Quote:At first glance I found this theory intriguing, but on reflection I'm not so sure. By that logic Angel and Iceman - who worked as Champions and Defenders just as well as they did as X-Men - would have been A-listers since the 1970s while Professor X and Cyclops would merely be B-listers, at best, because they really have yet to show that they can successfully work in a non-X context. Yet Charles and Scott are characters who have to a large extent defined the X-books (they ARE a crucial part of the context) while Warren and Bobby are more like optional extras (or X-tras) in the wider scheme of things.(1) So while the definition looks at an interesting aspect of gauging a character's dramatic/narrative usefulness, it is incomplete by itself and has to be supplemented by others.
Quote:I don't personally consider Scott or Xavier to be A-list. Just as I don't consider Johnny Storm to be A-list. They're defined by their original context and can't expand beyond it. As for Warren and Bobby, well, when I said "work" I meant successfully. Sure, they were members of the Champions - and the book was cancelled. They were members of the Defenders - and the book was cancelled. So yes, they appeared in other contexts - but they weren't successful. I say this despite my love of the original Champions.
Well, it's your personal definition, so you are free to stick to it and I am free not to. However, while I don't have any sales figures for the last years of the Defenders, but to me at the time it looked as if the series had not been cancelled because it was unsuccessful (it was a title I still enjoyed), but by editorial fiat. They lost half their team (the Angel, Iceman and the Beast, not to mention team leader Candy Southern) because the characters were needed for the launch of X-Factor. (X-Factor #1 and New Defenders #152, the final issue, came out the exact same month). So I got the feeling that the Defenders were at least partly cancelled to ensure that the readers would follow the three ex-X-Men to the new X-Factor book. The problem with that was that the launch of X-Factor for a while undid most of how Warren, Bobby and Hank had evolved since they left the X-Men in X-Men vol. 1 #94 as the creators were very much on a trip to recreate the X-Men of their youth (they removed Hank's fur, tried to revive the old Scott-Jean-Warren triangle, and even brought back Hank's 1960s girlfriend Vera Cantor).
The Human Torch also had his solo outings, first in Strange Tales and later as a frequent participant in Marvel Team-Up (he was, IIRC, the most frequently used hero after Spider-Man there and would usually headline the title in the ten or twenty issues where Spidey did not appear). And currently he is appearing in Uncanny Avengers (where I like him a lot).
But using your definition, I am pretty sure that Jean can never become an A-lister. As things stand, her "constituency" in the majority consists of people who love her because of her history as an X-Man, and if she does find success it will largely be because of that, and, as we've seen on another thread, many of those who want her to return say that she has to return because the X-books need her. So I have to wonder whether Marvel or even a majority of fans wants Jean to appear in a title away from the X-Men (either solo or in a team with random non-mutant characters) and if a book like the ones pitched here actually is launched and becomes viable, I think it will be lucky if it lasts a year or two before Jean is drawn back into the family of X-books - i.e. less time than Warren or Bobby spent on the Champions and Defenders.