Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Thompson’

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, November 2018 Solicits: 29 Creators on 28 Books

September 19, 2018

womenatmarvelNOV.png

When the November solicits were released last month, it looked like Marvel was taking a big step in terms of representation and were moving toward finishing the year on a high note. Then things changed. The numbers didn’t crater by any means, but a big jump got noticeably smaller. It’s an odd set of circumstances, and we’ll dig into it all after we look at who was originally scheduled to do what at Marvel in November:

  • Afua Richardson: Shuri #2 (variant cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #1 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #26 (cover), X-23 #6 (cover)
  • Aud Koch: The Vision #1 (interior art)
  • Chelsea Cain: The Vision #1 (co-writer)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Captain America #5 (variant cover), Spider-Geddon #3 (variant cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: Star Wars: Han Solo – Imperial Cadet #1 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #38 (cover)
  • Eve Ewing: Ironheart #1 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #36 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #8 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #2 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Black Panther #6 (interior art), Ironheart #1 (variant cover), Uncanny X-Men #1 (variant cover)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #10 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Spider-Girls #2 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Mr. and Mrs. X #5 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #1 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #2 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #3 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #4 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life of Captain Marvel #5 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: The Life of Captain Marvel #5 (interior art)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Infinity Wars: Infinity Warps #1 (co-writer), X-23 #6 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Infinity Wars: Infinity Warps #1 (interior art), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #37 (cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #2 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #15 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #2 (interior art)
  • Sara Pichelli: Fantastic Four #4 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Captain Marvel – Mealtime Mayhem #1 (co-writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #2 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #2 (cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Ironheart #1 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #2 (cover), Spider-Girls #2 (cover)

All together, 29 female creators were scheduled to work on 28 different books at Marvel this November, 4 more creators than in October and 5 more books. As best as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. This is a very solid gain, and a good beginning to the end of a year that has seen some troubling lows at Marvel. But then Marvel decided to cancel The Vision, without releasing a single issue. Apparently the book didn’t fit with the publisher’s new plans for the character or some such. So while Chelsea Cain and Aud Koch are listed in the solicits, their book isn’t coming out and that 4 creator gain is now only 2. Now, 2 isn’t terrible; any gain is a plus in the superhero comic business. But wow, after an already very rough year for gender representation at Marvel, this cancellation is bizarre.

We do have a new name, though. Eve Ewing is writing the new Ironheart series, which should be rad. That’s about it, though. Everyone else we’ve seen before, last month or in the recent past. But shout out to my pal Kelly Thompson, who’s writing or co-writing FIVE books for Marvel this month. She’s blowing up and I’m loving it because she is super excellent at what she does.

In terms of female characters, we’ve got the aforementioned Ironheart series starring Riri Williams. And we’ve got some group books, too. It looks like every mutant ever is going to be in Uncanny X-Men, so look for your favourite ladies there, while Proxima Midnight is part of a new Black Order series. Everything else is dudes, though. The Vision would have featured Viv, but it is no more.

Overall, November’s looking to be kind of a weird month for Marvel. The Vision situation is just odd, and takes what looked to be some solid growth down to something a bit more humdrum. I suppose they’re not going backwards, at least. That’s good to see after the publisher’s disastrous performances earlier this year. Growth is growth, however slow. But dang, Marvel needs to learn to stop shooting themselves in the foot.

Advertisements

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, October 2018 Solicits: 25 Creators on 23 Books

August 16, 2018

womenatmarvelOCT.png

Marvel has A LOT going on in October. A ton of new series and minis, an array of one-shots, a big “Spider-geddon” event, plus all of their usual fare. Their output is in the ballpark of 85 new comic books for the month, about 10 more than they usually release. The increase in production hasn’t come with an increase in representation, though. Female and non-binary creator numbers are set to hold steady at a level that, while better than their recent lows, remains well off their recent highs. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this October:

