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    Superman 
  • Jimmy Olsen is perhaps the earliest well-known example; he originated on the Superman radio show (though an unnamed copy boy briefly appeared earlier in the comics).
  • Kryptonite also debuted on the radio show, though it was used earlier (as "K-Metal") in an unpublished comic book story.
  • Perry White, editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, also first appeared on radio and transitioned to the comics in 1940. The name Daily Planet was a radio show invention as well. As with Jimmy Olsen, the comic had had proto-versions of them, with George Taylor, editor of the Daily Star. When Silver Age comics would declare Superman's Golden Age adventures to have happened on the parallel Earth 2, the names George Taylor and the Daily Star were retained there, even though the names Perry White and Daily Planet had actually been used through most of the Golden Age.
  • Inspector Henderson first appeared in the Superman radio series in the 1940s and later in The Adventures of Superman television series in the 1950s. He eventually appeared in the Superman comics in the 1970s. Since then he has turned up in Lois & Clark, Superman: The Animated Series and Black Lightning. Since the later adaptations all give him a Race Lift, the comics, having promoted the original Bill Henderson to Commissioner, introduced the African-American Inspector Mike Henderson.
  • Clark Kent turning into Superman in a phone booth is "Common Knowledge", but it almost never happened in the comics and in fact originated in the 1940s Fleischer cartoons. Other immigrants from the Fleischer shorts included Superman flying (because merely "leaping tall buildings in a single bound" looks silly in motion) and X-ray vision, as well as the mantra, "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane!" etc.
  • Professor Pepperwinkle from the 1950s The Adventures of Superman TV series is a similar case. He made his first appearance in the comics in 1974. This was probably helped by the fact that the TV series was commonly rerun in syndication, so readers who weren't alive in the 1950s were still likely to recognize him.
  • The often-mocked (but beloved by some) Supermobile was originally based on a 1970's toy made by Corgi. It only had a handful of appearances in the comics (because readers complained it was silly), but it appeared in several episodes of Super Friends. note 
  • Eve Teschmacher, Luthor's female accomplice from the original Superman film, showed up in Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth-2 graphic novel as Lex's secretary. She later made a full appearance in the 2019 Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen maxi-series.
    • Otis, Luthor's henchman from the same film, showed up in Young Justice as the head of Lex's security detail. He's also Lex's P.A. in the Smallville continuation comics (where his surname is "Berg"). And he had a cameo as a LexCorp security guard in the mainstream DCU's Forever Evil comic. Lex had a henchman in an episode of the Super Friends named Orville Gump who resembles Otis.
  • Ursa and Non from the movie didn't come to the comics until 26 years later. However, they were based on Quex-Ul and Faora, two Phantom Zone criminals from the comics. Zod was an amalgamation of the comics' Zod and Jax-Ur.
  • The 2018 Superman relaunch by Brian Bendis introduced Nuclear Man from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace into the DC Universe.
  • Most of the original characters in Superman: The Animated Series were simply expies of existing DCU characters (e.g., Luminus and Mala, for Dr. Light and Faora/Ursa), but a few exceptions have had staying power in other media:
  • Smallville: Following the Infinite Crisis reboot of The DCU, Clark Kent spent his teenaged years dealing with various mutant villains created by the Green Rocks that accompanied his spaceship. Also, Luthor grew up in Smallville (though this had already been established in a previous storyline, it has been repeatedly retconned back and forth).
    • DC Comics has made several in-continuity winks to the character of Lionel Luthor, Lex's father. In one instance, Lex hired an actor to play the part of his foster father in order to enroll him at Smallville High School. The actor in question bore a physical resemblance to John Glover. It has since been established that Lionel Luthor is Lex's legitimate father in canon DC Comics continuity. However, instead of being a wealthy businessman, the comic book version of Lionel was a blue collar alcoholic.
    • Ma and Pa Kent have also been consistently redrawn to resemble elderly versions of Annette O'Toole and John Schneider (as well as appearing in flashbacks as they did in the series).
