In Animal Man #25, the titular hero visits Comic Book Limbo, the place where old,
forgotten characters that no one seems to care about anymore live. Of course,
just because they are there doesn't mean they have to stay there...
FLASH I [Jay Garrick]: 10 Years
After his last solo adventure in
1949, the original Flash continued to appear as a member of the Justice Society
until 1951's All-Star Comics #57 ("The Mystery of the Vanishing
Detectives"). Although briefly mentioned in Showcase #4 as being just a
comic-book character, he appeared for real as a native of a parallel Earth in
1961's Flash #123 ("Flash of Two Worlds").
ANTITHESIS: 11 Years
Although the Teen Titans had first appeared in 1964, their origin was not
given until 1978's Teen Titans #53, which revealed that the team first
formed to rescue the Justice League from an energy being called the Antithesis.
In 1989's Secret Origins Annual #3 the Antithesis returned to exact
revenge on the Titans, but was defeated once more.
PRANKSTER and TOYMAN:
After fighting Superman solo in several Golden Age stories, the
Prankster and Toyman teamed up with Luthor in 1954's Superman #88 ("The
Terrible Trio"), but even this was not enough to beat the Man of Steel. Toyman
returned in 1966's Superman #182 ("The Menace of the Terrible Toyman"),
while Prankster was next seen briefly in 1966's World's Finest Comics #159
("The Cape and Cowl Crooks").
RIP HUNTER: 12 Years
in four issues of Showcase, DC's time-travelling hero got his own comic,
Rip Hunter Time Master, which lasted for 29 issues until 1965. He was not
seen again until 1977's Justice League of America #144, in which the true
origin of the Justice League is shown in flashback, where they and all of
Earth's heroes helped defeat an alien invasion.
JONNY DOUBLE: 12 years
Detective Jonny Double first appeared in Showcase #78, and made
sporadic appearances in various DC titles afterwards. After appearing at a
detective convention in 1986's Crisis on Infinite Earths #11, he returned
in the 1998 Vertigo 4-issue miniseries Jonny Double.
CANARY, DOCTOR MID-NITE, ATOM I [Al Pratt], GREEN LANTERN I [Alan Scott]: 12
After their last solo adventures, these heroes continued to appear as
members of the Justice Society until 1951's All-Star Comics #57 ("The
Mystery of the Vanishing Detectives"). Although briefly seen in flashback in
Flash #129, they did not fully appear until 1963's Flash #137
("Vengeance of the Immortal Villain") - except for Black Canary, who had to
wait until Justice League of America #21 later that same year.
BROTHER BLOOD: 13 Years
The leader of the Church of Blood first
appeared in 1982's New Teen Titans Vol. 1 #21, and was a frequent foe of
the Titans until he was finally defeated once and for all in 1987's New Teen
Titans Vol. 2 #31. Or so it was thought, until 2000's 4-issue miniseries
Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes: Universe Ablaze.
ANIMAL MAN: 13
The Man with Animal Powers appeared in a total of five issues of
Strange Adventures from 1965 to 1967 (#181, 184, 190,
195 and 201), and not again until a guest appearance in 1980's
Wonder Woman #267. Afterwards, he appeared only as a member of the
Forgotten Heroes until receiving his own book in 1988, written by Grant
KILLER MOTH: 14 Years
One of the lamer of Batman's Rogues,
he fought the Caped Crusader three times in 1951 (in Batman #63, #64
and Detective #173) and was not used again until 1965's Justice
League of America #35 ("Battle Against Bodiless Uniforms").
STAR: 14 Years
After fighting Hal Jordan in Green Lantern #37 and
#44 (1965 and 1966), this alien scientist did not fight again until
1980's Green Lantern #131.
CRIME SYNDICATE: 14 Years
interesting as the idea of an evil Justice League is, they did not return after
their 1964 debut (JLA #29-30) until Secret Society of Super-Villains
#13 in 1978. Even then, only three of the original members appeared, with no
explanation as to why Ultraman and Owlman had not been freed from imprisonment
along with the others.
JOHNNY THUNDER: 15 Years
Thunder returned with his fellow Justice Society members in Flash #137,
his last appearance with the team was in 1948's All-Star Comics #39
("Invasion from Fairyland").
WILDCAT [Ted Grant]: 16 Years
appearing in Sensation Comics #1, Wildcat appeared in every issue until
#90 in 1949. He had to wait until 1965 when he made a guest appearance in
Brave and the Bold #62 (a Starman/Black Canary story).
