MySpacing Comics: Image Getting Friendly in 2008

Over the past six months, 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 to the world 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.

According to its profile details, Image Comics is single, a Capricorn, and active on MySpace for networking and making friends. And guess what? It's working for Image, billed as PROBABLY THE GREATEST COMIC BOOK PUBLISHER IN THE UNIVERSE SINCE 1992!

Thanks to an ever-growing profile, Image made the third-biggest jump in adds amongst publishers in December, generating 746 friends over the past 30 days for a total of 3,967. If Image continues to add friends to their profile at such a pace, they should easily enter the Top 10 Publishers list next month, pushing Michael Turner's Aspen Comics off the bottom of the list.

The big winner in the most-adds category, however, was Virgin Comics , who added 1,637 friends this month, likely fueled by its Coalition Comix project, by which friends can choose the genre and direction of a future Virgin comic book. The project is led by Mike Carey (X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four).

"Coalition Comics is a really exciting experiment, and being a part of it has made me approach storytelling in a very different way," Mike Carey told CBR News. "It's a challenge to engage in a planning process that's genuinely open and participative. You have to try to identify the pivotal points in the plot, identify them, but leave them free to articulate so that audience input can actually mean something. That, in itself, is kind of crazy and exciting. It's like doing one of those ski-runs where you have to weave between the flags, because there are targets you have to hit and you're gaining speed and momentum as you go.

"Would I do it again? Yeah, like a shot, but I'd want to tweak the voting engine so that it's able to ask different kinds of questions."

DC Comics was second in adds, as it welcomed 1,036 friends to its profile, for a total of 15,392. Combined with the separate DC Nation page and its 16,111 friends, the publisher has a total of 31,503, which would place Superman and his pals third behind Dark Horse (47,371) and Marvel (41,083).

Dark Horse, on a roll over the past few months, were relatively quiet with just 108 adds in December. Not as bad as third-place TOKYOPOP, though, who actually lost a dozen friends, leaving them at 18,742.

Tara McPherson, the most popular comics creator on MySpace, enjoyed an incredible 2,126 adds this month. Her 26,613 friends would place her third amongst publishers, behind only Dark Horse and Marvel.McPherson's art can currently be seen in Juno, the Golden Globe-nominated feature film currently in theaters and starring Ellen Page, who played Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Also enjoying a massive jump was X-Men co- creator Stan Lee, who invited 1,271 new friends into his virtual house (of ideas) over the holidays. The relative newcomer to MySpace now has 3,984 friends.

MySpace Comic Books, the site's official comic book portal that spotlights creators, new projects and a news feed from CBR, currently boasts 154,482 friends.

TOP PUBLISHERS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Dark Horse: 47,371 (+108)

2. Marvel Comics: 41,083 (+41)

3. TOKYOPOP: 18,742 (-12)

4. DC Nation: 16,111 (+65)

5. DC Comics: 15,392 (+1,036)

6. Top Cow: 14,116 (+277)

7. Virgin Comics: 13,155 (+1,637)

8. Evil Ink Comics: 10,489 (+212)

9. Devil's Due: 5,904 (+39)

10. Aspen MLT: 4,354 (+208)

TOP CREATORS (Total friends, monthly shift)

1. Tara McPherson: 26,613 (+2,126)

2. Warren Ellis: 19,844 (+413)

3. Jim Lee: 18,200 (+893)

4. Brian K. Vaughan: 16,207 (+227)

5. Roman Dirge: 14,759 (+191)

6. Brian Michael Bendis: 13,524 (+322)

7. Brad Meltzer: 10,820 (+202)

8. Steve Niles: 10,649 (+194)

9. Geoff Johns: 9,829 (+118)

10. Ed Brubaker: 8,582 (+160)

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