  • Amy Reeder: Spider-Girls #1 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #25 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #200 (cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #37 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #35 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #7 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Jen Bartel: The Life and Times of Captain Marvel #4 (variant cover)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #9 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Spider-Girls #1 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Mr. and Mrs. X #4 (writer), West Coast Avengers #3 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: What If? Magik #1 (writer), X-Men Black – Emma Frost #1 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life and Times of Captain Marvel #4 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #5 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #36 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #1 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #14 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen a.k.a. Ghost Spider #1 (interior art)
  • Sara Pichelli: Fantastic Four #3 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen a.k.a. Ghost Spider #1 (writer), X-Men Black: Mystique #1 (writer)
  • Stephanie Hans: Asgardians of the Galaxy #2 (variant cover)
  • The Soska Sisters: Avengers Halloween Special #1 (co-writers)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #1 (cover), Spider-Girls #1 (cover), The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 25 different female creators scheduled to work on 23 different books at Marvel in October, 1 fewer creator than in September but 2 more books. To the best of my knowledge, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. Now, holding steady in the mid-20s isn’t a terrible place for Marvel to be. We’ve seen terrible earlier this year, when the publisher’s numbers were in the low teens. But we’ve also seen them in the high 30s before, so Marvel is still pretty far behind the level they’re capable of hitting. Plus, with a slew of new books, you’d hope for a bit of a jump overall. None is a little disappointing.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some new names in the mix, though. We’ve got Seanan McGuire writing a new Spider-Gwen series and a Mystique one-shot, and the Soska Sisters (Jen and Sylvia) co-penning a story in the Avengers Halloween Special. There are some returning favourites, too: I think it’s been a couple years since we’ve seen Rosi Kampe, who’s doing interior art for the Spider-Gwen book, and Nnedi Okorafor is back with a new Shuri series that should be super cool.

Also, I should point out that the publisher is doing a bunch of Marvel Battle Lines variant covers in October, many of which feature Korean artists who seem to have little to no English web presence. While I did my best to track each of them down, I’ve still got a couple of question marks, and those folks could possibly be female or non-binary creators.

In terms of fictional characters, ladies are set to have a big month with this October bonanza. Spider-Geddon is set to feature Spider-Gwen and “every Spider-Woman ever,” plus we’ve got new minis like Spider-Force with Jessica Drew and Ashley Barton, Spider-Girls with Mayday, Spiderling, and two Spider-Girls, and the new Spider-Gwen a.k.a. Ghost Spider series. Elsewhere, Shuri has a new book, The Unstoppable Wasp is back, and we’ve got a What If? oneshot starring Magik and two X-Men Black oneshots that focus on Emma Frost and Mystique. It’s a busy month!

Overall, while there are some new names at Marvel and that’s always fun, the new names aren’t enough to counter the lack of holdovers from last month and the numbers are remaining relatively steady. Less than steady, frankly, when you consider how many new books there are in October, each of them an opportunity to introduce new creative teams. Marvel’s picked themselves up from their poor start to 2018, but now they’ve been treading water for a few months at a level far below what they’re capable of achieving, establishing given the breadth of talent from female and non-binary creators out there making comics right now.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, September 2018 Solicits: 26 Creators on 21 Books

July 19, 2018

womenatmarvelSEPT

After what has been a rough year thus far for female and non-binary creator representation at Marvel, the publisher seems to have settled into a bit of a groove now. Unconventionally, too. Maybe about half of the gigs listed below are steady, ongoing jobs. The rest are variant covers, one-shots, or mini-series, positions that don’t last for long. And yet, Marvel’s keeping their numbers steady on the backs of such gigs. More long-term work would be nice to see, and the publisher does remain well below their past highs, but at least they’ve pulled themselves up from the terrible numbers they were posting earlier in the year. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this September:

  • Agnes Garbowska: Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Captain Marvel – First Day of School #1 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #24 (cover), Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Annual #2 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #199 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: X-Men Red #8 (interior art)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising: Omega #1 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Avengers #7 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #36 (cover)
  • Eve Venture: Avengers #7 (variant cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #34 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #6 (writer), Domino Annual #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Rising: Omega #1 (cover)
  • Helen Chen: Marvel Rising: Omega #1 (variant cover)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #8 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #23 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: West Coast Avengers #2 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: Domino Annual #1 (co-writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life of Captain Marvel #3 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #4 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Domino Annual #1 (interior art), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #35 (interior art, cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #13 (writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Avengers #7 (interior art), Fantastic Four #2 (interior art)
  • Sing Ji: Spidergeddon #0 (variant cover)
  • Tini Howard: Captain America Annual #1 (writer)
  • Vanessa Del Rey: Sentry #4 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: X-23 #4 (variant cover)

All together, there are 26 different female creators scheduled to work on 21 different comic books at Marvel in September, 1 more creator than in August and the same number of books. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in Marvel’s solicits. So we don’t have much of a gain here, but what we do have is some much needed stability. The publisher has had at least 20 female creators in their ranks for four months running now, and this is their highest total since last September. Of course, Marvel’s been well into the 30s before so the mid-20s is nothing to write home about. Hooray for staying out of the teens and all, but there’s still a long way to go for the publisher to reach the level they’re capable of.

