Category Archives: Spotlight

Demo-Graphics: The State of Indie/Small Press Comics

Earlier this week I brought you demographic reports based off of Facebook data for Marvel, and DC. Up next is independent/small press comics! Basically, everyone not the “big two.”

For this report I looked at comic book publisher likes that are not the big two or part of the big two. For this report, Vertigo, Zuda, Icon, are not included though they share similar comics as to other in this report. For this report, terms like IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Fantagraphics were included. Manga was left out of this as well.

You can check out the stats for 2014 as well as those for 2015, and 2016.

Facebook Population: Over 4,200,000 in the United States

The indie/small press population has dropped about 2.6 million individuals. The previous year gained 2.4 million. With explosive growth for both DC and Marvel it’s interesting to see this drop and especially drop that much.

In 2014 and 2015 Spanish speakers accounted for 12.50%. In 2016 the percentage increased to 16.18%. 2017 sees the percent drop to 14.76%.

Gender and Age

In 2014 men accounted for 57.50% of the population and women 40.63%. A year later, that shifted with men accounting for 59.09% and women 40.91%. 2016 saw women account for 51.47% and men 48.53%.

It looks like women have mainly dropped interest accounting for 40.48% in 2017 while men increased to 59.52%. Men decreased about 800,000 while women decreased 1.8 million.

With men being a majority again things have shifted once again. Women are a majority age 17 and under but it looks like the 20s and 30s is where there’s the greatest loss in women.

Relationship Status

With a smaller populate, every demographic took a dive, though there’s a larger percentage that are “unspecified,” a trend we’ve seen elsewhere. “Single” also saw an increase in percentage.

Education

With such a change in gender breakdowns, there’s absolutely shifts here.

Gender Interest

“Men interested in men” and “men interested in men and women” both remained steady since last year as far as percentage. Women is where things dropped but that’s expected due to the overall population decrease.

Ethnicity

Compared to last year all ethnicities decreased in overall population but precentage is mixed. African Americans and Asian Americans both increased as a percentage while Hispanics dropped. Interestingly, English-dominant Hispanics increased slightly in percentage.

Generation

And not shockingly populations dropped here too. Generation X and Millennials saw a slight increase in percentage while Baby Boomers saw a loss.

Join us tomorrow when we look at comicdom as a whole!

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Demo-Graphics: The State of Marvel Comics

In July of 2014, I looked at the Facebook demographics of Marvel. I followed that up in 2015. And again in 2016. With San Diego Comic-Con kicking off this week, we’re returning to see how things stand. Yesterday was DC Comics‘ stats, and tomorrow will be Indie/Small Press comics.

For those that don’t know, this data is mined from Facebook’s demographic data using terms that correspond to likes, groups, etc. For this report, we’re not looking at Marvel Comics specifically, but also Marvel Studio, Marvel Entertainment, and more. So think of this as the Marvel brand.

Facebook Marvel Comics Fan Population: Over 37,000,000 United States

Last year dropped 7 million, but we have an impressive rebound of 22 million individuals. It’s unknown exactly why there was such a jump though DC also saw a massive jump over the year. The answer remains a mystery and won’t be answered.

Since last year, Spanish speakers has decreased to 15.41%. In 2014, they were 14.39% and in 2015 accounted for 13.18%. In 2016 it was 19.33%.

Gender and Age

In 2014 Men made up about 63.16% of the population and women were 36.84% for those interested in Marvel. In 2015 men accounted for 77.27% while women accounted for 20%. In 2016 women made gains as they accounted for 34% while men accounted for 66%. This year we see a major shift as women become a majority with 51.35% and men slip to 48.65%.

Things have changed a lot since last year which saw women briefly becoming the majority but men almost entirely the majority. This year women and men are close in percent until age 50 where there’s a clear split most likely do to general Facebook user demographics.

Relationship Status

Pretty much across the board the populations have doubled for each status except “Unspecified” which increased 3 fold.

Education

As expected with a larger population here too the stats have ballooned.

Gender Interest

Those interested in the same sex generally saw increases in the overall number but dipped in percent. The exception to this is “women interested in women” who saw an increase in percentage and overall number.

