After posting the highest number of female creators we’ve ever seen from either DC or Marvel last month, Marvel failed to match their record this month. In fact, they weren’t even close. Now, this isn’t a huge surprise; the story of these stats is always two steps forward, one step back. A high is rarely followed immediately by another high. Instead, new highs tend to be followed by a slightly lower plateau and an even further drop back before the numbers surge again. Marvel’s skipped the plateau this time around, though, and have dropped to their lowest number of female creators in over a year. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in April 2017:
- Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #18 (co-writer, cover)
- Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #11 (writer)
- Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #17 (interior art, cover)
- Elizabeth Torque: Elektra #3 (cover), Spider-Man #15 (variant cover), The Mighty Captain Marvel #4 (cover)
- Elsa Charretier: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (interior art, cover)
- Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #19 (interior art, cover)
- G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #17 (writer)
- Gabby Rivera: America #2 (writer)
- Helen Chen: Silk #19 (cover)
- Jody Houser: Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 (writer)
- Kamome Shirahama: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #6 (cover)
- Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #17 (writer)
- Kate Niemczyk: Man-Thing #3 (interior art)
- Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #5 (writer)
- Margaret Stohl: The Mighty Captain Marvel #4 (writer)
- Marguerite Sauvage: America #2 (variant cover)
- Mariko Tamaki: Hulk #5 (writer)
- Myisha Haynes: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #14 (interior art)
- Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #18 (interior art)
- Nicole Perlman: Gamora #5 (writer)
- Paulina Ganucheau: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #14 (cover)
- Sara Pichelli: Spider-Man #15 (interior art)
- Tana Ford: Silk #19 (interior art)
- Yona Harvey: Black Panther: The Crew #1 (co-writer)
All together, there are 24 different female creators set to work on 19 different books in April, 13 fewer women than in March and 14 fewer books. That’s quite a decline. Last month was clearly abnormal; there were loads of variant covers with female artists that helped Marvel break their record total. But Marvel’s had at least 30 female creators for several months now, going back to the fall. Landing in the 20s is uncharacteristically low for them.
Having women on fewer variant covers is one of the big reasons for Marvel’s drop this month. It also looks like a few creators with regular gigs are on a skip month, with someone else filling in, or the creative teams have been changed and women are no longer working on those books. It’s an odd month all around. For example, there’s only one woman working on more than one comic this month, Elizabeth Torque on a variety of covers. In March, there were six women with multiple gigs. Everything’s contracted across the board in April.
In terms of new books with female leads, there are a handful of team books with women in prominent roles. Manifold, Misty Knight, and Storm co-star in Black Panther: The Crew, Marvel Girl is a part of X-Men Blue, and Kitty Pryde, Prestige, and Storm are part of X-Men Gold.
Overall, April doesn’t look to be a great month for women at Marvel relative to their past year or so. What’s unclear is if this marks a shift for the publisher or an aberration. Aberration seems more likely; Marvel’s established a solid track record with female creators as of late, and I’m expecting to see at least a few missing creators back next month. Time will tell, as always, but I’d expect stronger numbers in May. For now, though, April is a rather underwhelming follow up to March’s stellar numbers.