Posts Tagged ‘Marvel Comics’

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, July 2018 Solicits: 22 Creators on 18 Books

May 3, 2018

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Marvel is in an odd spot with female and non-binary creators right now. After a truly abysmal spring with some of the lowest numbers we’ve seen from them in some time, things have improved somewhat. Now, the totals are still relatively quite poor. Marvel’s been in the high 30s in the past, and their current streak has them in the low 20s. That’s not great. But it’s better than it was. The bigger issue right now is that these gains are very precarious. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this July:

  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #22 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #197 (cover)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel #1 (co-writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Doctor Strange #3 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #34 (cover)
  • Fiona Staples: The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel #1 (co-writer), Ms. Marvel #32 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #4 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel #1 (cover)
  • Irene Strychalski: Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel #1 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: X-23 #2 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #21 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #6 (writer)
  • Kate Niemczyk: Avengers #4 (variant cover)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of a Killer #3 (writer), X-23 #1 (writer), X-23 #2 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #33 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Wakanda Forever: X-Men #1 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #11 (writer)
  • Sana Takeda: The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Wakanda Forever: X-Men #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 22 female creators scheduled to work on 18 different comic books at Marvel this July. That’s 2 more creators than in June and 4 more books. As best as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. The gains are undercut to a certain degree by the low totals, but they’re gains nonetheless. Given Marvel’s track record in 2018 thus far, we’ve got to celebrate the little things here.

However, 12 of the 22 creators listed above are doing one time gigs. They’re on oneshots or variant covers, jobs that don’t come with guaranteed work next month. The June numbers were similar, and so long as Marvel can keep things rolling along with these non-permanent jobs, the numbers should hold. But there are three big problems here. First, this juggling act rarely lasts for long and things will inevitably drop off. They always do. Second, the level Marvel is at right now is comparatively poor. And third, the only way for the numbers to really grow AND to fend off this inevitable drop is to have a sizeable number of female and non-binary creators locked into long term gigs. Marvel does not have that right now, at all.

This lack is still stark even with the addition of two new series with female writers, and they also star female leads. Margaret Stohl is back with The Life of Captain Marvel mini-series, while Mariko Tamaki is launching a new X-23 (even though Laura is always the superior Wolverine to me!). A bunch of male characters are getting new books as well, but between these two titles and the ongoing Wakanda Forever oneshots, Marvel’s paltry female character representation has bumped up slightly as of late.

Overall, while representation is set to improve a bit at Marvel in July, these gains are tenuous and the publisher remains far back from the high levels they’ve set in the past. There just doesn’t seem to be much firm commitment to female and non-binary creators at Marvel right now. Things have improved from disastrous to bad over the past few months, but good is still a long way off. Hopefully we’ll see some more permanent additions to Marvel’s ranks in the future.

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Women in Comics Statistics, DC and Marvel, Winter 2018 in Review

April 19, 2018

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My quarterly “Gendercrunching” column went up at Bleeding Cool this week, and the New Year has brought some notable changes to both major superhero publishers. Female creator representation appears to be on the rise at DC, while it’s dropping precipitously at Marvel.

All together, DC Comics’ average percentage of female creators came in at 17.1% for the winter months, a 1.5% gain from the fall. It’s not a huge leap, but DC’s numbers have been stagnant for a while now. The overall totals for January, February, and March were all higher than any of the fall months, which bodes well for the longevity of this shift.

Marvel, meanwhile, is tumbling. Their average percentage of female creators fell to 14.8%, more than a three point drop from the autumn. What’s more, each winter month was lower than the last, extending their current skid to four straight months of losses. Marvel’s got a brand new Editor-in-Chief in C.B. Cebulski, but so far his tenure feels like a return to the old days of Marvel being a boy’s club. Plus with a dude-centric relaunch on the way and the recent departure of several female assistant editors, these numbers could decline even further over the course of the spring.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for the full charts and analysis! It’s an intriguing start to the year, for sure, and it will be fascinating to see how the numbers change over the next quarter.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, June 2018 Solicits: 20 Creators on 14 Books

