Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Dodson’

Wonder Woman #62 Review: Making Peace with the God of War

January 16, 2019

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The first arc of G. Willow Wilson’s run on Wonder Woman draws to a close this week, bringing the war in Durovnia to an end while leaving us with a lot of unanswered questions for our heroine and her divine associates moving forward. This was a storyline that raised a lot of heavy issues, for Wonder Woman herself but also for us as readers as we all grappled with the troubling shades of grey that characterize modern warfare. No matter how good someone’s intentions are, they can still cause harm when they decide to step in with force, and this is especially true in the arena of war. It’s almost impossible not to cause harm in a war, and Wonder Woman comes out of the conflict in Durovnia carrying the weight of that truth. We’ll get into the arc’s conclusion momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to tell you all of the important things that happened in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Also, read it! This run has been GREAT so far!

Remember when Diana was the god of war? Oh, the New 52 days. So beautiful in its art, so increasingly troubling in its story choices. For all of that past run’s focus on Diana becoming the embodiment of war, it never really dug into the implications of what that could mean in a deeper, compelling way. War is inherently destructive and damaging. It harms innocents and profits the powerful. In short, it’s everything Wonder Woman hates. And yet, she often finds herself at the center of them. Fighting for peace, yes, but fighting nonetheless.

This arc dug into these contradictions, and fascinatingly so. By the end of this issue, Diana is shook. Yeah, she’s got some other stuff going on with the gods returning, a longing for home and a hope that the Amazons might be accessible again. But the war in Durovnia seems to have thrown her for quite the loop. Ares fashioning himself as a twisted version of her brand of heroism was disconcerting enough, and then the peace talks hit her hard. The president condemned the gods and empires that entered the fray, meaning Ares on the side of the rebels and American military assistance on the side of the government. Diana saw herself as beyond these sides, perhaps even above them, an impartial hero committed to protecting those caught in the middle. When she’s asked to leave with them, painted as part of the problem that exacerbated the conflict rather than part of the solution, it clearly stings.

Now, when an old, white dude whose government has been actively oppressing an ethnic minority calls you out like that, it’s a chastisement worth ignoring. I mean, that guy sucks. He’s blaming his own problems and the failings of his government on outside forces, admitting to past mistakes only once the entire nation nearly fell into chaos. This fool could have nipped all of this in the bud ages ago by not being such a terrible president. I feel like Diana should just brush off his dismissal of her and her efforts because, again, he sucks.

Also, so does Ares! Here’s another old, white dude misusing his power. And because of these two jerks, Diana is feeling a bit down on herself, a bit lost even. Not that there weren’t some interesting points raised over the course of their interactions. War is deeply, deeply terrible and it’s hard to be involved in it without hurting someone. But consider the source here. I’m very curious to see how Wonder Woman processes her feelings over the next few issues. It’s interesting that both men have her questioning herself, while Aphrodite and Etta are both telling her that she did a good job. Friggin’ patriarchy. Dudes tearing down women to make themselves feel better are the worst. What Diana needs right now are some more awesome ladies in her corner.

Which leads us to: AMAZONS. Wilson is teasing us at the end of this issue too much for this not to be happening, right? They’ve gotta be coming back! And I am very on board. First, the Amazons are the best and I miss them. And second, it feels like Diana is in a place where she could use some Amazon guidance. She’s been in man’s world for a while now. Their wars and aggressions are wearing on her, so much so that she’s starting to question herself. What she needs is some rad warrior women to remind her who she is, and to help her grapple with the disquieting questions that the harsh realities of modern warfare have raised for her.

Xermanico was back on art duties for this issue, and I liked it even better than his last one. I don’t know if it was him or Romulo Fajardo Jr. that brought in that Ben-Day Dot shading, but it looked super cool, especially in the night scenes with the battle. There was a bit of that two weeks back, but they really leaned into it here, for a nice effect. Xermanico is a good fit for this book, and I’ve enjoyed his two issues more than Cary Nord’s. His Diana feels more powerful and substantial, which is always good to see. And his art has actually improved from issue to issue, which we didn’t get with Nord owing to what appeared to be the time constraints of a bi-weekly book. I was wary when editorial had to swap artists so soon into the run, but they made a good choice here and I hope that we’ll see more of Xermanico in future issues. He carries on some of the cool style choices that Nord established, melding them well with his more conventional superhero comic style. I’m into it.

