Ah, here it is.
You can cheat of course, which is what Hickman ended up doing with his Avengers book. You combine individuals together so they don’t need their own moments. JLI did that with Fire & Ice and Blue & Gold. GotG went off the rails a little when they expanded the cast too much - they could combine Groot & Rocket, but it’s hard to make those natural pairings. Ultimately it’s not as satisfying as a smaller group. And ultimately I think it’s hard to write a story without devoting most of your time to just 2-3 leads. I just finished a story with a main cast of 12, but beyond the main 3 everyone else gets to do very little.
Kurt Busiek did well with the cast when he was writing Avengers.
Different story arcs will have different character emphasis. Team books seem to work better with longer runs.
It’s also possible to tell a different style of tale every now and again. Hickman’s Avengers basically has very little interest in character development, it’s a big complicated chess game and he’s moving pieces around. I don’t usually want to read that but he has that kind of brain where he has it all mapped out with charts which makes it all very impressive. Which is why I don’t think many could pull it off like he did.
Although he didn’t have a big cast John Byrne’s Alpha Flight almost never has the team together throughout the run, it’s a series of solo stories for the most part with them combining every now and again. You could go the best part of a year and not see Puck in the comic.
These are exceptions you can make but in a traditional team book I do tend to agree with Moore’s logic to prevent characters getting sidelined.
The lack of characters helps the Fantastic Four - just 4 leads and always just 4 leads makes for a very satisfying experience.
I’ve got a vague memory of Englehart and/or Stern talking about coming to the same conclusion with the Avengers. The group was getting unwieldy by the end of the 70s, so they introduced a rule (in-story, I think) that there could only be six active members at any time. This then led to the West Coast Avengers, which let have 12 Avengers but never more than six in either title (and seems to be what the X-Men do now).
I re-read a big chunk f Waid’s Legion series recently. While he run itself has its highs and lows, it is a masterclass in balancing a ridiculously huge cast. Every character had a unique voice and enough screen time to please their fans. It was a lot like Lost in that it has a narrative throughline, a definite set of core characters, and a massive supporting cast that got an episode or two each season to focus on each character individually.
Best pun ever!!
By which I mean best pun this week (so far)
…for a few years.
Ooo, is witing Magneto as a complicated character a widdle too hard for the Marble minds? Maybe we should hide him in a wikeable hero for a while? Marble are wusses.
… for the 27th time. This first happened in 1989 in New Mutants #75. I think a couple of our board members weren’t even born then.
Fixed that for you, RM.
The first X-Men story I ever read in Uncanny X-Men #275 was one where Magneto went bad again.
You mean the one where Claremont gave in and made Magneto bad again. Because everyone else already did it.
If you’re talking about the really awesome issue, ya.
He didn’t want to though, Jim Lee did, for Acts of Vengeance, and he had a lot of pull at Marvel at the time.
Acts of Vengeance was a couple years earlier in Uncanny X-Men #256-258.
Yeah, I meant the whole arc of Magneto quitting as headmaster, going back to being a villain, etc.