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Not-So-Great Moments in Avengers/X-Men History – Quicksilver’s Sole Star of Shame

This month is the 50th anniversaries of both the X-Men and the Avengers. Each day I’m spotlighting a cool comic book moment from either the Avengers or the X-Men but I thought it is only fair to spend a little time on the NOT so cool moments in each of their histories. So throughout the month I’ll occasionally spotlight some of the more embarrassing moments from Avengers and X-Men history.

Today, we look at the 1972 Marvel “measurement of importance” and see how Quicksilver was specifically pointed out in a negative fashion.

Enjoy!

Sean Howe had this on his awesome Tumblr.

Some time in 1972, Stan Lee put on a memo for some reason detailing the various Marvel characters and ranked them based on how important they were to the company. Three stars was very important, two stars was important and one star was not very important.

The Avengers as a whole was very important, and the Big Three (Iron Man, Cap and Thor) were all very important. The other members of the team, though, were just important….except for Quicksilver…

importancemeter

Yep, out of 55 individual characters listed on the memo, Quicksilver was one of only four characters to be deemed “not very important,” along with such luminaries as the Watcher, the Ringo Kid and the original, Western Ghost Rider.

How awkward.

At least Quicksilver can point to the fact that unlike Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Wasp, the Vision and many more characters on the list, he actually eventually received his own ongoing series…

So suck it, Beast, Vision and Scarlet Witch!

29 Comments

Parts of the Quicksilver series were actually pretty, especially the stuff written by John Ostrander.

Note also how Sue is one star lower in rank than the rest of the FF.

And not one single female character deserved three stars? Not even Invisible Woman? While even freakin’ Ka-Zar was considered Very Important? Wow. That’s just embarrassing.

When even the most prominent heroines are rated at the same level of importance as Gullivar Jones (who?) and Kull, you know there’s a problem.

What’s even more hilarious is that all the X-Men got two stars, even though they were in reprints at the time.

Ah, the early seventies. When Doc Savage was more important to Marvel than the X-Men.

The Invisible ranking less than her co-stars is pretty shocking! What is also interesting is that Luke Cage is given three stars while Black Widow, Shanna and The Cat who also had solo series launched or running at that time are only given two stars. All the female solo characters were cancelled in less than a year, while Luke Cage was retooled numerous times for his series to last. Just an observation.

What caught my attention was how short the list is. How many pages would a list for today be?

AverageJoeEveryman

September 11, 2013 at 10:49 am

This is a really interesting memo. Is there any way to get some post about who in the blue hell Gullivar Jones was and why he was as important as most of the MU at the time?

There are no three star heroines, but there are also no one star heroines.

Invisible Girl sticks out largely because she is the only two-star of the FF. But at the same time, Marvel Girl and Medusa have the same two-star ranking as the rest of their respective groups, Wasp has the same two-star rank as Ant Man, and Scarlet Witch is above male teammate Quicksilver.

Black Widow is below Daredevil and Falcon is below Captain America, but those are presumably cases of being “sidekick” material. After all, Luke Cage on his own gets three stars.

Invisible Girl seems to suffer more because her teammates are ranked high, and honestly I can’t really see 1972 Sue as a three star character. I wouldn’t object to Human Torch getting a two-star rating, but he probably did have a fan base. Honestly, I wouldn’t even knock Mr. Fantastic getting a two-star, but I wouldn’t see Stan Lee putting a leader below both the team rank and the rank of another teammate. (I’d keep Thing at three stars, but I admit that is biased by Thing carrying Marvel Two-In-One for nine years, though that launched a couple of years after this list.)

@ AverageJoeEveryman:
Gullivar Jones was the titular character of a 1905 novel by Edwin Arnold who was a navy man who went to Mars. He appeared in the Marvel comic “Creatures on The Loose” and the magazine “Monsters Unleashed” around the time of this list.

He also appears in the first issue of Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol 2.” where he and John Carter watch the HG Wells’ Martians depart Mars for Earth.

Remember, this was the Invisible Girl, not the bad-ass Invisible Woman that John Byrne created in the 80s. She totally would have rated 4 stars.

Though The Beast never had an on-going comic with his name in the title, he was headlining the bi-monthly “Amazing Adventures” at the time of this list.

@AverageJoeEveryman

A quick Google search is interesting.

Gullivar Jones was based on a 1905 novel called “Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation”, which may be inspiration for Burroughs’s Mars novels.

Marvel might have done their version due to the popularity of Conan. Gullivar was written by Roy Thomas. Thomas’ story appeared in “Creatures On The Loose”, which had previously been reduced to a reprint book. Gullivar Jones was far from a success, lasting only six issues, and each story was apparently only ten pages. (The rest of the book remained reprints.)

My guess is that he got two stars on the list above simply by being a newly launching character at the time when the list was made.

Yeah, every character who had their own ongoing feature was at LEAST two stars.

It is a pity that many of these characters never had true solo series. A Vision series could have been way cool if Steve Gerber had written it… an Invisible Woman solo series could be very interesting as well.

After Conan hit big, Marvel tried to strike gold with Kull and Thongor (Lin Carter’s Conan knockoff) so I always figured Gullivar Jones was part of the same.
It does make me wonder what the standard was: fan popularity? Sales? Stan’s idea of their success potential? Writer interest? Why did Red Wolf get two stars?
Re: Pietro, it may have reflected that he was getting written out of the Avengers after their run-in with the Sentinels, assuming that was in the works at the time this was written.

I remember this list from when Howe first posted it. Hilarious then, still funny now. This was about the time that Quicksilver ended up with the Inhumans more or less until the 90s, right? Everybody talks about how badly the Scarlet Witch has been treated. At least she got two stars!

You know, Quicksilver, The Watcher, the Ringo Kid, and the original Ghost Rider would make a pretty good Defenders team.

Cant believe Nick Fury is two stars!

Not really Jeff R. , not really.

JK, lol

They may have been ranking their licensed properties like Doc Savage high for some reason?

The Invisible Girl probably gets short changed because she had been replaced by Crystal in the late 60′s and then again by Medusa in the early 70′s. If ever a member of the FF were likely to be replaced in that timeframe it would be Susan Storm!

Ouch.

Poor Pietro getting relegated to one star status pales by comparison to the importance Stan allocated to his female characters at the height of women’s lib. A far cry from the “Bad Girls for Fanboys” T&A angle of the Bill Jemas era, but equally contempt, nonetheless.

@Clutch:

Which group would you put Wasp and Scarlet Witch in?

Group A) Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor
or
Group B) Vision, Ghost Rider, Captain Marvel, all the X-Men

Which female character would you promote to three stars for reasons other than simply being female?

Sue is probably the closest and most deserving, but people can make arguments for why she missed the cut.

I find it interesting that the only villains on the list are Dr. Droom and Dracula, and Dracula presumably only made the list because he was headlining his own book at the time.

The Fantastic Four were a pretty damn big deal in 1972. I’m wondering if Marvel wasn’t already planning to replace the Invisible Girl with Medusa when the memo was written.

These days the list would be at least twice as long and go up to five stars. And Quicksilver would still have the same ranking.

And yet now the movie companies are fighting over who gets to make a movie with him!

Dr. Doom had a solo series in Astonishing Tales in ’71. And then we got Super-Villain Teamup in 1975. So presumably Marvel saw him as having potential beyond “just” the FF’s archfoe.

It’s an amusing artifact, but I wouldn’t read much into it except “Stan wasn’t prepared for the 80s at all”.

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