So we’re back in two weeks with Diana trying to deal with the successful but somewhat demoralizing outcome in Durovnia. Will there be Amazons? I sure hope so. And I’d love to see more of Aphrodite. That lady knows FAR more than she’s telling anybody, and that is definitely going to come into play in the issues to come. Plus, the search for Athena! She was name dropped this week and now I’m eager for her to join the mix as well. Something is up with the gods, and I’m keen for Wonder Woman to get to the bottom of that mystery. And find her mom! We have so much fun ahead of us, gang.

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Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, February 2019 Solicits – 31 Creators on 29 Books

December 21, 2018

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Marvel’s starting the New Year right. After coming in just shy of thirty different female creators for the past few rounds of solicits, they’ve crossed that line with their February offerings. Now the publisher is in the ballpark of their past highs for the first time in a long time. It’s been an interesting road back up. Just a year ago, Marvel had only 11 female creators in the mix, but things have improved considerably since then. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this February at Marvel:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #2 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
  • Annie Wu: Love Romances #1 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #29 (cover), X-23 #9 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #2 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (variant cover), X-23 #9 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #38 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Love Romances #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #5 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Black Widow #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #2 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Count Dooku #1 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Avengers West Coast #8 (writer), Captain Marvel #2 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #8 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: Age of X-Man: The X-Tremists #1 (writer)
  • Maria Lapham: Marvel Comics Presents #2 (co-writer), The Gunhawks #1 (co-writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #9 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (cover)
  • Naomi Franquiz: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (interior art)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #40 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #5 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #8 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #18 (writer)
  • Sana Takeda: Miles Morales: Spider-Man #3 (variant cover)
  • Sara Pichelli: Ms. Marvel #38 (cover), Star Wars #61 (variant cover)
  • Seanan McGuire: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #5 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #5 (cover)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #2 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Avengers: No Road Home #1 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #2 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #3 (cover), Shatterstar #5 (cover)

All together, there are 31 different female creators set to work on 29 different books in February, 2 more creators than in January and the same number of books. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. While a jump of two additional creators isn’t particularly big, it does cross a significant threshold and takes Marvel over the thirty line for the first time in ages. That’s an achievement, as are the steady numbers the publisher has been posting lately. It’s good to see some stability at Marvel.

As well as some new names! This month, we’ve got Maria Lapham co-writing a couple of one-shots with her husband, David. They’re temporary gigs, and the Laphams are certainly busy with their own books elsewhere, but perhaps they’ll be back for more Marvel fun in the future. We’ve also got Naomi Franquiz doing interior art on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which is a book that’s always deliberate in its choice of creators. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of her going forward, whether it’s back with Squirrel Girl or elsewhere.

It’s a very quiet month for female characters, however. Most of the new books are centered on dudes, including titles for Conan, Daredevil, Peter Quill, Wolverine, and more. But we do have a couple team books with some ladies in the mix. Avengers: No Road Home features the Scarlet Witch, Spectrum (I think that’s the current handle for Monica Rambeau?), and Voyager. There are also a bunch of “Age of X-Man” mini-series starting, most of which have some female characters. It looks like Jean Grey, Nature Girl, Storm, and X-23 are in The Marvelous X-Men, a few teen gal mutants I don’t recognize are in Nextgen, and we’ve got Psylocke and Jubilee in The X-Tremists.

Overall, 2019 has been a very solid year for female creators at Marvel thus far. It would be nice to see this growth extend to non-binary creators as well, however. There is always room to grow further, in a whole host of ways. But on the whole, Marvel has more than 30 women working on their books right now, and that’s an impressive comeback after some dismal lows in 2018. Here’s hoping that the upward trajectory continues.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, February 2019 Solicits – 18 Creators on 15 Books

December 18, 2018

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Well then. DC’s January solicits didn’t give us a lot of hope that the publisher was going to start the New Year off strong in terms of female and non-binary creator representation, and the February solicits haven’t helped matters at all. We’re back into the teens, which is just ridiculous. Embarrassing, really. In the year of our lord 2019, a major comic book publisher should be able to find more than 18 female and non-binary creators to work on their titles. They’re EVERYWHERE now. It’s really not that hard. Anyway, let’s take a look at who is doing what at DC this February:

