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Superheroes and Social Media: #Savingtheday, One Tweet at a Time?

Matt takes a look at heroes who use social media, and how this crossing of mediums benefits comics as a whole.

If you're on the Internet a lot, there's a good chance that you use some form of social media. I'm a pretty big Twitter nerd myself, and find it a great tool for getting what I need done; I follow people I'm interested in while using it to promote my writing and whatever other project I've got underway.

What's interesting, however, is the number of fictional characters that seem to have "real world" accounts. I'm not just talking about Drunk Hulk and other "theme" feeds; companies like Marvel Comics are actually using social networking to supplement and enhance their stories, which I think it a smart move. These characters using Twitter really seems to fit their personality, but are there other heroes that could benefit from a good microblog?

Spider-Girl and Galacta

@The_Spider_Girl

I was pretty happy to find that @The_Spider_Girl had a shiny new Twitter account to go along with her new prominence in Young Allies, only to find that she'd been tweeting since July of 2010. This coincides with the end of The Gauntlet/Grim Hunt storyline, where she experienced both new powers and the subsequent loss of them.

Spider Girl's Twitter is an example of the concept done right; instead of having to rely on monthly issues for her thoughts, we get them directly from the "source." Especially with team books, there's always a chance that a particular issue might not focus on the character we want to read about.

That's when Twitter becomes useful: instead of having to wait for the next "Spider-Girl-centric" issue, we get little snippets to tide us over until that storyline eventually comes.

A good example is the recent flirtation she's been having with the Avengers Academy leader Reptil. A romance was teased at during the Young Allies/Avengers Academy crossover, where they worked well together as a team. This storyline was furthered during the "prom" issue of 'Academy, where she had a couple quick lines, but nothing too substantial.

== TEASER ==

However, then came this tweet:

While this message isn't the longest or the most detailed, it does something extremely important: it gives us access to a thought that you would never see in the comic itself. It lets us read about the otherwise inconsequential musings of a character that interests us, as individual fans, instead of wasting panel space with it.

Reading lines like "She kicked me through a window. Many apologies to the staff and customers of the cell phone store I crashed into" adds something to both the character and the story without making it seem inane.

Instead of drawing the ire of readers with tidbits like that, Marvel is rewarding the people who like the character enough to seek out their Twitter account. The readers who're just interested in Young Allies get to enjoy the book while fans of Spider-Girl get something deeper.

That's what Twitter is, in a nutshell: it acts as a gateway to the inner workings of whoever is using it. That's what makes celebrity use so interesting - for once, we don't need to wade through the BS of their PR people, and we get to see them for them.

@Gali_Girl

That's what made Galacta's solo series so interesting; it would feature tweets within the comic's captions that actually existed as part of her (now-defunct) online account.

It brought a very big "meta" feeling to the whole thing, as if she actually existed. Of course, not everything she tweeted made it into the book, so following her account felt more like a "director's cut," if anything. Hearing about her Daddy issues with the Big G himself or her constant hunger problems brought a little humanity to a series that was supposed to be about an omnipotent cosmic being.

The people who manage these accounts must have a blast: replying to people's questions in-character and being a large part of supplementary material sounds like a good way to earn a paycheque.

While not every character has their own Twitter account, there are definitely a few who could benefit from that treatment. Here's two I thought would make good additions to the online world:

Hypothetical #1: Booster Gold

@REALBOOSTER

Like him or hate him, Booster would be right at home in the Twitterverse. I mean, it isn't enough that he's been plastered in ads from head to toe: how would you like to follow the most well-publicized hero in history as he goes about his day?

In my mind, Booster Gold would be one of those obnoxious Twitter accounts that never seem to publish anything that's written by a human hand. Tweets would likely be automatically generated from any headlines featuring him, along with a big ol' "#GOODASGOLD" hashtag, for good measure.

They would also be completely in caps. This would not change.

Just like some iterations of Booster Gold have been completely out of touch with what it means to be a true hero, Booster's Twitter would miss the mark of Twitter as a whole: instead of being genuine, it would just be a device to get him more fame.

Instead of interacting with fans, it would just be a PR machine that serves to make the owner look good. He would follow thousands of people without reading what they have to say: he'd only expect for them to follow him back.

Booster would also probably rig Skeets to publish live video of everything. That poor robot.

Hypothetical #2: Teen Titans

@TeenTitans

On the other hand, the Teen Titans could probably use Twitter to their advantage; I mean, their current tower is in the middle of America's tech hotbed, and they could probably wrangle some smartphones for their team if they tried hard enough.

