MYSPACING COMICS: American Mule Fights the Power

Welcome to MYSPACING COMICS, CBR News' tracking of 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. This monthly feature endeavors to share our findings, chat with newsmakers and explore profile movement - be it up, down or sideways.

Since CBR News started charting friend counts, the top publishers have rarely changed. Dark Horse, Marvel and DC are, of course, no-brainers when it comes to inclusion with the higher-ups and the same can be said for manga powerhouse TOKYOPOP with its readership extending to 41 countries in more than 20 languages.

That all changes this month with a newbie debuting in the pole position - Optimum Wound Comics - with its 91,902 friends.

In previous installments of MYSPACING COMICS, Optimum Wound Comics didn't register because it was strictly an online comic publisher. Two weeks ago, the publisher shipped its first print book, an 80-page release of Danijel Zezelj's popular web comic "Rex," thus the debut in our Top 10.

Another big surprise, month after month, currently sits at #7, American Mule Entertainment, the publisher of the official "Public Enemy" comic book. Fueled in large part by the love the legendary hip hop act led by Chuck D, American Mule sees no end in sight for its ever-growing cyber-fanbase.

"American Mule's MySpace page is extremely important," Adam Wallenta, Publisher of American Mule Entertainment, told CBR News. "It connects us with friends and fans across the globe that may never have had the chance to communicate with us at a convention or concert or may not have been exposed to our books at their local comic shops. We get tons of feedback and have built long lasting friendships and professional relationships with like-minds and talented creators all over the world."

Wallenta said next up for American Mule is reprinting the sold out "Public Enemy" #5 while at the same time finishing up production on issue #6. "Public Enemy and American Mule have been touring the world promoting the book and our schedule has gotten really tight because of that," he explained. "We are also going to do a series of all new 'Public Enemy' trade paperbacks as well as return to some of our original characters such as 'The Retributors' while introducing two all new properties."

"The Retributors," created, written and co-drawn by Wallenta, received great reviews with its off-base send-up of the superhero genre when it was originally released in 2002.

On the creator side, Stan Lee continues to welcome friends to his house of ideas as the industry legend added another 2,806 friends this month. His critical hit "Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?" is a top seller for amazon.com and noted political satirist and former "Saturday Night Live" Weekend Update host Dennis Miller has called the book "an absolute hoot!"

Tara McPherson befriended nearly 1,000 new cyber supporters last month and told CBR News while she is busy working on a billboard for Ray-Ban featuring flying bunnies (that should be up in Manhattan come July) she also has a project forthcoming for "MySpace Dark Horse Presents," the publisher's online anthology comic book.

"I am doing a two-page comic for MySpace Dark Horse Presents," revealed McPherson ("Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall"). "I think it will be up in the end of June."

The artist extraordinaire was secretive about revealing any other details but for anyone who has seen McPherson's work, no doubt the comic will be worth checking out.

And speaking of secrets (nice segue), with "Secret Invasion" off to a skrullerific start, it's no wonder that showrunner Brian Michael Bendis had one shy of 900 adds this month, too.

Ed Brubaker's friend count falls just short of registering in the Top 10 for creators but we would be remiss if we didn't send readers to his MySpace page, which features the Eisner Award winner being interviewed by "SNL's" Bill Hader, a noted comic book fan who was all over the Javits Convention Center floor during New York Comic Con.

Finally, MySpace Comic Books itself, the site's official comic book portal, presently boasts 223,229 friends.

TOP PUBLISHERS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Optimum Wound Comics: 91,902 (NPR)

2. Dark Horse: 61,408 (+152)

3. Marvel Comics: 56,216 (+3,194)

4. MySpace Dark Horse Presents: 28,980 (NPR)

5. TOKYOPOP: 21,642 (+108)

6. DC Comics: 21,560 (+2,570)

7. American Mule Entertainment: 18,198 (+366)

8. Top Cow: 16,269 (+110)

9. DC Nation: 16,069 (+792)

10. Virgin Comics: 15,135 (+111)

TOP CREATORS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Siya: 48,005 (+314)

2. Tara McPherson: 32,573 (+984)

3. Warren Ellis: 21,569 (+275)

4. Jim Lee: 21,185 (+512)

5. Stan Lee: 19,258 (+2,806)

6. Brian K. Vaughan: 16,224 (-102)

7. Roman Dirge: 15,776 (+152)

8. Brian Michael Bendis: 15,251 (+899)

9. Steve Niles: 11,555 (+175)

10. Brad Meltzer: 11,256 (+33)

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