  • Adriana Melo: Female Furies #1 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #5 (cover)
  • Aneke: House of Whispers #6 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #6 (interiort art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Female Furies #1 (writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Catwoman #8 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Batgirl #32 (cover), Supergirl #27 (variant cover). Young Justice #2 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #64 (writer), Wonder Woman #65 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #8 (writer, cover)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #5 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #45 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #32 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #5 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #6 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #64 (cover), Wonder Woman #65 (writer)
  • Reiko Murakami: Lucifer #5 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Hex Wives #5 (cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #3 (writer)

All together, there are 18 different female creators scheduled to work on 15 different book at DC this February, 2 fewer creators though 1 more book than in January. As far as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So yeah, not great. If a behemoth like DC is in the teens, they just aren’t trying hard enough. Or, much at all, it seems. I feel like they brought in a couple of huge names with G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Sue DeConnick and were like “Hey, we’ve got the famousest ladies! We can take a break on that front now!” Which, no. I mean, I love them both, but they don’t count extra. Everyone in DC editorial should feel bad about this showing.

In terms of new creators, we don’t have much here. Reiko Murakami is someone I haven’t seen before, and her cover for Lucifer looks cool. Everyone else is the usual gang of folks we’ve seen in recent months, though I am glad that Cecil Castellucci’s got a new book! Female Furies looks rad.

Speaking of, Female Furies is one of two new titles with female characters in a lead role this month. And given that it’s a pretty quiet month for new books, that’s some decent representation at least. We’ve got Big Barda and all of the Furies in this mini, getting up to some sort of Apokaliptic adventures. And we’ve also got a Wonder Twins book that co-stars Jayna, the sister half of the duo. I was never huge into Super Friends, but this book looks like it could be fun.

Overall, DC editorial needs to get their act together. These are some terrible numbers, way down from their recent highs. Both months of 2019 have been lower than the month before, and that’s not a good way to start the year. Sharpen up, DC! Representation matters, you know.

Wonder Woman #60 Review: With War on the Sidelines, Will Love Enter the Fray?

December 12, 2018

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We’ll get to Wonder Woman in a moment but first, let’s talk about the new She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. When Netflix announced that they were bringing back She-Ra with Noelle Stevenson as showrunner, I instantly had an idea of what the show could be. I’m a big fan of Stevenson, from Nimona to Lumberjanes to her early days of hilarious Tumblr comics. She’s got a delightful yet slightly dark sensibility that always comes through in her work. And when She-Ra debuted, it was everything I wanted it to be. It’s charming and hilarious and surprisingly heavy at times, and as queer as they let kid’s TV be these days. Basically, it was what I expected to get in a Noelle Stevenson project, in all of the best ways.

I feel the same way about this run of Wonder Woman. I’m a huge fan of G. Willow Wilson too, and I’ve enjoyed all of her comics and prose work. Her strengths lie in telling fun, action-packed stories that simultaneously dig into deeper, timely themes. I thought that he was the perfect choice to take over Wonder Woman right now, and she’s bringing everything I thought she would to the book. It’s an exciting story with lots of cool fights, but it’s also a deeper meditation on a whole host of issues, from the nature of war and heroism to the limitations and disappointments of supposed allies in these fraught times. Basically, it’s great, and exactly what I hoped it would be. Also, how awesome is it that we’ve got G. Willow Wilson on Wonder Woman in our comics and Noelle Stevenson on She-Ra on our televisions? Truly we live in a golden age of entertainment.

Let’s dig into the issue, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the rad things that happened in this issue!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

And make sure you do read it! It’s so good!

So, Ares sucks. I think we all knew that deep down, but I was hoping he’d come around, that he would learn something from Wonder Woman and channel his newfound quest for justice into something actually productive. But no, he’s just a dope. And even when Wonder Woman shows him the error of his ways in the most blatant, impactful way, he still takes the wrong lesson from it. Instead of fixing his mistakes and finding a better way forward, he just decides to leave. Even though he started the war, even though all of these deaths are his own doing, he’s decided he wants no part of it any longer and just steps away.

It’s a fascinating turn. There are so many ways to read it, all of them compelling. The book has felt like it’s about the nature of war and justice over the past few issues, asking whether answering violence with violence is wise or if it’s just perpetuating a vicious cycle. We get more of that here, with a critique of the power structures behind war. So often, those who start wars leave them unfinished, walking away unscathed while scars and lingering tensions remain for those caught in the middle of it. Ares is a global superpower in and of himself, igniting a conflict for his own selfish reasons and then leaving it behind when it gets to bothersome. We’ve seen this too many times in the real world over the past few decades.