    • There were plans for Chloe Sullivan to make the jump to the comics following Infinite Crisis, but ultimately it fell through. (At one point Word of God noted that it was hard to find a role for her, Lana Lang and Lois Lane were already fulfilling the "friend from home" and "Intrepid Reporter" roles, respectively.) She eventually showed up in a Jimmy Olsen feature, though the current... troubles faced by Alison Mack may spell the end for any future Chloe appearances.
  • The pre-Crisis Superwoman, Kristin Wells, first appeared as a time traveling historian in Elliot S! Maggin's Superman novel Miracle Monday.
  • Alexis Luthor was introduced in the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon as the descendant of Lex Luthor. In The Just #1, Grant Morrison made her canon as the daughter of Earth-16's Lex Luthor. Incidentally, the Post-Crisis Luthor had a daughter Lena, named after his foster sister.
  • National City, Supergirl's home base in her 2015 TV series, was brought into the comics in The Final Days of Superman, and serves as her home base in Supergirl (Rebirth). Her foster parents Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers also first appeared in her TV show. Her enemy Selena hails from her 1984 film feature.
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    General DC Comics 
  • Kingdom Come:
    • A number of characters have found their way into the main DCU continuity, including Cyclone, the female Judomaster, and Magog.
    • The KC version of Superman fell through a Negative Space Wedgie into the main universe.
    • In a less literal sense, for years many characters were written to resemble the Kingdom Come versions of themselves more; Nuklon becoming Atom Smasher, Mary Marvel's costume change, and more.
    • Wonder Woman was revealed to own a suit of armor like the one she wore in Kingdom Come. Since she's plenty tough without it, her donning the armor is now treated a signal that things have gotten really dangerous.
    • And prior to the above Negative Space Wedgie KC Superman Batman and Wonder Woman came to the past to meet their mainstream counterparts.note  Now it's an alternate earth where the events happened concurrent to our present.
      • The Kingdom story didn't establish it as "the official future", instead it was the story that introduced the little-used concept of Hyper-Time. The Kingdom Come characters assumed they were the actual future incarnations of the characters, only to find out by the coda that they were actually just visitors from a vast tapestry of alternate timelines which sometimes feed into the canonical DC Universe. Sharp-eyed readers will recall that clues were being planted that something screwy was going on with the DCU Timeline as far back as the New Years Evil and DC One Million stories.
    • The KC version of the Joker's Daughter appears on Earth-16 in The Just #1.
    • Red Robin was a uniform and code name introduced on an older Dick Grayson in Kingdom Come, two other Robins (Jason Todd and Tim Drake) have gone on to use the name in regular continuity.
  • Más y Menos from the Teen Titans animated series were original characters for the TV show who have since made appearances in the comics. Cinderblock and Billy Numerous were also created for the show before appearing in the comics.
    • The cartoon's version of Gizmo also made the move. Similar to the below-mentioned Ultimate Nick Fury making the move to the classic Marvel Universe, he was introduced as the son of the original Gizmo.
    • The 2015 Starfire series brought Silkie (now called "Syl'Khee"), Starfire's pet worm from the cartoon, into the DC canon.
    • A number of Teen Titans characters got Canon Immigrant costumes, finding themselves redesigned to resemble their animated counterparts.
    • Decades after changing his name from Beast Boy to Changeling, Garfield Logan went back to the Beast Boy name after the animated series debuted, and also adopted his animated counterpart's purple costume.
  • Isis from the TV series Secrets of Isis was introduced as an inhabitant of Captain Marvel's world of Earth-S, back in the days of the original multiverse. Decades later, the series 52 features a version of the character as a probationary member of the Marvel Family, though she meets her end in Week Forty-Four. She gets resurrected by Felix Faust in a later miniseries.
  • Superfriends
    • Wendy and Marvin were introduced in The DCU in 2006 as caretakers of Titans Tower. However, they were super-genius, black-haired twins, so they had really little to share with the originals (not necessarily a bad thing). In an ironic twist, they were viciously mauled by Wonder Dog, resulting in a dead Marvin and paraplegic Wendy. Although, to be precise, the dog they adopted turned out to be a shape-shifting monster controlled by some villain. Oh, and their dad's the Calculator. Wendy later went on to appear as a major supporting character in Batgirl (2009), but was written out of the book just prior to its cancellation. After their comic book debut, the two were also brought over into the Young Justice animated series.
