Marvel closed out 2018 with solid gains in terms of female and non-binary creator representation, bouncing back well after some terribly low numbers last winter to plateau at a relatively decent level. The numbers aren’t great by any means, but they’re now consistently not bad, and that’s what counts for progress when it comes to representation in superhero comic books. Now we’ve got numbers from the new year, and this consistency is set to continue. Marvel is rolling into 2019 at about the same level they ended 2018, which is nice to see. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this January:
- Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #1 (cover)
- Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
- Ann Nocenti: Marvel Comics Presents #1 (co-writer)
- Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #28 (cover), X-23 #8 (cover)
- Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #1 (interior art)
- Emanuela Lupacchino: Conan the Barbarian #2 (variant cover), X-Force #2 (variant cover)
- Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #40 (cover)
- Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
- Gail Simone: Domino #10 (writer)
- Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (interior art)
- Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Fantastic Four #1 (cover), Marvel Tales: Venom #1 (cover)
- Jen Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
- Jody Houser: Star Wars: Age of Republic – Jango Fett #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic Special #1 (co-writer)
- Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #1 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #8 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #9 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #10 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #7 (writer)
- Kirbi Fagan: Conan the Barbarian #1 (variant cover)
- Lauren Tsai: Captain Marvel #1 (variant cover)
- Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #8 (writer)
- Mirka Andolfo: Black Widow #1 (variant cover)
- Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #39 (interior art, cover)
- Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #4 (writer)
- Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (cover)
- Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #17 (writer)
- Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (interior art)
- Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (writer)
- Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (cover)
- Stephanie Hans: Asgardians of the Galaxy #5 (interior art)
- Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
- Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #4 (cover), Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation #4 (variant cover)
All together, there are 29 different female creators set to work on 29 different comic books at Marvel in January, the same number of creators as in December though spread across 6 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So the number of female creators remains steady for the third straight month, which is good. Even though Marvel’s still below their past highs, 29 isn’t a terrible number. The drop in books is steep, though. Some event tie-ins have wrapped, which explains part of the decline, and while Marvel usually has a bevy of different one-shots each month, December’s had more female creators in the mix than January’s offerings do. Still, decent numbers all around.
We’ve got some new names in the mix as well. Laruen Tsai is doing a variant cover for the new Captain Marvel, and I don’t think we’ve seen her at Marvel before. We’ve also got the Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia, writing a new Black Widow series. We’ve seen them before briefly, in one of those aforementioned one-shots, and now they’ve jumped to an ongoing book. That’s the benefit of including female and non-binary creators in these one-shots: It’s a great way to find talent that you can promote to a bigger role.
Marvel’s one-shots this month just aren’t doing that. They’ve got a series of specials lined up to celebrate the publisher’s 80th anniversary, and it’s a dude-centric affair. The vast majority of the books star male characters, and the vast majority of the creators involved are men. Ann Nocenti’s got a story in the special Marvel Comics Presents, and that’s about it. It’s not a great look.
We’ve got a couple big new books with female leads, though. Captain Marvel is relaunching yet again, with Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero on board. I’m very excited for this one; Kelly’s been killing it on so many books lately, and Carmen Carnero is always good. We’ve got a new Black Widow series too, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Soska Sisters bring to it. Elsewhere, there are a few teams books with some ladies in the mix as well, including relaunches of Guardians of the Galaxy and Champions.
Overall, it looks like Marvel is starting the year on a good foot. Their numbers are consistent, some of their biggest female characters are launching new titles, and their embarrassingly poor start to 2018 is becoming a distant memory. As much as there’s lots of room to grow, as always, steady representation at Marvel is rare. Hopefully it continues as the year goes on, and even grows.