Ethnicity

A bigger overall population it shouldn’t be a surprise that each demographic here grew. African Americans increased by 3.4 million, Asian Americans by 510,000, and Hispanics by 2.5 million.

Generation

This too has seen some boosts. Baby Boomers saw an increase by 890,000, Generation X by 4.2 million and Millennials by 14 million.

Join us again tomorrow when we’ll look at indie/small press comics!

Demo-Graphics: The State of DC Entertainment

With San Diego Comic-Con about to begin we’re looking at the demographic data for various publishers and comics. We’ve already posted Facebook‘s general stats, and tomorrow will be Marvel, followed by Indie comics, and the industry as a whole. Up now is DC Entertainment.

This statistic breakdown, we’ve looked at terms like DC Comics and Vertigo Comics, but not specific comic series or characters. It’s a focus on DC Entertainment and its publishing imprints. Think of it as looking at the DC brand.

Facebook DC Comics Fan Population: Over 23,000,000 US

DC Comic’s stats have shifted in interesting ways since 2016. Last year the population stood at 11 million individuals, so the overall population has more than doubled. In 2015 it was 12 million and in 2014 it was 7.6 million.

In 2014 Spanish speakers accounted for 14.55%, 2015 it was 14.17%, and in 2015 it’s now 18.18% with 2 million individuals.

Gender and Age

In 2014, men accounted for 68.18% and women were 28.64% of the DC population. In 2015 men accounted for 73.33% and women were 27.50%. In 2016 56.36% of the population was male and 40% female.

This year, women account for 47.83% and men 52.17%.

And here’s the stats in a handy pie-chart.

When it comes to age and gender, things have changed a lot since last year. Women are a majority under the age of 18 and become the majority at a younger age.

Relationship Status

Everything has increased across the board and done so in an impressive way.

Education

Larger population everything again increases across the board.

Gender Interest

Though the populations have increased when it comes to percentages those interested in the same gender saw decreases when it comes to percentages.

Ethnicity

Populations grew overall compared to last year but percentages are a bit mixed. African Americans grew to 13.91% but Asian Americans and Hispanics both decreased when it comes to percent.

Generation

Again, an increase in population, not too shocking, but… Baby Boomers and Generation X decreased in percent and Millennials increased.

Come back tomorrow when we’ll look at stats for Marvel!

Spider-Man: Homecoming: On Diverse NYC, Public Schools and Teen Movies. Listen on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

Graphic Policy discusses Spider-Man: Homecoming with two perfect experts for the job: Brandon Wilson and the Blerdgurl Karama Horne!

Brandon Wilson is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and educator. He’s been a classroom teacher since 2005. He has directed numerous short films and two feature films, most recently “Sepulveda” http://www.sepulvedathemovie.com which he co-directed with his wife Jena English. “Sepulveda” has won awards at local festivals and is currently available for rent or purchase on Vimeo On Demand. He writes essays on film and culture at http://geniusbastard.com. He also tweets @Genius_Bastard.

and

Karama Horne (a.k.a. – “the blerdgurl”) is a freelance commercial video editor by day and comic book reading, anime watching, TV live tweeting, K-Pop listening, blog writing, superhero geek gurl by night. On a mission to shine a light on both characters and sequential artists of color, she provides commentary, reviews and interviews on her popular tumblr and official website theblerdgurl.com. Karama is busy fixing up her century old brownstone in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – European Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook. Due to popular demand, I have split out and launched a “European edition” that runs on the 15th of every month!

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented. Europe also has some other data restrictions that will be discussed below.

Facebook Population: Over 40,000,000 in Europe

That number decreases (3 million) since last month. That’s still 6 million more individuals compared to what I reported for the United States in the beginning of the month. Worldwide, there’s an estimated 263,110,587 individuals interested in comics.

Gender and Age

In June women accounted for 46.51% while men accounted for 53.49%. This month things shifted a bunch. Men now account for 52.50% and women 45.00%.

Things are pretty similar to last month though those under the age of 17 are now similar in percent of the population.

Relationship Status

With a slightly smaller population the numbers here have dipped as well.

Education

Things haven’t shifted here much compared to last month.

Gender Interest

And here’s where data privacy differs. In some European nations this information can’t be reported which means either removing those countries or just not reporting on this. I chose the latter for now.