    • The Global Guardians originated in the Superfriends tie-in comic, before they made a proper in-continuity debut in a 1982 issue of DC Comics Presents.
    • Samurai, a Japanese superhero introduced in the same cartoon, would later be brought into the DCU during Brightest Day.
    • Before that, the Wonder Twins were members of the Justice League International spinoff group Extreme Justice, and reserve members of Young Justice. The Wonder Twins finally received their first ongoing series in 2019, which also saw the official DCU debut of Gleek, their pet monkey from the cartoon.
    • Apache Chief, Samurai, and El Dorado were also brought over into Young Justice, albeit with modernized, less-stereotypical personalities and origins. And in Samurai's case, a Gender Flip.
    • Minus the Gender Flip, it had happened before that in Justice League Unlimited, with the Ultimen. In fact, Young Justice's version of Apache Chief, a teenager of Apache descent named Tye Longshadow, even has the same voice actor as JLU's own Apache Chief pastiche... who was known as Long Shadow.
    • A one off villain from the 70s Superfriends comics named Kingslayer appeared in 2016's Superman #48.
    • El Dorado makes his first major canon DCU appearance in February 2017's "Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller # 5".
  • Jackson Hyde/Kaldur'ahm, the second Aqualad and son of Black Manta, was introduced during Brightest Day months before the Young Justice cartoon show he was created for debuted (thus making this case similar to the Barbara Gordon Batgirl, who was created for the 1960s Batman (1966) show but debuted in the comics first).
  • The sentient space cruiser Aya was introduced in the Green Lantern comics just prior to the New 52. Aya was created for Green Lantern: The Animated Series, but like Batgirl and Aqualad, appeared in the comics first. She also showed up in the Smallville: Season 11 comics.
  • Persephone, one of the Amazons from the Wonder Woman animated movie, appeared in several issues of Gail Simone's Wonder Woman run. This was likely due to Simone having written an early draft of the film's script.
  • The Protector originated in the animated Teen Titans anti-drug PSA from The '80s, and has since appeared in a few cameos in the comics, including in Heroes in Crisis where he was one of the murdered heroes. He also showed up in Teen Titans Go! and Tiny Titans.
  • The blonde, Cathy Lee Crosby version of Wonder Woman from Wonder Woman (1974) was made canon in Infinite Crisis as the Wonder Woman of Earth-462. Likewise, Drusilla, the Canon Foreigner Wonder Girl from the live-action show, appeared as her sidekick.
    • During the first season of the show, the comic relocated to World War II / Earth-2 to match and introduced the comics' version of General Blankenship, Diana and Steve's superior officer in the show.
    • Sameer, Chief and Charlie from Wonder Woman (2017) joined the DC Universe in Wonder Woman (Rebirth) as part of a special A.R.G.U.S. squad called the Oddfellows.
    • Similar to some of the MCU examples below, Mystik U introduced a black version of Artemis who was modeled after the version seen in Wonder Woman (2017). She even says she's a big fan of Ann Wolfe, the actress who played Artemis in the movie.
  • Partial example: Tommy Merlyn was introduced to the New 52 Green Arrow shortly after Arrow started. The timing and new first name can't be accidental, though the dark archer known only as Merlyn has long been a foe of GA. In the end, Arrow's Tommy Merlyn isn't the villain we know and love. His father, Malcolm Merlyn, is the Big Bad of season one.
    • Diggle has also made the jump from Arrow to the New 52 comic. Season 7 made this a case of Expy Coexistence as Diggle was really a Canon Character All Along: John Stewart.
    • Another partial example: Felicity Smoak already existed in the DC universe as a minor character, the stepmom of Firestorm. The New 52 introduces a new Felicity Smoak, one that looks almost exactly like Emily Bett Rickards.
