Captain Marvel, Jr.
Emotions were high in 1941 when Captain Marvel Jr. made the scene in Whiz Comics #25. Rescued from the clutches of Captain Nazi, a crippled, orphaned newsboy before his fateful encounter with Captain Marvel, little Freddy Freeman became one of the most famous comic book characters of his time.
But it wasn't his sympathetic condition that made him a great character in the eyes of the American public. It was, perhaps more than anything else, the sense of hope he inspired.
Co-created by writer France Herron and artists CC Beck and Mac Raboy, Captain Marvel Jr. probably had all the makings of a textbook sidekick--the devotion and loyalty to the lead hero for saving him from the clutches of danger; the dependence on said lead for the activation of superpowers--and of course the only slightly variant costume.
So what made Junior thrive? We can only assume that, at a time of battle and economic uncertainty, the story of a boy who rises above unsettling circumstance to accomplish great feats was nothing short of compelling. With fresh-faced hope and optimism, determination, boyish pluck, and charm, Junior enjoyed a rather long run. During his tenure, he ventured outside the Marvel Family to work with The Crime Crusaders Club, which also featured Bulletman, Bulletgirl, and Minute Man.
Since being acquired by DC Comics from Fawcett, the character made repeated appearances in the DC Universe prior to their launch of their "New 52."