You know, I guess - at least as a comic reader - I always considered him "A list" as well, but I don't think the general public really had any idea who he was prior to the movie, at least for the most part. In that sense, he probably wasn't A list before. Prior to the superhero movie crazy of the last 10+ years, I think only a handful of heroes had that distinction - like Spidey, Batman, Superman, the Hulk and possibly other characters like Captain America, Flash, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman. The "general public" might not know a ton about many of those characters, but could probably at least recognize a picture of them. The movie push has changed that and really expanded that list I think.