We’re two months into 2018 with Marvel’s comic book solicits, and it doesn’t look like the New Year is going to be great for female and non-binary creator representation at the publisher. While the numbers ticked up in February after a relatively terrible January, they didn’t tick up much; the new totals are definitely terrible adjacent, at least. Marvel’s female and non-binary creator numbers remain at roughly half of their recent highs, with few signs of any substantive improvement on the horizon. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this February:
- Anna Rud: Black Panther #170 (variant cover)
- Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (cover)
- Bilquis Evely: Captain America #698 (variant cover)
- Christina Strain: Generation X #87 (writer)
- Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #29 (interior art, cover)
- G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #27 (writer)
- Gabby Rivera: America #12 (writer)
- Gurihiru: Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #25 (interior art, cover)
- Jen Bartel: Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #25 (variant cover)
- Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #16 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #1 (writer)
- Kamome Shirahama: Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #25 (variant cover)
- Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #15 (writer), Rogue & Gambit #2 (writer)
- Margaret Stohl: Captain Marvel #129 (writer)
- Mariko Tamaki: She-Hulk #162 (writer)
- Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #28 (interior art, cover)
- Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #6 (writer)
- Stacey Lee: America #12 (interior art)
- Stephanie Hans: X-Men: Blue #21 (variant cover)
- Yasmine Putri: Tales of Suspense #102 (cover)
All together, there are 20 different female creators set to work on 18 different books at Marvel in February, 2 more creators than last month but the same number of books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators scheduled at Marvel this month. A gain of 2 creators is better than nothing, of course, but January marked one of Marvel’s lowest months in recent memory, so a small gain from there still leaves the publisher quite low. Moreover, in 4 of the past 5 months they’ve failed to post more than 20 female creators. Marvel is in a rut right now, one they don’t seem particularly keen to get out of.
In terms of new names, there aren’t many. I’m pretty sure that February marks Anna Rud’s first Marvel gig, which is very cool, and I can’t recall if we’ve seen Bilquis Evely at Marvel yet; she’s usually doing stuff at DC. Both are doing variant covers, which brings up a larger point about the sustainability of the numbers. A quarter of the creators listed above are doing variant covers, and while they’re an excellent way to get a foot in the door at a publisher and showcase their talents, they are also onetime gigs. That means a quarter of the women listed above are unlikely to be back next month unless they land a new cover or interior art gig. There are maybe 12 or 13 people up there that I am confident will be back next month for sure. Everyone else is a maybe. Marvel needs more female and non-binary creators, and they need to get them on some long term jobs.
It’s a pretty quiet month for new books at Marvel, but we do have the debut of X-Men: Red, a new team book that’s set to feature a newly returned Jean Grey (in a really ugly costume, I have to say) and Wolverine (the Laura Kinney version, i.e. the far superior Wolverine). As always, the X-Men team books are pretty solid at having a few women in the mix, at least fictional ones. Everyone writing, drawing, or doing covers on X-Men: Red is a dude.
Overall, February looks like it’s going to be another poor month for female and non-binary creator representation at Marvel. This is just the norm at Marvel now, I guess. Maybe having a new editor-in-chief will change things, though given all the news about C.B. Cebulski lately we might just get male creators using female pseudonyms! I kid, but also, the publisher is a dang mess right now. They need to right the ship, and bringing in more women and non-binary creators would be a smart first step.