Marvel Comics as we know it today started in 1961. The first comics printed under this banner were the Journey into Mystery sci-fi anthology comics and the humor magazine Patsy Walker. From there, Marvel slowly grew into the behemoth we know today, publishing thousands of comics along the way.
While some of these comics spawned world-famous characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, or Captain America, others have introduced characters who have fallen into the memory hole. Marvel history is full of characters who came, made little impact, and then vanished without a trace.
So if you want to look like a Marvel expert next time you have a Marvel watch party with your friends, here are 10 of the most obscure characters in Marvel history.
Hellcow, or Bessie as she is also known, made her debut in Giant-Size Man-Thing #5 in 1975. Bessie was a normal cow living in Switzerland. Until one day, Dracula made his way through the area.
Dracula was desperate for blood, but the locals had all barricaded themselves inside, preventing Dracula from feeding on them. Unable to think of any other solution, Dracula fed on Bessie the cow, totally draining her before leaving her for dead. Of course, the next night, Bessie rose from the grave as Hellcow, literally a cow with vampiric powers.
Bessie has made several appearances in the Marvel universe, facing off against Howard the Duck and joining forces with Deadpool as part of his Deadpool Inc. group.
9. Arkon The Magnificent
Despite having a name that makes him sound like a magician, Arkon more closely resembles Conan The Barbarian. Arkon was born in the extradimensional world of Polemachus, a place that glorifies war and violence, where the greatest warrior is the one in charge.
However, all is not well in Polemachus, as it turns out that their world is dying and the only way to save it is to nuke the Earth. Because of this, Arkon reaches through reality and influences Scarlet Witch, tricking her into opening a portal between Earth and Polemachus, allowing him to come across and steal nuclear weapons. This leads to many trips between Earth and Polemachus for Arkon and the Avengers, as they often clash over atomic technology.
Debuting in Captain America #308 in 1985, the Armadillo, as the name suggests, is a man who resembles a gigantic Armadillo. The Armadillo is Antonio Rodriguez, a man who was desperate to save his critically ill wife. Antonio met scientist Dr. Karlin Malus and agreed to be Malus’ test subject if Malus attempted to cure his wife.
Malus combined Antonio’s DNA with Armadillo’s DNA, giving him claws, super strength, and super durability. Armadillo has since appeared in many series, facing off against the West Coast Avengers, the New Warriors, and most New York-based heroes. He also joined Hydra and the Sinister 16. Recently he’s appeared in the MODOK TV series.
Bi-Beast’s design is super memorable as it is literally a giant android with two heads stacked on top of each other. The top skull has knowledge of warfare, while the lower head holds information about culture. It was created by the Bird People, who themselves were a sub-species of the Inhumans. However, when the Bird People went extinct, Bi-Beast was left alone on the island of Aerie.
Bi-Beast ended up fighting the Hulk when he captured both Harpy and Bruce Banner. However, when Hulk got the upper hand, the Bi-Beast self-destructed, taking Aerie with it. However, there was a second Bi-Beast, that would continue to fight heroes. This duplicate even joined the Sinister Sixteen for a short period.
6. Mr. Smile
First seen in Dr. Strange #5 in 2020, Mr. Smile has an utterly fantastic design, resembling a cross between Slenderman, The Babadook, and an Alice In Wonderland character due to his massive porcelain-like head, massive smile, and Victorian suit.
Working with his friend Mr. Sulk, he was able to break into the Furnaces of Nidavellir and forge a weapon called the Mallet of Entropy, which allowed him to destabilize atoms. Mr. Smile and Mr. Sulk tried to fight Dr. Strange with their magical abilities and their brand-new weapons. However, Strange was able to defeat the creatures and imprison them in the Dungeon Dimension, where they remain to this day.
