Which was the most recent "universally" known comic character?

That is to say, which is the most recent character that would be as or nearly as recognisable as Superman, Batman or Captain America, even to those who don’t read comics?

Since I’ve been in the “even to those who don’t read comics” group for quite some time, unless you mention The Simpsons (if they count) I probably wouldn’t know who you meant.

Do you mean just comic books? Do you include comic strips? If the latter then I might have to say one of Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” regulars.

I’m not clear if you mean the most recently created character who’s hit the big time , or just the character who’s most recently hit the big time.

If the latter, I’d have to go with our man Tony Stark. Iron Man has always been a big player in the Marvel Universe, but I’d say not very well known to the non-comic-reading world. Hard to say that’s still the case after the blockbuster flick and the buzz around the sequel.

I’m more thinking in the superhero/supervillain mold but that’s a good suggestion, the middle-aged woman with glasses in the Far Side must be up there. I wonder are there any more recent that those characters.

Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes.

Are we talking comic books or comics in the newspaper?

Wolverine, most likely.

Dilbert was created (or at least started running in comics) a few years after the Simpsons appeared on Tracy Ullman. Granted he’s not quite as well known, but he’s close.

I’m not a big comic book guy, but it doesn’t seem that many really famous superhero characters were created after 1980 or so. A few creations from the 90’s have made it to movies (Hellboy, Spawn, V), but even after that, I don’t think they’re well known to the same degree as earlier characters.

I was initially thinking more of comic book characters but either really.

The Punisher, created in 1974, is probably the most iconic recent superhero.

Three movies, a handful of video games and the skull logo t-shirt is popular at Hot Topic of all places.

The character who was released latest and is easily recognizable to non-comics readers is Wolverine.

The character who most recently achieved mainstream popularity despite its age is Iron Man.

I thnk you’re all mostly overestimating the “univeral” recognition of non comics fans and movie goers. IF that is what you mean by universal…
I’d say eg most people off the street still wouldn’t recognise the Punsiher or the Wolverine .or the Far Side etc
Don’t underestimate the possible capacity for all these “superhero types” to merge into one and mostly look the same.
But eg Superman has permeated the Culture in a very profound way over time.

Mostly because it possible to work out by looking at them I would possibly guess Spiderman or the Hulk - as the Hulk had a mainstream TV series in the 70s as well as two recent films. And he’s Green. but isn’t that other Jolly Green Giant.

Of course. After Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and The Hulk, there are NO universally recognized comic characters.

But it’s that second tier of characters that are recognized by a lot of people who would never touch a comic that we’re talking about. And in that case, Wolverine or The Punisher or Blade fit in nicely. They’ve starred in multiple movies and all of them have appeared in Saturday morning cartoons. They’re not universal, but they are recognizable.

Blade? His movies were at the start of the most recent superhero movie explosion that reached critical mass with the Spider-Man and X-Men movies, but I don’t think he’s very well known at all.

Personally, I think the faces of superheroes to non-fans are Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine. I’m not even sure I would include Hulk and Captain America (though I don’t feel this very strongly), and I think Punisher might be more of a generic badass/antihero to most people than a comic book character. Blade, I just don’t see at all.

But “recognizable” isn’t the same as “universally” known.
See the OP and the examples given.
Talking about “second tier characters” is a different question to the OP.

You have to go beyond the OP (and even then the question is “which is the most recent character that would be as or nearly as recognisable as”) to even have a discussion because there are roughly six universal comic books characters in the world and three of them were in the OP.

But after those six, I don’t think it’s a stretch to list Wolverine, Iron Man, The Punisher and Blade (in that order) because they have all moved into more mainstream media.

Or have you not been to the movies in a decade? Because superhero movies are big nowadays and even my non-coming reading mom knows who Spider-Man is.

Here’s a thought: with the appeal of Polls being what it is these days, maybe somebody truly curious about this issue could set up a poll and have the “recognizability” of some of these characters be tested against the Universe of Dopers who participate in polls. It would be the basis of further discussion with some specifics to consider.

Just a thought.

Sandman and Death, from 1987 and 1988.

Marvel is really pushing Deadpool (1990) at the moment, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

Kick-Ass may make the cut, depending on the movie. He actually debuted in this century, circa 2007.

I’m really into Gaiman, but these two aren’t even close to universal. I have friends who are far bigger comic collectors than I am - some who have collected dozens of titles each month for the last 30 years - who aren’t familiar with the Sandman, mostly because they concentrate on superhero comics.

Of course, you could be referring to in universe, in which case consider me whooshed.

If IYO there are six universal characters and three are in the OP then the question is who are the other three. Any other question is not what the OP asked for.If you read my post I suggested Spiderman and the Hulk partly for the same facetious point you made to me not been to the movies in the last 10 years .
Would your Mom recognise The Punisher or Blade? Mine wouldn’t - Then they’re likely the wrong answer to the OP.
But she knows the Hulk & Spiderman - she’s never seen the movies and she’s 84 years old!