  • The Multiversity Guidebook #1 confirms that the Justice Lords from the Justice League animated series reside on Earth-50, replacing the Wildstorm Comics characters that had been moved to Earth-0 by Flashpoint.
  • Torpedo Man, The Claw and Magneto (no not the one from the X-Men) from the 60's Aquaman cartoon showed up in 1967's Aquaman #36.
  • DC Rebirth and several succeeding stories reveal that Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan has come to the main DC Universe. The rest of the Watchmen cast follow in Doomsday Clock.
  • Back in 1941, The Adventures of Captain Marvel had Billy being given the power of Shazam while on an expedition to Siam led by a John Malcom, and gave him a friend named Whitey. Malcom and Whitey were both introduced to the comics in Whiz Comics #22 the same year, and Whitey would become a recurring character. Interestingly, the comic story treats the serial as canon, at least in Broad Strokes, even though it not only reworks Cap's origin, but ends with the wizard taking the powers back because Billy no longer needs them!
  • DC Comics Bombshells:

    Marvel Comics 
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson first appeared in the films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and The Avengers. He has since appeared in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, and later, both the Ultimate Marvel and the main 616 universe.
  • From X-Men: Evolution:
    • X-23, who was a cute, female clone of Wolverine, similarly crossed the animated series/comic book barrier (and appears in Marvel vs. Capcom 3).
    • She wasn't the only original character on the team, but was much more popular than Spyke, Storm's nephew who was essentially a male Marrow who even joined the Morlocks at one point. However, he did inspire two similar characters. A modified version of Spyke named "the Spike" was a member of the Milligan-Allred version of X-Force, but he fell prey to the team's infamously high mortality rate. More recently, a canon nephew for Storm named David Munroe was introduced, though it has not yet been revealed if he is a mutant.
  • The mutant superhero Firestar was created for Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (issues with the rights to Fantastic Four characters scuttled the original plans for the Human Torch, who's canonically a long-time friend of Spidey) and, like Spidey's other amazing friend Iceman, was supposed to be a former member of the X-Men. She was imported into the Marvel Universe in X-Men #193, had her own limited series, and later served as a member of the New Warriors and The Avengers.
  • In The Fantastic Four (1978), the Human Torch was replaced by a Robot Buddy named "H.E.R.B.I.E.", not (as one rumour stated) because the producers were afraid children would immolate themselves trying to imitate the Torch, but because there was a solo Human Torch movie deal in the works at the time. Assorted versions of HERBIE have since appeared in the comics as an example of the sort of random stuff Reed Richards invents between adventures. (In the most recent cartoon, "Herbie" is the name of Reed's computer, a capacity he appeared in in Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes first, being the Baxter Building's AI similar to JARVIS in the Iron Man movies.
    • Herbie is currently Franklin Richards' robot guardian, at least in the Franklin Richards one-shots and Power Pack minis.
    • HERBIE's been depicted pretty regularly lately as a model of robot that Reed produced dozens of to perform various odd jobs around the Baxter Building.
    • In the alternate future of the Marvel Comics 2 universe, Reed has seemingly transplanted his brain into a HERBIE robot. He's actually operating it remotely from the Negative Zone.
  • In X-Statix, Latin Lover El Guapo was a character added to the X-Statix movie to help it appeal to a broader audience (there aren't many traditionally attractive men on the team), and to hold the Conflict Ball by, in being so handsome, disrupting the other characters' relationships. However, the actor playing him is an actual mutant who eventually is asked to join the team for real as El Guapo. He proceeds to do the exact things movie El Guapo was created for, completely on accident.
  • The 90s' X-Men animated series gave another interesting example in Morph. He was based on a comics character, Changeling, who had been killed in the 1960s, and was Killed Off for Real in the pilot to shock everybody. He proved so popular in his brief screentime that not only was he brought back to life in the cartoon, but an AU version of Changeling who went by the codename Morph was introduced in the comics.
    • Two of them!