While you could say that every hero could benefit from the ability to be tipped off to crimes online, I think the Titans have something to gain from Twitter. As a team book, members tend to get lost in the shuffle. Like Spider Girl's musings above, I think hinted-at storylines that are abandoned (like Lorena's merciless flirting with Blue Beetle) could be fleshed out without the use of extra pages in the book.

One of my main complaints with team books is that without solid rosters, characters become one-dimensional, especially if storylines don't tend to revolve around them. Twitter accounts from DC would allow for characters to build a fan base around them without having to take a chance on a solo series, saving costs. Even in the context of the book, the heroes would use their accounts to build a rapport with the public, gaining their trust for when they decide to break out on their own.

The Point

The ultimate purpose of adding mediums to comics that aren't comics is to supplement and enhance the product. Like I mentioned above, having characters post on a medium that isn't jammed down someone's throat allows for fans to seek out this supplementary material instead of forcing people who don't like it to endure it.

In short, it lets the fans get more of they love while allowing others to skip it if they choose. I can't complain about that at all.

Because really, who doesn't want to get a message on their phone saying that Spider-Girl answered them back?

So how about it, ComicVine? Which characters would you love to see online?
---
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer who spends too much time on Twitter and Tumblr; he always appreciates new followers, though!

64 Comments
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Posted by Atari_Graphics

In Miami, mobile food trucks announce their location via social media. I can see super heroes operating similarly.

Posted by TDK_1997
@Atari_Graphics said:
In Miami, mobile food trucks announce their location via social media. I can see super heroes operating similarly.
Posted by Chane

I like the idea of skeets sending Booster updates automatically and uploading his PR to twitpic / yfrog. 


Other picture hosting services are available.
Posted by xerox_kitty

If the Teen Titans used Twitter to relay messages... imagine what would happen in the villains used Twitter to spy on them! ;)

 

I'm surprised there hasn't been more official use of Twitter.  TV shows have started to do it (I know it's been popular with some fo the Misfits characters).  And since we know that Surge has a Twitter account (as she tried to get Colossus into it in an attempt to cheer him up), so it'd be fun if there was some Young/New X-Tweeting going on...
   

Moderator
Posted by Bestostero

I would follow lol

Posted by DarkCanuck

I'm pretty sure I've seen some Deadpool comic/twitter crossover action happening. I think a great example of this type of cross-promotion is done by Misha Collins, the guy who plays the angel Castiel on Supernatural. While his twitter account (@mishacollins) is not a faithful character portrayal of his Supernatural character, he often tweets as a completely outrageous tounge-in-cheek version of Castiel (example: "I have good news & bad news. The good news is the reality show I like about the two brothers who take acid & hunt ghosts gets a 7th season.").
Not really the same as the above article but I think in that it helps to build and promote the character it is similar.

Posted by StarKiller809

I think that is a great idea. I think it would definitly add on. I think it would also make the character seem a little more human.
Posted by Billy Batson

Should Invisible have a twitter?

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

Oooooooohhhhhh They are not the real popular ones... So there is no risk of anyone dying because of their tweeting.

Posted by JonesDeini

I think it would be pretty lame actually. I actually find the twitter refs in Spider-Girl to be annoying. Booster's grown beyond the time in which something like that would fit his character. He hasn't been that Booster in years and I doubt he ever will be again. 

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

http://twitter.com/#!/OrangeLarfleeze


Unofficial, but hilarious.
Posted by Kairan1979

Wasn't Most Excellent SuperBat (from Super Young Team) using Twitter all the time?

Posted by The Mighty Monarch
@Kairan1979 said:
Wasn't Most Excellent SuperBat (from Super Young Team) using Twitter all the time?
That was probably my favorite part of that otherwise confusing as hell miniseries.
Posted by Fantasgasmic

Twitter in comics... hmmm...

    
    
Posted by Roninidas

Ha... Ha... I am now following Spider-Girl.  How awesome is that.  Is it possbile to get a list of other Marvel Characters on Twitter?

Posted by Duo_forbidden

I don't even have a Twitter, but I do find it a unique concept in comics.

Edited by Dh4niel

Is RealDeadpool on Twitter official? It seems like it...

Edited by Jordanstine
Posted by ImperiousRix

In the little bit of Spider-Girl I read from an Amazing Spider-Man preview, I thought the Twitter angle was an entertaining gimmick, and if it actually reflects in the "real world" what that one character is doing, I think it's cool.  Spider-Girl isn't the most popular character, but this makes her unique and really fits her.


I'm not, however, sure other super-heroes should follow suit.  Yeah, I'm sure Booster Gold would actually be one to use social media, and it could be fun to follow his tweets, but I feel Booster's too close to the core of the DC universe, and having whole super teams tweeting could get a bit messy for writers and fans alike.  Leave that sort of stuff to fringe characters like Spider-Girl.

