I've been thinking about the potential JLA movie that we'll eventually be getting, and it made me think about the JL's members and just how popular they actually are. No doubt, Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern are out there and the public recognizes them by name. Batman's Batman, Superman's popularity and fame are on par with that of Mickey Mouse or Santa Claus, and GL's recent (sucky) movie was showcased everywhere through different media (commercials, toys, etc.) But what about the other characters? Specifically, I'm talking about Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter.
Now I know what some of you are thinking: "Gambit! Wonder Woman is part of the holy DC Trinity! How dare you?!"
Let's take a step back, though. Diana is no doubt a comic book icon, as well as a spokeswoman for women everywhere, but when was the last time she was relevant outside the books? The 70's live-action show? It seems people of that generation are familiar with that character, but that was way back in the 70's, man. What about Bruce Timm's JL cartoon? Was the character even popular when she was on that cartoon? If I had to make a guess, I'd say that she was among the least popular on that show. The Timm cartoons were generally marketed towards the boys, and the boys aren't going to identify with an Amazon who fights crime in what is essentially a swimsuit and tiara. Even if they did, would they have been embarrassed by it? I know when I was younger, I was a big fan of The Powerpuff Girls, but if my friends ever found that out, they'd make fun of me. Is it possible that that could have been the case about WW? Just something to think about.
Then there's Flash, a character that's really only been introduced in two mediums: the live-action TV series (which I really wouldn't consider a success), and the Timm JL series. Flash (in this case, Wally West) was probably the most liked on the cartoon after Batman because of his comic relief, but when the show ended, nobody was asking about what was up with the character. It's like all the people who watched the show sort of forgot about the character. Sure, you'll maybe see a reference to the character's speed in a Family Guy cut scene or something, but after the Timm series was done, the fans appeared to leave with it.
Martian Manhunter is a character that the general audience had no idea even existed before the Timm series. I actually don't even recall the character being used in any media (outside the books) period, including the Super Friends back in the 70's. As far as his popularity in the Timm show was concerned, I would also say that he wasn't very popular on it. I know that when I was a kid, I disliked the character because all it seemed that he was good for was telepathy, and getting his ass whooped telepathically (which was basically every other episode). Of course, after doing some reading and having an open mind, I have a huge respect for the character, and am among the few who demand his presence in a JL film. But that's just me, though. What about the other kids who grew up on the show? Was anyone a fan of the character? Does today's general audience even recognize him?
And then there's the character that continuously gets bashed upon by the general public: Aquaman. Yes, I'm aware that the New 52 was excellent to him, but to the non-comic book readers... Well, let me quote something I saw on Facebook:
Aquaman is a nobody. Nobody cares about him, not even DC.As of right now, that comment was made about two hours ago, and in that time, it also received 20 "likes." Is that really how the general audience perceives the character? A nobody? I know the Super Friends show was a joke, and the continuing gags on shows like Family Guy aren't helping the character at all. But is that what Arthur has become to the non-comic readers? A nobody? I would agree that the general consensus as far as the public goes is that he's a joke, but the term "nobody" seems very harsh, in my opinion.
So what do you think? We know that Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern are in today's audiences' heads and will likely remain there as long as the superhero movie is popular, but just what about the rest of the League? Do people remember Wonder Woman? Are there still Flash fans out there? Do people even know who Martian Manhunter is? Will Aquaman ever be more than a "nobody?" Where do you stand, and where do you think the public stands?