Once upon a time, Marvel Comics got the comic book rights to, of all things, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Anyone who’s seen that movie knows it’s, well, an odd choice for any sort of adaptation for younger readers, but it still happened. It was also an ongoing series. Where do you take a story like that once you’ve recounted the story from the movie? This wasn’t Star Wars with the promise of ongoing adventures for the characters. Part of the answer for writer/artist Jack Kirby was to create a new character that would cross over to the main Marvel Universe, namely Machine Man.
That was not the only time a licensed character got into the main universe. That also happened with Bug.
The Justice League has been DC’s all-star team from its earliest founding. That is, unless you’re aware that the original purpose was to give exposure to the company’s lesser-known heroes, which would be why Superman and Batman only made sporadic appearances in the early missions because they were too busy to actually attend missions and meetings.
Some days I wish I could use that excuse to get out of meetings.
But, you know, in retrospect, the League was the all-star team. Then, around 1984 or so, Aquaman told the big names to take a hike if they were too busy to help and recruited some new heroes to fill the ranks for a period while operating out of Detroit. Those new recruits included Gypsy.
90s era Marvel comics have a reputation. The guys who founded Image Comics were cutting their teeth there, and the characters they worked on seemed to take on many of the sorts of things fans today bemoan but which must have been selling back then, hence the reason for so many of them. They were massive guys with guns, pouches, and bad-ass names and powers. Bishop. Cable. Ghost Rider. X-Force. Venom. I think the Punisher had three separate titles going at one point. Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man series showed the Hobgoblin going nuts, thinking he was a real goblin, finding religion, and ripping his own face off.