened. Solaris was created for this series.

    Mitch Shelley the Resurrection Man.

    The Quality Comics Golden Age Version of Quicksilver was reintroduced as Max Mercury. Artemis the Amazon and Brief Wonder Woman Replacement. Neron the deal making devil. All had some impact.

    1. Kelson Post author

      Did any of them have as much, or more, long-standing impact than the ones listed so far?

      I’m not looking for every new character created in the last 20 years. I’m looking for the A-list.

      1. Ben Hall

        Oh! well Hitman would be B or C list as a title within the comics community, DC-Wise.

        Solaris did appear in the All-Star Superman title and DVD Adaption, So I would say he is the same level or higher than Hitman.

  4. Eyz

    It’s harder to find all new characters at both Marvel and DC past the mid-80s…since most are either spinoff characters or exisiting revamped ideas..
    Anyway, going a bit further back here’s some more original ones missing:
    – Ambush Bug
    – Blue Devil
    – The Heckler
    – Vext
    – Chase


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