Between March and May 2016, Marvel Comics and DC Comics went head to head in the superhero movie market. On March 25th, DC Comics released the highly anticipated ‘Batman vs Superman’ and less than 2 months later, Marvel Comics came out with ‘Captain America: Civil War’.
The juxtaposition of these 2 films has comic book fans asking: who would win the ultimate fight between Captain America, Batman, and Superman? Of course, each superhero has their advantages, so it’s a difficult question to answer. Trying to work it out, you may develop a headache trying to calculate the ‘vulnerability to Kryptonite’.
Instead of trying to work out this complicated question, we can turn to Internet trends and figure out which superhero wins the online popularity contest
Trending is hard evidence of a topic being hot property, so first we looked at superhero popularity using Google Trends. Not surprisingly, all three superheroes experienced their highest level of searches around the time that their films were released. Aside from the release of Superman Returns in late June 2006, Batman has convincingly crushed Superman and Captain America for the last several years.
The other I chose for the superheroes to go toe to toe in was using SimilarWeb data. I wanted to see how keywords for the superheroes related to their parent websites traffic. The keyword “Captain America”, predictably, was more popular than “Superman” and “Batman” in driving traffic towards Marvel’s website. Superman was able to make a small dent in Captain America’s shield with 7 keywords, but Batman was missing in action with 0.
In their own backyard, at DC Comics website, Batman and Superman took the home advantage. Captain America managed to conjure up 2 keywords leading to DC’s website, but it was miniscule compared to Superman and Batman who were attributed to 327 and 798 keywords respectively. The number of website visits originating from “Batman” and “Superman” keywords dwarfed anything that Captain America could muster over at Marvel’s website.
My research has proved that Batman is the most popular superhero online out of our three. His popularity has been bolstered over the last 20 years by numerous films, whilst you could count the Superman and Captain America films in the same period on one hand. Although Batman proved to be the more popular DC Comics superhero, it will be interesting to see how the Batman vs Superman movie pans out. Will the marketing team behind the film want the fan favorite to win? Or will they try to boost Superman’s profile by letting the underdog win?