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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 12 April 2018 at 5:04pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Let's discuss team names in DC and Marvel titles! General thoughts welcomed.

I always liked how DC had a league, society, etc. I like how we had Infinity Inc., Justice League of America, Justice Society of America, Teen Titans, etc. Very eye-catching names. The only one that never quite worked for me was society. It seemed, I don't know, small-time. When I hear the word "society", I think of a stamp-collecting society in a town, a coin-collecting society, etc. At least league sounds important/global, e.g. League of Nations.

Although I enjoyed various Marvel team names, they can be slightly generic and aren't unique. The Patrick Macnee/Diana Rigg THE AVENGERS series predates the comic team (and I never really got the sense Cap/Iron Man/Thor/etc. were actually avenging anything); the Defenders isn't unique, either, there was a legal series called that, plus we have the likes of the Defenders of the Earth; and as for the Champions, not only was there an ITC series called THE CHAMPIONS, but Champions can apply to sports teams, business champions, etc.

The quality of the books will always be the most important thing (and I sure did enjoy the black and white reprints of THE DEFENDERS, which were reprinted in Marvel UK's RAMPAGE). But as far as team names go, I did find DC Comics' team names a tad more exciting and unique.

Thoughts?
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 12 April 2018 at 5:51pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I kinda like that Society has a 'smaller' sound to it. It hearkens back to the days when membership in a group kinda meant something, instead of the vague, late-80s-to-present notion that "everyone is a member of TeamX unless otherwise stated".
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 12 April 2018 at 10:02pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Justice Society of America is my favorite super-hero team name, period.


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Eric Smearman
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 1:19am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Always was more of a DC guy but I really loved Marvel's
"one word" team names. Avengers, Defenders, Invaders, etc
seemed punchier to me than Justice League/Society of
America or Legion of Super-Heroes.
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 2:48am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Always liked Alpha Flight but think JB wasn't a fan. For me, it was suitably different to any other team name that it added to their uniqueness

My other favorite title of the 80s was New Mutants but always thought it an odd team name - pretty sure they referred to themselves as it within the story.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 3:02am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

 Michael Casselman wrote:
I kinda like that Society has a 'smaller' sound to it. It hearkens back to the days when membership in a group kinda meant something, instead of the vague, late-80s-to-present notion that "everyone is a member of TeamX unless otherwise stated".

I can understand that logic. I don't think I'll ever grow to like the name, but I appreciate where you are coming from.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:01am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Julie Schwartz used to say "society" sounded like a group of old ladies -- a line I borrowed in GENERATIONS.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:13am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Always liked Alpha Flight but think JB wasn't a fan.

Strongly dislike "Alpha Flight" as a name. When they were my fan characters -- some of them, anyway -- I bounced back and forth between calling them the Guardians ("We stand on guard for thee") and the Canadian Shield (after an ancient mountain range around Hudson's Bay). Marvel didn't like either of those, or the name Guardian for their leader.

So, after much back-and-forth, Chris named the group Alpha Flight, and their leader Vindicator -- "flight" being a British term, and "Vindicator" being a British aircraft -- both without my approval. In fact, I asked what Chris thought Canada needed to "vindicate".

sigh

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I will say this: the acronym JSA rolls off the tongue more naturally than JLA (in my humble opinion). 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:34am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

For me, the opposite. "JSA" sounds kinda harsh
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:50am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The other thing is that JSA reminds me of Jobseeker's Allowance, a form of social security paid in the UK (it's been around since about 1996). So when I hear JSA, I think of welfare, social security, etc.

I should add that jobseeker is one word so the acronym should be JA, surely?
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 7:29am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I tend to agree that the Marvel team names like the Defenders, the Avengers and the Champions were not really tied to the group's identity particularly, just dynamic-sounding-labels that could really have been interchangeable. But they did sound exciting, which I think the Justice Society of America doesn't.

The X-Men is just about the coolest name ever though, and very much tied to the group. It gets my gold medal.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 7:35am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I agree that the Defenders, Champions and Avengers are all exciting names for teams.

My favourite is probably the Defenders. Champions is generic (business champions, diversity champions, sports champions). Avengers is recognisable, but I never saw them avenging anything. Defenders is cool, those guys are defending us from all sorts of threats.
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John Popa
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 8:24am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Oh, I much preferred the Marvel names, more direct and action-packed. I would also agree that names like the 'Justice Society of America' made the DC characters seem old and alarmingly like my parents who were demonstrably uncool. Even 'Teen Titans' was corny to me. I wasn't of the mindset that I wanted superheroes who were kids because I was a kid, I wanted to be one of the cool, older kids. Like the X-Men were.

(Granted, this is all the perceptions of 12 year-old me but they stuck.)

Edited by John Popa on 13 April 2018 at 8:25am
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Darren Taylor
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 8:48am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Thanks for the insight into the naming of Alpha Flight John, that was really interesting. 

I would -never- have concluded any connection between Vindicator and 'Flight'...not with a million guesses. 

-D
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 9:06am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

"The X-Men is just about the coolest name ever though"

Gotta agree. When I first heard the kids in school talking about it, I recall that the name alone intrigued me to check it out.


