This is not the first time of course that Marvel has "switched gears" and brought in a new person to be the mainstay. Back in my day, sounding like an old man, there was a time when almost all the Marvel heroes changed in some way. That ancient era was the 1980s. Let's take a look at some of the big-name heroes who got new looks, new identities, or some weird change happened. Overall, it was pretty cool—as a kid reading the comic books, these heroes and villains now felt like "mine", rather than reading about some old 20 or 30-year-old story.
Black Suit Spider-Man
Appearing in Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Secret Wars #8, Spidey found an alien blob (or rather, the alien blob found him). Peter Parker wore the alien symbiotic suit for a few years, eventually losing it in Web of Spider-Man #1. The suit got mad and turned into Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300. Love the black suit!
Steve Rogers got into a fight with the government over some shady dealings and said "hey man, I'm done". Well, it was a little more complicated than that, but Rogers gave up being Captain America and a couple of new guys took over—meanwhile, Steve Rogers became "The Captain" and donned a cool black costume. Wait a minute... cool black costume... I'm detecting a trend here.
Of course, Rogers eventually got the gig back and the other guy (John Walker) became U.S. Agent. This is a great storyline that runs from Captain America #332 to #350.
There were a couple of changes in the 1980s with Iron Man. First, they brought in James Rhodes to be Iron Man for a while, and Tony Stark kind of bumbled around for a while. It was cool to have another guy be in the suit, because it shows that Iron Man is more than just a bunch of weapons—there is a guy making decisions in there.
Iron Man then took on Iron Monger in a great storyline that formed the basis for the first Iron Man movie. Iron Man has a history of changing his armor every 5 minutes it feels like, but this was the first time his changed colors since his original grey armor from the super old days.
In the very first issue of The Hulk, Bruce Banner turned grey. In the second issue, he suddenly turned green. He stayed green a long, long time, but then in the 1980s he turned grey again.
In the 1980s, Thor got a buddy named Beta Ray Bill. Man how I hope that Beta Ray Bill shows up in the movies, because he is awesome!
Thor also was turned into a frog for a couple of issues, and this really encapsulates what made Thor a great titles in the 1980s under Walt Simonson - lots of twists, turns and fans truly did not know what was going to happen next. These are great issues.
For some reason, Thor donned a mask and some full armor for a while in 1987. I'm not sure why the mask was needed—it's not like he's Clark Kent working at the local newspaper or TV newsroom. "This just in! Thou dost wonder how greateth this news anchor is... and coming up next, the football scores." Looks kind of cool I guess, but I like the original Thor uniform.
Of course, all of these changes were undone and eventually we went back to the old standards—red & blue Spidey, classic thor, Steve Rogers as Captain America, and green Hulk. I'm sure that lady Thor will disappear someday as well, but for now, we can at least ride out this storyline and enjoy the change for as long as it will last.