April 4, 2018

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We’ve got some good news and some bad news with Marvel’s June solicits. The good news is that for the first time in several months, Marvel’s number of female creators is out of the teens. Just barely so, but hey, the numbers have been so bad that we’ll take what we can get. The bad news is that the a sizeable amount of the gigs listed below are one-time outings, and thus won’t be back in a similar form next month. If Marvel wants to keep the numbers up, there’ll either need to be some big changes to the line or a lot more oneshots. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this June:

  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Moon Knight #196 (cover)
  • Devin Grayson: Marvel Rising: Alpha #1 (writer)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Dazzler: X Song #1 (cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #33 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #31 (co-writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #3 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Marvel Rising: Alpha #1 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #20 (writer), Star Wars: Thrawn #5 (writer)
  • Laura Braga: Dazzler: X Song #1 (interior art)
  • Magdalene Visaggio: Dazzler: X Song #1 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of a Killer #2 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #32 (interior art, cover)
  • Nik Virella: Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 (interior art)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Wakanda Forever: Amazing Spider-Man #1 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Ms. Marvel #31 (co-writer), Runaways #10 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: Marvel Rising: Alpha #1 (variant cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Ms. Marvel #31 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 (cover)

All together, there are 20 different female creators set to work on 14 different books at Marvel this June, 5 more creators than in May, though on 2 fewer books. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators scheduled in this round of solicits. The gain is good to see. So far, 2018 has been a rough year for representation at Marvel, and while 20 women is still quite paltry, it’s nonetheless a step up from where the publisher’s been lately.

However, it seems unlikely to last. Of the 20 women above, 10 are working on one-time jobs. As cool as it is to see new books starring Black Widow, Dazzler, and the Marvel Rising team, these are all one-shots. These single outings combined with a handful of variant covers means that half of Marvel’s female creators in June are not working on sustainable gigs. Hopefully they’ll be back elsewhere next month, but such a strong reliance on one-off work is hardly a recipe for good long term representation at the publisher.

Things aren’t look great for female characters, either. We’ve got the aforementioned oneshots, which are fun and all, but Marvel is set to unveil a slew of new series in June and only one has a female character in the mix. Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Hulk, Iron Man, Muliple Man, the Sentry, and Thor are all headlining new books. Only Ant-Man and the Wasp has a female lead, and she’s a co-lead. This prevalence of dudes, real and fictional, is the hallmark of Marvel’s new line, and chances are this trend will continue as it keeps rolling out.

Overall, Marvel’s not in a very good place with female and non-binary creators right now. The numbers jumped this month, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this will last long term. Men seem to be the publisher’s focus right now, both on the page and behind the scenes, and much of their new line appears to be an attempt at appeasing conservative fanboys. Things might change at some point, but the current trend doesn’t bode well for women and non-binary creators at Marvel.

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 in Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, Autumn 2017 in Review

January 31, 2018

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My quarterly “Gendercrunching” column went up last week at Bleeding Cool, and it was an interesting fall for DC and Marvel. There were gains at both publishers over the course of October, November, and December, though Marvel showed much higher growth.

All together, DC Comics’ average percentage of female creators came in at 15.6% for the autumn, a minimal 0.2% gain from their summer numbers. By category, it was an unremarkable month on the creative side of the chart, with small losses across the board, but editorial saw solid gains. The publisher was pretty consistent month to month, meaning that DC is in a bit of a rut right now, posting totals well below their previous highs.

Over at Marvel, their average percentage of female creators for the fall rose two points to 18%, a relatively strong total for the publisher on the back of a sizeable gain. The monthly numbers were a bit all over the map, but the creative side of the chart is underwhelming. A significant portion of Marvel’s total comes from their massive female assistant editor numbers, which are floating around 70%. Everything else is average at best. So long as those assistant editor numbers hold, Marvel should be riding high, but they could really set some records if they put any effort into hiring more female writers and artists.

The full charts and analysis are up over at Bleeding Cool, so head over there for all of the data and statistical fun!

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.


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