Posts Tagged ‘Women In Comics’

Women In Comics Statistics: DC And Marvel, January 2015 In Review

April 8, 2015


My latest “Gendercrunching” column went up over a week ago at Bleeding Cool, but I’ve been busy and then out of town so I never got to post it here. But better late than never! January wasn’t a great start to the year for either DC or Marvel, with DC returning to their past average for female creators overall and Marvel falling ever lower.

DC Comics had 11% female creators overall, a decent jump from their December total and a nice return to their past range after a very low autumn. Even better, by category DC is posting some of their best numbers for writers and artists since this stats project began in 2011. If the editorial numbers weren’t so low, DC could be setting some record highs. At Marvel, the overall percentage of female creators fell to 8.5%, one of their lowest totals since this project began. After a steady if unimpressive autumn, Marvel’s taken a real dip across the board over the past couple of months.

We also took a look at female creators, using covers as an indicator of each book’s gender representation. DC was down negligibly from July, but Marvel rose a couple percentage points. All together, there were slightly more female characters on the covers in January 2015 than we saw in January or July of last year.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the stats fun!

Women At Marvel Comics Watch – June 2015 Solicits: 14 Different Female Creators On 16 Different Books

March 25, 2015


Yesterday we looked at DC’s June solicits, and I was disappointed that DC had only 19 female creators because they hit 32 female creators just a couple of months earlier. Today we turn to Marvel, and they’re just trailing way behind. June is actually a decent month for women at Marvel, relative to their recent output, but they’re still far back of DC’s lowest month of the year. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in June 2015:

  • Alti Firmansyah: Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #1 (interior art)
  • Erica Henderson: Secret Wars #4 (variant cover), The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: A-Force #2 (co-writer), Ms. Marvel #16 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Weirdworld #1 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Captain Marvel & the Carol Corps #1 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel & the Carol Corps #1 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: 1602 Witch Hunter Angela #1 (co-writer), A-Force #2 (co-writer), Max Ride: First Flight #4 (writer), Years of Future Past #1 (writer), Years of Future Past #2 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: 1602 Witch Hunter Angela #1 (interior art), Secret Wars #3 (variant cover)
  • Noelle Stevenson: Runaways #1 (writer)
  • Robin Furth: Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – House of Cards #4 (co-writer)
  • Stacey Lee: Silk #5 (interior art)
  • Stephanie Hans: 1602 Witch Hunter Angela #1 (interior art, cover), Max Ride: First Flight #4 (cover)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Armor Wars #1 (variant cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Amazing Spider-Man #19.1 (cover), Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #1 (cover)

All together, there are 14 different women set to appear in 16 different books in June, one more female creator than in May but one less book. It’s not a great number when compared to other publishers, not just DC but independent publishers with smaller outputs too. At the same time, with Secret Wars on the go and so many new tie-in series, I’m a little bit impressed that the number of female creators ticked up, however slightly. The Big Two tend to fall back on the same old for events, but both DC’s “Convergence” and Marvel’s Secret Wars have had a solid number of female creators in the mix.

There are some new names in the June solicits as well. Alti Firmansyah is making what I think is her first Marvel appearance drawing Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde, while Kelly Thompson is co-writing Captain Marvel’s Secret Wars tie-in, Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps. Noelle Stevenson and Marguerite Sauvage, who recently did a story in a Thor annual, are back with bigger gigs in June as well.

In terms of female characters, there’s a lot going on with new and altered series in June. Thor is part of Thors, Runaways has several female characters including some favourites from the original run, Kitty Pryde is co-headlining a book with Star-Lord, Angela is going back in time with 1602 Witch Hunter Angela, Mary Jane Watson is back married to Peter Parker in Amazing-Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Shiklah the queen of the monster metropolis below Manhattan is starring in Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos, and Captain Marvel is now Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps. Plus, there are lots of women in various new team books as well. It’s a very strong month for female characters across the board.