But I think there’s another interesting angle here as well. With Ares so inspired by Wonder Woman, I can’t help but see him through the lens of male feminists who position themselves as allies to the cause, only to ultimately prove themselves to be self-serving above all else. Ares wanted to be like Wonder Woman, but not only did he fundamentally misunderstand her from the beginning, he balked when she pushed back and then left full of anger and spite. How often have we seen this with allies for all sorts of causes? These white male saviors who saunter in and spout the lingo only to turn away when the people who have actually been doing the work deign to challenge them in any way? It’s painfully common, unfortunately, and I think we see something similar here with Ares. He’s trying to help a worthy cause, but in the wrong ways and only to make himself feel good. When it feels good no longer, he leaves. It’s a biting critique of male allyship.

And also, the fights are cool! It’s a comic book, after all. Between all of the deep philosophizing, Wonder Woman is battling Ares, deflecting a bunch of bullets, and just generally being her awesome self. It’s a fun read.

Plus Steve’s adventures with the mythological creatures continue, and lead us to a fun surprise. We meet the leader of these Olympian exiles, and it’s none other than Aphrodite. This should be VERY interesting. First, Aphrodite is key to Wonder Woman’s own history. In her earliest adventures, love was the core of the Amazonian worldview, and Aphrodite was its embodiment. I’m curious to see if Wilson delves into that. Second, the goddess of love is an obvious contrast with the god of war, and having them so near, with conflict abounding, should prove to be compelling. And third, Aphrodite and Ares have quite the history. They were lovers, and in Rucka’s run it was the love of Aphrodite that led Ares to accept his imprisonment in the first place. So yeah, now that he’s free there might be some serious drama here. I’m excited to see where this all goes.

The art, however, remains a bit underwhelming for me. Cary Nord’s work here seems even sparser than the last issue, and the detail is lacking. We see this a lot when people take on a book that ships twice a month. A lovely first issue leads to a rougher second issue and then a bit of a slapdash third. It’s a ludicrous schedule for artists, and editorial would be wise to consider other approaches to ensure that the quality stays high. I got a distinct later Frank Miller vibe from a lot of these pages, and not in a good way. Nord is successfully telling the story and is not bringing down the writing here, but he’s not exactly elevating it either, which is disappointing.

Still, the book remains a great read overall. Wilson is doing some fascinating things, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes next, especially with Aphrodite in the mix. She could be a very fun wild card moving forward.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, January 2019 Solicits: 29 Creators on 29 Books

November 27, 2018

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Marvel closed out 2018 with solid gains in terms of female and non-binary creator representation, bouncing back well after some terribly low numbers last winter to plateau at a relatively decent level. The numbers aren’t great by any means, but they’re now consistently not bad, and that’s what counts for progress when it comes to representation in superhero comic books. Now we’ve got numbers from the new year, and this consistency is set to continue. Marvel is rolling into 2019 at about the same level they ended 2018, which is nice to see. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this January:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #1 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
  • Ann Nocenti: Marvel Comics Presents #1 (co-writer)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #28 (cover), X-23 #8 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Conan the Barbarian #2 (variant cover), X-Force #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #40 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #10 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Fantastic Four #1 (cover), Marvel Tales: Venom #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Age of Republic – Jango Fett #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #1 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #8 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #9 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #10 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #7 (writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Conan the Barbarian #1 (variant cover)
  • Lauren Tsai: Captain Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #8 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Black Widow #1 (variant cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #39 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #4 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #17 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Asgardians of the Galaxy #5 (interior art)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #4 (cover), Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation #4 (variant cover)

All together, there are 29 different female creators set to work on 29 different comic books at Marvel in January, the same number of creators as in December though spread across 6 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So the number of female creators remains steady for the third straight month, which is good. Even though Marvel’s still below their past highs, 29 isn’t a terrible number. The drop in books is steep, though. Some event tie-ins have wrapped, which explains part of the decline, and while Marvel usually has a bevy of different one-shots each month, December’s had more female creators in the mix than January’s offerings do. Still, decent numbers all around.

We’ve got some new names in the mix as well. Laruen Tsai is doing a variant cover for the new Captain Marvel, and I don’t think we’ve seen her at Marvel before. We’ve also got the Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia, writing a new Black Widow series. We’ve seen them before briefly, in one of those aforementioned one-shots, and now they’ve jumped to an ongoing book. That’s the benefit of including female and non-binary creators in these one-shots: It’s a great way to find talent that you can promote to a bigger role.

