Second/Third Tier Characters

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Second/Third Tier Characters

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:05 am

Forgive me the lack of organization and coherence here. I'm just typing the shit up as it comes to me.

I've noticed that non-comics fans (ie, people who do not read/follow/collect comics on a semi-regular basis) may enjoy this or that superhero movie but usually (with notable exceptions) tend to favor the big iconic characters. Your more avid comics fans are usually more attracted to second tier and third tier characters.

Take me, for example. I've been a fan of Superman my entire life. But for a long time, to the extent I collected at all, Superman was basically all I followed. As I branched out, however, I developed an affinity for your not-necessarily-A-list characters.

These days, some of my favorites are Daredevil, Green Lantern (Kyle, Guy and Hal), Ms. Marvel, Aquaman, Firestorm, Luke Cage and others. Now, some of those have had shows or big budget movies. True enough. But have ANY of them really been game-changing mega-hits? No. Not one. Green Lantern may be a huge seller in comic book stores (and it is) but that has yet to translate into mainstream acceptance (ie, STM, B89, TDK).

By contrast, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and others have always been pretty reliable sellers. Spider-Man especially has NEVER been in danger of cancellation. True, some of his individual comics have been cancelled but the character himself has always starred in at least one comic book of his very own and that's never been in jeopardy. Spider-Man was adapted into a cartoon within five or six years of his debut and then adapted into a TV show within 15 years. His big screen history speaks for itself. He's an iconic character.

The Punisher, on the other hand, has likely had more attempts at a big screen movie adaptation than any other Marvel character and NONE of them ever caught on. He's NOT an iconic character, no matter how "relevant" he may be.

The main point here is that I suspect the reason comic FANS gravitate toward second and third tier characters is because there's something more personal about that specifically keeps them from becoming huge mega names. What I like about Daredevil is that he is kind of a superhero every man. He's not the guy you turn to when Galactus has the munchies. He takes care of a specific neighborhood in NYC and in general just does his best. Well, if you ask me, that makes for one hell of a good comic book but there's not much marquee value in that type of character.

Same thing for Aquaman. He's kind of like Superman in the sense that he's a man of two worlds. But unlike Superman, Aquaman isn't fully accepted in either. Some people in Atlantis see him as too influenced by the surface world. People in the surface world think he's a joke. Where Superman succeeds, Aquaman -- notwithstanding his actions -- is perceived (with perhaps some credibility) to fall pretty far short. Makes a good comic, not so much a bestseller (although his sales right now are pretty good under Geoff Johns, I hear).

Anyway. I could be wrong but that's how I see it. Not bad for a bunch of stuff I just wrote up as I went along.
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Re: Second/Third Tier Characters

Post  non_amos on Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:21 am

The thing is though is that some iconic characters have been a 'mixed bag' when it comes to duh media. You mentioned GREEN LANTERN which is currently probably the most glaring example. But like I mentioned in the Avengers thread, the success of THE HULK has also been met with mixed reception.

The Hulk was a hit on network TV. Cheesy though it may have been at times, people were sold on it & I think it has its' influence even until this day. But I think it may have also inadvertently affected the film franchise to some degree. Let's just hope this changes with Avengers. But to contrast, Spiderman came out with a TV series too about the same time & I don't think it lasted but one season. However, the film series did gangbusters! And let's not forget that Iron Man & Thor were also somewhat considered 2nd-tier characters, at least in relation to the more popular ones, yet those films have been hits too.

I can see the possibility of Marvel Studios continuing to mine this field so to speak but I just have to wonder when they hit a brick wall with it? Would a Luke Cage or Iron Fist film do well? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Dr. Strange? Probably one of the better possibilities but even then it has to be done right or you end up with another GL. So far though Marvel Studios hasn't really disappointed. I just hope they don't start.
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Re: Second/Third Tier Characters

Post  webhead2006 on Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:27 am

Those are some good points. For me i am a big spidey reading been collecting over 12 yrs. I tend to not branch out to much(mostly due to comics costs these days) only other books i read is next avengers. But i see your point on lower tiered characters. As for luke cage, iron first, i think it would be best for them to be made at a lower cost so if it doesnt do as well as expected they didnt blow so much money on. Dr. Strange as low tier he made be the whole magic deal with him i could if done right see him hit it off well like ironman did.
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