This work is about comics. It’s also about superheroes, robots, Norse gods, shrinking men, and women made of light – so it makes sense that it was inspired in the first place by a 10 year-old.
In 2012, I was pointed by Santiago Ortiz to this excellent chart made by Theo Zaballos, in which he plots the relative interestingness in Avengers characters from the animated series, over time. It’s a fantastic example of the power of visualization to help us understand things – or, put another way, the power of building systems to think about systems. It’s also a reminder that visualization doesn’t always need to be pitted against huge, world-changing tasks – it can be useful in exploring small, fun, even seemingly frivolous things.
I started reading comics in 1985 (coincidentally, when I was 10). For years, I’d visit the comic shop every Wednesday, and pick up a stack of titles – and The Avengers was a real mainstay on my list. I was always more of a reader than a collector; my longboxes were full of dog-eared issues from incomplete series, which I revisited over and over again until the stories imprinted themselves in my brain.
There’s a huge storehouse of mythology, cultural touchstones, and real historical events contained in the pages of the 570 issues of the Avengers.
Inspired by Theo, and using comicvine.com’s API, I created a series of visualizations exploring my favourite superhero team.