We’ve got some new creators set for September. Two of them, Eve Venture and Sing Ji, are on variant covers, while Tini Howard is writing a Captain America annual. These are all one-time gigs, but who knows where they could lead in the future? I don’t think we’ve seen Agnes Garbowska at Marvel before either, and she’s on covers for a new Marvel kids’ book.

New titles are few for September, but Asgardians of the Galaxy is set to debut and it features both Angela and Valkyrie. Everything else is dudes, including returns for Wolverine and Iceman. So there aren’t a lot of female characters premiering in new books this month, but there aren’t too many new books either.

Overall, September looks decent for female creator representation at Marvel. It’s taken a while for the publisher to dig out of their hole, but now their numbers are holding strong at a reasonable level. Marvel can now be slightly less embarrassed about their lack of female creators! They should still be embarrassed to some degree, though. They’ve still got hundreds of dudes versus 26 women. But things are starting to look up.

Women + NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, August 2018 Solicits: 25 Creators on 21 Books

June 5, 2018

womenatmarvelAUGUSTThe year thus far has not been great for female and non-binary creator representation at Marvel, with the numbers dropping down to the low teens for a stretch this spring. So when I say that this is the publisher’s best month of 2018, that’s not saying much. Still, things are improving, even if Marvel’s past highs remain a long way off and sustainability continues to be an ongoing concern. August doesn’t look like it’s going to be terrible, and that’s a welcome change of pace. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in August:

  • Amanda Conner: Extermination #1 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #23 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #198 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: X-Men Red #7 (interior art)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (co-writer)
  • Elsa Charretier: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Fantastic Four #1 (variant cover), X-Men Gold Annual #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #35 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (co-writer), Ms. Marvel #33 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #5 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (cover)
  • Irene Strychalski: Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl #1 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #7 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #22 (writer), Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #2 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Infinity Wars #1 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: West Coast Avengers #1 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life of Captain Marvel #2 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of a Killer #4 (writer), X-23 #3 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #34 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #12 (writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Fantastic Four #1 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Infinity Wars #2 (variant cover), Wakanda Forever: Avengers #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 25 different female creators scheduled to work on 21 different comic books at Marvel in August, 3 more creators and 3 more books than in July. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators with gigs at Marvel this month. The August totals are Marvel’s highest of the year, and their best showing since last September. It’s been a bit of a free fall since then, but maybe they’re climbing out of it?

I’m cautious, because so many of the jobs above are temporary. I know I bang this drum every month, but as much as one-time gigs can be a foot in the door, dependence on them can lead to a collapse of the numbers. We’ve seen it several times over the past few years. Only about half of the women listed here are guaranteed to be back next month. Others may be be back too, but it will be elsewhere, and that shuffling can sometimes collapse. It’s been holding well for the past few months, though, and perhaps an influx of new, stable jobs will shore things up and help the numbers continue to grow.

Speaking of new, stable jobs, we’ve got a couple this month in the form of two returning favourites! Kelly Thompson is back, writing West Coast Avengers, and it looks FANTASTIC. Hawkeye is in the mix (I mean the good one, not the dude one, though he’s there, too) along with Gwenpool, America, and a few fellows. I think it’s going to be a blast. Sara Pichelli is back as well, drawing Marvel’s long-awaited relaunch of Fantastic Four. I’m not so keen on the writer there, but Pichelli will make the book look amazing, I’m sure.

These new books mean it’s a good month for fictional women as well. Hawkeye, Gwenpool, and America are front and center in West Coast Avengers, Sue Storm is back in Fantastic Four, and the Extermination event focuses on the original X-Men, which means a big role for young Jean Grey. The Wakanda Forever oneshots are continuing, too, and that brings us another rad Dora Milaje adventure. And the Marvel Rising oneshots feature more Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, and more.

Overall, Marvel’s definitely on the up right now. While they dug themselves a very deep hole and they’re still far behind their past highs, they’re in the ballpark of some relatively okay numbers this month. The big issue is whether or not the numbers will hold, and so far they seem to be doing so. After the bottom fell out in the spring, the obvious worry is that it will happen again. But hopefully Marvel continues to regain ground and grow!

