Sunday, May 04, 2008

Q Ratings

On Free Comic Book Day, my store gave away 1000 comics to lots of new comics readers, which is a good thing.

But it made me think about the relative popularities of various characters (the Big Icons, of course). So I compared them this way.

Batman = Batman + Detective
Superman = Superman + Action
Wonder Woman = Wonder Woman
Green Lantern = Green Lantern + Green Lantern Corps
Flash = Flash
Aquaman + Martian Manhunter = 0

Setting the highest seller as a benchmark at 100 (sound familiar?), here's their relative popularity at my store.

The perpetually confused
Green Lantern 100

The ever-popular
Batman 94

who continually overshadows his super-friend...
Superman 74

as well as Little Miss Happy to Be Alive herself...
Wonder Woman 54

and bringing up the rear...


Flash 21



In fact, even Supergirl and Booster Gold are more popular than the Flash. Oh, and if you don't count Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan's just a touch above Wonder Woman.

The lesson? There are many; Wonder Women deserves another book; heroes don't have to be smart to be popular; a fun Martian Manhunter book would easily not be last on the list. I welcome your interpretation.

But the main message I get from these numbers is ...

yup; it's time to bring back Barry Allen.

12 comments:

SallyP said...

You know, for a runner, Wally has an enormous behind. Sheesh! And it is true, that Hal is an idiot. An awfully pretty idiot though.

I also don't understand why everyone is having hissy fits about the return of Barry Allen. I LIKE Barry. But I really don't want them to kill of J'onn, because I like him as well. I don't mind if they off Jason Todd again, because he has no redeeming features at ALL.

Anonymous said...

My main fear is that they'll bring back the character Barry Allen w/o bringing back Barry Allen's character. I want the same personality you see in the pre-crisis books or Waid's year one series: A kind of squarish but decent guy who uses his science wits to defeat villains. I'm afraid we're going to get a bunch of angst about how much has changed.
One reason I can't read Green Lantern is that the character seems over psychologized - specifically w/ the over bearing narration. I don't need that deep of a look into the heart of Hal Jordan. This stuff is basically trash literature and it should be treated as such. When you start wondering too much about what makes the Spirit tick, or Flash Gordon, or Indiana Jones, or whoever, then I think you're approaching the material in the wrong way.
I would hate for Barry Allen to be brought back just to receive the same treatment. -AP

Justin said...

I'm not so sure bringing back Barry is going to set the comic on fire, at least not in the long term. It seems to me the problems with the book are caused by the rotating creative teams and status quo.

I still feel like Wally is a character with a lot of potential that hasn't really been realized, and that Barry-as-absent-mentor has been an element in the Flash mythos that's worked pretty well for twenty-odd years.

This assessment is not in the least bit influenced, of course, by the fact that Wally's been the Flash for most of my comic-reading life. Still...

Scipio said...

"I want the same personality you see in the pre-crisis books or Waid's year one series: A kind of squarish but decent guy who uses his science wits to defeat villains."

Hear, hear!

chris said...

Trinity is coming, so your wish for a second Wonder Woman book is fulfilled, sorta.

I'd put WW ahead of Superman on that list, personally. I can't seem to find a good place to jump into any Superman book, since his books always seem to be in the middle of a Big Crossover Event, and/or writers I like are leaving (Busiek). Thank God for All-Star Superman.

Anonymous said...

"My main fear is that they'll bring back the character Barry Allen w/o bringing back Barry Allen's character. I want the same personality you see in the pre-crisis books or Waid's year one series: A kind of squarish but decent guy who uses his science wits to defeat villains. I'm afraid we're going to get a bunch of angst about how much has changed."

I'll agree with Waid's Year One, but pre-Crisis? You really, really don't want Barry to be the victim of that sort of shoddy writing ever again. We can lay the blame at the feet of Cary Bates, Flash scripter from about 1972 to 1985 (and often his own editor); read just about any Flash comic written by Bates and it will feel like tiny demons hitting the inside of your skull with hammers. In fact, the Flash comic was so consistently bad, I suspect DC felt that the concept of Barry Allen was inherently flawed, which is why they mercy-killed him off.

Let me put this properly in perspective for you. One of the most endearing things about the late Saint Barry Allen is his eternal love for Iris: she was the one true love of his life, and when she died, it was years before he loved another. Aww. That's how we all like to remember him; but the reality is, as soon as the "Iris is dead / track down her killer" story arc ended, Barry was trying to score with his new next door neighbor. There was no period of "No woman will ever replace Iris", as much as we like to assume it was there; with Cary Bates chronicling the adventures of the Flash, Barry Allen went straight from "I have avenged you, Iris!" to "Ay-yiyiyiyi! Who's that smokin' hot red head?"

I'm fine with writing Barry the way we like to remember him, not the way he was actually written.

Anonymous said...

For your calculations, shouldn't "Superman/Batman--World's Finest" and the "All Star Superman" and "All Star Batman" sales be included too? Wouldn't that move Green Lantern down?

Scipio said...

The All-Stars certainly could, but I'm discounting any group or joint title.

The Thing That Walks Like A Man said...

In fact, the Flash comic was so consistently bad, I suspect DC felt that the concept of Barry Allen was inherently flawed...I'm fine with writing Barry the way we like to remember him, not the way he was actually written. -- Anonymous

As much as I love me some vintage Bates crazy in my funnybooks, Mr. A is dead on. I re-read the full Flash run every 18-24 months or so, and the Swingin' Barry Era (the last 6 years of the title) is agonizing. I owe Waid a debt of gratitude for his work.

bfhjr7169 said...

I look forward to Barry Allen coming back...for me and for others, I'm sure, this will be our first real taste of Barry Allen in the comics. I have always read them with Wally as the only Flash...well up until Bart took over the mantle until his death. I really like Wally, but I would like to see the dynamics between the two once Barry is back. I assume with Wally going to be on Titans now they really do need a Flash on the JLA and from what I understand...who better than B. Allen?

Also I agree Wonder Woman does need another book...Trinity is coming, but still I want her without a team up. I want "Wonder Woman: Confidential" or "Wonder Woman: World Defender" or even "Wonder Woman: Amazon Princess". I really don't care what the call it...maybe even "Bracelets and Boots"...the thing is she needs come back and kick butt for the good US of A. They did a great job bringing her back to this millenia with the Diana Prince alter ego...no it's time to step up and give her something worth fighting for...without wondering if Man's World deserves to be saved...Oh but I just babble on !

Thanks :)

totaltoyz said...

the reality is, as soon as the "Iris is dead / track down her killer" story arc ended, Barry was trying to score with his new next door neighbor.

He also tried to score with Zatanna; but then, I could forgive him that.

Anonymous said...

"He also tried to score with Zatanna; but then, I could forgive him that."

You know what the worst part about that was? If you wanted to see any glimmer of normal human emotions in Barry Allen, you wouldn't find them in his own comic; you had to go over to JLA issues written by Gerry Conway. There, at least, you might get a sense that Barry never quite stopped loving Iris, even as he was trying to get on with his life.

It's easy to fault Gerry Conway for a lot of things, but I'm forced to admit he did a better job of writing both Barry and Hal than their "regular" writers did.