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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,583
Subj: Re: A-listers and others
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 at 12:48:36 pm EDT (Viewed 463 times)
Reply Subj: A-listers and others
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 at 09:07:44 am EDT (Viewed 395 times)

    At first glance I found this theory intriguing, but on reflection I'm not so sure. By that logic Angel and Iceman - who worked as Champions and Defenders just as well as they did as X-Men - would have been A-listers since the 1970s while Professor X and Cyclops would merely be B-listers, at best, because they really have yet to show that they can successfully work in a non-X context. Yet Charles and Scott are characters who have to a large extent defined the X-books (they ARE a crucial part of the context) while Warren and Bobby are more like optional extras (or X-tras) in the wider scheme of things.(1) So while the definition looks at an interesting aspect of gauging a character's dramatic/narrative usefulness, it is incomplete by itself and has to be supplemented by others.

I don't personally consider Scott or Xavier to be A-list. Just as I don't consider Johnny Storm to be A-list. They're defined by their original context and can't expand beyond it. As for Warren and Bobby, well, when I said "work" I meant successfully. Sure, they were members of the Champions - and the book was cancelled. They were members of the Defenders - and the book was cancelled. So yes, they appeared in other contexts - but they weren't successful. I say this despite my love of the original Champions.

By contrast, Spider-Man and Wolverine were added to the Avengers, and that book became a top seller almost overnight! Additionally, Spider-Man had his Marvel Team-Up book in the 70s, in which he explored every context imaginable, and it lasted for 150 issues. Wolverine's solo career has taken him all over the Marvel Universe, well beyond the limits of strictly mutant concerns.

Oh, and Batman had The Brave & The Bold in which he explored all sorts of contexts for 126 issues.

I realize there's a chicken and the egg problem here. Do characters work successfully in varied contexts because they're A-list, or are they A-list at least partially because they can work successfully in varied contexts? In which direction does the causality flow? Nevertheless, show me a character who only works successfully in a narrow context, and I will show you a character who is not A-list.

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