Humanizing a Superhero: An Empirical Test in the Comic Books Industry

  •  Michela Addis    
  •  Gabriele Troilo    


One of the most firmly-established and widespread marketing policies in the comic book industry is the humanization of superheroes as a strategy to achieve success, especially for characters populating the Marvel Universe. However, there is no clear evidence of how exactly artists actually and operatively create human superheroes, and whether those variables truly affect sales of comic books. To address those two issues we run a quali-quantitative study by interviewing experts, and regressing sales on a broad range of variables of comic books gathered through content analysis and secondary data sources. Our findings show that humanization is not as powerful as expected in driving sales of comic books.

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