MYSPACING COMICS: Marvel Cries "Excelsior!"

Mon, March 31st, 2008 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

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Marvel's main MySpace profile added nearly 5,000 friends this month

Since early 2007, CBR News has been tracking trends and "friends" on MySpace.com – the nation's most trafficked website – as they relate to the comic book industry, most specifically with publishers and creators. In our ongoing effort to deliver the premier online comics magazine, this monthly feature endeavors to share our findings, chat with newsmakers and explore profile movement – be it up, down or sideways.

With two big blockbuster movies heading to theaters in the coming months --"Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk"-- and the line-wide crossover mega-series "Secret Invasion" launching Wednesday, the zombies are dragging their feet doubletime over to Marvel's MySpace page by the thousands. The House of Ideas added 4,967 friends this month, nearly three times as many as long-standing frontrunner Dark Horse, who welcomed a still impressive 1,720.

Marvel is actually all over MySpace. The top-selling publisher manages three profiless beyond its Marvel Entertainment main page: Marvel Illustrated, Anita Blake and Secret Invasion.

The Marvel main page was also super-sized of late with the addition of a new Hulk-heavy wallpaper and four new icons that throw friends right to the Marvel's central hub and its many portals: Movies and Television, Comic Catalog, Digital Comics Unlimited and Walpapers.

Mike Pasciullo, Marvel's VP of Communications & Merchandising told CBR News, "With the reach and diversity that MySpace has built, they are a very important partner for us as we continue towards our goal of growing the comic book industry and reaching as many new people as possible. There is a unique opportunity to introduce some of our great content to a large audience that wouldn't normally have access to it."

Joe Quesada now blogs weekly at the newly redesigned MySpace Comic Books

Perhaps most auspiciously, Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada has also moved his popular weekly column, renamed MyCup O' Joe, to the newly redesigned MySpace Comic Books.

In his first new column, Quesada echoed Pasciullo's comments: "Marvel has been working behind the scenes on doing some stuff with MySpace in a very significant way. The reason for this [move] is that the audience that MySpace reaches is huge and very mainstream, and MySpace has been getting more and more into comics as we become more and more mainstream as well. It just seemed like a perfect match, for a huge community like MySpace to join forces with the biggest and best comics company in the world."

Quesada, who has launched his own MySpace profile, added that his presence on MySpace is inspired by the efforts of living legend Stan Lee in the 1960s with his famous "Soapbox" and "Bullpen Bulletins." Said Joe Q, "One of the things about Marvel that always made it a compelling place for me when I was a fan was the element of inclusion. Stan Lee made us all feel like we were insiders and part of the club. Marvel wasn't set up to be this exclusive or reclusive place that you should feel privileged to be a part of. It's for everyone. Stan made Marvel and the inside goings-on accessible to everyone. When I took over, it felt to me like that spirit had been missing from Marvel for a very long time, and I wanted to bring it back. I felt it was incredibly important to get our fans involved and engaged again and to get people talking."

Stan Lee entered the top 10 most popular comics creators on MySpace
Speaking of Stan the Man, the creator of Iron Man and the Hulk makes his debut at #8 in the Top Creators' rankings with 12,147 friends.

Excelsior!

In keeping with cries of joy, top-ranked indie comics artist Siya told CBR News she first set up shop on MySpace to share her artwork with folks who may not necessarily find themselves in comic book shops. "A few years ago, MySpace wasn't really known for networking amongst comic creators," she said. "I just put up my artwork in hopes that people who wouldn't usually read comics would be interested, in both comics and art. Some people liked what they saw and I just starting getting a lot of friend requests."

A lot? If Siya had another 2,000 friends she would have more than megahouse of ideas, Marvel. The artist is currently working on a comic with Witchblade creator David Wohl and, she said, "a few other projects."

TOP PUBLISHERS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Dark Horse: 59,673 (+1,720)

2. Marvel Comics: 49,034 (+4,967)

3. TOKYOPOP: 20,846 (+1,695)

4. DC Comics: 17,900 (+967)

5. American Mule Entertainment: 17,401 (+285)

6. Top Cow: 16,091 (+547)

7. DC Nation: 15,473 (-227)

8. Virgin Comics: 15,138 (+199)

9. Evil Ink Comics: 11,155 (+284)

10. Devil's Due: 6,217 (+124)

TOP CREATORS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Siya: 47,170 (+221)

2. Tara McPherson: 30,273 (+1,442)

3. Warren Ellis: 20,946 (+409)

4. Jim Lee: 20,125 (+529)

5. Brian K. Vaughan: 16,445 (-115)

6. Roman Dirge: 15,485 (+217)

7. Brian Michael Bendis: 14,352 (+277)

8. Stan Lee: 12,147 (NPR)

9. Steve Niles: 11,196 (+186)

10. Brad Meltzer: 11,118 (+62)

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