Superhero Metrics, Part II: A New Approach
Permit me, then, to introduce to you the Wikipedia Inter-language Metric of Cultural Significance (WIMCS)*.
The premise behind the WIMCS is simple: If a person, place, thing, etc., is highly culturally significant, it will not only appear in the English Language Wikipedia (which is the largest Wikipedia, by far), it will also appear in the Wikipedias of many other languages.
So, in order to calculate the WIMCS for a given entity, go to its Wikipedia page, open the “Languages” menu on the left side of the page, and simply count the number of languages listed.
Here’s some WIMCS data from the previously mentioned topic of conversation:
61 – Batman
57 – Spider-Man, Superman
37 – Wolverine
36 – X-Men
31 - The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Iron Man
28 - Captain America
25 – The Joker
24 – Lex Luthor
23 - Flash, Wonder Woman
22 – Green Lantern
19 - Aquaman
18 - Jean Grey, Robin, Thor
17 – Hellboy, Professor X
9 - Hawkman
This data confirms that Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are the top three superheroes (as expected), and suggests that Wolverine comes in at number four (at least, of the superheroes I’ve thought to check), which seems plausible.
In part III, I'll examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.
*I’m not married to this name or to the acronym representing it. Other, catchier suggestions are highly welcome.