And come back next month for a new look at the data and the first comparison of just Europe!

Back to School: Ultimate Spider-Man #14-#15

USM14CoverBack to School is a weekly issue by issue look at the beloved superhero teen comic Ultimate Spider-ManIn this week’s installment, I will be covering Ultimate Spider-Man #14-15 (2001-2002) written by Brian Michael Bendis, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, and colored by Digital Transparency

Welcome to “Back to School”, a weekly column where I break down the fan favorite superhero series Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, and several other artists that was a huge influence on the recent, critically acclaimed Spider-Man Homecoming film. When I first read Ultimate Spider-Man in 2010, I was a high schooler and just a couple years older than Peter Parker in the comic.  Almost seven years later, I’m really excited to see what my older, if not necessarily wiser self thinks about this teen soap opera meets longform superhero epic starring Peter Parker and later Miles Morales as Spider-Man. (Also, I’m heading to graduate school in the fall so this column title is semi-autobiographical in a way.)

I tried to write about Ultimate Spider-Man in its entirety 2013 for Sequart, a publisher of excellent books and documentaries on comics creators like Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, and Chris Claremont. Unfortunately, I only made it to issue 13, a classic story where Peter Parker reveals his secret identity to Mary Jane Watson. This is why I’m starting “Back to School” with issue 14, which kicks off the “Double Trouble” storyline, not issue 1.

And who really wants a rehash of a rehash of Spider-Man’s origin…

Ultimate Spider-Man #14 kicks off with Peter Parker’s civics (I guess) teacher giving them the on the nose assignment of delivering an oral report as either a real life superhero or one of their own creation. It cuts to Otto Octavius, who we find out is being held in a secret installment, and has eight arms of an exoskeleton he patented grafted to his body. He was injured in the Green Goblin’s attack on Oscorp several issues ago. Back at Midtown High, it’s pep rally time, and no one is invested. Instead, Peter has a discussion about superheroes with Mary Jane, Kong, Flash Thompson, and Liz Allen, who doesn’t like mutants because of something with her uncle. Then, Gwen Stacy makes her first appearance and shows them up in intensity and knowledge. In the super secret lab, Dr. Octopus realizes that the scientists who were supposedly saving his life were actually experimenting on him with his own tech, and he goes on a violent rampage. The issue closes with Kong laying on his bed and putting together the pieces that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

SuperheroAssignment

Ultimate Spider-Man #15 begins with a rather hackneyed take on a slasher movie when Dr. Octopus kills a sweaty, blonde woman, who is living in his old apartment. Then, it’s back to school where Kong is playing Agent Scully and feeding Flash and Liz evidence that Peter Parker is Spider-Man like the fact that he was bitten by a spider, randomly became good at basketball, and beat Kong and Flash up. However, Peter’s cover remains intact when he takes a literal kick to his ass from Kong instead of dodging it with his powers. Gwen Stacy won’t stand for this and ends up threatening to stab Kong with a switchblade that falls out of her pocket. This leads to the principal calling her dad John Stacy, who is the primary detective investigating the previously mentioned blonde woman’s murder. There is also a Daily Bugle subplot where Spider-Man pretends to attack J. Jonah Jameson, and he faints. On a more serious note, Ben Urich is writing a story about the murders and thinks Dr. Octopus is a suspect because he was the previous owner of the apartment and also didn’t actually die in the attack on Oscorp. Jameson is skeptical, and the issue ends with Doc Ock ready to go on a rampage. Uh oh!

I could say this about most issues of Ultimate Spider-Man, which is a predominantly character driven book except when Bagley drew a whole issue of Spidey fighting Venom because symbiote power, but he and Bendis do a great job of making the non Mary Jane supporting cast interesting. First up is Kong, who gets to be the page end cliffhanger despite not being a nefarious supervillain.

HolocaustMetaphor

Kong is pretty clueless and insensitive towards both Peter Parker and mutants. He can’t really process their existence and thinks something should be “done” to them. Bagley shows this by giving him awkward facial expressions and gestures during the conversation about the superhero assignment unlike Peter’s determination to defend mutants and superbeings. However, like Shakespeare’s Fool, he has the wisdom and insight to see the rise of superheroes as a harbinger of the apocalypse, which ended up happening in the terrible 2009 Ultimatum storyline.

