web stats

CSBG Archive

Top Five Avengers Chairpersons

The Avengers did not always treat the idea of a chairperson as a major thing, and in fact, for the first 100 or so issues, they not only rotated chairpersons, they did not even always say who WAS the chairperson! So you could theoretically argue that any number of Avengers were chairpersons during the early years, but for the sake of this list, I am just listing the top five Avengers who were specifically noted as being chairpersons. Without further ado, here are the Avengers who have been chairperson of the Avengers (counting both branches) the most issues!

(Check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far)

5. Black Widow

Definitely a weird choice to see in the top five Avengers leaders, but Black Widow was the chairperson of the Avengers for over FIFTY issues!

Her stint, though, was bizarre because she was really more of an administrative chairperson, and her teammate Black Knight did most of the field leading. Natasha served as a sort of administrator for Captain America when Cap was chairperson, and when he left, she got his job, but stayed as an administrator.

When Black Knight left the team, Natasha, due to necessity, took over being field leader, as well.

She’s also notable for being the Avengers leader who couldn’t manage to form a new team when she thought Cap and the rest were killed during Onslaught, despite a goodly chunk of her current team still being alive (her, Deathcry, Quicksilver and Hercules – or basically the same lineup she was leading just a year or so earlier!).

4. Iron Man

Iron Man only edges out Black Widow because I’m counting him as at least CO-chairperson during the early New Avengers issues. That’s fair, right?

He certainly SEEMED to be leading the team.

Currently, as head of SHIELD, he is the technical “head” of the Mighty Avengers, but I think Ms. Marvel is more of what you would consider the chairperson of the group.

3. Hawkeye

Hawkeye gets here by virtue of basically being the main leader of the Avengers West Coast throughout their history, specifically the first 40 or so issues (plus the dozen or so appearances before their ongoing series) and then a later stint on the team.

2. Wasp

Wasp edges out Hawkeye due to her short-lived stint as Avengers chairperson when Captain America left the team during Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s run, and Scarlet Witch was unprepared to take over the job as full-time chairperson. That’s what happened, right? I’m not misremembering that, am I?

Anyhow, Wasp led the Avengers for most of the 80s, from #217-278, with a few notable gaps in between (when Vision became the leader of the team).

1. Captain America

Captain America was the first Avenger to be named permanent chairperson (although I think they said chairMAN back then, which is weird, because by the time Cap got the job, Wasp had specifically BEEN chair for a few issues), and in the first 100 issues, while Cap wasn’t TECHNICALLY the chairperson all the time he was on the team, while he was there, everyone essentially treated him as the leader.

In fact, Wasp had the embarrassing scenario of being chairperson when the Avengers were caught up in Secret Wars and have everyone say, “Yeah, okay, but we’d prefer Cap be the leader of everyone, okay?”

So yeah, Cap and Avengers chairperson go together nicely, well, except for him being dead, of course.

That’s the list!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

48 Comments

Bernard the Poet

July 31, 2008 at 3:17 am

Wow, Brian, this is a first. Here you have a perfect opportunity to write about Monica Rambeau, and yet you don’t.

What’s happened?

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 31, 2008 at 3:29 am

Maybe Mr. BC is Monica Rambeau-challenged?

She wasn’t even the next in line! In fact, I think she would be behind both Hank Pym AND Thor!!

Arh ya see when people dismiss the Wasp they forget stuff like this. My fav Marvel character always gets much needed love in stuff like this.

Now if only someone would see the potential in a Wasp series. Now of course me I go a gazillion ideas for an ongoing but I’m a fair realistic man and will settle for a mini, heck even a one-shot.

Let’s all give Jan some love. Come on now you know she deserves it.

I think I would have to go Thor just for his shear anality as chair in the very early issues. Who knew Norse gods loved heavily minuted committee meetings so much?

