Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, June 2019 Solicits: 18 Creators on 17 Books

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DC is really committed to putting out fewer books now. When they announced that they were cutting back, I was curious to see how long it would last, but they’re sticking with it. We saw a slight uptick in the May solicits, on account of it being a month with five Wednesdays, and now with the June solicits we’re back down again. Down so low, in fact, that it might be the fewest books DC has released since we started tracking these numbers several years back. And fewer books has meant a commensurate drop in female and non-binary creators, which continues this month. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at DC this June:

  • Adriana Melo: Female Furies #5 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Supergirl #31 (variant cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #10 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Female Furies #5 (writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Young Justice #6 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Justice League #26 (variant cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #72 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: The Batman Who Laughs #6 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #72 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #73 (variant cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #12 (writer, cover)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #9 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #49 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #36 (writer)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #10 (co-writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #72 (cover)
  • Sandra Hope: The Silencer #18 (cover)
  • Stacey Lee: Wonder Twins #5 (variant cover)
  • Tiffany Turrill: Lucifer #9 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Red Hood: Outlaw #35 (variant cover)

All together, there are 18 different female creators scheduled to work on 17 different comics in June, three fewer creators than in May and one fewer book. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. Given that DC’s dropped from 62 books in May to 51 in June, falling from 21 female creators to 18 seems like a reasonable result. Growth would be preferred, of course, but the publisher is maintaining the same level here.

With the new reductions to the line, we’ve been keeping track of representation on a per book basis, in part due to the fluctuations and in part to have a more accurate comparison with Marvel’s more robust line. With women working on 17 of DC’s 51 titles this month, we’ve got female creators on 33% of the line, which is a slight step up from May’s 29% and very near their 31% level from April. If nothing else, DC is consistent.

In terms of new names at the publisher in this round of solicits, we’ve got one. Stacey Lee is doing a variant cover, and she’s been a mainstay at Marvel for a little while now. Everyone else listed above is someone we’ve seen recently at DC. I think this is an unintended consequence of reducing the line so much. With fewer books, editors are likely to stick with the creators they know and rely on established talent to make sure the limited selection sells well. This means fewer opportunities for new and emerging creators, and doubly so for new and emerging female and non-binary creators, who already have a more difficult road making it into a major superhero publisher. It’s a shame that the limited number of entry points into creating superhero comic books have been reduced even further. That’s really going to hurt the development of new talent, and make it more difficult for this list to grow.

June is a quiet month for female characters as well. The blockbuster Event Leviathan is set to launch, and I understand that Lois Lane is going to be a big part of that, which is cool. The first solicit mentions Talia al Ghul as well. Apart from that, the only other new series is the prestige format Superman Year One, which looks very terrible. Frank Miller’s never written Superman well, and John Romita Jr. was an odd fit for the Man of Steel back when he was on the regular series. Lois will probably show up in that book eventually, too, though with Miller writing it all I’d honestly rather she didn’t.

So overall we’ve got another steady if underwhelming month from DC Comics. Female and non-binary creators don’t seem to be a priority for the publisher, and they’ve certainly made no moves with their June plans to expand the ranks. It looks like they’re good with the limited (albeit excellent) assortment they have now, and while the steadiness is better than losses, it’s still rather disappointing. Perhaps the summer will bring some changes? You never know.

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3 Responses to “Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, June 2019 Solicits: 18 Creators on 17 Books”

  1. immaterial Says:

    Hi Tim — Longtime listener, first time caller. This may seem counter-intuitive, but as a print comic buyer for decades, I tend to regard DC’s shrinking the line as a positive. This business of rebooting their universe with 52 titles, maybe 7 of which are worth reading, mystified me from the start. 52 the weekly comic series; 52 parallel universes in the new multiverse; 52 titles, including Red Lanterns? Why? The number just seemed to be some kind of weird talisman for them, which is an odd way to run a business, let alone create ‘art’. And I know that went by the boards long ago, but they’re still publishing too many books at a time that print is in trouble and the books are far too expensive. I’m one of the diehards: I’ve been steadfastly buying comics since 1977, from spinner rack to comic shops, and even I’m looking forward to something breaking. My personal preference is that DC preserve and expand their print customer base by retiring the entire line all at once and rebooting one last time as a single publication: one square-bound 100 page trade paperback maybe twice a month that everyone who currently buys any DC comics would buy because it would be the only print source of new DC universe stories, plus all the new readers who would like to be in on the ground floor of a universe in one magazine. It could be stocked on newstands and in bookstore, and comic shops could handle back issues. Sort of like 2000 AD or Heavy Metal, but DC characters. The recent Marv Wolfman Superman one-shot is sort of what I have in mind, but the page count could be divided up in whatever fashion the material merited, with ongoing serials of no fixed chapter length and one-offs of the Trinity and the League in the front pages and anything goes in the remainder. I imagine the wider DC universe continuing to exist online, access to which might be granted to whoever buys the print magazine, and where up and coming creators might audition on b-list characters, the best stories of which might wind up in the back pages of the mag. One upside to this would be the inability of readers to purchase the latest Batman or Superman without also paying for Wonder Woman, and, likewise, supporting quality creators of whatever gender or orientation, whoever they happen to be, in order to get the latest Tom King, Brian Bendis or Grant Morrison stories. Time for a new model, I think.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      Yeah, I can understand cutting back the line from a business standpoint. It’s an over saturated market right now, and focusing in on a smaller number of core titles could be a smart idea, so long as they keep them good and interesting. My big concern is, as mentioned above, that limited series will mean fewer opportunities for new creators. Your trade paperback idea is an interesting one, though single issues are core to the identity of the publisher. I doubt they’ll even give that up entirely, no matter what changes the future brings. A regular anthology with major characters and top creators could be cool, though.

      • immaterial Says:

        At this point I think it’s a matter of print survival. Fewer and fewer people are collecting print comics all the time, and it’s not hard to see why: too pricey, basically invisible squirreled away in specialty shops, and modern readers are being trained to accept digital delivery despite the downside of never being able to resell their purchase to another collector. There will always be a collector’s market, but it’s only going to get smaller and more expensive unless they can consolidate the print buyers they still have left by selling them all one magazine. DC have been experimenting with Walmart only publications superficially like the thing I’m talking about, except it’s mostly reprints, and they stupidly limited it to American Walmart customers only. When I first started fantasizing about this thing I pictured maybe four rotating titles: Action, Detective and Sensation, headlining you-know-who, and Justice League, but inevitably Sensation would wind up being the ‘girl’s’ title and the macho men would opt for the others. I just like the idea of everybody buying one magazine for their own reasons and getting exposed to the characters and creators they might not otherwise ever read as a side-effect. As to shrinking opportunities for new creators, as I said, I think they could train in the magazine’s online content area and graduate to print when they’re ready. In a situation like that talent would hopefully rise — maybe more of it than can do so as things currently stand, where few people who might be interested ever have the opportunity to encounter their work.

        I’m curious: are you working on another DC book? I’m finding myself more and more interested in Paul Levitz’s rather progressive Earth-2 work and wishing someone would do a deep dive.

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