This insight extends to Kong piecing together the events of the past 14 issues and realizing that Peter Parker is Spider-Man in a great flashback sequence that looks like an old VHS tape thanks to the colorists at Transparency Digital. Memories are like a movie in my head, and Bagley and the colorist transpose this feeling to the comic. The most obvious clue is Peter Parker going from Carlton Banks to LeBron James in basketball skills as well as the broken desks and the fact that he flat out broke Flash’s hand. Even though Liz and Flash don’t believe him, kudos to the big guy for his common sense and deductive skills. And of course, he has this epiphany while a copy of Maxim magazine is lying across his chest.

GwenStacyYo

Mark Bagley gives Gwen Stacy quite the intro in Ultimate Spider-Man when she jumps into Peter and his frenemies’ discussion about superheroes and mutants with a thoughtful monologue about how they’re like the meteor, and we’re like the dinosaur. (This would later be disproven, oops.) She literally fills the page. But Gwen’s not a doomsayer and thinks that the dawn of superheroes will motivate human beings to be the best at whatever they’re good at and not be lazy bums. “Everyone has superpowers” is her thesis statement.

This well-articulated theory of superheroes sounds a lot like Grant Morrison, especially his then-contemporary work on JLA and New X-Men. The mutant as meteor metaphor seems ripped from Morrison and Frank Quitely’s “E is for Extinction” storyline of New X-Men where it’s revealed that humans are going extinct and will be replaced by homo superior aka mutants. The whole everybody having superpowers spiel reminded me of the ending of Grant Morrison’s JLA where the entire population of Earth gets special abilities to fight the villainous, Mageddon. It’s also a sentiment that wouldn’t be out of place in his Supergods aka the best self-help book ever written disguised as a memoir/history of superhero comics.

Sounding like someone who has read Grant Morrison comics instantly makes Gwen Stacy the coolest character in Peter Parker’s supporting cast. She isn’t the shy, blushing, headband wearing girl from the Stan Lee and John Romita Sr, but immediately plays an active role in the school plotlines, including standing up for Peter against bullies. Bendis and Bagley also introduce an interesting family dynamic between her and her policeman father John Stacy, who had previously appeared in the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man. The combo of a bright, yet rebellious punk rock daughter and hard nosed single dad cop father could make an interesting comic in and of itself.

John Stacy is the connective tissue between the Dr. Octopus murders and the high school drama plots, but has quite the personality just like his daughter, Gwen. He tells off Midtown High’s principal on the phone when their tone gets “accusatory” and points out the ridiculousness of her being sent home when he’s at work and can’t discipline or talk to her. Bagley draws John as a strong jawed, go-getter homicide detective like Jimmy from The Wire, but he’s a little exasperated when he gets his case interrupted by a call from the school and the press.

JohnStacyDaddy

Yes, John Stacy and ace reporter Ben Urich, who recently wrote an article that caused the Kingpin to go into exile, face off in Ultimate Spider-Man #15, and it’s delicious. Ben is trying to do a story for the Daily Bugle on the murder, but John doesn’t serve up any quotes, only sass. He tells Ben off for the Kingpin article and said that “300 goombahs” are running loose and wreaking havoc around New York. It goes back to the old question of if organized crime is better than chaotic, disorganize crime in the scheme of things. These one-liners establish John as a hard edged, seasoned police detective who isn’t idealistic, and just does his job well. He’s the kind of guy who would call open murder cases “red balls” and easily solved ones “dunkers”. (Oops, most of my knowledge of homicide detectives comes from the works of David Simon.) The inclusion of John and Daily Bugle figures, like Ben Urich and J. Jonah Jameson in “Double Trouble”, show that Brian Michael Bendis hasn’t abandoned his roots in the crime genre even though Ultimate Spider-Man is a bright, splashy superhero comic.

