18. Joe Robertson (Marvel Entertainment)
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #51 (1967)
Creators: Stan Lee, John Romita Sr.
He might not seem to important in the grand scheme of the Marvel Universe, but Joe “Robbie” Robertson’s creation was a watershed moment for the company. As one of the first African-American characters at Marvel, Robbie has played an integral part in the Spider-Man mythos over the years. He’s part father figure, part older brother, and part teacher to Peter Parker.
Though the Black Panther’s creation pre-dated Robertson by a year, Robbie is important because he marked the beginning of black characters coming into comics in non-starring roles, roles that weren't necessarily defined by skin color.