Ultimately, Marvel is making a bit of progress in female creator representation in June, but remains far behind many other publishers. I’m anticipating a spate of new books and relaunches once Secret Wars wraps up, though, so it’ll be very interesting to see if things improve then. It’s encouraging to see some new names and women returning to Marvel for bigger gigs, and hopefully that bodes well for the future. Only time will tell.

Women At DC Comics Watch – June 2015 Solicits: A Disappointing Month For DC’s Mini-Relaunch, 19 Different Female Creators on 21 Different Books

March 24, 2015


I was very excited for the June solicits to come out, because DC has been having a great 2015 thus far. They’ve bested their previous highs for female creators on multiple occasions, and even maintained high numbers through their “Convergence” event. Events have rarely seen DC’s strongest effort when it comes to female creators, so that the numbers stayed relatively steady was very encouraging. Moreover, their June mini-relaunch looks to be an exciting new direction for the publisher in terms of the style and tone of their books. Unfortunately, June also has the fewest female creators at DC thus far this year. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what and where for DC’s June 2015 comics:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #17 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 (co-writer, cover), Section 8 #1 (cover), Starfire #1 (co-writer, cover)
  • Amy Wolfram: Teen Titans Go! #10 (co-writer)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #41 (interior art), Black Canary #1 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy #7 (co-writer, cover), The Kitchen #8 (cover)
  • Caitlin Kittredge: Coffin Hill #19 (writer)
  • Celia Calle: Strange Sports Stories #4 (cover)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #6 (cover)
  • Corin Howell: Bat-Mite #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Starfire #1 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Gail Simone: Secret Six #3 (writer)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Catwoman #41 (writer)
  • Georgia Ball: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #58 (writer)
  • Kai Yu Wu: The Flash Season Zero #9 (co-writer)
  • Lauren Cento: The Flash Season Zero #9 (co-writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Effigy #6 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #41 (writer), Wonder Woman Annual #1 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 (writer, variant cover), The Kitchen #8 (interior art)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Gotham Academy #7 (interior art)

All together, there are 19 different female creators set to work on 21 different books in June, a big drop from May’s 26 and 25 and a far cry from the 32 different female creators DC had in April, their biggest month to date. I was hoping that with this mini-relaunch, DC would make a big statement and top their best yet again, but instead June is their lowest month of the year thus far.

When DC cancelled a slew of books in March to make way for this mini-relaunch, they lost many of the female creators working on those books. Some other titles outside of the superhero line have come to an end as well. That means that female creators like Ann Nocenti, Cat Staggs, Christy Marx, K. Perkins, Marguerite Bennett, Meghan Hetrick, Tula Lotay, and Sandra Hope are not in the mix this month.

Furthermore, DC’s hit highs this year by regularly having women in one-off appearances through variant covers or anthology series, and June doesn’t have the usual assortment of female creators we expect in this regard. That bodes well for July; June just may be a randomly off month for these avenues, and the numbers could bounce back next month. However, right now the numbers are pretty poor, comparatively.

There are some new names in the mix, though. Annie Wu is fairly new to DC after a stint on Marvel’s Hawkeye, Corin Howell is drawing Bat-Mite, and Mingjue Helen Chen is drawing Gotham Academy. While these few new faces aren’t exactly compensating for the many female creators DC has lost through their mini-relaunch, it’s always great to see different names in the mix.

June also looks to be a good month for female characters. Black Canary, Power Girl (with Harley Quinn), and Starfire are all launching new series, and the lead of the new Prez series is a teenage girl. There are a few female characters sprinkled in some of the new team books as well.

But in the end, these posts are a numbers game. June not only has DC’s lowest number of female creators for the year, it’s the lowest number since October 2014. To hit a low at a time when they’re set to launch several new series and get a lot of attention and sales is particularly disheartening. The mini-relaunch is certainly better than the New 52 relaunch where there were only 2 female creators in the mix, but DC has proven they’re capable of hitting much higher numbers since then. Only 19 different women in June is a disappointment given how high DC has moved their bar this year.

Janelle Asselin Launches Rosy Press And It’s Debut Series, Fresh Romance, With New Kickstarter OR Give Her Your Money!

