The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 228 | Breaking down last month’s most popular articles

Leaving Proof 228 | Breaking down last month’s most popular articles
Published on Friday, June 6, 2014 by
This week, we take a look at the five most widely-read Leaving Proof articles of the past month and who’s reading them. There are a couple of big surprises on the list. ALSO: The Last Devil character design talk, Tokyo ESP news, the net neutrality issue, and more!  

I try not to get too caught up in website analytics. I know that sounds like a terrible attitude to adopt for somebody who writes on the Internet, but it’s enough of a challenge trying to come up with novel content on a weekly basis without conducting a meaningful analysis of website viewing data on the side, let alone writing content that specifically caters to the reader preferences that can be inferred from that data. When it comes to writing Leaving Proof, at least, my approach is to just keep my head down and keep grinding away.

I generally write about stuff that interests me first and foremost, but every now and then, I will take a peek at the website data provided by Google Analytics, more out of curiosity than anything else. I have no illusions about the Comixverse’s popularity in the larger world of sites that do comics coverage. We’re a modest operation—we’re no Comic Book Resources or Bleeding Cool or Newsarama or Comics Alliance—but I’m proud of the fact that we’ve maintained a stable readership and press relationships with a number of the biggest “indie” comics publishers over the four years or so that the site’s been in existence (although I didn’t officially join the site as a staff member until a couple of years ago). We get anywhere between 12,000 and 15,000 total page views on most months, although we’ve had the odd month where we dip down to almost half that and we’ve also had months where we’ve surpassed 20,000 views. When it comes to analytics, though, I’m less interested in “mass traffic” numbers than I am in getting some sort of idea in my head about who actually reads the Comixverse, the Leaving Proof articles in particular.

Anyway, here’s a list of links to the top five most-read Leaving Proof columns for May in terms of the number of unique readers, with my comments:

Leaving Proof 168 | The art of eskrima in comics and comic book-based films
  • Date posted: January 13, 2013
  • Top countries where the article’s readers com from: US, Germany, France/Philippines (tie), Canada/UK (tie), Italy
  • Comments: I will admit, I am pretty surprised that the article on eskrima is as popular as it is. I would have expected something like, I don’t know, maybe my breakdown of the inaugural Wolverine MAX storyline or my Attack on Titan retrospective to top any list of the most read Leaving Proof articles. While I suspect that a good number of the folks who read the article are members of the Filipino diaspora in North America and Europe, interest in eskrima and the other Filipino martial arts (FMA) is an international phenomenon that crosses the boundaries of ethnicity and culture and has been for several decades. It probably also helped that the article was mentioned by FMA Pulse and mirrored on FMA Informative, two of the international FMA community’s more popular online newsletters.
Leaving Proof 225 | Break on through to the other side: On getting American comics fans into manga
  • Date posted: May 21, 2014
  • Top countries where the article’s readers com from: US, Canada, UK, Indonesia, Australia/Japan (tie)
  • Comments: I’d say that the bulk of the credit for this article getting the number of unique views that it did last month has to lie largely with American comics journalist Deb Aoki. This column was written as a response to an insightful post on Aoki’s Manga! Comics! Manga! site, and she picked up our reply and shared it on Twitter. Thanks, Deb!
Leaving Proof 185 | On the biology of super-speed and other stuff
  • Date posted: May 15, 2013
  • Top countries where the article’s readers com from: US, India, Indonesia, Canada/France (tie), Sweden
  • Comments: Besides comics and animation, the subject I am perhaps most passionate about in my personal life these days is running (and fitness in general). This article, which also includes a short running shoe review and a featurette on marathon cosplay, was my attempt at combining those rather disparate fields. I’m glad to know that there are people out there who share my intersection of geeky interests. Keep reading and running guys!
Leaving Proof 177 | Will Steve Gan finally get his due?
  • Date posted: March 20, 2013
  • Top countries where the article’s readers com from: Costa Rica, Philippines, UK, France, US
  • Comments: This has got me stumped. I’m glad that there are more people learning about the talent and contributions of Chinese-Filipino comics artist Steve Gan through the article, especially with Disney/Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy film soon to debut in theaters (Gan co-created Star-Lord, one of the co-lead protagonists of the film), but I’m somewhat baffled by the fact that the article has been read more times in the past month by readers in Costa Rica than anywhere else (in terms of total views, it’s received more views from Costa Rica than all other countries combined). Is this a case of mistaken identity? I tried Googling “Steve Gan” and “Costa Rica” together and nothing notable came up, though I did learn that Gan shares his name with a notable Malaysian journalist. Adding to the weirdness is that as far as I know, Gan has worked almost exclusively on Filipino comics since the early 1980s, although he did do some American animation work in the 1990s.
Leaving Proof 222 | Fan Expo Vancouver 2014: Image Comics Creators Chat notes and highlights
  • Date posted: May 3, 2014
  • Top countries where the article’s readers com from: Canada, US, UK
  • Comments: The geographical origins of the readers of this article makes sense, as does its relative recency contributing to its popularity. I am a bit surprised that it garnered absolutely zero readers from outside of Canada, the US, and the UK, however. I wonder if this is a reflection of where Image Comics’ biggest markets are?

