Wednesday, April 2, 2014

True or False: I Like the JLA's "Original Seven" Better Than the Avengers Founders

Doug: As a group of individuals or as a team -- you may consider either in responding to the statement: I like the JLA's "original seven" better than the Avengers founders.


Fred W. Hill said...

I gotta go with false. The founding Avengers is by far a more interesting mix of personalities, especially if you include the Hulk. Neither the Martian Manhunter nor any other member of the JLA was going to get into a fight with the other members and actually quit in a huff and then team up with someone else to fight the team! Of course, I think one of the reasons Lee drastically changed the team with issue 16 was that the line-up of Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man & Wasp was a little too much like the JLA and the Avengers needed some new blood to shake things up. They weren't quite so mighty anymore but they did become more interesting to read about again.

Anonymous said...

I'll go with False too. Fred makes a good point about the built-in dysfunction of the Avengers - but that was kind of what set Marvel apart from DC - a lot of these heroes didn't want to be heroes, or they were freaks like Hulk, Thing, mutants...freaks, yet somehow, "likeable" freaks.


Dr. Oyola said...

I've never understood how Cap can be a "founder." He may seem like one, but technically he isn't.

I am going to have to say false, despite the fact that that image of the JLA strikes me with pangs of nostalgia for a bedspread I had a kid. :)

Edo Bosnar said...

As a Marvel zuvembie, I have to go with false. Both as a group and as individuals, I like the original Avengers (+ Cap!) better than the JLA's founding seven.

Oh, and Osvaldo, earned your Ph.D. since you last commented? If so, congrats...

Garett said...

As a team, the Avengers have more potential for infighting, but there's also something cool about the good friendships in the JLA--Green Lantern and Flash, and Superman and Batman.

As individuals, I'll take Thor over Superman (more interesting), Batman over Captain America, Iron Man slightly edges out Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter (who has grown on me over the years) over the Hulk, Wasp over Wonder Woman, Flash over Ant-Man...and Aqua Man as the leftover who I don't care about either way, although he looks well drawn here. Is this early Perez vs late Perez in these images? So tallying up, I'm at 3 to 3 for individuals on these teams.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, true, but that's just a personal judgement, clouded by nostalgia. When I was eight or nine, I liked the JLA's camaraderie better than the Marvel heroes' bickering, and DC's relatively simple (and, usually, complete in one issue) stories better than Marvel's long, complicated arcs. If I had been older, I might have appreciated complex plots and characterization, but, by the time I was twelve, I was outgrowing comics anyway.

I, too, never understood how Captain America could be considered a founder. He joined in issue #4, after the Hulk had left. Unless that's been retconned or rebooted (maybe to be consistent with the movie).

Agree that the Avengers line-up was probably changed in #16 because the founders were too similar to the JLA, and the Kooky Quartet had more possibilities for internal conflict. The original Avengers (except for the Hulk, who left in #2) got along as well as the Justice League members. Also, Stan may have wanted members who did not have their own solo strips elsewhere, to eliminate problems with cross-continuity.

Humanbelly said...

HB @ 10 years old would have gone w/ the JLA's original seven. HB past that point falls right into the Avengers camp. It's sort of apples/oranges-y when you're comparing the two original teams, isn't it? Even their earliest incarnations seemed to be aimed at different audiences. I totally get the comfortable, optimistic wish-fulfillment that the JLA & it's heroes provided its readership, and I, of course, am a huge fan of the engaging, soap-opera of the Avengers' clay-footed heroes. And yet, I can see how that might also get a bit dreary for folks looking for less angst-ridden escapism in their comic book entertainment.

Hmm-- in a fight between the two original teams, I'm thinking the JLA probably takes it, though, yes? Supes at the time was far mightier than Thor at the time. MM may have been about on a par w/ the Hulk. . . but has several auxilary powers to draw on as well-- could go either way. Iron Man does take out GL. . . 'cause his armor's yellow! Game over! Cap at that point was honestly still a bit of a mental and emotional train wreck-- Batman would certainly exploit that. That leaves Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman to dispatch Giant-Man and the Wasp. Yikes. I think Flash or WW could take them both out single-handed, to be quite honest.

H-"who's stronger, Mighty Mouse or Superman"?-B

Humanbelly said...

Oh-- Cap-as-founder:

It was indeed addressed within the book's continuity many years back (although I can't quite recall just where or when). Under the charter, the Founding Members have a certain level of official authority (privilege?)in the broader organization. Cap was designated an "Honorary" Founding Member in recognition of his obvious value to the team and organization since, really, he was pretty much "Mr. Avengers". . . and over the course of history, his entrance onto the team's stage was really only slightly delayed.


david_b said...

The question asks who 'likes' one team over the other.., not so much the team merits or whether Cap is a founder.