Marvel’s one-shots this month just aren’t doing that. They’ve got a series of specials lined up to celebrate the publisher’s 80th anniversary, and it’s a dude-centric affair. The vast majority of the books star male characters, and the vast majority of the creators involved are men. Ann Nocenti’s got a story in the special Marvel Comics Presents, and that’s about it. It’s not a great look.

We’ve got a couple big new books with female leads, though. Captain Marvel is relaunching yet again, with Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero on board. I’m very excited for this one; Kelly’s been killing it on so many books lately, and Carmen Carnero is always good. We’ve got a new Black Widow series too, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Soska Sisters bring to it. Elsewhere, there are a few teams books with some ladies in the mix as well, including relaunches of Guardians of the Galaxy and Champions.

Overall, it looks like Marvel is starting the year on a good foot. Their numbers are consistent, some of their biggest female characters are launching new titles, and their embarrassingly poor start to 2018 is becoming a distant memory. As much as there’s lots of room to grow, as always, steady representation at Marvel is rare. Hopefully it continues as the year goes on, and even grows.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, January 2019 Solicits: 20 Creators on 14 Books

November 26, 2018

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So remember how we adjusted the numbers for DC’s December solicits? The last Wednesday in December is Boxing Day, and DC’s not shipping any books that week. Instead, because January is a five-Wednesday month, they moved all those books to the first Wednesday in January. Thus, when we looked at the December solicits, we added in that January week to get a more accurate view of the numbers. Now it’s time for the January solicits, so we’re going to subtract that first week. Easy peasy, right?

This leaves us with the last four weeks in January, which is a full cycle of DC’s publication schedule. All of the books will come out at their regular rate in that span. The only trouble is, it seems DC forgot to hire female and non-binary creators to work on them. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this January:

  • Agnes Garbowska: Teen Titans Go! #32 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #4 (cover)
  • Amanda Deibert: Teen Titans Go! #32 (co-writer)
  • Aneke: House of Whispers #5 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #5 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Mysteries of Love in Space #1 (co-writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Catwoman #7 (interior art), Mysteries of Love in Space #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Wonder Woman #63 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #62 (writer), Wonder Woman #63 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #7 (writer, interior art, cover), Mysteries of Love in Space #1 (cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Wonder Woman #63 (variant cover)
  • Kat Howard: Books of Magic #4 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #44 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #31 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: The Wild Storm #19 (variant cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #4 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #5 (writer)
  • Paulina Ganucheau: Hex Wives #4 (cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #62 (cover), Wonder Woman #63 (cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #2 (writer)

All together, there are 20 different female creators set to work on 14 different books at DC in January, 4 fewer creators than in the December adjusted numbers and a whopping 9 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. And let me re-iterate: This is the same slate of books as our adjusted December numbers. We’ve not lost titles by moving the first week of January back with the December post. Both are four week cycles of DC’s entire line. January just sort of sucks. It looked like the December numbers were a step in the right direction after a subpar autumn for the publisher, but January has DC’s female and non-binary representation on the decline again.

Reading through the solicits was an odd experience, in that so many familiar names were gone. Yasmine Putri usually does a slew of variant covers, but this month there were none. Jenny Frison’s been doing Wonder Woman variant covers for ages, but she’s wrapped up that gig. Julie and Shawna Benson have been writing one book or another at DC for a couple of years now, but they’ve been taken off Green Arrow. So several of our regulars are gone, without much in the way of new names to replace them. We’ve got a few returning favourites; I feel like it’s been a little while since we’ve seen Amanda Deibert, Elena Casagrande, or Marley Zarcone. But there’s no one brand new, nor any real commensurate rise in female or non-binary creators to make up for the losses.

In terms of fictional women, Brian Michael Bendis’ new “Wonder Comics” imprint is rolling out some titles in January that feature a few gals. Wonder Girl and Amethyst are in Young Justice, while Naomi stars an all new female lead. Unfortunately, there are no female or non-binary creators attached to ANY of the “Wonder Comics” books at this point, which is just embarrassing. There are several books, all written and drawn by dudes. Come on now. Elsewhere this month, the only new book with female characters in the mix is the Mysteries of Love in Space special, which has stories starring Hawkgirl and Crush, i.e. Lobo’s daughter.