Even Bigger Nerd

July 31, 2008 at 5:55 am

Actually, the Associated Press Stylebook recommends using “chairman” and “chairwoman” over the generic. I am 100% sure this is why they were referred to as “chairman,” because comics are well-known for their adherence to grammar and spelling rules, right?

Captain Marvel should be third… or maybe fourth.

The rest of the list order I agree with.

FWIW: In the Heroclix game, the Avengers are the only team that can have two leaders out there – Cap & Wasp.

I was waiting for a Monica Rambeau too. Oh well.

The problem is, every time someone decides to give Janet some depth and maturity, the very next writer goes “HEY! What’s the big idea? The Wasp is a flake, and she’ll ALWAYS be a flake!”

So far the only exception to this is the Janet seen in the excellent Marvel Adventures Avengers title, who has never been the Wasp. Hmmmmm….

I kind of loved Thor as chairman. He was so awkward at it, and by awkward I mean awesome.

In regards to Black Widow’s inability to form a new Avengers team after Onslaught, I’m not sure that was really failure so much as taking advantage of a fast way to get rid of Deathcry.

Wasp as chairperson was part of the big “token female as team leader” trend that made me roll my eyes a lot. Zatanna led the JLA, Sue led the Fantastic Four, Storm led the X-Men, Wasp led the Avengers, Liberty Belle led the All-Star Squadron…. it was a tough time being a comic fan.

I totally remember that moment from Secret Wars #1 when all the heroes agreed to let Cap lead them. (Did they even ofter it to Reed? That I can’t remember.) Anyway, just another nice Marvel moment where you realize the tremendous respect and reverence that everyone had for Cap. (And if I recall correctly, I believe Jan spent most of Secret Wars getting busy with Magneto.)

“Wasp as chairperson was part of the big “token female as team leader” trend that made me roll my eyes a lot. Zatanna led the JLA, Sue led the Fantastic Four, Storm led the X-Men, Wasp led the Avengers, Liberty Belle led the All-Star Squadron…. it was a tough time being a comic fan.”

But I’m sure you were the very model of grace and dignity under such terrible trials.

I have no recollection of Thor chairing the team. I can’t imagine it went well at all.

“The problem is, every time someone decides to give Janet some depth and maturity, the very next writer goes “HEY! What’s the big idea? The Wasp is a flake, and she’ll ALWAYS be a flake!””

But for me thats part of the appeal and part of Jan’s depth (I always get slightly disturbed by the way I refer to some characters by their christian name as though they’re people I know… I must stop that!). She is both the flake and the competant leader, she’s the fashion designer and business woman and the bubblegum celebrity IT girl, she’s the strong independant woman and the girl friend hanging onto the coat tails of the father figure boyfriend/husband/ex whatever.

The Wasp (see I do know she’s just a character) is a woman capable of being all these things as suits the situation and her desire. Just as say Tony Stark can be the hard nosed politcal industrialist and the playboy flirt. Look how Roger Stern handled her, he really (though was it Jim Shooter who first made her leader?) defined The Wasp as a brillant Avenegers leader, at the same time he had her turn up at premiers hanging onto the Paladin’s arm, or basking by the pool cooing at Captain America.

Now I admit much of this may later be developed from, well if not bad writing, then inconsistant characterisation, but its left us with a wonderfully rounded character that is shamefully under explored in my opinion.

I keep scrolling up and down the list and I don’t see Monica Rambeau listed.

Did Brian and her have a bad break-up recently?

Brian, If you want a decent Monica Rambeau list…

How about “Top Five leaders of Nextwave”!?!??!

Looking at the Avengers West Coast cover, how awesome would it have been to see a team that consisted of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Puck, Red Wolf, and ROM? Just for sheer WTF, I’m sayin’.

ROM was also one of the candidates on the famous Avengers #221 cover with the head shots and check boxes. I think ROM should have joined all the super-teams, just on general principle.

