Top Ten Instagram Superheroes!
Posted by Paul O'Connor
I’ve already enthused about Instagram as a social media channel for superheroes, and since July of 2012 I’ve been posting images daily. I’ve worked my way up to 800+ followers on Instagram, and have begun to develop a little community over there … I’ve found that comments are more likely to break out on Instagram than on Tumblr or even Twitter, where my Instagram image feed is echoed. I don’t think Instagram drives a lot of traffic back here to Longbox Graveyard, but it is proving to be a surprisingly strong and vibrant superhero community.
I thought it would be interesting to see which images I’ve posted to Instagram these past six-odd months have been the most popular, ranked by “likes.” Of course it helps to keep these things in perspective. When I say “popular,” I mean “popular by Silver Age superhero standards” … my top image has scored only a fraction of the top images on the service, where pouting self-shots by celebrity narcissists ring up 5000 Likes or more.
The success of my images is also closely linked to the size of my network, and as my Followers have grown, so too have my Likes. Even though I’ve been posting since July, the oldest image on this list only dates back to November 2012. As the list will show, having my Followers experience significant growth during the Christmas season also attracted a lot of eyeballs for holiday-themed images.
Anyway, here are the
ten eleven most popular images I’ve posted to Instagram, ranked by Likes!
10) (tie) Old School Avengers by Jack Kirby, and …
… Hebrew Hulk by Jack Kirby!
Silver Age images from masters like Jack Kirby have proven popular on Instagram. The Avengers have been a strong draw, I think owing largely to their movie success, and this cover image of a Hulk comic localized in Hebrew benefitted from being posted as a holiday greeting on the first night of Hanukkah.
9) (tie) Hulk vs. Batman, and …
… Surfing Super-Friends!
Batman is solid gold for Instagram “likes,” and this surfing Super-Friends hits the hipster Instagram demographic head-on.
The Hulk/Batman cover from DC Special Series #27 by José Luis García-López shows one of the last and least-likely of the inter-publisher superhero crossovers of the 1970s and 80s, and to judge by comments, many current fans didn’t know this book even existed! These kinds of images also help spur conversation by posting them with messages like “Batman vs. Hulk — who wins?”
7) Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag 1974 by John Buscema
The covers of Marvel’s holiday editions were often the best part of the package. My Instagram followers took a big jump toward the end of 2012 and these holiday-themed images proved especially popular over the Christmas break.
6) The Bat-Man by Bob Kane
Batman makes the list again (and not for the last time) with this classic image from the cover of Detective Comics #31.
5) (tie) Hulk vs. Thor from Defenders #10 by John Romita, and …
… Japanese Batman!
I can’t account for Japanese Batman … I don’t even know where I found the image … but like those surfing Super-Friends, Japanese Batman is a shaped-charge designed to penetrate Instagram sensibilities.
The Hulk vs. Thor image also helped stimulate a “who would win” conversation (which leaned toward the Hulk) and reminded me that I’d never read the famed Avengers vs. Defenders War, of which this issue was a part. (An omission I will remedy shortly!)
3) Batman by Melissa Smith
Batman strikes again! I saw Melissa Smith’s artistic impression of several superheroes over at Robot 6 and her Batman image proved especially popular on Instagram. The formula of popular hero + a humorous or artistic take seems to yield dividends.
2) Santa Thing!
Not sure who drew this image, which originally appeared in a Marvel Comics holiday house ad. Longbox Graveyard readers may remember this image headlined my Holiday Gift Guide. This image also benefited from a holiday period bounce, along with …
1) Giant Superhero Holiday Grab-Bag 1975 by John Romita
The most popular image I’ve posted to Instagram was another classic Marvel Christmas cover … and for a full review of the issue behind that cover (which sadly does not live up to Luke Cage trimming a Christmas tree with his belt chain), be sure to read my column here.
Feel free to comment if you have art credits that I’ve missed or mis-attributed above, and I’d especially like to hear from you if you’ve found your way to this Longbox Graveyard blog from Instagram. Remember that you can find me on Instagram as longbox_graveyard, and you can also take a web-based peak at my latest images here.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: #85 The Defenders: Who Remembers Scorpio?
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About Paul O'ConnorRevelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at www.longboxgraveyard.com!
Posted on January 23, 2013, in Lists! and tagged Batman, Comic Book Social Media Guide, eBay, Hulk, Instagram, Jack Kirby, John Buscema, José Luis García-López, Pinterest, Social Media, Super-Friends, Top 10. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.
I don’t have instagram, and probably never will, but this is stil very interesting. Too bad you can’t get demographics for the replies. Maybe there’s an app for that!
You haven’t read the Avengers-Defender War? Shame on you!
Yes, sheepishly I admit that I have not yet read the Avengers-Defenders War — it first ran a summer or two before I got into comics, and I never encountered it in reprint. All of the issues (but one) are available on Marvel’s digital subscription service and I have flagged them as “must read” so I will redress this shocking omission sooner rather than later.
This is interesting analysis. I wonder if it “means” anything, that is to say it is a pretty diverse group of images (except for all the Batman).
I think it unwise to assert that ANYTHING means anything here on Longbox Graveyard.
I do see a pattern, though, and that pattern is “popularity.” Users tend to “like” images that are familiar or nostalgic. The quality of the image isn’t as important so much as the Like is an endorsement of the subject. “I like Spider-Man.” “I like Batman.” That’s most of what’s going on. The other big bulk of Likes comes from people who find something funny (which is why the site is also overrun by meme farmers).
I think the people who comment are more likely to be engaged by the subject and composition of the image. I’ve had some solid comic book conversations over there about Jack Kirby, Daredevil, Swamp Thing, etc.
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