DC’s not exactly jumping straight into the pool this August with their limited slate of books, but they’re certainly wading in. Marvel, on the other hand, is just dipping a toe. The August solicits have them at half capacity and they’re shedding titles left and right, shifting a big chunk of their slate to online only. It’s an unusual time, for sure, and I understand the need for a cautious approach as they get going again, but the resulting numbers are pretty rough. Let’s dig into who’s doing what at Marvel this August:
- Alyssa Wong: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3 (writer)
- Karla Pacheco: Spider-Woman #3 (writer)
- Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #19 (writer), Captain Marvel #20 (writer), Deadpool #6 (writer)
- Leah Williams: Empyre: X-Men #2 (co-writer), X-Factor #2 (writer)
- Marika Cresta: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3 (interior art)
- Sara Pichelli: Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 (variant cover)
- Tini Howard: Excalibur #11 (writer)
- Valentina Remenar: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3 (cover)
- Vita Ayala: Empyre: X-Men #3 (co-writer)
And that’s it. All together, there are 9 different female and non-binary creators scheduled to work on 10 different books in August, 25 fewer creators and 19 fewer books than in June, when we last had new solicits. This is a huge drop. The publisher is operating at half capacity, but we’ve got just over a quarter of the female and non-binary creators we’re used to on only a third of the books. This is bad.
The percentages bear out the drop, too. Marvel’s down to 46 new titles in August, and with female and non-binary creators on 10 of them that gives us representation across 22% of the line. It’s a nine point decline from June’s 31%, and just a paltry amount relative to what we’re used to seeing from Marvel. Like I said in the DC article, fewer books is understandable, but the representation should be commensurate. It shouldn’t fall off a cliff like this.
Part of the problem is Marvel shifting so many titles to digital only. DC did this a bit, but Marvel’s put a lot of stuff online. Our numbers here are for the Marvel solicits, i.e. the monthly print issues, and the solicits don’t cover digital books. That means we’re missing creators like Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero on Star, Torunn Grønbekk on Valkyrie: Jane Foster, Vita Ayala on 2020 Ironheart, Sana Takeda on Marvel’s Spider-Man: The Black Cat Strikes, and Seanan McGuire on Ghost-Spider. Those books will be collected down the road, but they won’t come out in print monthly.
There are also some titles that haven’t been announced digitally but aren’t in the August solicits either, many of them with female leads and female creators. Titles like Amazing Mary Jane, America Chavez, Dark Agnes, Gwen Stacy, Nebula, Runaways, and many more are still in limbo. Presumably they’ll be out at some point, but without them we’ve got a lack in female character representation as well as fewer female and non-binary creators. There are several of them in the missing titles, and their absence is stark this month.
There are, perhaps unsurprisingly, no new female or non-binary creators this month, or any new titles with female leads. The bulk of the line is previously solicited titles as Marvel tries to catch up after their pandemic hiatus. They’re just doing so with male-led books at both levels, creators and characters.
Overall, this is a disappointing showing for Marvel. These are extenuating circumstances, to be sure, but the publisher has made some telling choices here. Their books with female and non-binary creators and/or female leads don’t seem to be much of a priority yet, which speaks to what they consider most important in their line. Hopefully the numbers shift up as the lines grows in the months to come, but August doesn’t look good at all.