June is a huge month for DC, and the bulk of it is centered around their two superstar writers. Scott Snyder is relaunching Justice League, with Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez drawing the books, while Brian Michael Bendis is kickstarting his new Superman run with a Man of Steel mini-series featuring art from Ivan Reis, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire, Adam Hughes, and Jason Fabok. You may have noticed that these creators have something in common, namely that they’re all men. It’s a fitting dude-fest given that DC Comics’ June solicits contain their lowest number of female and non-binary creators in nearly two years. As always at DC, when big things are happening, women and non-binary creators are few and far between. Let’s take a look at who is doing what this June:
- Adriana Melo: Plastic Man #1 (interior art)
- Amanda Conner: Plastic Man #1 (variant cover)
- Aneke: Bombshells United #19 (interior art)
- Becky Cloonan: Shade, The Changing Woman #4 (cover)
- Brandee Stilwell: Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #6 (co-writer)
- Cecil Castellucci: Shade, The Changing Woman #4 (writer)
- Gail Simone: Plastic Man #1 (writer)
- Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #48 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #49 (variant cover)
- Jody Houser: Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #4 (writer)
- Magdalene Visaggio: Eternity Girl #4 (writer)
- Mairghread Scott: Green Arrow #41 (writer)
- Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #16 (writer), Bombshells United #19 (writer)
- Marguerite Sauvage: Bombshells United #19 (interior art, cover)
- Marley Zarcone: Shade, The Changing Woman #4 (interior art)
- Mirka Andolfo: Harley Quinn #43 (interior art), Harley Quinn #44 (interior art)
- Nicola Scott: Future Quest Presents #11 (variant cover), Mera, Queen of Atlantis #5 (cover)
- Rachael Stott: Motherlands #6 (inteior art)
- Sandra Hope: The Silencer #6 (cover)
- Vanesa Del Rey: The Wild Storm #14 (variant cover)
All together, there are 19 different female creators scheduled to work on 17 different books in June, 4 fewer creators than in May and 3 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators set to work at DC in June. I’ve said before that in this day and age, with so many different, amazing women and non-binary creators working in comics, that a big publisher like DC or Marvel should be able to hire 20 of them a month with ease. If a publisher can’t get out of the teens, then they’re not even trying. And now DC is in the teens. Just barely so, but still. This is an embarrassingly low total, doubly so given that it’s such an important month for the publisher, and triply so because it marks DC’s lowest total since August 2016.
Moreover, fictional men are getting all of the focus in June as well. Superman’s the star of the show for the Man of Steel mini-series, of course, while only 2 of the 9 members of the new Justice League are women. There are also 5 special issues leading up to Batman and Catwoman’s nuptials called Batman: Prelude to the Wedding, in which only 2 of the 10 named characters are women and all of the creators are men. And 4 new Hanna-Barbera crossover issues with all male characters and about 17 dudes writing and drawing them. We’ve got a new Hawkman book in June, too, again with all male creators. At least the new Plastic Man has some women in the mix behind the scenes, even if the month as a whole is sorely lacking in fictional representation.
And as bad as these numbers are, they might be about to drop further. June marks the last issue of Bombshells United, ending one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve ever read and also removing a bastion of female creators from the monthly solicits. With its double shipping, you could count on 3-5 women each month in Bombshells United, and now that’s come to an end. July might be a rough outing, barring some new books or creative changes.
As I said at the top of the piece, female and non-binary creators tend to disappear when DC does big new initiatives. In every new round of relaunches or big creative shifts, men are always at the forefront. And frankly, this isn’t going to change until these men do something about it. Creators like Scott Snyder and Brian Michael Bendis are mega-stars. They could be working with any artists they wanted to, and yet here we see them with eight different dudes. The big names at DC need to step up and fight for improved representation at the publisher, otherwise it’s just going to be the same old thing again and again. Gail Simone does it. Greg Rucka does. And others need to join in.