We all know how big the comic book movie industry is these days. DC and Marvel have so many characters to work with that sometimes it feels like there’s no room for any new heroes or villains. But somehow, they keep coming up with all sorts of ideas and not just on the comic pages. Movies tend to add new stuff to make the film stand out and feel different. This includes characters never before seen, like Phil Coulson or Luis. At the end of the day, the viewers get so attached that the company has no other choice but to add them to the comics, making them canon.
Here are some of the most prominent comic book characters that originated in movies or cartoons!
1. Bebop and Rocksteady (1987)
TNMT creators, Eastman and Laird, were brainstorming some cool new ideas for toys and figured that mutated warthog and rhino would make for a great addition. It turns out they were not wrong. Bebop and Rocksteady were injected into the TMNT animated show in 1987 and became two of the most recognizable characters in the Turtle universe, on par with Shredder and Krang. The creators could not fathom why these two became such a huge hit, but their more creative characters were left to rot, so to spite the fans, Bebop and Rocksteady did not appear in the 1991 TMNT live-action movie. They were replaced with new and fresh mutants — Rahaz and Tokka, whom nobody remembers without a quick Google search. The bumbling duo was featured on the pages of TMNT comics in 1988.
2. Batgirl (1966)
The 50s were a real ordeal for every comic book publisher in the US. Some guy started spewing nonsense about Superman being a fascist, and Batman and Robin were lovers. Plus, all the violence supposedly turned kids into bloodthirsty monsters. So yeah, not a great time to be a comic fan. But in 1966, Batman got its legendary live-action series which eventually featured a female protagonist that was meant to appease the thirsty boys. That’s how Commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara became Batgirl. In 1967 she first appeared on the pages of Detective Comics and went on to have a huge success.
3. Firestar (1981)
Remember Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends? Probably not, but we don’t blame you. The show debuted 40 years ago on NBC and featured the Web-Head and his two roommates — Iceman and Firestar. Iceman was an established X-Man, but Firestar was a brand-new creation. The producers thought that a fiery lady would be a better fit for the show instead of using Human Torch. Later, she joined the X-men and New Warriors in the comics.
4. Harley Quinn (1991)
The year is 1991. Paul Dini is working on BtAS scripts when suddenly a genius thought glimmers in his mind: “This jester lady will be a phenomenal addition to the Joker mythos!” Well, that’s not true, actually. He had no idea Harley Quinn would blow up this much. Initially, she was just going to be another goon at Joker’s disposal, but the viewers loved her crazy and a little bit naughty attitude. Naturally, the hugely popular character was instantly featured in The Batman Adventures #12 (1992). It took Harleen another 24 years to appear on the big screen in the Suicide Squad (2016). At least she’s not going anywhere for now, and we can all enjoy her wacky adventures in Hollywood.
5. Phil Coulson (2008)
It’s a shocking realization that Clark Gregg’s SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson did not come from some well-known comic book arc. He was first introduced in 2008’s Ironman movie and then became sort of an MCU mascot, appearing in Ironman 2, Captain America 2, and the Avengers, where Loki killed him. Of course, they reanimated him and even gave him his own (criminally underrated) show on ABC — Agents of SHIELD. And due to his insane popularity, Coulson was featured in the comics.
6. Luis (2015)
Luis is a fast-talking criminal with an ungodly amount of charisma. Even without an official last name, Luis, played by Michael Peña, is one of the fan favorites among the secondary MCU characters. The same year that the Ant-Man came out, Luis was transported straight to the pages of the Astonishing Ant-Man #1 (2015). Normally, Marvel doesn’t do this kind of fan service for their brand-new characters. Unless they have some future plans for him. Could it be that in Ant-Man 3, Quantumania Luis will get some sort of a superpower? Just wait and see!
7. X-23 (2003)
Laura Howlett was created by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost in 2003 when they needed a cool stand-in for Wolverine in the X-Men: Evolution series. She’s a female version of Wolvie with some very noticeable differences like her gender (obviously), the claws, and her age. Laura was meant to become the perfect assassin, but the X-Men took her in. Since then, she’s been featured in thousands of X-Men titles and eventually took over the mantle of Wolverine. In 2017 we finally saw X-23 on the big screen, and we really hope to see her again sometime soon.