What Bobbie Chase’s Promotion Means For Women In Comics Stats OR Reasons To Be Optimistic

DC’s just announced that DC editor Bobbie Chase has been promoted to Executive Editor, replacing Eddie Berganza who is moving elsewhere in the editing house apparently… DC’s being sort of vague about Berganza.  A female Executive Editor is a very exciting thing, of course, and it’s impressive that Chase has risen so fast since returning to comics at DC less than a year ago.  Lately, Chase has been an editor on seven DC titles, and interestingly two of them, Red Hood and the Outlaws and Voodoo, did not go over well AT ALL for their portrayal of female characters.  But on the other hand, Chase also edits Batgirl and Birds of Prey, so that evens things out some. 

Anyway, what does this mean for the numbers?  Well, there are a lot of different ways to look at this.  Chase’s promotion to Executive Editor means that her name probably won’t be on any books anymore.  It’s an overseer sort of position, not one that gets you credited as a regular editor on specific series.  It’s been months since I’ve seen Berganza editing a book, so it’s likely Chase will have a similar role.  That means we’ll lose her credits in our count.

Using the latest published set of monthly totals, January 2012, cutting Chase out directly means a big dip for women overall.  DC’s overall percentage of female creators was 10.4% in January, and if you take Chase’s 7 credits out of the equation that number falls to 9.4%.  So that’s a little bit ominous.

However, other editors are going to have to replace Chase, and there will likely be a lot of shuffling.  Particularly if Berganza’s been demoted and is editing books again.  Even if he’s not, people are probably going to have to move around.  Chances are, at least a few of these editors filling the holes will be women, so that’ll mitigate Chase’s losses some.

We also have a bit of a precedent for this scenario from when Janelle Asselin left DC in September.  Most of her assistant editing gigs went to Harvey Richards, or the entire editorial team was changed, but on the books where she was a FULL editor, Birds of Prey and Savage Hawkman, she was replaced by Chase and Rachel Gluckstern.  So Asselin’s two editorial spots being filled by two female editors bodes well for this transition too.

Hopefully overall the numbers will break about even after everything is sorted out.  It’ll be a few months before we know for sure, since all of the issues Chase had been working on will need to come out.  I doubt we’ll see a Chase-less month until June at the earliest.

Chase’s promotion might bode well for female creators across the board, though.  Chase is pretty good for hiring female creators, and not just in an anecdotal “ladies sticking together” sort of way.  I removed all of the editorial credits for all of DC’s books in January, leaving just the credits on the creative side, and added them all up to see who the editors hired.  Chase comes out looking well:

  • On average, DC Comics’ percentage of female creators, minus editorial, is 4.3%.
  • If you take out Chase’s 7 books, that number falls to 3.9%.
  • If you take out Vertigo, the kids books, and video game properties and just look at DC’s superhero titles, again minus Chase’s 7 books, it falls to 3.2%.
  • The overall percentage of female creators on Chase’s 7 books, minus editorial, is 8.1%.

So roughly, Chase hires more than double the amount of women that the average DC editor does.  Hopefully this continues, and promoting her to Executive Editor results in a jump for female creators across the board.  I will, of course, be all over it statswise in the months to come, so check back to see how it all plays out.

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