Edited by Vinny Valenti on 13 April 2018 at 9:06am
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 10:10am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I bounced back and forth between calling them the Guardians ("We stand on guard for thee") and the Canadian Shield (after an ancient mountain range around Hudson's Bay). Marvel didn't like either of those, or the name Guardian for their leader.

*******
'Course, Marvel already had Guardians of the Galaxy.... never minded Alpha Flight as the team name but I'm glad you were able to change Vindicator to Guardian, JB.

The Avengers & The Defenders rank high on my list as well... on the DC side I'd say The Outsiders, Doom Patrol & The Challengers of the Unknown stand out as cool team names for me.

-C!




Edited by Charles Valderrama on 13 April 2018 at 10:10am
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Matthew Wilkie
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 11:35am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

There is something about the name Alpha Flight that sounds more DC than Marvel.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 11:41am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

ITEM: Every one of us - even Mr. Byrne and I and other fans of age - didn't live in an era when "society" might have had a far different connotation than it did in the 60s. I have been under the impression that the "great society" might have been a very popular phrase in 1940, and that was what sounded good with Justice Society.

After the fact, "Justice Society" is five syllables, where "Justice League" is three. Perhaps that's a factor as well.

ITEM: Justice League of America isn't really a fair subject for scrutiny, as it is obvious that it is an inheritor of the Justice Society of America. The word "league" might be subject to discussion; the phrase Justice <collective noun> of America was going to be. So... Justice Squad? Justice Force? Justice Union? League was probably as good as any, and I am nowhere near as smart as Julie Schwartz was.

And let's remember that Mike Gustovich tried Justice Machine in the 80s, but with no extension - a bit different take on the phrase.

ITEM: DC seemed to go for the descriptive, usually, where Marvel went for the bombastic - representative of their styles in the 60s, I think. And realistically, at the start, Marvel had the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the X-Men, and the Howlin' Commandos. (Granted, FF was pretty descriptive as well.) On DCs side were a lot more; the big guns were the JLA, the Teen Titans, the Legion of Super-Heroes. But there were also the Challengers of the Unknown, the Sea Devils, the Doom Patrol (probably the least descriptive of DC's super team names), the Atomic Knights, etc. That seemed to be how the team names worked for about ten years.

Oh, and let us not forget Archie's Crusaders - a Marvel type sobriquet. And the Marvel Family, a DC-ish name.

ITEM: As the 70s came about, the trend seemed to continue. Marvel's bombast with the Champions, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Defenders, the Invaders - again, mostly more exciting names than descriptive of the teams. I don't recall too many new DC teams through the 70s, actually. 

ITEM: After that, teams seemed to get a touch more generic, a bit wider in application, and often associated to a "original" title - although that occurred mostly with the X-Men titles (X-Force, X-Factor, New Mutants, etc.) The Outsiders and Alpha Flight, for example, weren't quite the type of team name that either company had used. And in addition, some titles came and went so fast that it was hard to notice the names unless you were paying close attention.

Personally, I was interested in the team names as they associated to their members more than just the names. "Time to call in the Avengers" - exciting! "This looks like a job for... the Justice League of America." I heard that rumble through the valleys and over the peaks, and I got goosebumps. "Then it's up to the X-Men?" "As always, when there's a world to save." "Look! It's the Legion!"

In the end, I'm a sucker for a name that engenders something exciting and potent... so both the Avengers and the JLA were perfectly exciting to me.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 12:10pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Avengers is definitely an exciting name even if they aren't avenging anything. 

And whilst Champions is a generic name, it did suit the team.

I don't really have a problem with the name of groups. Outsiders is a favourite one of mine!
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 5:43pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I really like the sound of the word "Legion". It's got power.
Though I guess DC's Legion of Superheros is really the only one that comes close to the actual meaning, as I think multitudes and multitudes when I hear "legion".
But really how cool is the name "Legion of Monsters"?!

When I hear Champions I see Hercules and no one else.

I agree with some up thread, X-Men is the best for me.
It may sound a bit watered down with all the "X- Whatever" teams over the years but it really intrigued me the first time I saw it. 
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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:23pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

While anything with 2-4 syllables works best for me, I gravitate toward names with 3 syllables - Avengers. Defenders, Champions, Protectors, Invaders, Crusaders. Yes they tend to be generic, but 3 syllables is the sweet spot for me.

Doom Patrol works great, while Justice League of America always sounded more "official" and less impactful. Yet Justice League works great on it's own.

Some real life 3-syllable samples: C-I-A, F-B-I, Interpol, M-I-5, K-G-B, Green Berets, all carry impact. JLA works under this method too.

I always liked Alpha Flight but to this day I still don't know what  'flight" is in this context. Is it a noun or a verb? Does it designate a group in some way or an action? 


Edited by Robert Shepherd on 13 April 2018 at 6:33pm
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:35pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Given how many members it has, Legion of Super-Heroes is certainly appropriate.

I think "X-Men" sounds best but I'm sure it sounds sexist to the contemporary ear. Especially when, since the Claremont days, the number of women in the group kept expanding (no pun intended). 
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 6:35pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

And I love "Doom Patrol" but it sounds like the name of a villain group, a la "Legion of Doom." 
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 13 April 2018 at 9:19pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

JB, do you know if Marvel rejected Canadian Shield because they thought people might think it was Canadian S.H.I.E.L.D.?




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