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by  in Comic News Comment

Welcome to MYSPACING COMICS, CBR’s tracking of trends and “friends” on — 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.

The great thing about Erik Larsen – and the reason why many love his character, the Savage Dragon, so much – is he shoots from the hip. And usually, he’s shooting with pistols in both hands. The first creator to not only endorse Barack Obama in a comic book story but also feature him on a cover , Larsen now counts the President’s page among his adds on MySpace.

Obama engaged millions of voters via social networking tools, but when the former publisher of Image Comics was asked why he feels MySpace is so important to getting the word out about comics, he tod CBR News, “I actually don’t think it is important.”

Larsen continued, “I do it because I’m a comic book fan and I like to shoot the shit with other comic book fans. But there are those who would argue that this kind of contact is actually counterproductive and that familiarity breeds contempt. Before the Internet, we didn’t get to see who was a flag-burning, left-wing nut and who was a baby-burning, right-wing psychopath, so the readers didn’t love or hate creators for their opinions in addition to their work. These days, you can’t read three posts without some irate troll swearing they’ll never read a creator’s book again because of some overblown or imagined slight.

“On the other hand, there are people who will check out a book because some creator ‘seems like a nice guy,’ so it goes both ways, I suppose.

“Used in this manner, MySpace is very important. Getting the word out about the work is vital. Showing people what creators do is vital. Telling people about what TV shows you can’t stand, who you voted for and what a pig Brittany Spears, not so vital.”

Classic issues of “Savage Dragon” are available to read for free on MySpace Comic Books

MySpace Comic Books celebrated Larsen’s “Savage Dragon” in January, posting his four all-time favorite issues in their entirety each week for free. The promotion even included the complete first issue of the cult favorite series. You can check them out here:

Elsewhere, Stan Lee must be sitting at his computer 24 hours a day. “The Man” added more than 2,500 friends in January. How do you do it, sir?

Marvel Comics is closing in on Optimum Wound Comics for top spot amongst publishers. The House of Ideas has added more than 12,000 friends in the past 60 days, no doubt buoyed by the fact legions of zombies have been checking in to see if their brothers and sisters survived the Skrull Invasion.

MySpace Comic Books, the site’s official comics portal, now counts its friends by the bushel as opposed to the pecks. With 281,092 adds, comics are cooler than Zach Galifianakis but not as cool as Zach Braff.

TOP PUBLISHERS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Optimum Wound Comics: 88,163 (-375)

2. Marvel Comics: 86,761 (+6,626)

3. Dark Horse: 72,093 (+3,561)

4. MySpace Dark Horse Presents: 39,850 (+602)

5. DC Comics: 34,896 (+2,337)

6. TOKYOPOP: 21,085 (-73)

7. American Mule Entertainment: 20,861 (+221)

8. Top Cow: 16,911 (-3,350)

9. Image Comics: 11,971 (+741)

10. Devil’s Due Publishing: 6,790 (+143)

TOP CREATORS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Kevin Smith: 188,890 (+528)

2. Siya: 52,165 (+661)

3. Tara McPherson: 38,206 (+144)

4. Stan Lee: 37,172 (+2,509)

5. Jim Lee: 24,184 (+259)

6. Warren Ellis: 23,252 (+215)

7. Roman Dirge: 17,198 (+117)

8. Brian Michael Bendis: 16,188 (+132)

9. Brian K. Vaughan: 15,715 (-109)

10. Skottie Young: 13,121 (+56)

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