Ever since DC Comics promised to include more female creators and characters in their comics, we’ve been holding them to it and checking the solicits every month to see how they’re doing. Now, with Marvel in the midst of their Marvel Now! not-a-relaunch, I thought it would be fun to start a monthly check-in with Marvel too. They’re not beholden to any promises like DC is, but it’s nice to have a snapshot of where each company is at and what’s coming up, and it lets me be more specific about who’s doing what and where than we get in our full women in comics stats each month.
We’ve never gone through Marvel’s solicits before, so this first month will set the benchmark for what we can expect. Let’s take a look:
- For writing duties, Kelly Sue DeConnick is on Captain Marvel #8 and Avengers Assemble #10, Kathryn Immonen is penning Journey Into Mystery #647, and Marjorie Liu is on Astonishing X-Men #57.
- In terms of art on the mainline Marvel superhero books, this month it’s only the fantastic Stephanie Hans doing a cover for X-Treme X-Men #7.1.
- In the kid’s line, Louise Simonson and Jen van Meter are writing Marvel Universe Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Avengers #9.
- Also in the kid’s line, Monsters Inc. #1 features Italian artists Elisabetta Melaranci, Anna Merli, Sonia Matrone, Mara Damiani, and Elena M. Naggi.
- On the female character front, several new team books have female members. Elektra is in Thunderbolts #1; Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Spider-Woman are part of the team in Avengers #1; Domino is in Cable and X-Force #1; and so many female characters are in Avengers Arena #1 that I can’t even name them all… there are seven ladies on Dave Johnson’s cover to the first issue.
Altogether, in December Marvel has solicited 11 female creators on 7 books. These are better numbers than we’re used to seeing with our regular DC check-in, but at the same time we should note how these numbers break down. Only 3 of these women have regular gigs: DeConnick, Immonen, and Liu. Hans is usually doing covers somewhere at Marvel, but she’s only solicited on the special Point One issue for X-Treme X-Men, and isn’t on the next issue (it double ships). The Avengers kid’s book tends to cycle through creators, so we don’t know how long Simonson and Van Meter will be around. They’re new to the book this month, and we’ll have to see if they’re back in January. Finally, 5 of the 11 women are on the art team for the two issue Monsters Inc. comic. They’ll probably be back next month, but then they’re done.
Now, this is neither good nor bad. More regular gigs would be better, I suppose, but we’ve never looked at Marvel’s solicits before. If several of these short-term gigs disappear next month but are replaced by ladies in new short or long-term gigs, that wouldn’t be so bad. Regularly featuring different female creators in different books could be cool. We’ll see how it all shakes out in the next few months, but for now we’ve got a good baseline for what to expect from Marvel.
As for female characters, there seem to be a lot of them. Just skimming the rest of the solicits and the established books I didn’t mention (because we focus on new stuff here), there were a surprising number of female characters. And all of the new Marvel Now! books in December have one, if not several, ladies. This is really nice to see.
Overall, since this is our first go at Marvel I don’t have any grandiose conclusions. We’ve got a sense of how Marvel rolls, and it looks pretty decent for real and fictional women, but we’ve got nothing to compare it to yet. Except DC, and that’s not a great bar. Next month, we’ll have an even better sense of things, but I’m cautiously optimistic. It feels like a reasonable start, and hopefully we’ll see some growth as the months pass!!
Tags: Anna Merli, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Domino, Elektra, Elena M. Naggi, Elisabetta Melaranci, Jen Van Meter, Kathryn Immonen, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Louise Simonson, Mara Damiani, Marjorie Liu, Sonia Matrone, Spider-Woman, Stephanie Hans, Women at Marvel Comics, Women In Comics