Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Name Some Personal Favorite B- and C-Listers

Doug: Today's topic of input is about the characters who dwell in that second and even third tier of popularity (at least popularity as it would relate to the general masses). We'd like to hear you sound off on those guys and gals who lie outside the likes of Spider-Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, and even Wolverine; and over at DC for the most part the so-called "Original Seven" of the JLA: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, J'onn J'onzz, and Aquaman.

Doug: I've always had a soft spot for three DC characters in particular -- Kid Flash, Mon-el, and Batgirl. As I believe I've told a time or two around here, my liking of Kid Flash stemmed mainly from his appearances in the mid- to late '70's in two mags:
Teen Titans and Secret Society of Super-Villains. I really enjoyed his costume, and as a middle-schooler/junior high student I always related to the younger characters. His interactions with Captain Comet were fun, and I enjoyed seeing a kid go up against some of DC's famous baddies. As for Mon-el, and again I've stated this prior, he was Superboy without the Superman baggage. I always liked Superboy, but couldn't stand Superman. I bought the Legion; I never bought Superman or Action Comics. So Mon-el was a convenient solution to that problem. Lastly, my infatuation with Batgirl hearkened to the reruns of the 1966-68 Batman TV show. I had several comics with Batgirl appearing; but if you recall, most of her '70's adventures were pencilled by a rapidly-declining Don Heck. That was a bummer. But Batman Family was still a fun book.

Doug: So, who's on your list, just beyond the superstars?


joe bloke said...


david_b said...

Great question, Doug.. FUNNY that you should mention my DC favorites, pretty much for the same reasons. I always loved Kid Flash's snazzy outfit, from the early drawings of Infantino to Perez in the New Titans. I enjoyed how he and Wolfman gave Wally some interesting depth, carving out more of a conservative stance against Dick's leadership in NTT. He was always my favorite Titan, and finally getting his Mego figure after so many years was very cool.

Batgirl..? Frankly, I don't know any male geeks from our generation who *didn't* have a crush on her..! The tons of.. 'fan literature' and art found on the web about her attests to that. I love collecting stories/covers with her, although I still remember my distinct disappointment at the Batman Family art as well.

As for Marvel, I'm still big on all-things Pym, Swordsman, and Hawkeye. I'm a big Defenders fan (just early issues), comprised primarily of excellent B- and C-listers. One excellent hallmark of the Bronze was how these characters were weaved into main titles and really cared about, especially with Marvel.

Edo Bosnar said...

Interesting that you mentioned Captain Comet: that would be one of my favorite 2nd/3rd tier characters on the DC side. As a kid, I was fascinated by him in SSoSV as the (often) lone hero going after all those bad guys.

J.A. Morris said...

I've worked in libraries for 16 years. As long as we have librarians, Batgirl/Oracle will always have a loyal fan base!

My favorite C-Listers.
The original Scorpio from Nick Fury & Avengers stories was a favorite. That Defenders 4-parter should be a tpb.
Speaking of the Defenders, the Headmen were one of my favorite villain teams.

Turk is another favorite, remember him? I always felt bad for Turk, the hapless stooge from Miller & Janson's Daredevil stories. I guess Turk's sidekick Grotto would have to be considered more hapless, since he seems to take orders from Turk.

I always found many of Luke Cage's 70s villains to be fun. I got so excited when I saw Chemistro on a recent episode of the current Avengers animated series. I had to pause the show & tell my wife who he was!

And Brynocki was a favorite, does anyone else remember him?

I'm glad he's shown up in other Marvel series besides Master Of Kung Fu.

William said...

In DC Comics, Plastic Man has always been one of my favorite B and/or C list characters. I guess the first time I ever saw him was in the old trade paperback "Origins of DC Comics", which reprinted all the origin stories of most of DC's characters. I loved that book when I was kid. But I especially liked Plas. I just thought there was just something so cool about a guy who could stretch and transform himself into any shape. I loved the slight humor bent the the story and the artwork of Jack Cole.

When I was a kid I liked Plastic Man so much that my favorite episode of the original Super Friends show was the one where Plas made about a 30 second cameo at the very end (he used his stretchy arm to retrieve a mouse from a computer). After that I really hoped they would make him a permanent part of the Super Friends, but (of course) they never did. However, he eventually got a show of his very own and I was one happy kid. A whole cartoon with my favorite super hero (at the time anyway) what could be cooler? It wasn't the world's greatest animated series by any means, but I loved it all the same.

More recently when Mattel released the 2010 SDCC exclusive DCUC Plastic Man action figure, I bought 2 of them and The Plastic Man Archives is the only DC Archive series that I have every edition of. Did I mention, I really like Plastic Man?