SAVAGE: 16 Years
After just two Golden Age appearances (Green Lantern #10
in 1943 and All-Star Comics #37 in 1947), the immortal villain didn't
get to menace the JSA again until 1963's Flash #137.
After being disfigured again and returning to a life of crime in
1954's Batman #81 ("Two-Face Strikes Again"), Harvey Dent was not seen
again (possibly due to the influence of the Comics Code Authority) until Denny
O'Neil brought him back in 1971's Batman #234 ("Half an Evil").
SOLOMON GRUNDY: 17 Years
After four Golden Age appearances, this
hulking monster retired after his battle with Green Lantern in 1948's Comic
Cavalcade #25 until Showcase #55 in 1965.
RIDDLER: 17 Years
After just two battles with Batman in 1948 (Detective #140 and
142), the Riddler was not used again (gee, I wonder why?) until 1965's
Batman #171 ("Remarkable Ruse of the Riddler"), which was adapted into
the first story of the Batman TV show a year later.
STARMAN I [Ted
Knight]: 18 Years
Starman appeared in Adventure Comics from 1941
until #102 in 1946, but was not revived with the other JSA members until
1964's Justice League of America #29.
SPIRIT KING: 18 Years
Although the JSA vowed to track him down after he murdered the original Mr.
Terrific in 1979's Justice League of America #171-172, this plot thread
went unresolved until 1997. John Ostrander had the Spectre reveal the
supernatural villain's final fate to a suicidal Michael Holt in Spectre
#54, thus inspiring him to become the new Mr. Terrific.
TERRIFIC: 18 Years
First appearing in Sensation Comics #1, Mr.
Terrific appeared in every issue until #63 in 1947. Despite the
character's potential he was not returned until 1965's Justice League of
America #37, and only appeared sporadically until being killed off fourteen
GARGOYLE: 18 Years
After fighting the Titans twice in
Teen Titans #14 and #35 (1968 and 1971), he did not appear again
until 1989's Secret Origins Annual #3, in which he was revealed to be the
first Titans villain, Mister Twister (from Brave and the Bold #54),
transformed by the Antithesis (see above).
CLOCK KING: 18 Years
there are any character who should have stayed in Comic Book Limbo, this is one
of them. After fighting Green Arrow in World's Finest Comics #111 (1960)
and briefly appearing in Justice League of America #5 (1961), the Clock
King would have a rematch with the Emerald Archer in 1979's World's Finest
TIM TRENCH: 19 Years
After appearing in Wonder
Woman #180-182 (1969), detective Trench appeared in back-up stories in
Detective #460-461 (1976), then briefly appeared in Swamp Thing #162
(1996) as a member of Hero Hotline.
STARMAN III (Mikaal Tomas): 19
After one appearance in 1976's First Issue Special #12, this
long-forgotten character was resurrected by James Robinson in 1995 for
Starman. First appearing briefly in #3, he became a regular
supporting character for the rest of the series' run.
SHADE: 19 Years
Despite only appearing once during the Golden Age (Flash Comics #33
in 1942), the Shade was brought back in 1961's Flash #123, and
appeared occasionally before being fleshed out in James Robinson's Starman
PREZ: 19 Years
Proof that all any character needs is a good
writer. Prez Rickard, the first teenage President, had his series canceled in
1974 after only four issues, and guest starred in Supergirl #10 that same
year. In Sandman #54 (1993), Neil Gaiman revealed the story of the rest
of his administration and his eventual fate.
DOCTOR FATE: 19 Years
After his final Golden Age appearance in 1944's All-Star Comics #21
("The Man Who Relived His Life"), even his powerful magic could not free him
from Book Limbo until 1963's Justice League of America #21.
DOCTOR DOUBLE X: 19 Years
One of the more unusual of Batman's
rogues, the costumed villain Dr. X had the ability to created an energy
duplicate of himself, which he dubbed Dr. Double X. After fighting the Caped
Crusader in Detective #261 and #316 (1958 and 1963), he returned
in 1982's World's Finest Comics #276. He has not been seen since a brief
appearance in Batman #400 in 1986 (wonder what a modern version would be
CAPTAIN MARVEL, CAPTAIN MARVEL JR, and MARY MARVEL: 19 Years
Back in the Golden Age, stories of the Marvel Family often outsold those of
Superman. Sadly, declining comic sales and a lawsuit from DC forced Fawcett to
retire them, with Marvel Family #89 (1954) being their last appearance.
