MAT 259 - 2011W



Comic books and graphic novels are a major part of pop culture and this is reflected in their popularity among patrons of the Seattle Public Library. The goal of this project is to visualize the relative popularity (by number of library checkouts) of various comic books and graphic novels. The visualization allows comparisons of whole franchises as well as individual titles.

Due to the hierarchical nature of treemaps, the visualization also allows easy examination of how these works' popularity relates to all the other items in the library. The treemap spans six orders of magnitude, from approximately 1 million total checkouts in a month, to a single checkout of an individual item.

To limit the number of items shown, the visualization only includes the checkout data for superhero comics that had movies released between January 2005 and December 2010; the data for the related superhero teams is also included. The checkout data for the first four months of 2005 and for December of 2010 is incomplete.

Data source: The Seattle Public Library


For the individual titles, the colors indicate the trends in the titles' popularity. Brighter colors represent titles that were checked out more times than the previous month, dark colors are assigned to titles whose popularity has stayed the same or gone down.

The sidebar on the right shows the currently selected month and category (as a hierarchical list). At the bottom right is a square that shows the scale of the treemap, the number inside the square is the number of checkouts that an area the size of the square represents. Below the square is the total number of checkouts currently shown on the screen.

The arrow keys can be used to select the month for which data is shown. The left/right keys go back/forward by one month, the down/up keys go back/forward by one year.

Holding the cursor over a rectangle shows a floating label with the name and number of checkouts for the category the rectangle represents. When the cursor is over a region with subcategories, the border for the region will turn white. Left-clicking on such a region will drill down into that category, right clicking anywhere on the screen goes back up the hierarchy.


applet | source