Connections in the Marvel Universe

Lab Reports, Networks

The Marvel Universe is a fictional universe where the stories in most American comic book titles and other media published by Marvel Comics take place. It has a huge amount of characters which are all connected in some way.

With more than 10,000 characters it can be hard to see the overall picture and how the Marvel Universe is build. The goal of the following visualization is to make it easier to understand how each character fits into the universe.

Inspiration for the Visualization

Inspiration for the network that will visualize the network within the Marvel Universe came from a visualization of conversations about Brexit that happened between between the 3rd and 4th of December, 2018. Each dot is a user, and each line represents a reply, mention, or retweet.

Conversations about Brexit that happened between between the 3rd and 4th of December, 2018

It easily recognizable that Tweets supportive of the idea that the UK should leave the EU are concentrated in the orange-colored community at the top. Tweets supportive of the UK remaining in the EU are in blue. The green nodes represent conversations about UK’s Labour party, and the purple nodes reflect conversations about Scotland. Names of accounts that were mentioned more often have a larger font.

The network visualizes a big amount of data in an efficient manner and gives a good first impression of how the tweets are connected and their importance through color and font sizing. I am hoping to achieve the same thing with the network created for the Marvel Universe.

Materials Used

Gephi – Visualization and Exploration software for graphs and networks

Kaggle – Database for Datasets

Github – Gephi Datasets on Github


In order to get an understanding of the connections in the Marvel Universe I first had to see how Gephi would interpret the data set. The first view on the network seems overwhelming and chaotic but upon taking a closer look it is clear that the size of the names of the characters shows the connections that this character has with others. I realized that the influence and occurrence of the biggest characters can be displayed using this network so I decided to make use of it.

First Interpretation of the Data by Gephi

I wanted to refine the network by color coding the biggest characters with the most connections. The colors help to see a connection between groups of characters and reveal who the most influential characters are in the Marvel Universe.

Colors Related to Amount of Connections

Gephi does a good job of determining the biggest groups of characters that are connected but it is hard to understand which colors are connected to which group. As a final step I want to focus on using colors that correspond to the characters and make it easier for user to understand the network.

Results & Interpretation

The final result shows us how color coding can help to understand a big network such as the one from the Marvel Universe. For the final result I decided to use the colors that a person will most likely associate with the biggest characters seen in the network.

I decided to color code the following way:


Captain America

Fantastic Four

Iron Man

Dr. Strange



The result can shows us that even in a big data set as the one for the Marvel Universe can be visualized in a network and can describe and show the most influential characters of the universe.

Color Coded Marvel Universe


The original goal was to create a network that visualizes the connections between a different data set. Unfortunately, Gephi did not accept my original dataset and after multiple clean ups of the data I was still not able to make the data usable for Gephi. In order to still be able to explore Gephi and its functions I decided to use another dataset that could help me understand the software better.

The Marvel Universe has such a big amount of characters that the corresponding dataset is enormous, which makes it hard for Gephi to handle its volume. I was however able to do simple changes to the data and network that helped me to understand the data better and see the character connections.

Overall, the biggest takeaway from this network is that you can see who the most influential characters are in the Marvel Universe. The characters with the most connections can be seen as the characters who made the most contact with other characters and have therefore build the widest network and have appeared the most in the Marvel Universe. They have the biggest influence of the Universe.