With their last round of solicits, Marvel Comics closed out the year with only 19 different female creators writing and drawing their substantial line of comic books. And I wrote a column about it, in which I used words like “poor” and “ridiculous” and generally lambasted Marvel’s lack of effort in recruiting and maintaining female and non-binary talent. Rightly so, too. The number was just over half of Marvel’s record high of 37, posted less than a year ago. Now, with a new batch of solicits, Marvel’s dropped down to less than half of that record high. So let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel Comics this January. It won’t take long; it’s a short list:
- Alitha E. Martinez: X-Men Gold Annual #1 (interior art)
- Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #16 (cover)
- Christina Strain: Generation X #86 (writer)
- Elizabeth Torque: All-New Wolverine #29 (cover), Jean Grey #11 (variant cover)
- Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #28 (interior art, cover)
- G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #26 (writer)
- Gabby Rivera: America #11 (writer)
- Gurihiru: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #24 (interior art, cover)
- Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #15 (writer)
- Kamome Shirahama: Doctor Strange #384 (variant cover)
- Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #14 (writer), Rogue & Gambit #1 (writer)
- Leah Williams: X-Men Gold Annual #1 (co-writer)
- Margaret Stohl: Captain Marvel #128 (writer)
- Mariko Tamaki: She-Hulk #161 (writer)
- Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #27 (interior art, cover)
- Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #5 (writer)
- Stephanie Hans: Phoenix Resurrection #3 (variant cover)
All together, there are 18 different female creators set to work on 18 different comic books at Marvel this January, 1 fewer creator than in December though 3 more books. As far as I can tell, no non-binary creators are scheduled to work at Marvel this January. A drop of 1 creator isn’t massive, but given how embarrassingly low Marvel’s numbers were last month, slipping down even further is not a good look. Maybe all this talk about “Legacy” with the publisher’s recent spate of renumbering and relaunches was about going back to the days when only men wrote and drew Marvel’s comic books? Is that the legacy they’re aiming to celebrate here? If so, they’re doing a heck of a job.
In terms of new female creators, we don’t have any. Shocking, I know. Everyone listed above is someone we’ve seen at Marvel before. We do have a couple of old pals we haven’t seen in a while though, with artist Alitha E. Martinez and writer Leah Williams. It’s nice to have past creators return. The only trouble is that they’re both back on an annual, i.e. a one-shot book, and that means that it’s unlikely we’ll see them again in February.
With female characters, we’ve got one new book I’m sure a lot of folks will be excited for: That classic pairing of Rogue & Gambit. Nice job putting Rogue first there, and it’s good to see her in the spotlight again, doubly so with the always excellent Kelly Thompson helming the book. Her Hawkeye has been a dang delight, and I’m expecting more of the same here. Also, Phoenix Resurrection is coming out weekly all through January, so get on that, Jean Grey fans. There’s only one female creator involved across all of these issues, though, with Stephanie Hans doing a variant cover, which is a downer given a) there’s so many issues, and b) there’s a female lead. Fun fact: Avengers is coming out weekly in January as well and there’s not a single female creator solicited on ANY of the issues.
Overall, Marvel still sucks at hiring women and non-binary creators. Like, a lot. Like, the editors should feel bad about themselves for doing such a terrible job at representation. Here’s some interesting news, though: Brian Michael Bendis, Marvel’s most prolific writer over the past two decades, is leaving for DC Comics, and that leaves a huge opportunity for Marvel to bring in some new voices and mix things up with their creator ranks, perhaps with some female and non-binary folks? We’ll see what happens. If their current output is any indication, don’t hold your breath. But you never know.