Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Few Thoughts About The Lists

So the Favorite Characters posts are done for the time being. I do think I'll start them up again in the future and cover the characters I considered putting in, but didn't. Like I said at the start, I could replace 80% of the Marvel list and still feel good about it. But I'm not around my collection at the moment, and frankly, those posts are kind of exhausting. The last few, I found myself starting on them the Monday before, and I was still trying to fine-tune them the day they went up. But I wanted to take a moment and kind of consider the lists.

With DC, two of the characters first appeared in the '60s (Rock and Enemy Ace), one in the '70s (Peej), three in the '80s (Starfire, Waller, and Tim, though Tim just barely), and four from the '90s (Kyle, Steph, Cass, and the Ray). Which isn't much of a surprise. I had access to my dad's old comics almost from the beginning, but I distinctly remember not being that interested in DC's Silver Age superheroes. They seemed far too overpowered, and kind of bland, especially compared to '80s Marvel. So when I did get into DC's heroes, it was the new versions that got to win me over. Hal Jordan was my dad's Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner was mine. Dick Grayson was his Robin, Tim Drake was mine. I don't remember him having any comics with Batgirl, but I'm sure he watched the Adam West Batman show, so it's the same thing with Barbara Gordon and Cassandra Cain. It's not such an either/or thing now, I can better appreciate the older characters, but back then, when I was getting attached to characters, it was a little more binary.

Marvel's a little stranger. 1 character from the '40s (Patsy), 3 from the '60s (Spidey, the Thing, and Hawkeye), 5 from the '70s, and 1 from the '00s (Stacy). What's weird is that the great majority of Marvel comics I read in the first 5-10 years of reading them were from the '80s or early '90s. Yet there's not one character from either of those decades on the list. If I went with the 80% revised list, things would even out more (there'd be one character from the '90s, 2 from the '80s, and only 3 from the '70s), but as things stand, it's the '70s that dominate.

Of course, there's a difference between a character being created in a particular time, and that being the version I like. Take Ben Reilly. He first appeared in the original Clone Saga in the '70s, and was counted as such. But did he really have a personality in that story? I'm asking, I never read it. So the guy I like, the one I know, is entirely from the '90s. So should I count him as such? I like Mantlo's Rocket Raccoon, but I've read a lot more of Abnett and Lanning's version. Should I count him as a 2000s character then? Or Patsy Walker. I haven't read any of her adventures from before she became Hellcat, so how important is the '40s stuff to what I like about her? There's one character I'd consider adding to the DC list that would be a similar case.

One other interesting thing is how much other media helped introduce me to the DC characters, versus Marvel. With Marvel, I feel like my first introduction to each of those characters was through comics. I've seen them in other forms since - cartoons, movies, video games - but the comics set the tone. This is the case for some of the DC characters, but for others - Kyle Rayner, Starfire, and Amanda Waller to varying degrees - it was the cartoons. The Internet also chipped in. I know it was people raving about Suicide Squad that got me into Amanda Waller, and probably people talking about Joe Kubert that got me to reevaluate those war comics of my dad.

But I've always been playing catch-up on DC to a certain degree. When I was younger, I was very much into that DC vs. Marvel mindset. Now it's a matter of which one produces more comics I enjoy, but then it had to be one or the other. And Marvel won. So I largely ignored DC, and then I get on the Internet, and there are plenty of people raving about various DC stuff I know nothing about. So I have to go look it up, and here we are. I like finding something interesting myself by chance, then following it down the rabbit hole, but it can be nice when there are other people who already know about it that can point me in productive directions. Of course, all those helpful people are the reason I can't ever seem to make any headway on my list of old series to track down, but we should all be so fortunate to have that problem, eh?

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