As for Marvel, the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man has been a favorite of mine since his first appearance in Marvel Premier #47-48 (drawn by John Byrne). It is still one of my all time favorite 2-part stories.

I have also always liked Havok, since I first saw him in (the recently reviewed) Marvel Team-Up #69 (also drawn by Byrne). Hmmm I see a pattern here.

William said...

Oops, almost forgot. I have always been a big fan of the martial arts characters as well. Such as The White Tiger, Shang-Chi, and Richard Dragon. I also was a huge, huge fan of the old Valiant Character Ninjak. So much so that I use him as my screen name on several other comic related websites.

Redartz said...

On the Marvel side, I always liked Man-Thing and his cast of characters. Dakimh, Richard Rory, the original Foolkiller, and a certain Duck. Actually, most of Steve Gerber's work appealed to me greatly. Like you, J.A., I loved the Headmen (and that strange elf with a gun).

From DC, I was always a fan of Deadman. The series in Adventure Comics featuring Starman and Plastic Man was fun; of course any time Sugar and Spike made a rare appearance I'd search it out.

Dougie said...

Like this one!

Marvel Bronze Age B-listers:
The Vision (one of the greatest creations of the late Silver but one who rose to prominence in the BA); Storm (the most significant female character of the BA from the House of Ideas.); The Beast (although I think he's really a C-lister, McCoy was the first positive portrayal of a drug user at Marvel and as a cross between cuddly toy and liberal professor, would probably be identifiable across the world thanks to TV and Movies.)

Marvel Bronze Age C-listers: Nighthawk and Nova (on the strength of costume design); Tigra (a vibrant female who bridged superheroes and the horror boom but one who has been treated shamefully for the last 30 years; Union Jack (amazingly simple design means he just beats Captain Britain, who's still a personal favourite)

DC Bronze Age B-Listers:Helena Wayne,the Huntress (the most viable costumed heroine of the mid to late BA; Red Tornado(despite garish look and some similarities to Vizh, became a memorable JLAer); Mr. Miracle (possibly the most unusual and inventive Fourth World creation, even appearing in an 80s sitcom comic).

DC Bronze Age C-Listers: Ditko's Starman ( quirky response to Starlin's kozmic heroes);Simonson's Manhunter (Wolverine, the Punisher and Shang-Chi all rolled into one). The New Doom Patrol (married the New X-Men vibe of racial and gender equality with hi-tech adventure stories and a sexy cartoony style).

Inkstained Wretch said...

On the DC side, I was always a big fan of the Bronze Age-era Justice Society of America. I actually liked the Golden Age versions of the Flash and the Green Lantern better than the Silver Age ones. I mean, how could you not love Alan Scott’s wonderfully garish green and red costume and purple opera cape ensemble?

The same goes for Power Girl and the Huntress. Both of them were much more interesting – and sexier – than their Earth-1 counterparts, Supergirl and Batgirl. I thought other JSAers like Hourman, Wildcat and Dr. Midnite were cool too. Dr. Fate was a particular favorite, especially when Keith Giffen was drawing him.

If I had one criticism of DC at the time, it was that they didn’t use these characters more. I was certain that if the JSA had their own series, people would buy it …

On the Marvel side, I really liked their original Captain Marvel. He had a colorful costume, an interesting premise and was always turning up in neat places like the Avengers, the Hulk, and Marvel Two-in-One. It’s a pity his solo series never caught on in big way, despite the highly regarded Jim Starlin run. Of course, if it had we never would have had the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel, maybe Starlin’s best work ever.

I also have a distinct fondness for Marv Wolfman’s Nova, despite the fact that honesty compels me to say the series wasn’t all that good. It was a nice premise – the awkward first efforts of a neophyte superhero – but badly executed. I also thought at the time that character had a lot of potential and could stand a revival ...

Dougie said...

It was many years before I realised Nova was a mash-up of Spider-Man and Green Lantern. I'm afraid I don't rate Marv Wolfman very highly. If ToD or the Titans had been drawn by Don Heck, for example, I doubt Wolfman would be any better remembered than, say, Don McGregor.
However, Nova has had three revivals (four if we include his Avengers memebership in the Marvel Superheroes series of the last couple of years )and a couple of costume tweaks since the Bronze Age
so obviously the character has appeal.

starfoxxx said...

I love this post, Doug.