PS: Just followed Spider-Girl on twitter...
Posted by NightFang
@TDK_1997 said:
@Atari_Graphics said:
In Miami, mobile food trucks announce their location via social media. I can see super heroes operating similarly.
Posted by The Impersonator

All of them.

Posted by InnerVenom123

If only Deadpool had a twitter....

Posted by Out_of_Space

Deadpool and Joker ( he's a villain but i don't think that matters so much ) should have a twitter. It would be awesome.    
Posted by Jordanstine
Posted by Ult_Final_Arrow

Another one to follow is
@_God_Damn_Robin

 http://twitter.com/#!/_God_damn_Robin

and

  @God_Damn_Batman

Posted by CrimsonInuTears

Oh dear god, Booster tweetin... Sadly, could totally see it. That an of course YouTube videos Skeets recorded of him~ ^_^

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus
@Kairan1979: Yup, in Final Crisis: Dance.  Except that it was called "Twitterati" I believe.
Posted by Mercy_

JJONAHJAMESON and The Goddamn Batman both have amazingly awesome tweets

Moderator Online
Posted by Gambit1024
@InnerVenom123 said:
If only Deadpool had a twitter....
Win.

@The Dark Huntress said:
JJONAHJAMESON and The Goddamn Batman both have amazingly awesome tweets
I'd follow JJJ. I wouldn't be surprised if someone actually made a twitter for The Goddamn Batman, lol
Posted by GothamBat

God_Damn_Batman and JerkSuperman are pretty great.

Posted by GERALD

Fake Superhero Twitter account? REALLY?

I hate Twitter to begin with; the thought of some dude pretending to be Spider Girl and commenting on fans tweets is a whole new level of depressing. I mean, it's one thing to read a celebrity's tweets and think, "ugh, how appalling," but for someone to get excited over the fact that a fictional character is re-tweeting their tweet is just beyond sad.

With any luck Twitter will die in less than ten years. One can only hope.

Posted by Eyz

I luv Gali/Galacta tweets :'3
Aww!
Made me buy her comic!


Booster would be a nice one too.

Posted by frogjitsu

I'd like it if some of the under used X-men characters has twitter accounts, that way I could still get something from them, even if they're not in the comics regularly.  It could be a good way to get some more exposure to characters who are in comic limbo at the moment.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch
@Gambit1024 said:
@InnerVenom123 said:
If only Deadpool had a twitter....
Win.

@The Dark Huntress said:
JJONAHJAMESON and The Goddamn Batman both have amazingly awesome tweets
I'd follow JJJ. I wouldn't be surprised if someone actually made a twitter for The Goddamn Batman, lol
That was the point of TDH's post. Those both DO exist.
Posted by Mercy_
Moderator Online
Posted by Outside_85

Didnt Supergirl just find out the bad side of a Twitter kind of thing? (Fly Over i think it was called) 
 
Also some people do make fun of Twitters that type in their every thought and deed. (Besides carrying around a standard phone as a hero will make you easy to find by tech based villains like Luthor.)

Posted by G-Man

@Outside_85: It was an app. If you saw a hero, you take a pic and tag 'em. It turned out to be a tool for a villain and he used it to be able to track and attack the heroes. Sounds kinda lame but it was also kind of a good idea.

Staff
Posted by DoctorTrips
@GERALD: I couldn't agree more with you.
Posted by Outside_85
@G-Man
True, kinda like Nolan's Dark Knight, where the guy controlling the action litterally had thousands if not millions of eyes.
Posted by IllyanaRasputin

don't forget to follow @MagikTP =) 

Posted by Radread

 
 I could see half of the Avengers Academy using Twitter and with Arana it worked but with everyone else. Nah.

Posted by fbdarkangel

X-23 just posted on Facebook that this article is total bull! ;)

Posted by DarkShadows

Booster Gold and Twitter, hmm, not surprise at all.

Posted by sa5m

Booster is perfect for this hehehe

Posted by andrea_mendoza1997

I am so following her. I THINK they should have twitter.

Edited by Gerhabio

Sounds cool to me. Galacta's twitter is real fun.

Posted by noj

Booster would have been right at home with twitter until his his character change after 52, now not so much. Booster isnt the PR loving glory hound anymore, and he hasnt been in years.

Posted by monopolyloser

I love the Deadpool twitter account!  It's always about tacos.  hahahaha

Posted by mikeclark1982

dont forget kick-ass. he was the first to use social networking to get his name out there. he added me on myspace before his comic came out! 

Posted by ryu_talkative_batman

Everyone has a twitter. Even Batman uses twitter, shouldn't he have his own called "batty"?

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