9 Marvel Characters Whose Names Are Taken From Classic Golden Age Characters

9 Marvel Characters Whose Names Are Taken From Classic Golden Age Characters

Summary Marvel Comics roots reach back to Golden Age characters like Ka-Zar, Ghost Rider, and Marvel Boy who were later reimagined in the Silver Age.

Characters like Miss America, Electro, and The Vision have rich histories from the Golden Age reimagined for the modern era in Marvel Comics.

The Human Torch, Black Widow, and The Angel all have origins dating back to the Golden Age, demonstrating how Marvel revives and evolves characters.

What fans think of as Marvel Comics may have officially started in 1961, but the company extends all the way back to the Golden Age of comics. The publication of Marvel Comics #1 featured the first appearances of characters as varied as Namor, the Angel and the Human Torch, although some were very different than the characters modern fans are familiar with…

Known as Timely Comics during the Golden Age, the company published a number of superhero characters to capitalize off the monumental success of Superman. Many of these heroes would return when the “Marvel Age” started up in the 1960’s - most notably Captain America, who was retconned as being frozen in the Arctic in the closing days of WWII. Yet many other characters also date back to the Golden Age, even if all they share with their modern-day counterparts is little more than a name. Never letting even the most obscure piece of I.P. go to waste, here are nine characters who started out in the Golden Age and later had their names repurposed for new Marvel heroes and villains:

9 Ka-Zar

Golden Age Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (1939)Silver Age Appearance: X-Men #10 (1965)


Ka-Zar predates even his comic book appearances, as the character started out in pulp magazines put out by Marvel publisher Martin Goodman. Originally little more than a Tarzan rip-off, Ka-Zar made his comics debut in 1939’s Marvel Comics #1, in which artist Ben Thompson adapted the Ka-Zar pulp story ‘King of Fang and Claw.” The name was later repurposed by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the sixties in X-Men #10, where he was rebooted into Kevin Plunder, the son of an English lord who was stranded in the Savage Land. Along with his partner Shanna the She-Devil and his pet sabretooth tiger Zabu, Ka-Zar remains a major Marvel character to this day.

8 Ghost Rider/Blazing Skull

Golden Age Appearance: Ghost Rider: Tim Holt #11 (1949)/Blazing Skull: Mystic Comics #5 (1941)Silver Age Appearance: Ghost Rider #1 (1967)Bronze Age Appearance: Marvel Spotlight #5 (1972)


Ghost Rider has quite a complicated history, one that extends even beyond comics published by Marvel/Timely. The first Ghost Rider was a western hero who was created by Ray Krank and Dick Ayers and first appeared in 1949’s Tim Holt #11. Marvel would use the name for a new western hero in 1967’s Ghost Rider #1, with original artist Dick Ayers joining writers Roy Thomas and Gary Freidrich. Thomas & Freidrich would again revive the name for the most popular iteration in 1972’s Marvel Spotlight #5, where they were joined by artist Mike Ploog. To further muddy the waters, Johnny Blaze seems to be inspired by the golden age hero Blazing Skull, who was the first hero with a flaming skull head.

7 Marvel Boy

Golden Age Appearance: Martin Burns: Daring Mystery Comics #6 (1940)/Robert Grayson: Marvel Boy #1 (1950)Modern Age Appearance: Marvel Boy #1 (2000)


Several characters have taken the name Marvel Boy throughout the years, with the first created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1940. The alter ego of Martin Burns, this Marvel Boy drew his power from the mythical Hercules, and pretty much disappeared after two appearances. In 1950, Stan Lee and Russ Heath introduced a new version of Marvel Boy, this one the alter ego of Robert Grayson. While other Marvel Boys appeared sporadically thereafter, the most radical reinterpretation came with the young Kree warrior Noh-Varr. Created by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones in Marvel Boy #1, Noh-Varr decided to wage war on Earth after his Kree ship was brought down by the super-villain Doctor Midas.