I always have liked

the Beast (blue, furry, NOT A CAT!)
Hercules (speaking old-timey!)
Tigra (bikini!)
Stingray (best costume EVER!)
Starfox (I'm probably the only 1!)
Hawkeye (borderline A-lister)
Black Widow (Russ. accent, tight costume!)
Spider-Woman (just for the costume)
She-Hulk (borderline, like Clint)
and the Serpent Society
Wrecking Crew
What a great battle with all these guys/gals would be!

nice comments, all!

Lemnoc said...

I always liked Silver Age Supergirl. The idea that a little teeny could put the roughest villain in the DC universe in a hammerlock and make him cry, "Uncle!," survive an atomic explosion but tear up when someone gave her flowers always amused me.

Too bad she was seldom ever portrayed to her full potential.

Ric said...

Marvel B-listers come straight from my love for the Defenders: Nighthawk and Yellow Jacket (I always wondered how Steve Englehart and the Avengers won YJ away from Steve Gerber and the Defenders, as alluded to in the Defenders LOC). Like others, I loved the Headmen and the Wrecking Crew, as well.

DC B-listers... Mon-el and Element Lad from the Legion (based on the first 100-page Legion comic, the one with the devil-fish), Firestorm (like Nighthawk, I was there for the beginning, so that made some difference to me, apparently). Manhunter (from SSoSV, interestingly enough, since I pretty much missed his Detective run) and Captain Comet.

Great topic... funny how you can trace your favorite B-listers from an early, influential comic you read in your personal golden age.


The Lassiter said...

The Teen Titans West from the 1970s era.

Lilith, Golden Eagle, Hawk & Dove, Beast Boy and Bat-Girl. All of them were unknown to me. But the fact that they all had prior DC appearances fascinated me. Especially this new (original) Bat-Girl.

The Liberty Legion, Invaders, Freedom Fighters and All Star Squadron were filled with unknowns. I also liked Earth 2 characters, especially Huntress and Power Girl.

I liked the C listers because even though I was only 10, I knew anything could happen to them. As opposed to the Brand Name Heroes on both sides of the aisle that never changed.

Fred W. Hill said...

Another vote here for the Gerber era Defenders, as well as Man-Thing! I enjoyed how Gerber employed several "B- and C-Listers" as guests in his stories and really focused more keenly on Nighthawk and Valkyrie, making them far more interesting characters than they had been previously.
Probably my favorite B-Lister comic, tho', was Master of Kung Fu! When I first saw promos for the series, my initial reaction was, "ugh, another fad-based comic", but when I finally somehow started reading some of Moench's stories (alas, several issues after Gulacy had already left), I was hooked and eventually found most of the back issues I had missed. Moench, along with Gulacy, Zeck and Gene Day, produced some of the best comics stories of the '70s and early '80s.

William said...

Someone else's post reminded me that I always liked Hawk & Dove. Especially Hawk. Love his costume.

And while we're on the topic of Steve Ditko creations, I absolutely love Captain Atom (I really can't believe I forgot to mention him earlier). I consider the Silver Age version (with the metallic arms) to be one of my Top 10 favorite characters period. I even liked the revamped DC version from the 80's.

Man, if I really stopped to think about it, I could probably name about 50 "B" and "C" list characters that really like. So, I'll just stop now.

Rip Jagger said...

At Marvel I'd have to say my faves are Nighthawk and Triton!

At DC I'd give the nods to Man-Bat and Red Star (formerly Starfire).

At Gold Key the best of the rest are the Brothers of the Spear.

At Charlton the awards to Wander and Rog-2000.

Rip Off

Flying Tiger Comics said...

Tagak from Marvel

Mighty Samson from Gold Key (not the reboot, that's shit. The original)

Ultra the Multi-Alien from DC.

david_b said...

Sorry, Starfoxxx, I totally forgot to mention Natasha..

Sure made me collect DD for a long..., healthy period.

starfoxxx said...

And I forgot to mention...


Dougie said...

Any love for Star Hunters,Monark Starstalker and Seeker 3000?

Lemnoc said...

It seems like all of the Defenders were B actors in the Bronze Age. I mean The Hulk and Dr Strange really struggled to stay in print with in their own titles, and they were the team's really big hitters. Same was true for Subby and Silver.

Loved 'em all—as a group and singly. But I think along with their anti-team aspects went the shrugs they were given as lone titles by Marvel readership.

Hulk's gone on to such heights in the modern era it's tough to remember he was mostly formlaic MEH in the '70s.

Joseph said...

Questions like this is why I live this site so much!

My favorite marvel b/c listers include:

Power man
Spider woman
Man thing
Ghost Rider
Black panther

I think ric said it best: your early comic reading is often your tragedy influence.

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