May 27, 2019

Season-Ticket Characters

There are generally three elements that will entice a potential reader into buying a comic: the concept, the creative team, or the character. For me, if two out of the three are satisfied, than I’m definitely going to check it out. Three out of three is when it seems like it was made specifically for you as a reader. However, for every fan there are those creators, characters, or concepts that are appealing enough on their own to make you buy a comic. Today, I’m going to list my top “season ticket” characters.

Back Issue Ben's Top 10 Season Ticket Characters
Ben Smith

Sportswriter Bill Simmons came up with the idea of a “season ticket actor” to describe an actor that was an automatic purchase for you any time they were in a new movie. (For the non-sports fans, season tickets are when a fan purchases an entire seasons worth of tickets in-advance, so they’re sure to have at least the option of attending every home game of their favorite team.) For example, if you’re such a big Denzel Washington fan that you will automatically see any movie he’s in, he’s a “season ticket” actor for you.

If we apply this to comic books, there are probably certain characters you like so much, you’ll buy any new comic with them in it regardless of creative team or concept. You may not keep buying it, depending on the quality, but you’ll give it that one automatic chance or even stick with it longer than you would in any other situation.

To me there is a distinct difference between a favorite character, and a season ticket character, though there will obviously be some overlap. I’ll attempt to point out the differences as I go through my list.


I’m very specifically a fan of the ‘80s versions of the Transformers, and I’d like to think I’ll always give any new comic featuring that general rendition of the characters a chance, but I’ve found the IDW Transformers comics so consistently underwhelming that I don’t know if they can make my list anymore.


Iron Fist is one of my favorite characters, and I will always try any new solo comic of his that comes out, but I always expect it to suck. Only the David Aja series has been great, the rest consistently disappoint, so it ranks here.


This is the inverse of Iron Fist in that, I wouldn’t consider Moon Knight one of my favorites, but I’ve enjoyed his comics more often than I have not. I like his costume design (especially when it’s soaked in blood) and his multiple personality disorder. He’s basically a crazy and more violent version of Batman.


This is for the Roderick Kinsley version of the character. I’ve always said fans have created a false equivalency between Roger Stern’s original Hobgoblin and Roderick Kingsley. We never knew who the Hobgoblin was when Stern was writing the comic; he was a good character because of Stern. It just so happens that when Stern left the series, the character progressively got worse and it was revealed that the subsequent Hobgoblins were imposters. So when Stern returned to reveal Kingsley was the original Hobby, it made it seem like those two aspects were connected, when it was really just Roger Stern being great. Regardless, I’ve liked what they’ve done with Kingsley as the Hobgoblin in recent years enough that he still makes my list.


Doctor Doom is my favorite villain, and I love when he appears in any comic other than Fantastic Four, oddly enough. He’s the biggest threat the world has ever seen in any other series, but somehow has the hardest time beating Reed Richards. I don’t like Reed, so I’m going to skip reading that most of the time.


The next three characters are pretty much interchangeable. I will get any comic they guest star in, and I would love it if they ever got their own solo series. I’ve said it before, I love fictional witches. Morgan adds time travel and Arthurian legend to the mix, and a tumultuous romance with Doctor Doom. She’s much more unrelentingly angry than the next character on my list.


My love for Karnilla is exhaustively documented. I will still always be excited when she pops back up.


I love Colleen Wing, so this mostly applies to her, but I do enjoy her partnership with Misty Knight also. They are very similar to the comic they spun out of Power Man and Iron Fist, combining kung-fu craziness with street-level crime. I prefer when it gets extremely crazy or extremely gritty, and there’s not many comics that can succeed on that spectrum.


Spider-Man is my favorite character, so you may be asking yourself, why isn’t he ranked first here? The answer is there is just way too many Spider-Man comics that come out every month for me to possibly want to try them all. But I will almost always give the flagship title, Amazing Spider-Man, a chance. The creative team really has to be completely boring me for me to not get Amazing. Anytime that’s the case, I’m looking for an ancillary title to pick up the slack.


This counts for any Legion team book, or any solo Legionnaire series, or even when a Legion member guest-stars in another DC comic. I love the Legion of Superheroes so much I will always give any new title or appearance a chance.

1. X-23

I don’t think I’ve ever read a X-23 solo series I didn’t like. There are a few storylines here or there, but as a whole, every volume has entertained me. Tom Taylor’s run on All New Wolverine is my current favorite, but Marjorie Liu had a great run, as well as Mariko Tamaki currently. There’s something about her story, having been created to be an assassin, but rebelling against her programming, that I find endlessly appealing. In many ways, I think she fills the role Wolverine used to occupy in his early appearances, as the killer trying to be a better person and atone for past sins. Writers have consistently made Logan much more bloodthirsty over the years, so Laura has stepped in and taken that redemption story. Plus, I always get a kick out of characters that are confused by emotions.

Who are your season ticket characters? Let us know in the comments.

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