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.