I had some big issues with last summer’s Image Expo. The show began with a self-congratulatory speech about how Image was different from other publishers that also decried the comic book industry’s “boys club.” Then Image showed a promotional video featuring their many creators, only one of which was a woman, and followed that up by introducing a series of new books with just a handful of female creators. There were some mixed messages, to be sure.
Yesterday’s Image Expo made a slew of new announcements, but how did they do in terms of representation for women? Let’s take a look at all of the books they announced, as best I could tell; there were a lot of them:
- Savior by Brian Holgun, Todd McFarlane, and Clayton Crain
- Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire
- No Mercy by Alex De Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, and Jenn Manley Lee
- Island: Comics Magazine for Comics by Brandon Graham, Emma Rios, Simon Roy, Michael DeForge, Farel Dalrymple, and E.K. Weaver
- RUNLOVEKILL by Eric Canete, Jonathan Tsuei, and Leonardo Olea
- Starve by Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, and Dave Stewart
- Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
- A.D.: After Death by Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire
- Sons of the Devil by Brian Buccellato, Toni Infante
- Black Road by Brian Wood, Gary Brown, and Lauren Affe
- 8House by Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland, and Emma Rios
- Pretty Deadly Volume 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
- Tadaima by Emi Lenox
- Plutona by Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, and Jordie Bellaire
- Ludocrats by Keiron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, David Lafuente, and Ricardo Venancio
- The Wicked + The Divine Volume 3 by Keiron Gillen and Tula Lotay, Kate Brown, and Stephanie Hans
- Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl by Keiron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson
- Kaptara by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod
- Revengeance by Darwyn Cooke
- I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
- Heaven by James Robinson and Philip Tan
- Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, and Matt Wilson
- Spawn Resurrection by Paul Jenkins and Jonboy Meyers
- We Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce
Last summer, Image’s announcements featured 7 different female creators who accounted for 25.9% of the creators involved. Yesterday’s Image Expo doubled the number of female creators with 14 different women, but because Image announced so many more books this time around, the percentage works out to only 26.4%, a fairly paltry increase. So there are twice as many women, but also twice as many books. While women accounting for a quarter of the creators isn’t terrible, especially compared to most other direct market comic publishers, more growth would have been nice.
In terms of representation per book, 10 of the 24 titles feature at least one female creator. That’s also exactly on par with last summer’s Image Expo, where there was at least one female creator on 5 of the 12 featured titles.
So, things are about the same! And in the world of direct market comics, any time something doesn’t get worse is almost as good as growth, really. Given the industry’s male-centrism, women accounting for 26% of all creators is much better than where we were just a couple years ago, though there’s still room for improvement. However, in the definite plus column, there are a lot of fantastic books set for 2015! Marjorie Liu is launching her first Image book, with the awesome Sana Takeda on art, and it sounds great; it’s set in the 1920s, it’s got monsters, I’m in. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios are back for more Pretty Deadly, while two of my favourite creators ever, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, are making a new book starring young paper delivery ladies. Emi Lenox has two new titles as well, and lord knows what Chip Zdarsky is up to with Kaptara but I’m sure it will be hilarious. So while the numbers could be better, at least they’re not worse and we’ve got lots of fun comics to look forward to.