And we’re back! The pandemic shut down comics for a while, and things are still a little wonky with DC moving on from Diamond, but the good news is that new comics books are coming out again. We last had solicits for the June books, but that went entirely out the window. Now, with things more or less back on track, we’ve got new solicits for August. Publishers aren’t back to full capacity yet, though, and a good chunk of the listings are books we’ve seen in previous, cancelled solicits. It’s a weird situation. But hey, everyone’s doing their best. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this August:
- Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey #3 (co-writer, interior art, cover)
- Amy Reeder: Amethyst #5 (writer, interior art, cover)
- Becky Cloonan: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 (co-writer, interior art)
- Bilquis Evely: Legion of Super-Heroes #8 (interior art)
- Blake Northcott: Catwoman #24 (co-writer)
- Cecil Castellucci: Batgirl #48 (writer)
- Emanuela Lupacchino: Harley Quinn #75 (interior art)
- G. Willow Wilson: The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 (writer)
- Jenny Frison: Batman/Superman #11 (variant cover)
- Joelle Jones: Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1 (interior art), Legion of Super-Heroes #8 (interior art)
- Mariko Tamaki: Wonder Woman #760 (writer), Wonder Woman #761 (writer)
- Mirka Andolfo: Young Justice #17 (varaint cover)
- Ngozi Ukazu: Harley Quinn #75 (interior art)
- Nicola Scott: Harley Quinn #75 (interior art)
- Rachel Dodson: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 (variant cover)
- Vita Ayala: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 (co-writer)
- Yasmine Putri: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 (cover)
All together, there are 17 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 13 different books at DC in August, four fewer creators and six fewer books than our last round of solicits in June. This seems like a sizeable drop, but we need to keep in mind that this is not our usual slate of titles. Things are still ramping up, so we’re dealing with fewer books here, 49 in August relative to 60 in June.
Thus do we turn to percentages. With female and non-binary creators on 13 of these 49 books, we have representation across 27% of the line. That’s a five point drop from June’s 32%, and well off the year’s high of 40% set in February. So yeah, it’s not great. A pandemic is no reason to employ fewer women and non-binary creators. I understand decreasing the line, but you’d expect the percentages to shift in kind. Instead, we’ve got a bit of a drop.
In terms of new names, we’ve got Ngozi Ukazu drawing some pages in Harley Quinn #75, the series’ finale issue. As best I can tell, she’s not worked at DC before, so that’s a fun addition. We’ve also got the return of G. Willow Wilson, whose The Dreaming: Waking Hours will launch in August now. Incidentally, Mariko Tamaki’s Wonder Woman is set to start in July, it looks like, with that run continuing in August.
For new titles, we’ve got a lots of Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-ins with that event finally rolling again. There’s not much for female characters, though. And with Harley Quinn ending, female character representation is facing a bit of a deficit soon. There’s a special all-star issue of Legion of Super-Heroes which should feature some of the team’s female members, but it’s mostly dudes on the creative level. Female creator representation in the solicit is 2 of 22, and a recent update has that number at 7 of 45 now, which is better but still not particularly good.
Overall, this is an underwhelming start to this new post-pandemic, Diamond-free era of DC Comics. With some titles switching to digital only as well, I’m worried that the books that see print will be from established male creators, and that the books featuring more female and non-binary creators will be relegated to online. Like Supergirl, for example, which is only available digitally now, removing Jody Houser and Rachael Stott from the solicits. Still, it’s early days on a truly unique and bizarre situation. We’ll keep a close eye on the numbers as publishing ramps back up and see where we’re at when DC reaches full strength again.