5. 3-D Man
The red and green 3-D Man was first seen in Marvel Premiere #35 in 1977. 3-D Man was composed of the brothers Hal and Chuck Chandler. Chuck was a test pilot who, while testing a rocket plane, got abducted by the Skrulls. However, Chuck was able to escape and blow up the Skrull base. This explosion exposed Chuck to a large amount of radiation, vaporizing him. Hal rushed to the crash site of his brother’s plane only to find that an image of Chuck had been imprinted on his glasses, as Chuck was now a 2-dimensional person. However, if Hal concentrated, he could focus on Chuck and allow him to take on the form of 3-D Man. While 3-D Man, Hal falls unconscious, and his and Chuck’s consciousness fuse. 3-D Man has three times the abilities of an average male, making him extremely strong, fast, and clever. However, he can only remain 3D for 3 hours.
Chuck tried to retire as 3-D Man many times. However, he kept getting pulled back into action, first by the Grandmaster and later the Triple-Evil.
4. Baron Karza
First seen in 1979’s Micronauts #1, Baron Karza hails from a planet in the Microverse called Homeworld. Karza is extremely intelligent, being both a scientific prodigy and a talented bio-engineer. He used these skills to invent his robotic “body banks,” which allowed him to take over Homeworld. A land he now rules with an iron fist.
This comic series was made to promote the Microverse toy line. To most modern audiences, Baron Karza looks like a Darth Vader knock-off. However, the toy uses recycled molds from a line of toys based around Steel Jeeg, one of Go Nagai’s super robot shows. The Micronauts line crossed over with X-Men, Captain Marvel, and Iron Man before it was discontinued.
3. Mortigan Goth
In the 1990s, Marvel had a UK-exclusive imprint called Frontier. This imprint introduced many new supernatural series and characters, and it is a goldmine for forgotten Marvel characters. However, Mortigan Goth is one of the most memorable.
Introduced in Mortigan Goth: Immortalis #1 in 1993, Mortigan is a strange-looking occultist who, in an attempt to avoid the Black Death, made a deal with Mephisto to get immortality. However, when Mephisto starts to torture Mortigan’s soul, Mortigan starts to resist him and fight back, working with Doctor Strange and Wolverine over his short existence in the Marvel Universe. A talented magical user Mortigan’s lack of a soul makes him nearly invincible. However, it also means that he doesn’t appear in mirrors, making him feel like a unique take on a vampire hero.
2. Oort The Living Comet
Part of the Legion of Unliving, Oort was first seen in Avengers West Coast (Vol. 2) #61 in 1990. Resembling an old-timey astronaut crossed with a monster from a 1960s Sci-fi B-movie, Oort could fire plasma bursts from his hands.
When Quicksilver first encountered Oort, Oort told him that he was one of Quicksilver’s foes in the future. Also, in this future, Quicksilver was very protective of the Scarlet Witch. While Oort was able to defeat Quicksilver, the entire Legion of Unliving was quickly defeated by the Avengers, putting a stop to his plans.
Interestingly, Oort would be mentioned once more. During the Destiny War, a future version of Songbird said she had encountered both Oort and his Solar Squadron just before jumping back in time. However, we’ve never seen these events actually play out.
1. Mean Cuisine
Mean Cuisine is an unforgettable Marvel character, as it is literally a massive load of sentient vegetables that have joined together like a grocery store version of Voltron. Only seen in What The–?! #11 from 1991, Mean Cuisine was made out of vegetables that had grown in radioactive clay made by the Pup-Pest Master. When these vegetables were later exposed to Sheeza-Hulk’s bio-radioactivity, they gained sentience and grouped together to form Mean Cuisine.
Mean Cuisine quickly formed a group called the Lunch Legion with other sentient food and attacked Sheeza-Hulk. However, Sheeza-Hulk quickly realized that Mean Cuisine’s weakness was being eaten and devoured the creature without care for its sentience.
With the Marvel Universe going in a more surreal direction lately, maybe we’ll finally see the return of this totally delicious and utterly memorable monster.