Of course, the funny thing about that now is that some of the more far-fetched options shown on that Avengers cover were Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Dr. Strange. Them? As Avengers? It is to laugh.

Colin wrote: “Arh ya see when people dismiss the Wasp they forget stuff like this. My fav Marvel character always gets much needed love in stuff like this.

Now if only someone would see the potential in a Wasp series. Now of course me I go a gazillion ideas for an ongoing but I’m a fair realistic man and will settle for a mini, heck even a one-shot.

Let’s all give Jan some love. Come on now you know she deserves it.”

Let me second that. In particular I would like to see a one shot where there’s the Marvel Heroes drinking contest, with the 3 finalists of Hercules, Aaron “My Robot Brain needs beer” and Janet “Martini” Dyne.

Actually this has nothing to do with a Wasp mini-series, but was the first thing I thought of when I read that comment. My bad.

That would be one way to get Tony Stark out of everyone’s hair for a while, Gopher.

In fact, how about the top 5 Marvel drinkers and the top 5 DC drinkers (writers and artists not included) :)

If this were a top five Avengers Chairpersons as for favourite or most interesting or most effective, I’d be asking where Monica and Dr Druid are. But, I see that it is a top five list of longest reigning, and so it is all about the numbers.

I recently re-read Secret Wars. The leadership position was offered to Hulk (said that the others wouldn’t trust him), Reed (said he was too preoccupied worrying about Sue and her pregnancy), Professor Xavier (said that the others wouldn’t trust him) and Wasp. Wasp said that she would rather Captain America do it because he’d worked with everyone there before and that the trust and recognizability he had would be more useful in the situation than the fact that she’s the current leader of the Avengers.

Wolverine claimed that Captain America was “The least of us” (an interesting statement in the light of various more recent ret-cons regarding their past) and that he didn’t think Cap was leadership material. Thor, on the other hand, said that he would trust Cap with his life and the others agreed.

I wonder, if there were no ret-cons, and if everything we know now about Wolverine’s past were out back then, if he would have been the leader during the Secret Wars?

Theno

“(And if I recall correctly, I believe Jan spent most of Secret Wars getting busy with Magneto.)”

For some perverse reason, I feel compelled to defend Jan’s honor (which, admittedly, is more than she ever did). She was Magneto’s prisoner for about an issue, and she only made out with him to lull him into a false sense of security so she could escape.

And who HASN’T been there?

Well, at this point Wolverine also wrote Shakespeare’s plays and built the pyramids. Back then he was pretty much a loose cannon with claws and a mysterious background. I have to say, I liked him better back then. Of course, I was 13, so I guess I would.

Bernard the Poet

July 31, 2008 at 12:58 pm

“Wasp as chairperson was part of the big “token female as team leader” trend that made me roll my eyes a lot. Zatanna led the JLA, Sue led the Fantastic Four, Storm led the X-Men, Wasp led the Avengers, Liberty Belle led the All-Star Squadron…. it was a tough time being a comic fan.”

I think the trend was to ape the X-Men blueprint as closely as possible. So when Claremont made Storm the leader of the X-Men (a logical progression for the character), every other team seemed to follow suit with mixed results. I rather liked Liberty Belle, although it was probably a little historically inaccurate that a woman would have got the job in 1942. Sue led the Fantastic Four when Reed was believed dead, but then who else was a better candidate? Johnny? She Hulk?

Zatanna becoming chairperson of the JLA was a pretty clear case of bandwagon jumping, but there was no intrinsic reason why it couldn’t have worked well, it was just that the JLA wasn’t a terribly good comic at the time.

That non-powered Heather became the leader of Alpha Flight and non-powered Candy Southern became leader of the Defenders seemed a bizarre story-telling decision to me. Doubly baffling because they became leaders at roughly the same time – who copied who?