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, May 2018 Solicits: 15 Creators on 16 Books

March 8, 2018

womenatmarvelMAY.png

It’s International Women’s Day, which is perhaps not the best day to take a look at Marvel’s May solicits. The fact of the matter is, Marvel is garbage at hiring female and non-binary creators right now. While the women currently working at Marvel are amazing talents making some great books, they are few and far between. And they have been for a while. What’s more, the announcements surrounding Marvel’s umpteenth relaunch that’s coming this summer have been ridiculously male-dominated thus far. The publisher has a problem. So let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this May:

  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #20 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #195 (cover)
  • Elizabeth Torque: All-New Wolverine #35 (cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #32 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #30 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #2 (writer)
  • Jen Bartel: Mighty Thor: At The Gates Of Valhalla #1 (interior art)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #19 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #4 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #2 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: Rogue & Gambit #5 (writer), X-Men Wedding Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Marika Cresta: X-Men Wedding Special #1 (interior art)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of a Killer #1 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #31 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #9 (writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Black Panther #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 15 different female creators set to work on 16 different books at Marvel in May, 2 fewer creators than in April and the same number of books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators scheduled for Marvel’s May comics. This marks the third straight month of numbers in the teens for the publisher, a run that is, quite frankly, beyond embarrassing. Not only has Marvel shown themselves to be capable of posting totals of more than twice this amount in the past, the ranks of excellent female and non-binary creators have never been larger. There are so many in the mix these days, a publisher pretty much has to go out of their way NOT to hire them. And Marvel appears to be doing just that.

This disinterest in female creators looks like it’s going to continue into the future as well. Marvel is in the midst of unveiling their new lineup for their latest relaunch; it’s got a name, but I don’t care enough to go look it up. They’ve announced over a dozen new books so far, and only ONE has a female creator in the mix, with Margaret Stohl relaunching Captain Marvel. And here’s the kicker: It’s a mini-series. The majority of the other books are ongoing titles. So barring a sudden influx of female-led titles, I wouldn’t expect Marvel’s numbers to improve in the months to come.

There also seems to be a distinct disinterest in titles headlined by female characters, both this month and moving forward. Usually when I do the cover montage at the top, I have tons of great female characters to choose from and I get to pick the art that I like the best. This month was slim pickings. I had to go through the solicits twice to find the seven covers above.

Some new books are starting in May, too, and they are all male-led. We’ve got new solo titles for Black Panther, Quicksilver, and Venom, along with a round of mini-series centered on Wolverine. The dude Wolverine, I should say, not the new, awesome lady Wolverine who is much, much, much cooler. There’s a new Avengers book as well, and only 2 of the 8 characters on the team are women, with Captain Marvel and She-Hulk in the mix.

And just to continue the disappointing news run, of all of the relaunch titles announced so far, there are one and a half books with titular female characters. We’ve got the aforementioned Captain Marvel mini, and the Wasp sharing a new series with Ant-Man.

So yeah, Marvel’s got a definite problem with women right now. Their female and non-binary creator numbers are in the midst of the lowest run we’ve seen in years, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to improve anytime soon. Their female characters are on the decline as well, again with no change in sight. It feels like Marvel is intentionally appealing to conservative fanboys now, that irksome group who blasted the company for diversifying their line and making everyone a “social justice warrior.” And that’s just gross. Marvel needs to get it together before they embarrass themselves even further. Will they? Probably not. But we can hope.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, April 2018 Solicits: 17 Creators on 15 Books

February 8, 2018

womenatmarvelAPRIL.png

So this is an unusual month for Marvel. Their female creator representation has grown a whopping 70% from March, a massive gain for the publisher. However, even with this jump their numbers are still terrible. Better than in March, sure, but the March numbers were abominable. Like, ridiculously bad relative to the levels Marvel has shown themselves to be capable of. So while it’s good to see growth, there’s still a long, long way to go to get anywhere near the ballpark of decent representation. Let’s look at who’s doing what at Marvel this April:

  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #19 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #194 (cover)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising #0 (writer)
  • Elizabeth Torque: The Hunt for Wolverine #1 (variant cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: Domino #1 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #31 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #29 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #1 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Super Hero Adventures #1 (cover)
  • Helen Chen: Marvel Rising #0 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #18 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #3 (writer)
  • Katie Cook: Thanos Annual #1 (co-writer, interior art)
  • Kelly Thompson: Rogue & Gambit #4 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #30 (interior art, cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #8 (writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Tales of Suspense #104 (cover)

All together, there are 17 different female creators scheduled to work on 15 different comic books at Marvel in April, 7 more creators than in March and 3 more books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators set to work at Marvel in this round of solicits. Normally a 70% gain in female creators would be astounding news, but March was abysmal. That big gain still leaves them in the teens, which is an embarrassing place to be in 2018. There are scores of amazing female and non-binary creators making comics these days. If Marvel can’t hire at least 20 of them, then they’re just not trying at all. For the Big Two right now, 20 is the line for “still pretty bad, but not terrible.” The 30 benchmark says “maybe they’re trying a bit, but they could still do a lot better.” Given the creator ranks out there, both DC and Marvel should be able to employ AT LEAST 40 amazing female creators a month with ease. Neither has been close to that.