But it's still somewhat vague, whether it calls into question team dynamics (bland heroism vs. infighting), team personalities as brought to the team itself (strong, Alpha male-types verses technically smart), or the actual members themselves. I'm assuming it's the lump sum of all three.

I'd go for the JLA, but they mostly had bland homogenized stories (some dialog coulg have been said by any other..), mainly done-in-one's, and no thought of conflict (they probably all jogged or collected salt shakers..). Powers-wise, and as an overall team, I'd give them kudos upon kudos, it's a shame the DC editors didn't allow much of any change or deterence from their lofty masthead images, but that's just how they told stories and sold comics.

But based on what makes a typical Marvel title distinquishable in both Silver and Bronze Ages (ie, conflict, perception of change, and suspenseful story arcs), the Avengers were served much better in the initial stories, so I'd stick to my Marvel Zumvembie heritage.

Anonymous said...

I think david_b said it pretty well; the JLA *should* have been better, but the Avengers were better written and more relatable as people. I also hated how the JLA always split into separate "mini-teams" to fight separate threats...they're a team, they should act as a team!

Mike W.

J.A. Morris said...


As for Cap's status as a "founder", I'm agnostic. He joined the team in issue #4, Hulk left after issue #2, Cap stayed on a long time, so I don't have a major problem with his "founder" status.

J.A. Morris said...

Unrelated, but has everyone seen this new commentary by Steve Englehart, where he looks back at the "Secret Empire" storyline?

Anonymous said...

It's true that the two teams (and DC and Marvel in general) seemed to be aimed at different audiences. My impression has always been that DC's superhero comics in the Silver Age were aimed at elementary school-age kids (about 7-10 years old), and Marvel's were for kids in their early teens.

(That's speaking strictly
of the costumed super-heroes, since DC's war comics and westerns were probably for a slightly older audience.)

By the Bronze Age/1970's, though, DC was trying to emulate Marvel, with long serials and story arcs, subplots, social significance and political "relevance," and character development. Denny O' Neil did try to give each League member a distinctive personality, although that sometimes meant changes from the way they were portrayed before.

I don't know if sales improved. But it seems there would be little reason for fans to buy DC's imitation Avengers when Marvel was already publishing the real thing.

Dr. Oyola said...

J.A. I posted a link to that in the last overview of the "Secret Empire" arc from Monday just a little bit ago!

Dr. Oyola said...

Has there ever been a BAB post about the JLA/Avengers crossover by Busiek and Perez? I know it falls way out of the Bronze Age, but if I remember correctly it was first tried as an idea in the Bronze Age and fell through due to cross-editorial bickering or something?

I thought it was pretty good.

Anyway, in terms of who I'd pick over who. .

Captain America over both Superman and Batman (as I kinda see him fulfilling both roles in the Avengers).

Martian Manhunter over Giant-Man and Iron Man

Wonder Woman over Thor

Flash over Wasp

and Green Lantern vs. Hulk? I can't decide.

Doug said...

Osvaldo --

Let me be the first to say that I noticed your new handle, and to offer my CONGRATULATIONS!! What an accomplishment. Hats off to you, and to all those who gave you support during the entire process. You and your friends and family are to be commended, sir!

Doug, M.S.J.S. (Master of Science in Jewish Studies, Spertus Institute 2005)

Doug said...

As to today's query, that JLA roster is an imposing group, is it not? I don't know that there's a team in Marvel's history that could top that bunch. Superman vs. the Hulk would be a never-ending battle, but like HB said, there's just too much power on that JLA roster, particularly as we get down to the Pyms (well, not the Pyms at that time).

As to who would I like to read solo, I'd always pick a good Batman story first, followed by Silver or Bronze Age Thor. After that, probably Superboy, and then Captain America. And on down the line. To be honest, those Pym stories in Tales to Astonish would be pretty far down my list of things "to read".


William said...

False. I'm a Marvel guy afterall. However, I have developed quite a fondness for the Justice League since the days of the Timm-verse animated series. But when it comes to the comics, I definitely prefer the Avengers.

Anonymous said...

Congrates and salutations to the new Doctor. And before I forget, it hurts when I do this....

The Avengers. They were one of the mainstays of my childhood. I was Marvel so this is totally biased.

Batman is one of the pillars of DC but I don't think that makes him team material. He will always have a hidden agenda.

Aquaman. Any team would have to lose points just for having him on the team.

Is it just me or does it look like Wonder Woman is standing on her tiptoes?

The Prowler (once was on the Debate Team but that was more a club than a team and no body had a number).

Dr. Oyola said...

Thanks, folks!

It still hasn't sunk in. I have been working on this last part of my education for the last 5 years, so I have a feeling it won't feel "normal" for some time. Plus, I went right back to work on a paper I am presenting at a conference this weekend - so nothing has changed! :)

Anonymous said...