March 23, 2015


Romance comics used to be a huge part of the comic book industry. In the 1950s and 1960s, almost every publisher had several ongoing romance titles and they were wildly popular with young female readers. Romance comics died out in the 1970s as the industry underwent some massive changes, and the industry lost a lot of its female readership as it transitioned into primarily superhero and humour titles.

But over the past decade or so, female comic readers have been making a massive comeback in the North American market (after previously playing a key role in the rise of manga). They’re a quickly rising demographic for superhero books, and are a big part of the recent successes of indie publishers with more stylistically diverse books in a variety of genres. However, romance comics have yet to stage a comeback, until now.

Janelle Asselin, formerly an editor at DC Comics and Disney and now the senior editor of Comics Alliance, has launched Rosy Press to bring back romance comics. The Kickstarter campaign for the publisher’s first series, Fresh Romance, debuted today and the book sounds fantastic. Here’s the cover for the first issue, drawn by Kevin Wada:


The stories inside include:

  • A high school lesbian romance story written by Kate Leth (my pal! WOOHOO KATE!) with art by Arielle Jovellanos and colours by Amanda Scurti.
  • An old school Regency romance with a couple set to wed despite not being terribly fond of each other by Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Winifred Searle.
  • A tale of a supernatural barista helping others find love written by Sarah Kuhn, drawn by Sally Jane Thompson, and coloured by Savanna Ganucheau.

At least in this initial wave, Rosy Press seems committed to stories about women BY women and marketed TO women, which is all kinds of fun. Asselin created Rosy Press as a response to the massive growth in women reading comics, and I think the market is definitely set for this to be a massive success. And of course, you don’t have to be a woman to enjoy romance stories. Anyone can read the comics; they’ll just be free of the one-dimensionality and objectification that so often plagues female comic book characters.

That doesn’t mean that the books won’t be sexy, though. Rosy Press’ stories will be R-rated and have sexual content, just not in an exploitive way.  Telling great romance stories is the series’ focus, and the comic isn’t erotica, but they’re not steering away from sex either.  Because of the adult content, Asselin suggests that readers be at least 17.

The Kickstarter for Fresh Romance is up now, and you can get on board on a variety of levels. After the Kickstarter, Fresh Romance will be released monthly, with three ongoing stories in each issue, and after each individual story wraps up you’ll be able to buy it all together in an ebook as well. The plan is for Rosy Press to be completely digital, tapping into yet another growing market in the comic industry.

So yeah, all of this sounds fantastic! I’m very excited that romance comics are coming back, and with such a smart and savvy editor like Janelle Asselin at the helm. Plus the first creative teams are awesome, and the stories sound like a lot of fun. The Kickstarter will run for the next month, so get on board now, and Fresh Romance is set to debut its first issue in May. If you want to learn even more about Rosy Press and Fresh Romance, there are interviews with Asselin at the Washington Post and Comic Book Resources. You should definitely get behind this project, gang! I think it’s going to be great.

Jim Lee And Dan DiDio Declare That DC’s June Mini-Relaunch Is Just The Beginning Of A New Direction For The Publisher

March 10, 2015


Way back in July 2011, after the mess that was DC’s discussion of female characters and creators at that year’s Comic-Con, co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio released a joint statement promising that DC would do better on both fronts. The New 52 was about to debut with only 2 female creators in the mix, and preview pages were showing female characters in all sorts of objectified ways and sexy scenarios. It wasn’t a good scene, some fans got vocal about it, and DC promised to do better. And then they didn’t, really. Female creator numbers improved marginally, but the books stayed about the same and nothing really changed substantially for a couple of years. So that promise from July 2011 was, basically, a bunch of crap. They said all the right things, and then did very little about it.

Now Jim Lee and Dan DiDio are saying the right things again, but I’m feeling much more optimistic about where DC is heading. This is largely because we know where DC is heading: In June, they’re debuting 24 new series that feature many female creators and characters, and are diversifying their lineup generally in terms of style and tone. Here are a few highlights from their discussion about the new line-up, courtesy of Comic Book Resources.

