March looks like it’s going to be a great month for women at Marvel, largely due to their special “Women of Marvel” variant cover line-up. Their numbers are much higher overall with the addition of these many great artists, though Marvel’s numbers for women INSIDE the books remain fairly low. It’s nice to see female artists showcased like this, but at the same time it’s both in quite a limited role and very fleeting. Something is worlds better than nothing, though! Let’s take a look at who’s doing what in Marvel’s March 2015 solicits:
- Afua Richardson: All-New Hawkeye #1 (variant cover)
- Ariela Kristantina: Wolverines #11 (art)
- Colleen Doran: S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 (variant cover)
- Erica Henderson: Guardians of the Galaxy #25 (variant cover), The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 (art, cover)
- Faith Erin Hicks: All-New X-Men #39 (variant cover)
- G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #13 (writer), X-Men #25 (writer)
- Janet Lee: Rocket Raccoon #9 (variant cover)
- Jill Thompson: Inhuman #13 (variant cover), The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 (variant cover)
- Jordie Bellaire: Moon Knight #13 (cover colours)
- Kathryn Immonen: Operation S.I.N. #3 (writer)
- Kelly Sue DeConnick: Captain Marvel #13 (writer)
- Marguerite Bennett: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #4 (co-writer)
- Ming Doyle: Amazing Spider-Man #16 (variant cover)
- Nicole Virella: Return of the Living Deadpool #2 (art)
- Robin Furth: Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – House of Cards #1 (co-writer)
- Sara Pichelli: Howard the Duck #1 (variant cover), Ms. Marvel #13 (variant cover), Spider-Gwen #2 (variant cover)
- Siya Oum: Spider-Woman #5 (variant cover)
- Stacey Lee: Silk #2 (art), Spider-Man and the X-Men #4 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #33 (variant cover)
- Stephanie Hans: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #4 (cover, art), Storm #9 (cover), Thor #6 (variant cover)
- Vanesa Del Rey: Black Widow #16 (variant cover)
All together, there are 20 different women scheduled to work on 26 different books in March, a significant gain from February’s 11 and 12 respectively. This is great to see, but also very temporary. All of the credits above account for 29 different gigs, and 15 of those are variant covers. That means that more than half of the credits above probably won’t be back next month once the “Women of Marvel” variant line is over. While it’s nice to see so many women doing fantastic covers, including creators like Faith Erin Hicks, Jill Thompson, Colleen Doran, and others we don’t usually see at Marvel, the increase in numbers is momentary growth and not at all sustainable.
Furthermore, it’s disappointing that in a month where Marvel is making a strong effort to include more female creators, their numbers are still lower than DC’s March solicits, which was a very run of the mill, low month for DC. There are still a few more variant cover artists to be announced, so Marvel’s final numbers should be a bit higher, but here’s the grim reality: Right now, Marvel employs so few female creators on a regular basis that even during a month where they bring in tons of additional female artists to celebrate the women of Marvel they still can’t top a humdrum month from their closest competitor. You can use one hand to count the number of women writing Marvel comics right now, and then use the other hand to count the number of female interior artists, and you won’t use up all of your fingers.
There are some new additions, though. Robin Furth is back co-writing another Dark Tower mini-series, while Ariela Kristantina is doing interior art for Wolverines #11. Kristantina has been popping up here and there at Marvel lately, and hopefully they’ll soon sign her up for a regular gig. It’s also a good month for female characters. Princess Leia is launching her own series as part of Marvel’s expanding Star Wars line, and Kate Bishop is back in All New Hawkeye #1.
Overall, March looks pretty good for female creators at Marvel, but it’s not the sort of month that Marvel needs. The publisher is severely lacking strong female representation inside their comics, and the growth there has been fairly stagnant as of late. It’s wonderful to have a month celebrating the “Women of Marvel,” and I’m sure all of the variant covers will be fantastic, but it all rings a little hollow when there are so few women actually making the comics inside the covers.