Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Thompson’

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

July 19, 2018

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

My Top 10 Superhero Comic Books of 2017

December 20, 2017

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It’s been an interesting year for superhero comic books. DC’s been trucking along with “Rebirth,” telling a lot of fun stories in the mix. Marvel’s been more split, with half the line spending a considerable part of the year embroiled in weird Nazi/Hydra antics while several of the titles that avoided Secret Empire put out some very enjoyable adventures. When I sat down to figure out my favourite superhero comics of the year, I was amused to see my list split down the middle, half DC and half Marvel! While I’d definitely say that DC had the better year overall, qualitywise, Marvel’s good books were VERY good.

Before we get to the list, though, I should point out that it’s been a great year for non-superhero comics, too. The cape books are my main focus here, of course, but I’ve been enjoying all sorts of other titles. More specifically, Bitch Planet: Triple Feature was excellent, as was the latest “season” of Sex Criminals from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. I’ve also been enjoying Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams, the latest volume of George O’Connor’s Olympians was fantastic as always, and Paper Girls from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang remains gorgeous if all over the place, storywise. I’m always down for Cliff Chiang art! There’s no lack of wonderful comics out there right now across all sorts of genres and styles.

But now, onto my favourite superhero comic books of the year! Check out the list, and let me know your favourites from the past year in the comments:

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10) Batman by Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, and more

I’m reading Batman in trade so I’m a little bit behind, but I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I was leery of it initially, since the premises didn’t grab me. Superpowered heroes in Gotham? More Bane shenanigans? I didn’t think it’d be for me. Then I read the books and was quickly proved wrong. King and his excellent array of artists make it all work beautifully. And of course, I love the prominent role that Catwoman has in the run. She’s become a major player here, and while she and Batman are bad ass and cool, as always, compassion seems to be the core of both characterizations. It’s good stuff, and often beautifully drawn.

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9) Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

This book has been amazing for a while now, and it showed no signs of slowing down on that front in 2017. Is Ryan North still writing it? Is Erica Henderson still drawing it? Is Squirrel Girl still eating nuts and kicking butts? Then it’s going to remain great. And it has! North and Henderson bring so much heart and humour to the comic. It’s just a joy to read, and served as a most welcome counter to the bleak storylines that took over a lot of Marvel books this year. If you like delightful things, then go start reading Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

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8) Green Arrow by Benjamin Percy, Otto Schmidt, and more

I’ve enjoyed the stories in Green Arrow over the past year well enough, but I’ll be honest: The book made my Top 10 for Otto Schmidt alone. His art is SO GOOD. His pages just sing. The art isn’t terribly out there for a superhero book, but it’s absolutely unique and different and stands out from everything else on the stands right now. I think part of it is that he colors it himself, and everything on the page feels so cohesive and complimentary. It’s really remarkable stuff. Green Arrow cycles through a variety of artists, like most DC books right now, and while they’re all pretty solid, Schmidt’s work is just next level. I want him to draw every superhero now.

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7) All New Wolverine by Tom Taylor, Leonard Kirk, Nik Virella, and more

Step aside, old Wolverine. You were fun while you lasted, but the new Wolverine is so much better. She’s got everything we expect from a Wolverine: claws, ferocity, a propensity for going after anyone who threatens her friends with a berserker rage. But instead of being a mopey guy who’s been around forever, she’s a cantankerous yet endearing young woman. Plus she’s assembled a great supporting cast over the course of this run. It’s a fun, exciting book, and I’m completely fine with never seeing the old Wolverine again now.

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6) Detective Comics by James Tynion IV, Eddy Barrows, Marcio Takara, and more

Team books can be a tricky thing. There are a lot of characters to manage, and a few always end up taking a backseat while a handful come to the fore. Tynion and his rotating teams of artists have struck an impressive balance here, largely by backseating the character you’d expect to see more than anyone else: Batman. He’s a key figure, but doesn’t dominate the book. Instead, Batwoman leads the team and the spotlight gets shared by Azrael, Batwing, Clayface, Orphan, and Spoiler. The degree of attention ebbs and flows, but no one goes too long without a good storyline or an important role. The book also manages to tell its own stories while weaving in and out of the bigger events at DC over the past year. It’s a solid Bat-team book that I always find myself looking forward to.

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5) Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and more

I’m a big fan of the classic Thor, but what Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have done with Jane Foster as Thor is far and away my favourite take on the character yet. It’s been a huge year for her, with an intergalactic war and darkness spreading through the nine realms, not to mention the return of Odinson and the emergence of the War Thor. But amid all of the epicness, the story of Jane battling cancer and sacrificing her well-being to be the hero the world, nay, the universe needs has been so beautifully told. The heart Aaron and Dauterman bring to their crazy action and adventure is what makes this one of the best books on the stands.

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4) Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka, Shea Fontana, Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely, and more

Not right now, obviously. Wonder Woman has been garbage since James Robinson et al. took over a few months ago. But before that, the book was having a great year. The wrap up of the “Godwatch” and “The Truth” arcs was a powerful, well-executed conclusion to an excellent run that provided a much needed revitalization of Wonder Woman after a rough few years. Then we got “Heart of the Amazon,” which was an awesome team up between Diana and Etta Candy that pitted them against superpowered assassins and evil scientists. Now the book is about Wonder Woman and her brother and it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks, but up until then it was a really great year of stories.

