Calculating Cultural Comics Capital

By | Wednesday, August 16, 2023 Leave a Comment
I just stumbled across a curious idea I wrote about back in 2007... coming up with an actual calculation to guage how much cultural capital a person has in the comic book industry. I'll snippet a bit of it here...
The key variables, with regard to comic creators, seem to be: number of years as a comic professional, which publisher(s) they've worked with, and what their role/s is/are in creating a comic. So you might have something like...

Y = Number of years working for any given publisher
P = 1 for DC, Image or Marvel work; 1.5 for Dark Horse work; 2 for other publishers; 3 for other publishers defunct for more than five years; 4 for self-publishing
C = 1 for writer and/or penciller; 2 for inker; 3 for colorist or letterer; 4 for editor. For multiple roles, divide the lowest number by the second lowest. A writer/artist would therefore be 1/2, but a writer/artist/inker would be (1/2)/3 or 1/6.

And then your equation might look something like...


... for each publisher someone worked for.
At the time, I calculated Stan Lee's score at 72.5 and my own at 2.5. Today they'd be...

Lee = [77/1)/1] + [(9/2)/1] + [(2/1)/1] = 83.5
Me = [(19/2)/1] + [(2/1)/4] + {(2/4)/1] + [(1/2)/1] = 11

(Bear in mind that Lee passed away in 2018, and his output has necessarily dropped to zero since then.)

I noted some problems with the basic equation at the time. For instance, working on one comic in one year carries the same weight in the calculation as if you worked on twelve individual comics for two different titles if they were all for the same publisher. An additional calculation for each... what? Issue? Then how do you differentiate between a monthly floppy and a graphic novel? Or even just within the monthly format, is there a distinction between the regular monthly book and the occasional double- or triple-sized anniversary issue? Maybe an additional variable for page count?

And what about importance or significance of the comics in question? Should the original twleve issues of Watchmen be given the same weight as the issues of, say, Hawkman that were published at the same time? Should awards and/or nominations for awards be considered? Do Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons continue to get credit for all the times Watchmen has been reprinted?

I never did anything more with the idea after that initial post from 2007. I'm pretty sure I let it go because there are way too many variables to realistically consider. But I wonder if it's worth re-visiting? Just to play around with the idea a bit more.
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