A-Listers like Batman, Wolverine and Captain America sell comic books.  B-Listers, like Songbird, The Question and Dr. Fate help flesh out a universe and bring in the kinds of stories that publishers aren't willing to push on their A-List money makers.  It's common enough to hear heroes being listed as A or B-List, just ask Sam about whether or not Moon Knight deserves a movie more than Ant-Man and you'll get into exactly the kind of argument that I want to examine.

What exactly makes a character in a "Capes" comic an A-Lister or a B-Lister, or, god forbid, a C-Lister?  The answer is undefined.  Until now.  I have, in my infinite free time, developed a ranking system to determine exactly where everyone's favorite character lies.  Please note that this is not completely comprehensive (Savage Dragon continuously defies my algorithms), and it does not rank heroes based upon power levels, but upon a mixture of their popularity, standing in the universe and contribution to storylines.  That said, let's begin.

 

Step One: Determine if character is A-List.

This is the easiest step of all and is based on a few simple criteria.  Has the character helmed a solo comic book series for more than 100 issues, or have they been a major cast member of a group book for more than 200 issues?  If the answer is yes then congrats, this character is an A-Lister!

 

Step Two: Entropy and Flagships

Unfortunately it's not quite that easy.  For every ten years said character has gone without new content in their book the character moves down one ranking.  Sorry "The Spirit" that means you.  The character raises one rank if they have been a major character in a movie that, in its country of origin, grossed more than double its production costs, provided its production costs were over $20 million. 

This can put some characters, like Iron-Man, above A-List, which does not change their listing, but instead adds the descriptor "Flagship" to their ranking.  Characters can also be considered Flagship if they have achieved both qualifications for A-List at the same time, such as Wolverine, whose solo series has run well over 100 issues and has appeared in so many group books that there are theories that he can clone himself.

 

Step Three: So You're Not An A-Lister

Sorry Mockingbird, you didn't make the cut, but where do you stand if you're not an A-Lister?  Well, that's where things get a little complicated.  The first thing required is determining their closest relationship to an A-Lister.  Let's go with Mockingbird, since she's already here. 

Bobbi Morse, SHIELD Agent, Avenger and all around badass chick, is unfortunately not an A-Lister.  Her closest relationship to an A-Lister is with Hawkeye, who is her ex husband.  For every descriptor required to describe her relationship with Hawkeye she drops one rank.  Mockingbird is Hawkeye's Ex(-1) Wife(-1).  So she is A - 2, which means she's C List.  Not too long ago she was also Dead(-1), which means that for over a decade she was a D-Lister.  Poor Bobbi, no love for you.

If a character has not appeared in at least five separate storylines over the course of the A-Lister's run, then they drop another rank for each storyline they miss the cap by.  Sorry Steel Spider, you only mattered in two storylines so you're at -3!

 

Step Four: Mourn

It happens to everybody.  I mean, I was really hoping that Husk (Emma Frost's Former Student) would be at least B List, but not everything goes as we hope!  It is at this time that you should just resign yourself to the knowledge that you, too, enjoy things that just aren't as good as you believe they are.

When I found out that Random (Cyclop's Brother's Former Mercenary Teammate) was E-List I was stunned and sank deep down into a bottle from which I have never fully recovered. I recommend this course of action for anyone whose dreams are shattered by the sudden shocking realization that they love something that, well, isn't important, really.

Cheers!