Still I think Jim Shooter making Wasp the chairperson of the Avengers was the worst case of tokenism. He had only recently concluded a story about Hank Pym’s breakdown, which required the Wasp to play the part of an ineffectual victim. Then two or three issues later she asks Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, if she can be leader and they smirkingly agree. It seemed very patronising to me.

To be fair – as someone has previously mentioned – when Roger Stern started writing the comic, he managed to make the Wasp remain frivolous, whilst becoming a highly competent leader.

If only he had managed to make Captain Marvel half as interesting.

How can people quibble about Captain Marvel or the ordering of the list when the list was compiled by looking at the number of appearances in the friggin’ issues? It’s not a top 5 FAVORITE chairpersons. It’s just who had the most appearances as chairperson. I think people must look at the title of the post, look at the pretty images and then type. Ah, the internet.

I love those horrible fake-out roster covers. Who will answer Hawkeye’s call? Cyclops? Hell no! Are you stupid?

“I have no recollection of Thor chairing the team. I can’t imagine it went well at all”

Stan Lee originally established that the role of chairman rotated on a regular basis and all the founders (minus Hulk and plus Cap) pretty much all of them had a turn. At that that time though it was pretty much just an administrative role, and basically they just read off the minutes at meetings. Wasp was the odd exception, I can’t recall her ever being Chairperson during Lee’s run. In fact I’m pretty sure she was considered a secondary member, as I recall Iron Man once suggested that Cap let Rick Jones be given some sort of partial memership “like Wasp” (Cap said no way). Poor Jan, her chance to shine wouldn’t come until much later.

I don’t think you really saw anyone truly leading the team as far as giving orders up until the founders left and Cap was in charge of Clint, Pietro and Wanda.

Really I feel that Jan was probably one of the best team leaders in the history of the team. She handled both the leading in the field and administration of the team very well for the most part. When I first read the Roger Stern run of the team it was the first time I really got the character. I was fairly pleased when Bendis had Ms. Marvel acknowledge that Jan could lead the Mighty Avengers.

“Who will answer Hawkeye’s call? Cyclops? Hell no! Are you stupid?”

Tell that to my younger self who practically died of shock when he saw the cover of Avengers 300 (with new members Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman).

Cyclops leading the Avengers would be interesting, actually. Get him out of the dead end that his X-Men characterisation has been since Morrison left.

And I also understood why Captain Marvel wasn’t on there… heck, Luke Cage is catching up to her fairly quickly in terms of “issues spent as Avengers chair”, isn’t he?

Daniel O' Dreams

July 31, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Hercules with a shave looks even more wrong than Black knight with a lightsaber and that’s saying something… Dark days for the Avengers.

Hawkeye was also the leader of the GLA for a brief time. Don’t know whether those appearances would give him the edge over Wasp.

Bernard the Poet said:

“That non-powered Heather became the leader of Alpha Flight and non-powered Candy Southern became leader of the Defenders seemed a bizarre story-telling decision to me. Doubly baffling because they became leaders at roughly the same time – who copied who?”

Maybe the writers were living together at the time and it was all just a big coincidence.

Hulk should be chair-hulk! Hulk is the STRONGEST ONE THERE IS!!! Hulk gonna grow a beard now…

By the way, has everyone else gotten those awesome DVD collections of every issue of (Avengers, Cap, FF, Ghost Rider (can’t win ‘em all), Hulk, Iron Man, Spidey, X-Men) from the ’60′s to about 2006 put out last year or so by the G.I.T. corporation? I’m so digging these, and reading them all month-to-month in order, I’m almost out of 1967 and can’t wait for for Sub-Mariner to get dropped from Tales To Astonish for some full-length greenskin stories! Greatly looking forward to the 70′s Avengers! CURSE THEM for bothering with movie-tie-in inspired releases of Ghost Rider and Silver Surfer collections before giving us a THOR disk! Those classic Kirby issues are now missing from glorious pdf form, apparently for good. (GIT Corp lost the rights to do these collections once Marvel realized what a cool thing it was and decided to screw it up themselves with their own lame digital comics plan.)