OckOck

For the “origin” of Dr. Octopus, Bendis and Bagley dip into the horror genre to make him a slightly sympathetic figure.  There’s a little bit of Frankenstein’s Monster and a little bit of Cronenberg body horror when he first pops up in Ultimate Spider-Man #14. Bagley makes sure you can see some of his innards and his almost blind eyes from the optic nerve trauma he suffered in the Green Goblin’s attack. The reveal of the arms show that Octavius isn’t a patient recovering in a hospital, but an experiment to be poked, prodded, made fun of, and eventually profited on. He’s a brilliant scientist, who became a monster. And this monstrousness is being exploited for gain and not being cured or treated at all. Dr. Octopus is a killer, but his first murders are kind of justified revenge killings of people that treated him like a lab rat and not a human being beginning by calling him Dr. Octopus and not by his real name.

On the flip side, Ultimate Spider-Man #15 uses the horror genre in a pretty cheap way. There’s an opening scene where Dr. Octopus slaughters an unnamed, attractive blonde woman, who is exercising. There’s tension or fright to the scene because it’s one we’ve seen hundreds of times. Bendis and Bagley are trying to do the first ten minutes of Scream with a Spider-Man villain, but it feels more like one of those slasher flicks that is packaged onto those “10 Great Horror Movies” DVDs and sold for $5 at your local Walmart. The scene is a bad one, but it also makes Octavius less of a sympathetic villain and more of a serial killer with an octopus gimmick, which is selling him very short.

In the first couple issues of “Double Trouble”, Brian Michael Bendis exhibits some cleverness and turns a dangling plot thread and a possible plot hole into, well, a plot. Otto Octavius popped up in the first arc of Ultimate Spider-Man as one of Norman Osborn’s scientists, and he gets brought back in the nick of time as a scientist/villain, who was forcibly experimented on instead of Osborn, who took on the Oz formula (Super soldier serum) of his own free will. The U.S. government in the Ultimate Universe is pretty shady, and reporter Ben Urich knows this when he uses anonymous sources to find out that Octavius was held in a black site called (*groan*) the Octagon. These places are yet another reason why Peter Parker has only told Mary Jane about his secret identity because the government would likely run experiments on him like they did with Otto Octavius or force him to join the Ultimates and use his powers to help fight the George W. Bush era War on Terror.

The connection to Oscorp is also an organic way to create a villain instead of just having a random mad scientist with octopus arms show up. Peter and Octavius also met when Harry brought him over for a tour of Oscorp so there’s a personal dimension to be exploited when they square off later.

I already mentioned that Kong, who is the not the smartest student at Midtown High, realized that Peter Parker was Spider-Man all by himself. This is Brian Michael Bendis sort of covering his own ass because Peter Parker has done a terrible job keeping his secret identity under wraps, especially with the whole miraculously being good basketball thing. But he plugs the plot hole in one fell swoop when Peter takes a drop kick from Kong straight in his behind complete with painful facial expressions and speed lines from Mark Bagley and Art Thibert. It’s also a growing moment for him as he gets hurt for his secret identity and sets up Gwen Stacy as an anti-bullying badass. This one kick covers up a multitude of “sins” in the annoying Cinema Sins sense…

In Ultimate Spider-Man #14-15, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley draw attention to the varied supporting cast of Peter Parker and also incorporate the crime and horror genres into their teen superhero/romance saga. It’s a hell of the way to start the “Double Trouble” arc, and they make a hallway drop kick more suspenseful than a man with mechanical octopus arms wrecking a random apartment.

But Tell Me More About This Doctor Poison

In the past year I’ve stumbled into a social circle that is primarily comprised of ferocious, thoughtful, hilarious females. A handful of these very ladies accompanied me to see Wonder Woman and shared their thoughts with me afterwards. I’d like to thank Athena, Pauline, Sonja, Angela, and Elena for contributing to this review.

Shortly after its release, GP’s Elana Levin hosted an episode of Graphic Policy Radio devoted to the film with a focus on race and sex, in which she stated, “I really liked the movie, but not unreservedly” and I can’t put it any better myself. Despite an outpouring of support from women on the Internet, friends and strangers alike, loving it with hesitation seemed to be the consensus amongst my little tribe. We had a hell of a time and there was a lot to celebrate, but the chinks in the armor didn’t go unnoticed.

Let me quickly disclaim that my friends and I are all limited in our exposure to Wonder Woman comics. We each know her primarily as a beloved pop culture icon, and have vague memories of the show. I would be hard-pressed to tell you I can remember anything about it beyond its spectacular theme song. But we’re also feminists, critical thinkers, and various flavors of badass; lawyer, veterinarian, fire dancer, pole dancer, performance artist, personal caregiver, writer, and cartoonist are all things that describe our combined professions and hobbies. Wonder Woman is a pop culture icon many women hold dear, readers of the comic or not.