  • Reptil, originally a character created just for The Superhero Squad Show toyline (which came before the show, remember), was introduced in the comics in an Initiative special in early 2009. He then became a student at Avengers Academy the following year, just barely getting a main character spot in a book before the TV show debuted. As a Hispanic character, he filled a demographic need, and, as a Fun Personified Promoted Fanboy who can transform into dinosaurs, brought something unique to the table.
  • The Next Avengers debuted in a direct-to-DVD animated film before appearing in the first arc of Brian Bendis' Heroic Age relaunch of the main Avengers book a few years later. They later showed up in Avengers World (a companion book to Jonathan Hickman's Avengers run) as well.
  • The Mutant Response Division, or M.R.D., first appears in Wolverine and the X-Men, and has since been introduced in the main X-Men comics continuity starting in mid-2010, and has also spread to a mention in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!.
  • J.A.R.V.I.S., the AI that replaces Edwin Jarvis in the Iron Man films, has since appeared in the comics as the internal computer of Pepper's armor. Apparently, the comics version's personality is modeled on the human Jarvis.
  • In a manner similar to Aqualad and Reptil, the new Nova, Sam Alexander, was created for the Ultimate Spider-man animated series and was introduced into the comics during the Avengers vs. X-Men crossover event. His animated teammate, White Tiger (aka Ava Ayala) was created for the comics, but Marvel liked the idea of the character so much that they immediately worked her into the cartoon, before her first appearance had even been published.
  • The Anton Vanko version of Whiplash was introduced in the comics in order to have a version of the character similar to the unique take on Whiplash seen in Iron Man 2.
  • Sophie "Chat" Sandoval, a mutant who Speaks Fluent Animal, first appeared in Marvel Adventures Spider-Man as a friend of the teenaged Emma Frost, and later the teenaged Peter Parker's girlfriend. A couple of years later, she was introduced to mainstream Marvel in Spider-Girl (the Anya series) #4.
  • Arno Stark was originally introduced as Iron Man 2020, Tony Stark's descendant from an alternate future. Kieron Gillen brought Arno into the official Earth-616 canon as Tony's long-lost older brother. He eventually became Iron Man in comics published in the year 2020.
  • Raza was originally created for the first Iron Man movie as a Race Lifted Expy of Wong-Chu from the comics. In the 2010 Invincible Iron Man Annual, the Mandarin, while talking about his past, also talks about Iron Man's origin, and mentions Raza being there. The Ten Rings, the terrorist organization Raza worked for, officially became canon in Ironheart #1.
  • The Age of Apocalypse saw three straight examples: Abyss, who is a hero in the classic Marvel Universe; Emma Stead, a member of the Hellfire Club's London branch, whose AoA counterpart was Damask; and Genocide, whose counterpart is Holocaust.
  • When the original Guardians of the Galaxy went back in time, Vance Astro talked his younger self out of joining the Air Force and caused the premature emergence of the latter's telekinesis, causing his universe to become an alternate timeline. The mainline Marvel Universe version of Vance Astro is the New Warriors / Avengers member known as Justice.
  • Takuya Yamashiro, the Japanese version of Spider-Man from the Toei Animation live-action show, was officially brought into the Marvel Multiverse during the Spider-Verse crossover event.
  • Though he is never named as such, a villain clearly based on the Fifth Avenue Phantom from Spider-Man (1967) once tangled with Spider-Girl.
  • Melinda May, Leo Fitz, and Jemma Simmons originated in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. before being made canon in the comics.
    • Grant Ward gets added later on too. Unlike his TV counterpart, he is introduced as a villain from the outset, since his addition didn't happen until over two years after the airing of the TV episode that revealed he'd been Evil All Along, meaning everyone who cared presumably already knew.
    • Essentially all the leading original characters from Agents of SHIELD have made it into the comics, except for Skye who turned out to be the MCU version of Daisy Johnson.
    • Jiaying also made the jump in one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary one-shots, while Gordon (the eyeless Inhuman) appeared in the Uncanny Inhumans series.
  • White Fox is a South Korean heroine originally created as a Canon Foreigner for a South Korean webtoon called Avengers: Electric Rain. She proved popular enough in her native country that she was brought over into the mainstream Marvel canon during the All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch.
