Mark’s Remarks – West Coast Avengers #31 (April 1988)

Boy, am I glad we announced our projected title change for this magazine instead of just going ahead and doing it. Not since we gave Wonder Man the infamous red and green suit have we heard such a hue and cry from you card-carrying members of Marveldom Assembled. To say that 95% of you folks were vehemently against changing the name WEST COAST AVENGERS to the NEW AVENGERS would be no exaggeration. Before I finish this column at the bottom of the page, let’s hear what you have to say in your own words…

NNNNNNNGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!! New Avengers? NEW AVENGERS? YEEEEEAAAAAARRRRRGGGG! Hulk Smash! You backstabbing jerks! How dare you consider changing the name of my favorite comic ever!

Nolan McFadden
New York, NY

Say what? “The New Avengers”? That is insane! If I only bought books that were based in California, all I’d buy would be WCA and that other nifty book by Steve Englehart, GLC. Come on! I’ve been reading about New York heroes for years, and the West Coast deserves its own team. I mean, a team called “New Avengers” could be based anywhere from South Yemen to New Jersey.

Besides, technically, if any team deserves to be called “New”, its the Eakos. Look at the rosters. The Whackos have two charter members, two members who have been around since a year after the birth of the Avengers, two experienced members, and a rookie. The Eakos have no charter members (circa #285), three experienced members, and two relatively new Avengers. Also, if you use the new name, the nickname “Whackos” is out. New-o’s? Yuch.

Scott Tipton
Antioch, CA

If you did change the title to “New Avengers,” would that mean that the East Coast Avengers would then call them the New Avengers instead of the West Coast Avengers, along with the rest of the population including the Whackos themselves? I think of the New Avengers as being new members on each team. Does the new title mean that the veteran Avengers would have to come to the East Coast while the new members go to the West Coast?

Todd Scheever
Byron, MN

And suppose, in a couple of years, someone really does manage to push through the suggestion of Midwest Avengers? Do they get the name “New Avengers,” giving the name “Avengers” to the West Coast team, and calling the East Coast team “The Old Avengers”? Or would you simply call the midwest team “The Newer Avengers?”

Rick S. Jones
Argos, IN

Methinks you’d have the same problem with your idea (only in reverse) as you think you have now – namely, readers would start to buy so-called “New Avengers” books rather than the implied “Old Avengers” mag! Why, not change both books to AVENGERS EAST and AVENGERS WEST?!?!?!

Robert Kowalski
Detroit, MI

The “West Coast” part of the title does not make a difference. I live on the East Coast and I am not influenced by the title, in fact, the WEST COAST AVENGERS is the only Avengers comic I buy. I buy a title for its story and the characters, not what part of the world they live in.

David Hammer
Marietta, GA

Don’t change the name!

The name The WEST COAST AVENGERS has begun to represent a new generation of great Avengers stories. Even though the name THE NEW AVENGERS is catchy, it doesn’t fit. Both Hank and Tony are founding members of the Avengers and definitely not new at all.

If you have to change the name though, how about THE AVENGERS II?

Chris Ulichney
Wilkes-Barre, PA

I ask you; did FANTASTIC FOUR change to FANTASTIC FIVE; did IRON MAN change to IRON MEN; INCREDIBLE HULK to INCREDIBLE HULKS; X-MEN to X-WOMEN; or better yet, would AVENGERS change to EAST COAST AVENGERS, FIRST AVENGERS or OLD AVENGERS?

Jim Boarman
Springfield, IL

I will say this once. If you change the WEST COAST AVENGERS to the NEW AVENGERS, I will be sorry I voted you favorite Editor for 1986. Please do not change the name. Oh, I live in Ohio

Bill Climer
LaRue, OH

Regarding the possibility of changing WEST COAST AVENGERS to NEW AVENGERS…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Terry Williams
Magnolia, MS

Having WEST COAST in the title tells the reader something about the settings of the stories and the attitudes of the characters; it also provides the ideal nickname for the group, the Whackos. Making them the NEW AVENGERS would take this identity away.

Jerry Shenguiette
Rochester, NY

To call the WCA the NEW AVENGERS is wrong. Only two of the current membership, the Moon Knight and Mockingbird, can be called “New Avengers,” since both became Avengers for the first time in this book. But that title does not apply to Hawkeye, Iron Man, Dr. Pym, Wonder Man and Tigra. Therefore, this team is not new, but is not old, either. I disagree with you, Mark, saying that they are “new” Avengers, the WCA is basically a franchise of the East Coast operation.

Eugene Lee
Quincy, MA

I’ve never been to the West Coast, and I don’t plan on going, but that certainly wouldn’t stop me from reading the book anymore than the East Coast Avengers being in New York or Alpha Flight being in Canada stops me from reading those books.

Lori Anderson
Marysville, OH

WEST COAST AVENGERS is the title the book should have. This title does not turn me off, and I live on Long Island. I do not feel THE NEW AVENGERS is the right title because although it fits now, what about five years from now?

Frank Santoli
Port Washington, NY

Enough already! We got the message! Let me share with you the thinking we did that led to our contemplation of a title change. The genesis of Steve’s and my discussions was not lack of sales as some of you inferred. WEST COAST AVENGERS is consistently in the top 10% of our direct comic sales. The problem, to Steve’s mind, is lack of respect. To be perfectly honest, those of us who do this title consider it to be a real Avengers book – equally as legitimate an heir to the Avengers tradition as any other book. But when special projects are discussed, it’s always “X-MEN/AVENGERS” not “X-MEN/WEST COAST AVENGERS.” Sure, the Whackos sometimes get to participate under the generic name, but what it boils down to is a perception that AVENGERS is the lead title and WEST COAST AVENGERS is a mere spin-off. We have discussed equalizing the titles by changing the other book to EAST COAST AVENGERS, but the decision we always come up with is that this would only serve to diminish the power of that title. We have discussed AVENGERS WEST and AVENGERS EAST, but the decision is that WEST and EAST look a lot alike and the readers would get confused. We have discussed calling both books AVENGERS and publishing that title bi-weekly, but the decision is that would confuse retailers. And so, Steve and I ended up at NEW AVENGERS – and your decision was loud and clear on that one. Now hear this: We will not be changing this magazine’s title to the NEW AVENGERS. Okay? Okay!

But this just leaves us right where we started: since a lot of people consider the contents of this book to be pretty nifty, how do we get the title to command the same respect? Is there a change we should make – or will quality eventually win without our doing anything? Steve and I would sure like to hear from all of you on that.

–Mark Gruenwald­­