Are you wondering whether most of the female characters in comics act innocent and cooperate with other good characters with a well known identity, or they are more often represented as secret villains? Do the heroes or criminals die faster? How many neutral characters can even survive in the interesting and fantastic world of comics?
In the following visualization you can explore these and many more questions. Just hover over each of the colorful lines to get more details about the percentage of characters with a certain trait or change the order of the parallel planes and their inner sorting to get some new insights.
How does your average comic book character look like? Quite predictably, it turns out. Regardless of whether the character is male or female, DC or Marvel, good or bad, most of the characters in comics have a very distinct look: black hair and blue eyes.
From the dataset we have determined that out of all the characters with specified eye color over 30% have blue eyes, and over 30% of the characters with recognizable hair color have black hair. While this might not seem like such a significant percentage, it is worth noting that there are 26 different options for different eye colors, and 28 for different hair colors, and only one of these is present in over 30% of characters.
The most space for different face features seems to be given to the characters with non-binary gender characteristics, possibly because they are usually at the same time described as ghosts, robots or aliens - thus expected to look unlike your average heroes or villains.
Play with the bubble diagram that we have created based on the most common physical attributes of the characters, and don't forget to hover to see a picture of one of the most famous representatives of certain appearance.
How does the origin of a character influence its alignment in the world of comics? By interacting with our bipartite visualization you can see how large percentage of each origin type is perceived as good, bad, or neutral.
One of the interesting things to note is that the more technical or artificial an origin is, the larger percent of the characters will be described as bad. That is why as many as 68% of Infections, 75% of Cyborgs and 78% of all Radiation characters are bad! It also seems that only the human characters are given a chance to change their alignment from bad to good and become reformed criminals.
Hover over different categories of origin and alignment and determine how large segment of your favorite characters belongs to these groups!
By now, our other visualizations have provided a way to analyze general statistics about all of the characters that appeared in the comics within the previous few decades. But what about the most famous teams and characters that we have all heard of? We have chosen 10 characters with the largest number of appearances in comic book issues out of each of the 10 most influential teams in the world of comics. It can be seen that the diversity on this selection of memorable characters has dropped significantly.
Look into the chord diagram and unfold some of the most interesting details about your favorite characters by clicking on their names or toggle the buttons and explore the distribution of characters by team, origin and gender.
This data story showed us many different aspects of diversity and representation in contemporary comics so far. But what about the issue of how the diversity changed over the years, all the way from the 70s and the rise of the Marvel age of comics? And which publisher was faster to react to the changes in the comic books audiences, and add more diverse characters to relevant roles in comics?
The following timeline gives you a short analysis of the decade by decade changes that occurred in the comic book world, with some of the most groundbreaking characters who influenced the change of the face of comics that we can see today. Click on any of the characters to get more information about them, and the decade they were created in!
We hope that this project gave you a new way to explore your favorite characters if you are already a comic book fan, but also that it motivated you to discover the magical world of comics even if you were previously not that interested into this fascinating phenomena. At the same time, we are hoping it encouraged you to think about the issues of diversity and representation of minorities, not only in the imaginative world of comics, but in real life as well.
We can all agree that a huge progress has been made in the past several decades, and that the world of comics is now more approachable to users of all of the backgrounds and beliefs. We are hoping that this trend only continues and that in the future years we will all see many more creative, diverse and brave characters who will fight to keep the comic books as popular as they are today!