6 Miss America/America Chavez

Golden Age Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (1943)Modern Age Appearance: Vengeance #1 (2011)


The first Miss America was created by Supergirl co-creator Otto Binder and Al Gabreile, making her debut in 1943. The alter ego of Madeline Joyce, Miss America gained her powers after being exposed to an unnamed experimental device, which gave her increased strength, durability and he ability to levitate due to psionic powers. After the Golden Age Miss America, the most prominent hero to assume her mantle was America Chavez, created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta. The new Miss America hails from alternate dimension known as the Utopian Parallel, and is one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel canon after traveling to the 616 universe and operating covertly as a super-hero after losing her mothers.

5 Electro

Golden Age Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #4 (1939)Silver Age Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #9 (1964)


While most fans know the Spider-Man villain Electro, many are probably unaware of the Golden Age robot who shares his name. Created by Steve Dahlman, Electro was the invention of Professor Philo Zog, a super-robot who routinely fought crime in the Golden Age of comics. When coming up for Spider-Man villains to fight, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko took the name and repurposed it for Max Dillon’s alter ego. The original Electro hasn’t been completely forgotten, as he later had a starring role in The Twelve maxi-series in the late 2000’s.

4 The Angel

Golden Age Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (1939)Silver Age Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963)


The original Angel is one of Marvel’s very first heroes, appearing in Marvel Comics #1 alongside Namor and the Human Torch. Created by artist Paul Gustavson and an unnamed writer, the Golden Age Angel was actually former surgeon Thomas Halloway. After his mother died in childbirth, Halloway was raised in a prison, where he learned various disciplines that he would utilize as a costumed detective. The name was resurrected by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Warren Worthington, III as the X-Men’s winged warrior. Interestingly enough, before he was recruited by Professor X, Worthington operated as an independent superhero the Avenging Angel.

3 The Vision

Golden Age Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (1940)Silver Age Appearance: Avengers #57 (1968)


The original Vision is quite different from the latter day version most fans are familiar with. Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the original Vision was an extra-dimensional being named Arkus. Hailing from a place called Smokeworld, Aarkus was a law enforcement officer who finds himself on Earth during the 1940’s. Roy Thomas and John Buscema took the original name and repurposed it for an entirely new character, the android superhero created by Ultron to infiltrate the Avengers. The Vision of course resisted his programming, becoming one of the most valued and trusted heroes in the entire Marvel Universe.

2 The Human Torch

Golden Age Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (1939)Silver Age Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (1961)


By virtue of appearing on the cover of Marvel Comics #1, the Human Torch could very well be labeled as the very first Marvel superhero. The android creation of Phineas Horton, the original Human Torch was created by writer-artist Carl Burgos, and quickly became one of Timely Comics’ most popular characters, alongside Captain America and Namor. Although the original disappeared following the waning popularity of superheroes following WWII, the name was brought back as the superhero codename of Johnny Storm when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby officially started the Marvel Age with the publication of Fantastic Four #1.

1 Black Widow

Golden Age Appearance: Mystic Comics #4 (1940)Silver Age Appearance: Tales of Suspense #52 (1964)


Black Widow may be the ultimate superspy in present-day continuity, but the original Black Widow operated with an entirely different power-set. Created by George Kapitan and Harry Sahle, Claire Voyant was a spirit medium who became possessed by Satan. After being killed, Voyant became a servant of the Devil, donning the costume of the Black Widow to bring her new master fresh souls of criminals and other evil-doers. While she wasn’t a servant of Satan, Natasha Romanova did start out as an Iron Man villain created by Stan Lee, Don Rico and Don Heck.

Although she originally didn’t have a costume, Romanova eventually reformed and joined the Avengers as a hero, donning a blue costume with a cape and outlandish mask. Artist John Romita, Sr. later refined this design into the black suit she wears to this day, adding her wrist gauntlets that fired everything from tasers to grappling lines. Black Widow is one of the top characters at Marvel Comics to this day, proving that any hero from the past can be reinterpreted in new and exciting ways.

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