Women At DC Comics Watch – One Year Later!!

While writing up my “Women At DC Comics Watch” for the November solicits, the month seemed awfully familiar, as did the time of year.  Turns out, we’ve been doing this for a year!!  I started when the first solicits came out after the Comic Con brouhaha and DC promising more female creators and characters.  They were for November 2011, so here we are a year later with another Comic Con behind us and with a year’s worth of data.

The female character scene is hard to quantify, but it’s not been particularly huge.  We’ve gotten Worlds’ Finest, with Sword of Sorcery coming, and a few women on team books here and there, but Dove was gone with the cancellation of Hawk and Dove, while Voodoo isn’t long for the world.  Not a lot has changed, really, which is disappointing.

Some fan favourite female characters are still missing (Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, Donna Troy, Renee Montoya) while others haven’t had the best year (super sexy Catwoman, Lois Lane doing nothing, everything associated with Starfire) and others have a book that’s generally great but for one HUGE misstep (raping and murdering Amazons).

Not much has happened at Vertigo either, though we do have Fairest now, and it’s a pretty fun book.  Lady Gaga Ice Queen is kind of classy.  Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child bombed hard, though.  At least they tried.

With female creators, we’ve got some numbers, so I’ve taken the totals from the solicits each month and compiled them into a handy chart.  The red lines are the number of different female creators, while purple is for the number of books these women are on.  Let’s take a look:

October is going to be pretty awesome, but we’ve seen only slight improvements overall.  We started out with 4 female creators on 6 books in November 2011, and apart from October we maxed out at 8 female creators on 7 books in June 2012. Now, 8 creators is twice as many as 4, but we then fell to 5 in July.  And stepping up from 6 to 7 books isn’t particularly big.

While there have been decent months along the way, the gains just don’t last.  Case in point, October is HUGE and then half of the female creators and books are gone in November.  What would have been nice to see is a steady increase in both categories leading up to big October numbers, not this up and down all the time and then a randomly great month out of the blue.  Things are better than they were for female creators at DC, but they started out AWFUL.  Now it’s a little bit less awful.  That’s better, but it’s not good.

Overall, the changes have been minimal.  After DC’s big promise, no one expected over night change.  I think we all recognize that comics don’t happen instantaneously, and that this would be a long term effort.  However, one year later things are a smidge better, but only a smidge.  Yeah, we’ve gone from 4 female creators in November 2011 to 7 in November 2012, but there are over 200 dudes listed in the solicits every month.

The female slice of the pie is SO very small, and growing so very slowly.  With the massive October numbers, DC’s shown that they CAN do better.  A lot better, even.  But they don’t.  They seem capable, just not particularly willing.  It’s rather irksome, and I’m worried that they’ve missed a big opportunity to do something different.  If it hasn’t changed much yet, why should we expect more change any time soon?


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