An article where I get mentioned by name is totally on the main page of Newsarama, you guys!! That’s super fun!! Unfortunately, the article is called “The DCnU’s Female Troubles: Was Lack of Creators Overblown?” and the part where I get mentioned takes issue with my stats, so that’s less fun.
Now, I read Vaneta Rogers’ stuff all the time and I really like her work… though this latest article was not my favourite. I’m not trying to start some sort of Kanye/50 Cent feud here or anything (though I call dibs on being Kanye!!)… this is just a polite rebuttal.
First, Rogers mentions that the 12% to 1% ratio of female creators before and after the relaunch has been making the rounds lately, most notably at ComicCon, and suggests that this is not an accurate comparison. I completely agree, and was amusingly working on a piece about the same thing. The amount of female creators has definitely fallen, but the two numbers are apples and oranges. The 12% includes colourists, letterers, and editors, and is based on the credits listed in the comics, while the 1% is based just on solicits (cover artists, writers, and interior artists).
However, Rogers’ article doesn’t mention that the September stats article points out that these are different numbers. I wrote:
Now, this is just based on the solicitations, so it’s only cover artists, writers, and artists… there may be copious amounts of ladies colouring and lettering and editing these books that we just don’t know about yet.
I’m sure the overall numbers in September will be a lot higher with all of the other categories factored in.
I think it was pretty clear that these numbers weren’t comparable.
Rogers also mentions that the 12% is for ALL of DC’s books (including Vertigo and the kids books and such) and that the 1% was just for the 52 titles. Again, I completely agree… these are not stats that should be compared. The monthly stats at Bleeding Cool (and the weekly ones here) have clear parameters set out in the methodology I link to in every single post, and the relaunch numbers were a special edition based on different criteria, as was specified in the pieces. The numbers themselves are right, just misused. So far, Rogers and I are on the same page… she just didn’t say that I had already mentioned in the article itself that these were different numbers.
Next, Rogers decided to do her own pre- and post-relaunch comparison, which is fun!! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that. She looked at DC’s top 52 books in March compared to the DCnU 52, and found that the number of female creators dropped from 4 to 2. I have some issues with how she got the numbers, but that’s beside the point. She found a clear drop… the DCnU had HALF the number of female creators it had before.
I’ve been working on a similar before and after comparison to address the 12% to 1% inaccuracy (based on just cover artists, writers, and interior artists), and here is my information. I looked at June 2011 and counted up only the books that were regular DC series, which totaled 34 comic books. So no minis, no Vertigo… nothing but regular monthly series, just like the new 52 are going to be. I got the following information:
6 female credits with 5 different creators (Gail Simone [she wrote 2 books], Kelly Sue Deconnick, Adriana Melo, Fiona Staples, and Nicola Scott)
So we’re pretty close here, 4 to 2 and 5 to 2. But Rogers used 52 books while I used 34, so I could adjust my number to make it a fair comparison. With a little math (5 is to 34 as X is to 52, solve for X) I get 7.6 female creators for the regular pre-DCnU series as compared to the DCnU. 7.6 to 2 is a steeper drop, but either way we can all agree that the DCnU is a step down for female creators.
Rogers, however, argues that this step down is not really a big deal since several female creators have upcoming projects at DC. Creators like Nicola Scott, Amanda Conner, and Amy Reeder all apparently have books coming at some point in the future. This is great, of course. But while discussing the decline in numbers and percentage, Rogers writes:
But it’s all kind of moot when the women who “left” to affect that decrease didn’t actually leave. The percentage comparison from one month at DC to another month implies there were women let go from DC’s roster of creative women for the relaunch. When you examine the facts, that’s just not true.
They weren’t fired, that’s true… they still work for DC. But I disagree that the fact they will have work at some point in the future makes the decline in September unimportant. The relaunch is branded as “The New 52”, not “The New 52 (plus some minis and maybe a few new series down the road).” There will be scads of ads and TV commercials and press touting these new 52 books as THE books for DC. DC is making a HUGE move, in an eggs in one basket kind of way, and their 52 new titles, with their creators, are what they wanted to put in front of the whole world to sell it. They are saying “THIS is DC”, and female creators are a miniscule part of it, especially compared to the months before. More books with female creators may come later, but at the time when DC is the most visible, women are almost nowhere to be seen.
Rogers also refers to DC’s recent blog post promising more female creators and characters, writing:
What’s interesting is that DC has turned the whole thing into a PR win.
I wouldn’t call that a PR win, though. After the reaction to the relaunch, especially after ComicCon, this is a PR reprieve at best. If DC follows through and we see more ladies, fictional and real, in the months to come, then DC will legitimately deserve credit for their response. If they don’t follow through, then everyone who reacted strongly to the lack of women will do so again. And we’ll all be watching, VERY closely.
So no, I don’t think the lack of female creators was overblown. Someone at ComicCon compared some numbers that had different criteria, and it got spread around the internet a lot, but however you slice it there are fewer female creators in the relaunch. Possible books down the road don’t change the fact that when DC unveiled their bold new direction for their company, they did so with a significant lack of women.
Thus ends the respectful disagreeing and polite rebutting. I know an outraged reply probably would have been more fun to read, but I like Vaneta Rogers a lot. Maybe soon someone less cool will write something about me I don’t agree with, and I can start a feud then!!