  • Marvel worked with video game company Kabam to develop Guillotine, a heroine from France. The character was added as one of the playable fighters in the Marvel Contest of Champions game shortly after debuting in the comics.
  • Red Widow was created for the prose novel Black Widow: Forever Red before migrating over to the comics. Like the Batgirl and Aqualad examples, she actually appeared in the comics a few months before the novel was in stores.
  • Orange Hulk from Marvel vs. Capcom appeared in Uncanny X-Force as the Hulk's Age of Apocalypse counterpart.
  • Jason Stryker, William Stryker's son from X2: X-Men United, was brought into the official Marvel canon in All-New X-Men. However, unlike his movie counterpart, this version of Jason is a militant Boomerang Bigot.
  • Yondu basically got the Nick Fury treatment. In the comics, Yondu is a Noble Savage archer from the 31st century, but in the movie, he's a country fried redneck space pirate from the present day, and doesn't use a bow. The comics compromised by introducing a movie-inspired version of Yondu as the distant ancestor of the original.
  • Erik Selvig from the Thor movies made the jump to the comics as a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist.
  • Hope Van Dyne/Pym is another example similar to the Nick Fury one. Hope is an existing character, but only from the MC2 continuity, where she's actually a villain called the Red Queen. The Ant-Man movie used an In Name Only version of Hope as a hero and set her up to become the MCU version of The Wasp, so the comics responded by bringing in an alternate version of Hope as the Unstoppable Wasp. Her name was changed to "Nadia", which is Russian for "Hope", though Mark Waid claims the name thing is a coincidence.
  • Likewise, Luis from the Ant-Man movies briefly shows up in Astonishing Ant-Man as Scott Lang's cellmate in Miami.
  • Gustav Fiers, A.K.A The Gentleman, was created for the Sinister Six Trilogy of Spider-Man novels by Adam-Troy Castro. He subsequently made small appearances in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider Man 2, before officially joining the Marvel Universe in the Civil War II: Kingpin mini-series.
  • Daredevil: The Kingpin mini-series also saw the comic debut of Mitchell Ellison, a character previously created for the Netflix show as a replacement for J. Jonah Jameson.
  • Similar to the Yondu, Nick Fury and Hope Pym examples, Exiles introduced an alternate universe version of Valkyrie who is explicitly modeled after Tessa Thompson's portrayal of the character in Thor: Ragnarok. The series also incorporated the alternate universe Peggy Carter version of Captain America from Marvel Puzzle Quest.
  • In yet another example, the 2018 relaunch of Black Panther introduces parallel versions of Nakia and M'Baku who are modeled after their more heroic counterparts from the movie.
  • Al Ewing's Immortal Hulk:
    • The series introduced Jack McGee from the Incredible Hulk live-action show into the official Marvel canon. However, in a twist, this version of the character is actually a black woman named Jackie McGee.
    • The same run also introduced another character from the TV series: Dell Frye, the violent and power hungry man who had actually become a Hulk-like creature before Banner, albeit as a man who was presumed dead as a teenager and appearing like a corpse. His assistant, Jeffery Clive also appeared, albeit as a Mad Scientist working for the government unconnected to Frye.
    • The Dogs of Hell from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil (2015) also appeared.
  • The 2019 Marvel Crisis Crossover, War of the Realms, introduced Luna Snow and Crescent, characters exclusively created for the mobile game Marvel Future Fight, for their comic appearances as part of the New Agents of Atlas with Jimmy Woo, Amadeus Cho, Shang-Chi, Silk, Wave, Sword Master and Aero.
    • The Agents of Atlas series also featured a cameo from Adi (given the codename "Codec") from the Japanese Marvel Future Avengers anime series, before he and the rest of the Future Avengers were given their own backup stories in the Future Fight Firsts series of one-shots (which mainly showcase White Fox, Luna Snow, and Crescent).
  • Ghost-Spider (2019) sees the popular Spider-Gwen officially immigrate from her isolated Earth-65 continuity and into the main Marvel Universe.

    General Comic Books 
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