So there you have it, the top five most-read Leaving Proof articles for May 2014. I can’t wait to find out this month’s numbers.

On those character designs from The Last Devil

A couple of weeks ago, I promised I would share some more new concept art for The Last Devil, a comic I’m developing with my brother (visit the Unwilting Bros. tumblr to learn more about the background of the project). As it turns out, we don’t have any new concept art that’s suitable for sharing with the public just yet, so instead, let me take this opportunity to talk about some of the thinking behind the three character designs we’ve already revealed so far.

Naga_Malo_Macanaya_color

Naga, Malo, and Macanaya from The Last Devil.

katipunero_1899

Filipino “Katipuneros,” late 19th/early 20th century.

On Vincente Macanaya: There’s scant biographical information about the historical Vincente Macanaya, leader of the elite Bodyguard unit of the Ever Victorious Army (a mercenary army that served the Qing Dynasty during the Taiping Rebellion), and even less about his appearance. What we do know based on what research has been able to turn up is that he was a “Manilaman” (i.e., what we would now call a Filipino) and that he was probably born in the late 1830s or early 1840s. In our story, Macanaya is already in his late fifties, and we’ve obviously taken a lot of liberties with our interpretation—The Last Devil isn’t intended to be a historical comic, it’s really more of a “weird/alternate history” thing—although with the view that it should still evoke certain temporal and cultural signifiers. To that end, our version of Macanaya is no longer dressed in the uniform of the Ever Victorious Army’s Bodyguard (a blue military uniform similar to the one worn by 19th century Union troops paired with a turban). Instead, he’s garbed in more utilitarian clothes somewhat reminiscent of the clothes worn by the paramilitary Filipino freedom fighters of the late 19th century, which were derived from ordinary workwear suitable for use in farming.

Naga: Naga isn’t based on any one historical figure and his design is influenced by the appearance of the fearsome Sulu pirates of 19th century Maritime Southeast Asia.

Malo: Malo is one of those cases where we just had fun with his look, without worrying too much about historical or cultural referents. He’s the comic’s mystery man, a character from Louisiana’s Saint Malo settlement (hence the name).

Digressions

• On Princess Jellyfish: I recently finished watching the entire 11-episode season of Princess Jellyfish, the anime adaptation of Akiko Higashimura’s josei manga of the same name. It’s by turns hilarious and affecting, and it’s a welcome departure from the various shonen and seinen shows I’ve been consuming lately. Here’s the series’ description from the show’s Funimation page:

Plain, timid and obsessed with jellyfish, Tsukimi is a far cry from her idea of a princess. Her tepid life as a jobless illustrator comes complete with roommates who harbor diehard hobbies that solidify their status as hopeless social rejects. These wallflowers run a tight nun-like ship, but their no-men-allowed-not-no-one-not-no-how bubble is unwittingly burst after Tsukimi brings home a rescued sea jelly and a beauty queen—who’s actually a guy. When threat of losing their cozy convent inspires this glamour boy to turn the neurotic entourage into a portrait of success, will Tsukimi take her chance to bloom or will she end up a hot mess?

Princess Jellyfish is currently available for streaming on Netflix, YouTube, and Funimation.com. and is also available as a DVD/Blu-Ray combo.

Tokyo-ESP-Volume-2-Cover• Tokyo ESP to get anime adaptation: I don’t know how I missed this story at the beginning of this year, but apparently, Hajime Segawa’s Tokyo ESP will be getting adapted as an animated series, set to begin airing in Japan on July 11. If you clicked on the link to Leaving Proof 168 above, you’ll know that Tokyo ESP has the distinction of featuring protagonists who use eskrima/kali as their primary fighting style, as opposed to, say, karate or kung fu or ninjutsu. It’s also a manga that deconstructs and reconstructs the conventions of American superhero comics, and I do think it has the potential to achieve breakout international success given that particular aspect of its premise. There’s no word yet on whether or not the anime will get an international release—the manga itself has yet to be picked up and translated by an American publisher (I’d love for Dark Horse Manga to get it… Dark Horse Manga editor Carl Horn, if you’re reading this, please bring Tokyo ESP over!)—although I do wonder if the property’s occasionally parodic nature makes it more problematic in terms of licensing for international markets.

• The latest on net neutrality: Last week, I linked to an article and embedded a video explaining the issue of net neutrality and why it is important that we (as in “everybody who uses the Internet”) should take a stand in its defense. The biggest problem in educating people about net neutrality is that it isn’t a “sexy” issue. It sounds boring and overly-technical. But thanks to comedian John Oliver doing a a segment on net neutrality in the most recent episode of his HBO series, it seems like more people are now aware of just how important the issue is and the unprecedented curbing of Internet freedoms that could potentially happen if certain corporations and government officials have their way. Check out the video below and get yourself edjumicated:

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