Ooo congrats, ahem, Doctor Osvaldo! Doc Ock, Dr. Strange, Dr. Who - now we can add the new Doc Oyola to the BAB now!

I'll say false here. While that original JLA is up there in terms of raw power, my favourite has always been the Avengers, Marvel's second dysfunctional team (after the FF). They just seemed better written in terms of both storylines and character development.

As for Cap's status as a founding member, well, as Doc Osvaldo said, technically he wasn't there from the very start but he came in soon after, so yes, factoring in his long history as an iconic superhero, most people regard him as a founding member. I personally don't have any problems with calling him a founding member. Whenever fans talk about the quintessential Avenger, it's usually Cap or the Vision they mention first.

- Mike 'Bsc. Computing & Information Systems, University of London, but wish I had a Phd. in Comicsology!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

MattComix said...

Marvel and DC are (ideally at least) each cool in their own ways. DC is more aspirational, Marvel is more relatable and we need BOTH.

That being said, if my back is against the wall and there is a gun to my head I'll say the JLA. The team has Superman on it for starters and I just like that guy and everything he's about.

But that's not out of any sort of zombie-like brand loyalty to DC. As a kid I never felt the need to make a choice between DC and Marvel so I'm not gonna start now, at least not anywhere beyond if or not I like how they are treating the characters creatively.

..and in that there's no winner at all right now.

Anonymous said...

Today's "G-D-Batman" is a loner and would have a hidden agenda, but the Silver and Bronze Age version was a team player who appeared in JLA, World's Finest, and Brave & Bold.

And Wonder Woman's foot gear had high heels, so, yes, she looked like she was standing on tiptoe. A typical case of a costume designed for looks, not practical function. :)

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, *grumble, grumble* "FIRST to say?" *grumble, grumble* Someone's not reading all the comments *grumble, grumble* ...

Anyway, what shall we call him from now on? Doc Oz? Doc Oy? None of them have the same ring as Doc Ock...

Doug said...

Edo --

My sincerest apologies for staking a claim to your thunder. I had read your comment when it came across as an email notification, but to be honest, I hadn't noticed that Osvaldo had changed his screen name until I was on the blog later. It's totally my oversight and I am sorry for diminishing you with my self-serving comment.


Edo Bosnar said...

Well, Doug, it didn't attain the eloquence of John Cleese's hanging-upside-down declaration of contrition in "A Fish Called Wanda," but I think you've grovelled in a most suitable manner, so - apology accepted ;).

And I'm still obsessing on a new super, Bronze Age post-Ph.D. moniker for Osvaldo: Doc Oz won't do, sounds too much like the dreaded Doctor Oz. How about Doc 'Ola?

Doug said...

In the spirit of transparency, Edo, my response above was sent after the 30-minute delay protocol on electronic communications. :D


Humanbelly said...

Actually, "Doctor Osvaldo" has a wonderful, almost-EC Comics ring to it, don'tcha think? (At least to this ol' western ear-!) You don't have a basement lab by any chance, do you, Doc?

If you were a Spidey villain, he'd call you something like "Dr. Oh-Oh", or "Dr. Uh-Oh", or "Dr. Aloha"-- and it would drive you nuts and lead to your downfall, so we certainly should find a moniker w/ more respect, I imagine. Hmm-- "The Omnipotent Dr. Oyola"---

(And curse you, Prowler, for beating me to the "it hurts when I do this" gag!)

(MFA in Acting, lord help us. . . )

Dr. Oyola said...

Dr. Oyola. Or, if you must Dr. O, or Dr. OOO - but never ever Dr. Oz or any other variation. Please! Or you know, just Osvaldo works, too ;)

Fred W. Hill said...

Funny how outside of the obvious the Avengers changed quite a bit within the first 10 issues as between the 1st two issues, Ant-Man became Giant-Man; then, of course, the Hulk quit and joined with Subby to fight his former teammates in issue 3, by which time Iron Man made the first significant change in his armor, switching from his clunky all golden duds to the sleeker, gold & red armor. Then, Cap joins in #4, making them a quintet again, but lo & behold, the Hulk shows up in #5, not really a member but tricked into helping out anyhow, so they might be considered briefly a sextet. Finally, in ish 9, Wonderman is at least considered for membership and even if he initially had evil intent he "dies" a hero -- so would he be considered the 7th Avenger? And does Rick Jones get any sort of honorary founding status? After all, he was really the one that got them together in the first place and he did his share of adventuring with them in their first year or so.

david_b said...

Fred, you bring up the best point on Rick Jones.., and why he isn't in the statue.

Despite his official status as 'honorary Avenger', he wouldn't have fit the scheme at all.

Snapper Carr anyone..?

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