Blah Blah Blog – The Essential Eight

A post from my defunct Marvel blog trying to determine with the help of the readership the eight most essential Marvel series.

The Essential Eight

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

We’ll start today with a brief history lesson, and then move into another “audience participation” question.

Back in 1957, Marvel’s distribution went belly-up. The company had just signed on with a new distributor, who promptly went out of business. And Marvel almost went with them. In a mad scramble, owner and publisher Martin Goodman cut a deal with the only distributor he could find–Independent News, which was the distribution arm of DC Comics. As part of the deal, Martin, who was notorious for flooding the stands with dozens of imitation products any time he sensed a hot trend, was prohibited from releasing any more than 8 titles a month–that’s all Independent News would take. As a result, Marvel wound up cancelling 80-90% of the line, and focusing on only a select few series. It was within this climate of limitation that the Marvel super heroes were created.

Now, what I’d like to try today is duplicating those circumstances. So we need to reduce Marvel’s publishing output to only eight titles–the Essential Eight. These can be existing books or new series, however you want to play it. And again, we’re doing this by group consensus.

So as in the past, any given poster can nominate two titles to keep, and any title can be vetoed by anybody for any reason. And just to clarify, since some people have been confused, once a title is vetoed, that’s it–it’s off the list permanently.

So, with those limitations, can we bring the line down to an Essential Eight?

You tell me.

More later.

Tom B

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7 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – The Essential Eight

  1. Spiderman and The Avengers are two I would keep. Spiderman had the most accessible character, concept and cast. The Avengers have great interactions among its characters and epic stories. (And a sneaky way to keep more characters in the Universe)


  2. I would do Spiderman and Avengers as my keep. Spiderman has an easy accessible character, concept and cast. Avengers would have epic stories and a way to keep several characters “alive” in the 8 titles limit.


  3. X-Men and the most recent incarnation of the Champions. The mutant allegory for all sorts of minorities is a message that still stands true and needs to be spoken of. And a team of younger heroes looking to change the world for the better without direct adult supervision is one that resonates as well.


  4. The list could be different for each reader. I dont have the sales figures in front of me, so some of my choices could be misguided. Each book needs The best talent available.

    I’d pick books that might need retooling, but with titles that carry a significance and identity that best reflects the brand.

    Team books would help keep as many characters active as possible, since solo series would be extremely limited.

    The Avengers. Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spectrum (Monica Rambeau), Wasp, etc

    The Amazing Spider-Man

    The Uncanny X-Men. Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Rogue, etc

    Black Panther

    The Champions. Marvel’s teen heroes.

    Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers. A female solo book is needed. Hers hasn’t been very good. It’d have to be better to remain.

    The Defenders. Anti-establishment heroes. Dr. Strange, Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Power Man, etc

    Marvel Comics Presents. Anthology. A place to give other characters a rotating spotlight. From the other books, or who otherwise dont have a home. Features could include Wolverine, Deadpool (either could be featured in X-Men. But the movies have made each name very high profile. And that’s a sales advantage). Daredevil. Vision & Scarlet Witch. Thor. etc.


  5. My 8
    Amazing Spider-Man (because you have to really)
    Uncanny X-Men (again goes without saying)
    Avengers (a good team book that can have a diverse and rotating cast, which usually includes some big guns)
    Captain America (globetrotting spy/action adventures)
    Iron Man (more sci-fi leaning superheroics)
    Another team book (champions/Defenders /new warriors which would be the underdog team as opposed to the well regarded Avengers)
    Captain Marvel and the Marvel corps (cosmic stories as well as stories about anyone who wielded the Ms Marvel or Captain Marvel name, including Kamala Khan, Monica Rambea, Genis-Vell, Phyla-Vell and Sharon Ventura)
    The 8th slot would be taken by mini-series under a Marvel Comics Presents banner to showcase other characters and stories.


  6. 1) Avengers – unfortunately the only place to showcase Cap, Thor, and Iron Man’s exploits
    2) Fantastic Four – natch
    3) X-Men – a dumping ground for all mutant tales, including Wolverine’s solo romps
    4) Defenders – a means of keeping characters such as Dr. Strange and lesser-known heroes in the spotlight
    5) Spider-Man – I mean, of course
    6) Hulk – this also has gotta be here
    7) Daredevil – one of the few popular Marvel heroes who really only works as a solo act
    8) Silver Surfer – a place for everything cosmic and philosophical

    Additionally, I’d make sure there were no character crossovers between the books as to keep their identities/brands intact and unique. That means Spidey, Hulk, DD, and the Surfer would NOT be members of any of the team books … and no member of, say, the X-Men would also be a member of, say, the Avengers.

    Honestly, I think the eight I’ve chosen would be able to keep the Marvel heart alive.


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