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3) Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads

People were raving about this book before the first issue even came out, and with all of that buzz building and building, I came into this with high expectations. Mister Miracle beat those expectations with ease. The first issue especially is just masterful storytelling. It’s intentionally disorienting yet it pulls you along, and when you finally realize what’s happening it’s a gut punch that is heartbreaking yet so perfect for the character. Subsequent issues have been fascinating in their own right. It’s a unique, compelling book that is a worthy vehicle for Mister Miracle and Big Barda, two of Jack Kirby’s best creations.

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2) Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Marco Failla, Takeshi Miyazawa, and more

Ms. Marvel has been stellar for years now. Introducing a Muslim, Pakistani-American, teen heroine was no mean feat, and yet the book has never taken a step wrong. And this year was no exception. Kamala went through a lot, both professionally and personally, and as the year went on the book began to echo a lot of the issues facing America as a whole in 2017. Ms. Marvel is grounded in our reality in a way most superhero books aren’t, and that led to some incisive storytelling that still paired beautifully with all of the usual fun and action we expect from the series.

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1) Hawkeye by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh, and more

The Fraction/Aja/Wu era of Hawkeye is easily one of the best superhero runs of the past decade, and set a massively high bar for any and all Hawkeye stories moving forward. Thompson, Romero, and Walsh have reached that bar and more with Kate Bishop’s new solo series. The book is an absolute joy, from Thompson’s sharp and hilarious dialogue to Romero and Walsh doing an amazing job with all of the archery action and comedic beats packed into each issue. Plus there’s some serious heart and pathos beyond all of the fun, with Kate dealing with some heavy stuff. Things are rarely cool and chill for a Hawkeye, as much as they may pretend otherwise. The book is a dang delight, each and every month, and I love it to bits.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, February 2018 Solicits: 20 Creators on 18 Books

November 30, 2017

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We’re two months into 2018 with Marvel’s comic book solicits, and it doesn’t look like the New Year is going to be great for female and non-binary creator representation at the publisher. While the numbers ticked up in February after a relatively terrible January, they didn’t tick up much; the new totals are definitely terrible adjacent, at least. Marvel’s female and non-binary creator numbers remain at roughly half of their recent highs, with few signs of any substantive improvement on the horizon. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this February:

  • Anna Rud: Black Panther #170 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Captain America #698 (variant cover)
  • Christina Strain: Generation X #87 (writer)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #29 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #27 (writer)
  • Gabby Rivera: America #12 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #25 (interior art, cover)
  • Jen Bartel: Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #25 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #16 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #1 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Gwenpool, The Unbelievable #25 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #15 (writer), Rogue & Gambit #2 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: Captain Marvel #129 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: She-Hulk #162 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #28 (interior art, cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #6 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: America #12 (interior art)
  • Stephanie Hans: X-Men: Blue #21 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Tales of Suspense #102 (cover)

All together, there are 20 different female creators set to work on 18 different books at Marvel in February, 2 more creators than last month but the same number of books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators scheduled at Marvel this month. A gain of 2 creators is better than nothing, of course, but January marked one of Marvel’s lowest months in recent memory, so a small gain from there still leaves the publisher quite low. Moreover, in 4 of the past 5 months they’ve failed to post more than 20 female creators. Marvel is in a rut right now, one they don’t seem particularly keen to get out of.

In terms of new names, there aren’t many. I’m pretty sure that February marks Anna Rud’s first Marvel gig, which is very cool, and I can’t recall if we’ve seen Bilquis Evely at Marvel yet; she’s usually doing stuff at DC. Both are doing variant covers, which brings up a larger point about the sustainability of the numbers. A quarter of the creators listed above are doing variant covers, and while they’re an excellent way to get a foot in the door at a publisher and showcase their talents, they are also onetime gigs. That means a quarter of the women listed above are unlikely to be back next month unless they land a new cover or interior art gig. There are maybe 12 or 13 people up there that I am confident will be back next month for sure. Everyone else is a maybe. Marvel needs more female and non-binary creators, and they need to get them on some long term jobs.

It’s a pretty quiet month for new books at Marvel, but we do have the debut of X-Men: Red, a new team book that’s set to feature a newly returned Jean Grey (in a really ugly costume, I have to say) and Wolverine (the Laura Kinney version, i.e. the far superior Wolverine). As always, the X-Men team books are pretty solid at having a few women in the mix, at least fictional ones. Everyone writing, drawing, or doing covers on X-Men: Red is a dude.

Overall, February looks like it’s going to be another poor month for female and non-binary creator representation at Marvel. This is just the norm at Marvel now, I guess. Maybe having a new editor-in-chief will change things, though given all the news about C.B. Cebulski lately we might just get male creators using female pseudonyms! I kid, but also, the publisher is a dang mess right now. They need to right the ship, and bringing in more women and non-binary creators would be a smart first step.


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