In terms of the women working at Marvel this month, we don’t have any brand new names but there are a few returning favourites. Devin Grayson is back writing on the new Marvel Rising series, which will tie into the upcoming animated film aimed at young fans. Katie Cook is back too, doing what should be a fun story in the Thanos Annual. And Gail Simone has returned to Marvel’s ranks with a new Domino series, her first ongoing work at Marvel in years.

Two of these books highlight a decent month for female characters at Marvel. The team in Marvel Rising is 75% women, including fan favourites like Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl. It looks like it’s going to be awesome. And the Domino series is a new solo book with a female lead, which probably owes its existence to the upcoming Deadpool film sequel. Marvel’s smart to capitalize on the character’s exposure, and Simone is always a good choice for the sort of fun, bawdy tales this series will probably be telling.

All together, things are looking up in a lot of ways at Marvel right now, and yet everything is still very bad. There are more female creators in the mix, but the numbers are still shamefully low. There are new books with female leads, but Marvel just cancelled a slew of similar titles and have yet to make up the difference. The publisher spent the first few months of 2018 digging themselves a deep hole, and while the April solicits are a small step in the right direction, there’s still a massive amount of work to be done.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, March 2018 Solicits: An Astonishingly Low 10 Creators on 12 Books

January 9, 2018

womenatmarvelMARCH

Let’s not beat around the bush here: Marvel’s numbers for female and non-binary creators in their March 2018 solicits are just embarrassingly bad. I mean, only ten? Wow. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen a number this low from either DC or Marvel. While women and non-binary creators remain a small minority at both publishers, representation’s definitely grown over the past several years, as have the ranks of these creators. At this point, if one of the Big Two isn’t employing AT LEAST 20 female and non-binary creators to write and draw their books, then they’re not even trying. And to hit a number this low, they’d almost have to be trying not to. This showing is straight up terrible. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in March. It won’t take very long:

  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #18 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #301 (variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Doctor Strange: Damnation #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #30 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #28 (writer)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #17 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #2 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #16 (writer), Rogue & Gambit #3 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: She-Hulk #163 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #29 (interior art, cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #7 (writer)

All together, there are 10 different women scheduled to work on 12 different books at Marvel this March, 10 fewer creators than in February and 6 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. These are appalling numbers. Last March, Marvel had 37 different female creators. THIRTY-SEVEN. And now they’re down to 10. That’s nearly a quarter of what they had a year ago. This is a stunning decline.

The last time Marvel was this low was October 2015, when they had 9 female creators on 10 books. That was two and a half years ago, and since then their numbers shot up. Now, after several months of declines, they’ve essentially collapsed. And ironically, March has been a great month for Marvel in recent years. They used to celebrate Women’s History of Month with “Women of Marvel” variant covers and sometimes special issues, with tons of female creators in the mix. Now they’re celebrating Women’s History Month with their lowest number of female creators in ages. And, adding insult to injury, some of the books listed above aren’t long for the world, with Hawkeye and She-Hulk soon to be cancelled.

So, what is going on here? First off, Marvel’s already axed or benched several books that were mainstays for female creators, including America, Captain Marvel, Generation X , and Gwenpool. The publisher doesn’t appear overly invested in promoting books with female leads or creators. This slew of cancellations is not at all helping the publisher’s reputation either, which was already suffering after their higher ups suggested that diverse books and creators don’t sell on multiple occasions. If you add to this lack of support for female-led comics things like the Nazi Captain America foolishness of Secret Empire, the fact that the chairman of the company is a rabid Trump supporter, and a recent spate of relaunches geared toward appeasing old school fanboys above all else, it seems that we may have a situation in which the folks who run Marvel aren’t particularly keen to hire female and non-binary creators AND female and non-binary creators may not be terribly interested in working for the mess that is Marvel right now. It hardly seems a welcoming environment.

Whatever is going on, it remains utterly baffling that the bulk of Marvel’s editorial departments seem fine with largely ignoring the massive, impressive ranks of female and non-binary writers and artists working in comics right now in favour of employing the same dudes over and over again. These dudes are not the future of comics. These women and non-binary creators could very well be. An inability to recognize changes in the industry as a whole is why Marvel went bankrupt in the 1990s, and it seems to be why they’re faltering again here in the 2010s. Case in point: The eight bazillion variant covers they do every month. They haven’t even learned from their past, so it’s no wonder that they’ve got no real vision for the future.

EDIT: An earlier version of this post missed a variant cover by Bilquis Evely, and had Marvel’s numbers at 9 creators on 11 books. It’s actually 10 on 12, which while better is still absolutely terrible.


%d bloggers like this: