Welcome back to the Blogger Dome! Here, bloggers will argue different topics involving the comic book market and industry. This will be a combination of the Big Bang Theory and the WWE. Smack talk mixed with comic book debates. Bloggers going at each other to amuse and educate our readers. And we want to hear what YOU have to say about it. Today’s topic is The Brave and the Bold #28 vs. Avengers #1. So, tune in, get comfy, and let’s do this!
Ding ding! Allow me to present your newest fighters in the Blogger Dome ring… Patrick AND Ryan! Fight!
PATRICK: First, I want to recognize that Ryan is a skilled and crafty fighter. He may try to inflate my ego as he did with former opponents, like in the battle of antagonists Batman Villains vs. Spider-Man Villains. Which iconic cast of evil reigns supreme?
For sure, Ryan’s sneaky left jab will appear out of nowhere with facts and anecdotes. I won’t be surprised when he cites trends, hotlists, and blockbuster movie revenue, all intended to batter my defenses. But, I will proudly stand like a champ by the team of my youth, the Justice League of America. Though the Silver Age’s flagship team may not get the love of Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes, I gladly don the gloves of battle.
RYAN: Oh, Patrick, how right you are. I could just cite one number in this blog and drop the mic. How does this sound: $7.6 billion. That’s the total global revenue for the four Avengers movies to date. While Justice League Snyder Cut is busy trying to count how many $14.95 subscribers it drew in for HBO Max, the Avengers franchise is laughing all the way to the bank.
But, to give you a fighting chance, this will focus on the comics. Avengers #1 is where I will direct my efforts just like you will push Brave and the Bold #28, but behind the scenes we know which group is more popular and beloved.
Round #1 First Blood!
PATRICK: Justice League of America (JLA)… Super Friends, Mom, and Apple Pie
“In the Great Hall of the Justice League, there are assembled the world’s four greatest heroes created from the cosmic legends of the universe: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman…”! Who am I to argue with narrator Ted Knight of the 1973 Super Friends Season 1 introduction?
In nine seasons from 1973 to 1985, the Super Friends represented what was good and decent in the world. Clearly, these Justice Leaguers stood for all people in every nation who love Mom and Apple Pie! Schemes failed and evil geniuses repented before the combined might of the JLA and their sidekicks Robin, Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog. I can safely say that ABC Saturday Morning Cartoons captured the goodness and beauty of the first Silver Age super-team in those 93 episodes. And it all started because the Justice League of America was introduced in Brave and the Bold #28. Cue the glorious marching band music… and may no eye remain dry!
RYAN: Who Needs a TV Show When You Have Lee, Kirby, and Ayers?
And there you go, right off the bat, pivoting away from the comics because, in actuality, you know there IS NO COMPETITION. The closest The Avengers ever got to a TV show was a British spy cult classic that ran through the 1960s.
You see, what the actual Super-team of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers did back when they created the Avengers in 1962 was put together a team of misfits and up-and-comers and turn them into the best superhero squad since the Fantastic Four. Remember Hulk’s first run? A fail. Ant-Man and the Wasp? Booted out of Tales to Astonish for Hulk and Sub-Mariner.
But together – that’s where the power was. That’s what Lee, Kirby, and Ayers knew they would draw in the imagination and hero tendencies of every little boy and girl that picked up that magnificent cover. No television show could replace the magic that Marvel created with that first team. And to think, they IMPROVED the team three issues later…
Round #2 Second Swing…
PATRICK: Mego JLA vs. Avengers Action Figures
I know my arguments rely on nostalgia for a simpler time. But, we’re talking about a couple superhero groups roughly sixty years old. So, when I reminisce fondly of childhood, I recall those little superheroes in a box from Mego. Eight-inch action figures from the ’70s that wore real clothes! Vintage Mego heroes sell on eBay for roughly $100 to $250 in nice condition with no box. If you prefer toys still in a box or on a card, high-grade Batman and Robin figures are offered for $9K and $7,500, respectively. I’ll give a little love to the Avengers, too. Someone on eBay is asking almost $5,000 for a 1974 Iron Man MIB.
I know you’re asking, how does this show Brave and the Bold 28 is superior to Avengers 1. Well, all you have to do is look at the Mego lineup of characters. The Justice League is represented by Batman and Superman (in costume AND in secret identity). Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow each have their own figure. Throw in Batgirl, Robin, and Shazam, who have also shared adventures with the JLA. Besides that, Batman has a huge rogues gallery of villains to spark the imagination of millions of kids creating their own comic battles.
Now, the Avengers are nicely represented by original members Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor. Captain America also shows up, shield in hand. But to fill out the Marvel lineup, Mego needed non-Avengers Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. Is it possible the Avengers are a bunch of B-Listers where kids would rather grab Clark Kent and millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne rather than Ant Man or Hawkeye?
Then there’s Thor. His Malibu Barbie hairstyle is just a bit much. Can I repeat that? Why does Thor look like he shared a hairstylist with Malibu Barbie? Ryan…?
RYAN: Do We Really Want to Start Comparing Every Team Member?
Look, I admitted above that the original Avengers was not the A-Team that the Marvel brass put together here. But they clearly knew that their collective power was more interesting together than when separated. When you have such iconic characters like Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four, why would you dilute them with others?
I concede that Hulk, Thor, and Ant-Man aren’t Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. But what the original team lacked in superpower they QUICKLY remedied by Avengers #4 when they reintroduced Captain freakin’ America to the team and to the Silver Age. I mean, how much more nostalgic and Golden-Agey do you want to get?
And let’s not forget. Brave and the Bold was like Astonishing Tales or Marvel Special Edition. A series dedicated to trying out things and experimenting before calling them up to the major leagues. DC didn’t know if it would work. It was an experiment. Avengers got top billing from the very beginning because Marvel had so much faith in their staying power. They didn’t even need action figures to know that.
Round #3: Third Strike!
PATRICK: The Big Three – Some Just Call Them Trinity
The four most important comic book superheroes of all time are almost undebatable. If Gutzon Borglum had pulled out his chisel and hammer to create Mt. Rushmore forty years later, he may have waffled between honoring American Presidents or these four comic icons. We know them as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man. Yes, that’s three Justice Leaguers all featured in Brave and the Bold 28, and a Marvel kid from Brooklyn. But NO members of the Avengers make the cut as the most important comic book superheroes of all time! Marvel apologists and even a DC guy like me enjoy the adventures of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and yada-yada-yada. But really, Ryan, when it comes to significance, can you really stack up any Avengers against the pillars of the Golden Age of Comics?
RYAN: Thanks For Proving My Point For Me
I understand your logic here and why it would seem reasonable to say Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman headline this team, so that would make it the more desirable book to own and the better team overall.
But again, Lee and Co. created a team that debuted to immense popularity that featured a guy dressed up in a tin can and a girl who flies around looking like a wasp. Using your Mt. Rushmore analogy, throwing your trinity out in front would be like me showing an alien from another planet Lincoln, Washington, and Roosevelt, and telling them this is what American presidents are like. Try leading with Andrew Jackson, William Howard Taft, and Donald Trump and see how that makes people feel.
Marvel knowingly took the B- and C-list stars from their pages and turned them into a worldwide phenomenon that is the most recognizable entertainment brand today. That screams “better” to me.
PATRICK: Side by Side through the Decades
I’ve appealed to virtues like Mom and Apple Pie, nostalgia for simpler times, and the iconic foundations of the comic industry. Now I want to look at the numbers for B&B 28 and Avengers 1 through the decades. The prices listed originate from Overstreet Price Guides. I captured the highest listed grade, which ranges from “Mint” to “NM 9.2”. The 2021 listing is from GoCollect FMV for CGC 9.2. Justice League of America 1 is shared as an interesting bonus.
|Year||Avengers 1||B&B 28||JLA 1|
There’s a trend here. Avengers 1, desirable as it is, tracks similar to Justice League of America 1. Whereas, the first appearance of the JLA in Brave and the Bold 28 outpaces them both.
RYAN: Let’s At Least Compare Apples to Apples
Patrick, I noticed you left one important part of the equation out of this analysis, so let’s go back to ECON 101. All you have here is demand in the form of prices. You didn’t include supply. There are almost 3,800 blue- and yellow-label CGC graded copies of Avengers 1. Brave and the Bold 28? There are fewer than 1,200.
Of course B&B is going to be more valuable. It’s scarcer. It’s older. That doesn’t automatically make it the “better” book to own. In fact, that makes it a harder book to own. If we want to compare apples to apples, let’s look at Fantastic Four #1. That book has about 1,700 copies available via CGC and was published less than a year after B&B 28.
Fantastic Four #1 in a CGC 9.2? How about a cool $200,000 last time one sold eight years ago.
PATRICK & RYAN: Whether your passion for the JLA and Avengers stems from childhood memories or money in the pocket, the firsts for these teams will always be among the most significant Silver Age gems. Stories penned for these supergroups always emphasized that the whole was greater than the individual parts. It’s safe to say that whatever side of this debate you take, the amazing collection of writers, artists, and contributors that built these universes did a wonderful thing. And I (Pat) hope that collectors won’t focus on just the individual highlights from sixty years of stories. Rather, let’s once again enjoy the whole that these series offer.