Using data pulled from the Marvel Database API, I focused on all the different Marvel characters featured in issues by artist Adam Kubert. My network visualization in Gephi provides insights into the body of work over Adam’s career at Marvel.
Looking at the example of connections amongst jazz musicians from LinkedJazz.org, I had initially wanted to use the Marvel Database to create a similar chart of comic creatives. Each book, much like a jazz album, uses a group of creatives from a greater pool. Several creatives will work together over time on different books. After pulling the data, I decided to go in a different direction for this lab, and focus on the network of characters/properties instead.
The Marvel Database has an API where a developer can make calls containing certain parameters and get a JSON object in return. Using Adam Kubert’s Creator ID, I was able to bring up information on all the comic book issues he had worked on. This information included the creative team, the number of pages and main characters to name a few. I decided to focus on a social network of the characters he had worked on over the years. He is most noted for his work on X-Men, especially Wolverine, and I felt it would be interesting to see a visualization of the character connections in Gephi.
After placing the JSON object into Sublime, I then copied just the array that contained the issues and pasted it into OpenRefine. In this program, I reduced the rows to just the characters and issue number. I then deleted any one-to-one relationships in an effort to prepare it for R-Studio.
In R, I followed the directions for creating a weighted table with source and targets. This was the table that I would then bring into Gephi.
Importing the spreadsheet into Gephi I was able to create a visualization of the data. I ran statistics on average degrees, modularity and average path length. Using those values I was able to adjust the node size based on degrees and with modularity, able to show different groups through color. I worked through different layouts filtering the number the number of degrees.
OpenRefine.org – Editing datasets
Sublime – Code/Text Editor
R-Studio – Performing Permutation of Data
Gephi – Creates Relational/Social Charts
The resulting visualization showed not only which characters Adam Kubert worked with the most, but the different teams along with alternate universe storylines. The center of the visualization focuses on the X-Men (green) and then branches out from there into the Age of Apocolypse (teal) and Wolverine (orange) storylines. New Mutants (pink), Avengers (purple) and the Fantastic Four (blue-green) are colored differently. The Ultimate storyline exists as it’s own subset to the side in brown.
View interactive visualization here.
The chart gives a clear idea of which characters Adam Kubert works on more than others. I would still like to purse create a visual for an ego-centric network of creatives that work on Marvel properties with Adam Kubert.