Although the characters were revived by DC in 1973's Shazam! #1, they
never really regained the popularity they once enjoyed. One can only imagine
where they would be today if they had been in continual publication.
SANDMAN [Wesley Dodds]: 20 Years
One of the first costumed
crime-fighters, Sandman regularly appeared in Adventure Comics until
#102 in 1946. For some reason, he was not brought back along with the other
JSA members until 1966's Justice League of America #46.
[Rex Tyler]: 20 Years
Hourman's run in Adventure Comics was much
briefer than Sandman's, lasting only until #83 in 1943, but was brought
back much sooner, in 1963's Justice League of America #21.
GENTLEMAN GHOST: 20 Years
After fighting the Golden Age Hawkman four
times, the last in 1949's Flash Comics #103, the Ghost returned to fight
the Silver Age Hawkman in 1969's Atom and Hawkman #43. No explanation was
provided as to how or why he came to Earth-One from Earth-Two.
After Quality Comics canceled his series after 47 issues in 1953,
he was not seen again until 1973's Justice League of America #107
("Crisis on Earth-X").
SPECTRE: 21 Years
Despite the character's
potential, after his last solo appearance in 1945's More Fun Comics #101,
the supernatural hero was not seen again until 1966's Showcase #60, which
also explained the reason for his long absence.
GARGUAX: 21 Years
frequent foe of the original Doom Patrol, the alien would-be conqueror was last
seen in 1967's Doom Patrol #112 and revived in 1988's Doom Patrol #11
(he would be killed off in #18).
BROTHER POWER: 21 Years
Like Prez (see above), this is another example of a character just needing a
good writer. After being blasted off into space in the second and final issue of
his series in 1968, Brother Power finally returned to Earth in 1989's Swamp
Thing Annual #5.
ELEMENT GIRL: 22 Years
After appearing in seven
issues of Metamorpho's first series, the last being in #17 in 1968,
Element Girl was rescued from Limbo by Neil Gaiman in 1990's Sandman
#20…and killed off in that issue.
DINGBATS OF DANGER STREET: 22
Jack Kirby created this?
After one appearance in
First Issue Special #6 (1975), the Dingbats were brought back in
Adventures of Superman #549 (1997).
STALKER: 24 Years
the sword-and-sorcery hero's series was cancelled after four issues in 1975, he
was brought back as a villain in 1999's All-Star Comics miniseries.
PHANTOM LADY: 24 Years
After her last appearance in Quality's
Police Comics #23 (1943), Fox published her stories of from 1947 to 1949.
She was later purchased by DC and revived as a Freedom Fighter member in
Justice League of America #107 ("Crisis on Earth-X").
NIGHTMASTER: 26 Years
After a run in Showcase #82-84 (1969),
the sword-and-sorcery hero was revived in Primal Force #8 (1995).
SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY: 27 Years
Although all the team members
had appearances well after 1945, the team itself was not seen after 1945's
Leading Comics #14 until Justice League of America #100 in 1972.
HUMAN BOMB: 27 years
First appearing in Quality's Police Comics
#1, the Human Bomb appeared in every issue until #58 in 1946. He was
brought back as a Freedom Fighter in Justice League of America #107
("Crisis on Earth-X").
DEADSHOT: 27 Years
After fighting Batman
once in Batman #59 (1950), Floyd Lawton languished in Limbo until rescued
by Steve Englehart in 1977 for Detective Comics #474 (given how well the
character has been written since then, especially in Suicide Squad, you
can't help but wonder why he wasn't revived earlier).
MAD MOD: 28 Years
You had to see it to believe it. After fighting the Titans in Teen Titans
#7 and #17 (1967 and 1968), he was not only revived but reformed when
he reappeared in Dan Jurgens' Teen Titans #2 in 1996 and was made a
regular supporting character for the series' run.
UNCLE SAM: 29 Years
It's really too bad that this one had to spend such a long time in Limbo.
After his final Golden Age appearance in Quality's National Comics #45 in
1944, he was brought back as a Freedom Fighter in Justice League of America
#107 ("Crisis on Earth-X").
BRAIN WAVE: 29 Years
the Justice Society four times in the Golden Age, the last time in 1947's
All-Star Comics #37 as a member of the Injustice Society, Henry King was
retired until being brought back in 1976's All-Star Comics #58.
