ICAM130 Data Visualization Series: This is a series of visualizations created during related courses and independent research at UCSD.

Exploring the Colour evolution of Comicbook Covers

As an introduction to creating information visualisations with images, I decided to plot how comic book covers for different characters evolved over time.

Character comicbook covers over year and hue

The full (16mb) image can be downloaded here.


  • picked three Marvel X-Men characters: Iceman, Storm, and Hellion
  • downloaded cover images of comics they were a part of
  • analysed image attributes with QTip
  • mapped hue (y-axis) and year of cover (x-axis) using ImageJ
  • compiled imageplots in Photoshop


The age of the character is one of the most evident initial observations (with Hellion only having existed a few years compared to Iceman, one of the first X-Men). Overall, hues of comics significantly favoured yellow, bleeding into red and green moreso as time progressed. In the last 20 years or so, perhaps with the advance of printing/ink technologies, more blue covers began to emerge.

The colour trends of each character were less distinct from one another as originally hoped. Perhaps filtering covers for that particular character rather than the books they appeared in will refine the results. Focusing on characters with their own discintive series may also aid in identifying per-character cover trends.