Captain America (the REAL one, not Bucky) is and will always be number one in the Avengers. Having someone other tha C.A. as chairman is a dull gimmick by writers who have run out of ideas.

Am I wrong in assuming we’re going to get a crazed compilation (…. gods, I’m turning into Stan Lee) of Titans covers at some point?

I mean, Dick / Wally / Donna will be the top three, but (a) in what order, and (b) if you count Young Justice, can any of the “third generation” (Tim / Cassie / Superb… okay, Tim and Cassie) beat out any of the old-timers or even the Wolfman / Perez Titans?

And, hey, we’ll get to make more jokes about the new Titans series! If that hasn’t been beaten down enough yet, that is….

Jan did in fact get one turn as chairman (no, seriously, that’s what she said) during Lee’s Avengers run. I read the issue for the first time last night. It was fairly late in the run, without looking through my issue stack, I want to say it was the Count Nefaria issue.

It’s also incorrect that Jan was considered a partial member. She was a full member with voting rights. This is a plot point in issue #16 (which I read last night – when Hawkeye and the other former villains show up), since her voting rights mean that she, Iron Man, and Giant-Man had the required majority for voting in new members despite Thor disappearing and Cap wandering around the Amazon for awhile. In the issues talking about making Rick Jones a member, I believe someone specifically says “Why not make him a full member with a costume, like Jan?”

So while Stan does pull some misogynist bloopers with Jan here and there, it’s nowhere near as bad as, say, anything going in contemporary DC books. He also gets better about writing her as the series goes along, with less of her dialogue devoting to pointing out who the most attractive man in a given panel happens to be.

Just want to say the Vision was a real cool chairman, even if he did go nuts and try to control the world (or maybe because of it).

I liked the Shooter issues when Iron Man was chairman and Captain America took a swing at him for not taking the job seriously (that’s actually a scene from the cover for Iron Man’s position, above).

I guess I’m saying I like the leaders that cause strife within the group. Makes for some fun reads.

- Clean-shaven Hercules in the 1990s Avengers. Was that because of the TV show, I wonder?

- Candy as leader of the Defenders was nonsense, but Heather at Alpha Flight made some sense. She WAS the most level-headed of them, she was good with people, she was the only one that wasn’t hated/distrusted by at least half the other members.

- It is pretty interesting how Captain America is seen by many as the supreme leader in the Marvel Universe now. Except for the “Kooky Quartet”, he wasn’t really a take-charge kind of character in the 1960s and 1970s. Iron Man and Thor were the ones that usually appeared to be leaders. I think it was Jim Shooter in the early 1980s that started depicting Captain America like that. Particularly in the story that Iron Man and Thor revealed their secret identities to him. Yep, that is right, Cap didn’t even know that Tony was Iron Man until the early 80s.

I don’t know if this is relevant, but there’s a weird scene in the Avengers issue where they first fight General Immortus (around #10 or so) where Thor wrestles a totally clean-shaven Hercules that looks pretty much nothing like the 80′s version of the character who joined the Avengers.

Rene,

You do realize that saying that Heather was the most level headed member of Alpha Flight during that time period is kind of like saying that Riddler is the most level headed member of Batman’s rogue’s gallery?

I think that Alpha Flight 12-50-ish is an even more disfunctional team (as in out of their minds team members, not an inability to work together) than any incarnation of Doom Patrol.

Theno

Lynxanara, the Avengers #10 Hercules was retconned into being the Space Phantom in disguise.

… of _course_ he was! Do I want to know what book established this?

(Was it written by Roy Thomas?)

‘GENERAL Immortus’?! He fought the Doom Patrol, not the Avengers, yo. Yeesh.

Immortus, in his first appearance, was not a terribly memorable villain. I’m not at all surprised I mixed him up with someone else with a similar name.

Loved that era that the Iron Man cover is from.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives