Marvel: 10 Characters Whose Comics Got Better After The MCU Popularity Boost – CBR – Comic Book Resources

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought new fans to the comics and led to increasing popularity for a few characters.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has introduced an entirely new generation of fans to the comic heroes who have made the jump to live-action. This newfound popularity among mainstream fans has given a boost to a few comic series that have gotten quite a bit better since the MCU debuts of those characters.
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It’s important to note that “better” doesn’t necessarily mean the limited or ongoing comic series were bad before. It just means that the characters’ increased mainstream status has led to higher-profile creators and comics that have capitalized on the MCU boost. We’re going to explore a few of these heroes and their series that have received extra attention after appearing in the MCU.
While Iron Man was a founding Avenger who almost always had an ongoing series, he wasn’t always considered the most profitable of Marvel’s heroes. This is why the character’s film rights were left with Marvel while more popular heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men were sold off to other film studios.
However, after Iron Man helped launch the MCU in 2008, Tony Stark’s status at Marvel began to rise until he became one of Marvel’s most popular heroes. Iron Man became a central figure in most of Marvel’s comic events, which brought in a number of younger fans who fell in love with the character on the big screen first.
Loki is another character who greatly benefitted from his MCU appearance, largely due to Tom Hiddleston’s amazing performance as the God of Mischief. While Loki had appeared in various forms as a villain to Thor and the Avengers over the years, the character’s appearance and attitude changed after the MCU to better resemble Tom Hiddleston’s take on the character.
Loki became an anti-hero in his Loki: Agent of Asgard series and even briefly took over as the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange, though he never lost the mischievous side that made him such a great villain in the comics and the MCU.
The MCU chose to adapt a pre-existing version of Nick Fury from the Ultimate Universe when casting the character for the MCU, which brought Samuel L. Jackson to the fan-favorite role that helped form The Avengers on the big screen. However, the mainstream Marvel universe then introduced a new character in the mainstream comic universe named Marcus Johnson.
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He was revealed to be Nick Fury Jr. in a comic called Battle Scars. Agent Phil Coulson was also introduced for the first time in Battle Scars, bringing Clark Gregg’s universe-bridging character to the comics. When Coulson moved to TV, a comic series based on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show was released that further capitalized on the team’s MCU popularity.
While the character of Black Widow had starred in comics like The Avengers and Daredevil as well as a few limited series over the years, she didn’t receive her own successful ongoing series until she made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2. Black Widow then became a central figure in a number of comic events that even saw her killed and replaced with a clone.
A new hit ongoing series was released in 2020 as well to ride the popularity of the character’s first solo MCU appearance in Black Widowthough the actual movie was delayed until 2021. The film’s use of Yelena Belova/Black Widow II has also seen her status increase in the comics as well as she became the new White Widow.
When Jeremy Renner took on the role of Hawkeye in the MCU, he was based more on the Ultimate version that never really adopted a traditional comic costume as he was a highly-trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. This casual design was taken and improved by Matt Fraction and David Aja in 2012’s Hawkeye, which became the most successful of the character’s solo series.
Hawkeye then spent the next few years working for S.H.I.E.L.D. like his MCU counterpart. His relationship with Young Avenger Kate Bishop that developed in his ongoing series also served as the inspiration for the upcoming Hawkeye MCU series on Disney+ that promises to raise both Hawkeye’s status in the comics even more.
Fans were a little surprised by Marvel Studios’ decision to release a solo Ant-Man movie given the controversial past of the original hero Hank Pym, though the movie decided to focus on Scott Lang instead. Paul Rudd’s performance as the character added a new level of comedy to the MCU that propelled his comic counterpart to a new level of popularity.
Scott Lang received his own ongoing series as Ant-Man for the first time in 2015 after years of working alongside the Avengers or Fantastic Four. He has quickly become the definitive version of the character thanks to his MCU popularity, which is sure to only grow as the trilogy concludes with 2023’s Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania.
The MCU debut of the Guardians of the Galaxy was considered a longshot for Marvel Studios, though the movie quickly became a favorite among fans that led to their increased popularity in other media, including the comics.
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Star-Lord especially benefitted from this boost, though his character was altered quite a bit to match with the live-action version played by Chris Pratt. This led to Star-Lord‘s first modern ongoing series in 2016 and an updated origin that blended his comic history with the MCU version of the character as well.
Black Panther has always been one of Marvel’s more popular characters, having first appeared in Fantastic Four before joining The Avengers and starring in his own ongoing series and a number of follow-up limited series. However, it was after his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War that the character entered into one of his most celebrated runs from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates.
2018’s release of Black Panther on the big screen further increased the character’s popularity in his own series and in The Avengers where he took over as chairman of the team. The movie also led to increased popularity for Dora Milaje characters like Okoye who worked with the Agents of Wakanda as the Avengers support, while also appearing frequently in other comic series.
2012’s release of The Avengers included a jaw-dropping post-credit scene that revealed Thanos as the MCU’s big villain, which further built with each new movie release as the Infinity Stones were also introduced to the MCU. While Thanos had a large presence in the Marvel Universe with events like The Infinity Gauntlet and Annihilation, he began to appear more frequently in the comics.
2017 saw the release of his own hit series Thanos ahead of Avengers: Infinity War that further capitalized on the character’s MCU boost. The Stones also reappeared in a few storylines before they were reformed into new powerful characters like Star and the Prince of Power.
Marvel’s race of powerful Eternals was never the most popular team in the comics, and most of their modern appearances have attempted to reboot or modernize the team to fit better in the Marvel Universe with varying levels of success.
And while the live-action adaptation hasn’t yet hit theaters, the Eternals have already received a boost from the upcoming appearance in the MCU. A new ongoing Eternals series has launched featuring the new MCU versions of the characters, while a separate one-shot called Eternals: Celestia promises to explore their new history in the comics.
NEXT: MCU: 10 Harsh Realities Of Being An Avenger
Entertainment reporter, writer, and all-around geek, Scoot Allan has written for print and online media sources like Geek Magazine, GeekExchange, GrizzlyBomb, WhatCulture, and the Urban 30 before joining CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant and The Gamer as a staff writer. He enjoys salad but prefers french fries.


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