We were all enamoured by the opening scenes on the island of Themyscira. Robin Wright killed it as Diana’s aunt, Amazonian warrior Antiope (aka Princess Fuckin’ Buttercup). Watching a passionate young Diana grow into an ass-kicking grown woman was powerful and refreshing. Unfortunately, we were all let down by how quickly Steve Trevor showed up and how fast Diana was to trust him. I do give the writers props, however, for keeping him out of mansplaining territory throughout the course of the film, despite the born sexy yesterday-ness of their relationship. (H/T to Athena, for introducing me to the trope!) Despite being a man with a lot to explain to her, he consistently managed to avoid condescension even when exasperated. The biggest problem with Steve wasn’t so much the character himself, but the role he played in motivating Diana to find her true powers. For a flick about feminine strength, the amount of influence given to a hetero-normative fling was a bitter disappointment.

But the biggest disservice, in my opinion, was the glossing-over of Isabel Maru, aka Doctor Poison. Again, I’m naive to what her actual background and development is in the comics universe, but from what I saw in the movie she’s someone all-too-relatable; an intelligent, capable woman whose personal traumas have left her wanting to burn the world. Tell me more women in any given audience won’t find that more relatable than Diana’s physical prowess and principle-fueled optimism. There was a shared disappointment amongst my friends and me regarding the good doctor’s position as a subordinate to General Ludendorff. While yes, it makes sense for a movie about fighting the patriarchy to pit Wonder Woman against a man, the stakes would have felt higher to me if Diana were up against a woman whose pain and anger matched the strength of Diana’s happiness and hope. It’s an internal struggle too many women carry, and playing it out as Diana vs. Maru would have been more meaningful than Diana vs. any man. And while we all smirked when Maru rebuffed an undercover Steve Trevor for shifting his attention away from her as soon as Diana entered the room, I don’t think any of us cared much for the overall implication that “beautiful = good, deformed = evil,” though it was suggested to me that this is a common device for DC. (And even if it is, it doesn’t make it any more forgivable.)

Again, there were a lot of good things happening throughout, and the impact the film has had on women has been largely positive; I don’t want to detract from that. I just hope that future installments continue to raise the bar to tell a compelling story about a powerful woman (or better yet, powerful women) without having to center around a romantic interest or minimize compelling adversaries.

Gotham Weekly With Alex And Joe Episode Eight

You may notice that we skipped an episode, and that’s because after talking for an hour or more we found out too late that the recording software didn’t capture anything… so in honour of that Lost Episode we’re skipping a number.

Anyway, after a longer than planned hiatus (one day we will live up to the Weekly part of the name), Alex and Joe are back with more Batman chat and their customary tangents!

Recorded on the 18th of June, this week the topics on the block are:

Dark Days: The Forge #1 The one shot to kick off DC’s next great mini series.

Batman #24: The issue that’s on everyone’s lips! Did Batman propose…?

Adam West, and the legacy of a great man.

Wonder Woman: Yes, the movie.

Links
Underrated: Batman ’66

 

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – US Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook.

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented.

Facebook Population: Over 34,000,000 in the United States

That’s a rebound from last month’s 29 million and an improvement on the previous month’s 30 million. Worldwide, the estimate is 263,110,587 which is an increase of about 22.2 million compared to last month.

The Spanish-speaking population last month was 18.28%, and this month the population has decreased to 16.76%, the vast increase in the population outpaced that of Spanish speakers.

Gender and Age

Last month men accounted for 65.52% and women were 34.14%. Things have shifted a lot with women accounting for 50% of the population and men accounting for 52.94%. Due to rounding you can get over 100% in Facebook. Going by the age and relationship data, women are likely in the 48% range.

When it comes to age and gender over time, things have shifted greatly with women being the majority 17 and under and the gap being narrow throughout.

Relationship Status

Across the board there’s been increases since last month with those “engaged” remaining stagnant.

Education

Women made massive games compared to last month.