Overall, this is not a great start to the new year. The drop in creators is certainly noticeable, and the drop in representation across the line is massive. Falling from 23 books to 14 is a huge decline. And things like “Wonder Comics” aren’t helping matters either. How, in 2019, do you launch a brand new imprint with NO women or non-binary creators in the mix? It’s just ridiculous. Especially when the last imprint, “Young Animal,” was a bastion of female creator representation. So yeah, the year’s not getting off on the best foot. Hopefully things will pick up from here.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, December 2018 Solicits – 24 Creators on 23 Books, Sort Of

October 18, 2018

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Okay, this one is going to be a little bit weird. The fourth Wednesday in December is Boxing Day, and DC has decided not to ship any comics at all that week. Since January is a five-week month, they’re bumping all of their usual fourth week books from December into the first week of January. That leaves the December solicits a bit sparse, with a quarter of the usual books not there. This obviously makes our monthly comparisons a bit difficult, but let’s start with who’s doing what at DC this December and we’ll keep going from there:

  • Amanda Conner: Supergirl #25 (variant cover)
  • Aneke: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #4 (interior art)
  • Brandee Stilwell: Sasquatch Detective #1 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Supergirl #25 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #60 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #60 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Supergirl #25 (interior art)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #46 (writer, interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Green Arrow #47 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #43 (writer)
  • Magdalene Visaggio: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (co-writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Harley Quinn #56 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #4 (writer)
  • Nicola Scott: Justice League Dark #6 (cover)
  • Priscilla Petraites: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #4 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #60 (cover)
  • Sanya Anwar: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (co-writer)
  • Shawna Benson: Green Arrow #47 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Nightwing #54 (variant cover), Nightwing #55 (variant cover), Red Hood: Outlaw #29 (variant cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #1 (writer)

All together, there are 21 female creators scheduled to work on 16 different comic books at DC in December, 1 more creator than in November but 5 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. Now, we’ve already got more women working on comics than last month, so that’s a plus, but it just doesn’t feel right. Especially when the January solicits will have a lot of books double shipping that typically don’t. Everything’s all wonky. So I think for our “official” count, I’m going to borrow the entries from the first week of the January 2019 solicits (i.e. the books that should have come out December 26), and we’ll make those part of the December count. So let’s add in:

  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #3 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #61 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #61 (variant cover)
  • Kat Howard: Books of Magic #3 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #30 (writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Hex Wives #3 (cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #3 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #4 (variant cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #61 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Raven, Daughter of Darkness #11 (cover)

A bunch of these creators were in the first list above, but the net gain here is 3 more female creators and 7 more books, for a total of 24 female creators overall, working on 23 different books. It may not be the monthly numbers exactly, but it captures this publication cycle well, and I think that gives us our most accurate totals for our usual month to month comparison.

And it’s a comparison that stacks up pretty well. I mean, November kind of sucked. Only 20 female creators is terrible. But there were 15 in October, and that’s even worse. We’re seeing two big jumps in a row here that, while they haven’t lifted DC to anything resembling a strong total yet, could bode well for continued growth in the new year. Or the numbers could just fall off a cliff again. You never know with the Big Two. Regardless, 24 creators is a decent total relative to the back half of 2018 as a whole, and hopefully we’ll see the growth continue.

We’ve got a few new names as well. I think Brandee Stilwell got listed once for her work on Exit Stage Left, but her Sasquatch Detective backups from that mini are getting collected in a one-shot with a new story thrown in, too. We’ve also got Priscilla Petraites, who has gone through DC’s talent development program and will be drawing a story in this year’s New Talent Showcase. And finally, Zoe Quinn is launching Goddess Mode for Vertigo, which sounds like it could be a cool title.

In terms of female characters, it’s mostly team stuff for new books this month. Zatanna and Orphan are going to be in Batman and the Outsiders, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna are going to be in the New Talent Showcase 2018, and Freedom Fighters should have some ladies in the mix, though none are specified in the solicit. Also, Goddess Mode has a female lead, which is very fun.

All together, the adjusted numbers show a step up for DC in terms of female creator representation, though their non-binary ranks remain poor. It would be nice to have the new year on the horizon bring continued growth and new opportunities for women and non-binary creators, but if you’ve followed this project at all you know it’s a dang yo-yo, up and down all the time. At the very least, at this current moment in time, DC is moving in a positive direction. That’s something, I suppose


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