RAY and BLACK CONDOR: 30 Years
The last two Quality characters to be
brought back as Freedom Fighters in 1973, they both had their last appearances
in 1943 (the Ray in Smash Comics #40 and the Black Condor in Crack
CARL BORK: 34 Years
One of the last characters
you'd expect to be rescued from Limbo. After fighting Batman and the Flash in
1968's Brave and the Bold #81 ("But Bork Can Hurt You"), Kurt Busiek will
revive the character for 2002's Power Company.
MISS ARROWETTE: 34
A laughable character even by the standards of the times, Miss
Arrowette was introduced as a female counterpart (and potential girlfriend) for
Green Arrow. She was not a success, and was dropped after just four Silver Age
appearances (her last being World's Finest #134 in 1963). She was brought
back by Tom Peyer in 1997's Impulse #28 and revealed to have a young
daughter, whom she was trying to make into the new Arrowette. Although meant to
be her only appearance, the new Arrowette has turned out to be one of DC's most
popular characters in recent times. Although fans have speculated that her real
father is Oliver Queen, this has yet to be confirmed or denied
BELLE: 34 years
The Golden Age heroine first appeared in Boy Commandos
#1, then in Star-Spangled Comics until #68 in 1947. Roy Thomas
revived the character as a central member of the All-Star Squadron, beginning
with the preview in Justice League of America #193 (1981).
HUGO STRANGE: 37 Years
After three battles with Batman in the Golden Age,
(Detective #36, 46 and Batman #1), Strange entered Limbo until he was rescued by Steve Englehart in 1977 for Detective Comics #471.
NEPTUNE PERKINS: 37 Years
After just two Golden Age appearances
(Flash Comics #66 in 1945 and #81 in 1947), Roy Thomas brought the
aquatic character back in 1984's All-Star Squadron #33, and later made
him a member of the Young All-Stars.
ULTRA-HUMANITE: 40 Years
fighting Superman in six issues of Action Comics, the last being #21
(1940), the Man of Steel's first supervillain was stuck in Limbo until
1980's Superman Family #201.
MISS AMERICA: 42 Years
Quality heroine appeared in the first seven issues of Military Comics
(1941 to 1942), and was finally brought back by Roy Thomas in All-Star
Squadron #32 (1984).
DOCTOR OCCULT: 47 Years
DC's first costumed
superhero appeared in More Fun Comics until #32 in 1938. Roy
Thomas brought him back in 1985's All-Star Squadron #49.
RIVAL: 51 Years
Chemistry teacher Dr. Edward Clariss duplicated the formula
that Jay Garrick used to gain superspeed and used it to commit crimes. This
Golden Age precursor to Professor Zoom first appeared in 1949's Flash Comics
#104, and was revived in 2000's JSA #16.
STAR SAPHHIRE I: 52
The Golden Age villainess, an inhabitant of a world in the "seventh
dimension" fought the Flash twice, in All-Flash #32 and Comic
Cavalcade #29 (1947 and 1948). She was brought out of Limbo by Mark Waid for
Flash and Green Lantern: the Brave and the Bold #6 (2000), where she
fought the Silver Age Flash and Green Lantern.
GARY CONCORD, ULTRA-MAN:
When Gary Concord lost his parents in World War I, he vowed to
eliminate war. While working towards that goal in his underground bunker, he was
accidentally placed in suspended animation and revived in the 22nd century,
where he picked up his struggle for world peace. Gary Concord appeared in
All-American Comics from 1939 to 1940, and was revived in 1996's
Legionnaires Annual #3.
SPEED SAUNDERS: 58 Years
Speed Saunders first appeared in Detective Comics #1 in 1935, and made
his final appearance in #58 (1941). In 1999, he was revived in the
Sensation Comics one-shot, in which he was revealed to be Hawkgirl's
(Shiera Saunders) cousin. Kendra Saunders, the current Hawkgirl, is his
granddaughter. Note: the Golden Age Hawkgirl's last name had always been spelled
DOCTOR IKER: 58 Years
Mad scientist Iker
fought Hourman once, in 1941's Adventure Comics #64. In 1999's JSA
#5, he was revealed to have reformed and working at Tyler Chemicals.
DOCTOR TOGG: 59 Years
Mad scientist Togg fought Hourman once, in
1940's Adventure Comics #57. In 1999's Hourman #5, his second
encounter with Hourman was told, and later than year in #10 he went up
against the new Hourman.