Gender Interest

With women making such gains, their percents increased a lot. Of note “men interested in men” increased while “men interested in men and women” decreased.

Ethnicity

All three groups saw a boost over the month with African Americans increasing by 1 million, Asian Americans by 70,000, and Hispanics by 400,000. Interestingly Spanish dominant decreased by 200,000.

Generation

All three groups saw increases with Baby Boomers gaining 1 million, Generation X gaining 2.9 million, and Millennials gaining 2 million.

And come back next month for a new look at the data! And on February 15th we’ll have the next report of Europe’s data!

Underrated: Patriotic Heroes

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Patriotic Heroes


This week has both the Canada Day and Independence Day holidays, and or those who don’t know, the two days celebrate the birth of Canada and the USA respectively. Perhaps one of the biggest holidays in their respective country. For that reason this edition of Underrated will spotlight some flag wearing heroes from a few different publishers that perhaps aren’t as well known, or as recognizable, as Captain America.

I make no claims that this will be a complete list, in fact it features characters almost entirely from Canada, U.S.A. and the U.K.

Union JackUNION_JACK_1

Britain’s other flag clad hero from Marvel Comics. There have been three men to call them selves Union Jack, a father and son during the first and second World Wars, and the current Union Jack, Joseph Chapman. Click the above link for a longer run down of the character that’s position as the Working Man’s Hero.  Union Jack has a rich history as a member of the Invaders during World War Two (both Union Jack I and II), and even the revived modern day Invaders from the 2008 run (Union Jack III). I am partial to the character, and would urge you to check out the two trades collecting his 1999 mini series, and the more recent one from 2012.

Jack Staffjackstaff

A character published primarily in the UK, Paul Grist created Jack Staff based on a rejected story which he had written to make use of Marvel’s Union Jack. After the rejection, he rewrote the story to create more of a self-contained original comic that was published through Dancing Elephant Press (owned by Paul Grist). Twelve black and white issues later, the comic was restarted in colour at  Image Comics.

GuardianGuardian-marvel

Perhaps one of the few heroes on the list that is recognizable to most people,  Guardian first appearing in Uncanny X-Men #109 from 1978,  he was intended to be the Canadian equivalent of Captain America, hence the Canadian flag costume.  Guardian has played a significant role in Wolverine’s history -from the early  X-Men comics in which the Canadian Government tried to recall Wolverine  to Alpha Fight (a team led by Guardian), to having later been the man who helped Wolverine recover his humanity after the Weapon X Program grafted the metal to his bones.

canuckCaptain Canuck

Comely Comics Canadian hero is the current star of a new ongoing series that’s worth checking out. Click the link above for some more information on the Canadian flag wearing hero that predates Marvel’s Guardian by several years. His current on going series from Chapterhouse is fantastic, having gone from strength to strength over the last year and change.

Jack Flagjackflag

First appearing in 1994 Captain America #434. Inspired to don the costume because of Captain America, Jack Flag was most recently seen in comics as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s unlikely he’ll appear in the movies anytime soon, however, seeing as how he was most recently seen flying out of an aircraft.

 shieldThe Shield

Perhaps the only flag clad hero to predate Captain America, the Shield first appeared in Pep Comics #1 which was cover dated January 1940. Created by writer Harry Shorten and artist Irv Novick, there have been five different incarnations of the character since his debut, the current iteration of the hero has been published by Archie Comics’ Dark Circle Comics imprint since 2005 and features Victoria Adams as The Shield.

Uncle SamUncle_Sam_BNW_1

You recognize Uncle Sam, right?  Created by Will Eisner, he first appeared in National Comics #1cover dated July of 1940 predating Captain America by several months. This iteration of the character lasted for four years, before DC acquired the license  to print his stories and revived him during the 70’s. Although not a flag wearing hero, Uncle Same is intrinsically linked to the level of belief people have in the idea of America, making him one of the most patriotic heroes on this list.


There we have it – a small selection of underrated flag wearing comic book heroes. Are there other comic book related stuff out there that is, for whatever reason, underrated and under-appreciated?

Absolutely.

Because of that, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is. In the meantime, though, if you do get a chance check out the characters in thisUnderrated, then you may need to hunt through the back issue bins for some, but others do have some stories collected in trades.

Until next time!

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