Jim Lee acknowledged the rise in female readership in this discussion of DC’s audience:

I think a big part of the June launch was really a recognition that the audience has changed. It’s more fragmented than it was before. The original direct market was perceived as a monolithic fanbase. You see a lot more women that are into comics, at comic book shops and conventions. Our own studies have shown there’s a lot more people that are looking for a lot more flavors and diversity in our line than we’re currently doing.

Lee later trotted out the usual line about the publisher wanting to tell the best stories, which has often been used to dismiss focusing on a more representative creator base. The story is key, not who’s telling it! But while Lee said, “You want to have diversity, but you don’t want it to be prescriptive”, he then added:

I think it’s as diverse a group of creators, characters, stories and approaches to storytelling that I’ve seen in the history of DC, at least in my years that I’ve been here.

Dan DiDio then explained how DC is looking to the future after the early days of the New 52 got away from them:

When we launched, it was so pressed up against this hard-driving continuity for so long, people had a hard time recalibrating and rethinking how to approach our characters. So they started to fall back into old habits, and looking in the past, of where they were going to get their ideas from. Now I can tell you that we’ve changed it. We’re actually looking to the future for where our ideas are.

I think this “old habits” comment applies to the creators they hired as well, which were a lot of the same old in the early days on the New 52. Many of the creators at the helm of June’s mini-relaunch are relatively new faces, bringing bold new ideas to their books.

So now, three and a half years later, DC’s co-publishers are saying the right things about their changing audience and diverse creators, and this time they’re backing it up. I think this bodes well for the future of DC Comics. They’ve steadily grown their ranks of female creators and improved the depiction of their female characters. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, DC finally appears to understand that the game has changed and that they need to adapt accordingly.  Time will tell if it sticks, but they’re moving in a positive direction.

Go Vote For The Top 50 Female Comic Writers And Artists Of All Time At Comic Book Resources!

March 3, 2015


On Sunday, Kelly Thompson’s latest “She Has No Head!” article on Comic Book Resources launched a massive new project. She is compiling “the most complete and exhaustive list of women creators possible”, and currently has 1,100 female writers and artists on an ever-growing list. It is impressively thorough.

Thompson has created the list for two reasons. First, to serve as a comprehensive, constantly evolving document that will keep track of the many female creators who have, do, and will work in comics. Second, Thompson is teaming up with Brian Cronin to hold a massive poll to find the Top 50 female comic writer and artists of all time, and the list will serve as a handy resource for putting together a ballot.

A while back, Comic Book Resources did a poll to determine the Top 50 comic writers and artists of all time generally, and only two women made the list: Fiona Staples and Gail Simone. Thus women accounted for only 2% of the entire list. This new poll is way to highlight and celebrate the many female creators who work in comics currently, and who have worked in comics over the decades.

You should absolutely go vote for your Top 10 female writers and artists, and follow the instructions in the link. You get to pick 10 of each, and you need to rank them from one to ten; your top pick will get ten points, your bottom pick will get one, and then all the points will be tabulated and we’ll have a giant list of awesome female creators.

There are all kinds of great modern female creators to choose from, but if you’re looking to be historically representative, let me recommend voting for Joye Murchison in the writing category. Murchison wrote many Golden Age Wonder Woman stories when William Moulton Marston’s illnesses slowed down his writing output, though she went uncredited at the time. Her influence on the early years of Wonder Woman is substantial, and it would be great to see her recognized on a list like this. Another fun choice is Alice Marble, who wrote the “Wonder Women of History” feature for the first 16 issues of Wonder Woman, spotlighting a different famous woman in a four page story in each issue.

You have until March 16 to vote, so that gives you a bit of time to decide your ballot. I keep going back and forth on mine. There are so many great creators to choose from! Kelly Sue DeConnick is a lock. Marjane Satrapi for sure. Murchison and Marble, obviously. I might vote for Kate Beaton in both categories because she’s just that epic. Plus how do I weigh new creators against older, established creators with a bigger body of work? It’s not just who I love now, but I who I love ALL TIME. It’s a lot to think about! But so much fun.

Women In Comics Statistics: DC And Marvel, December 2014 In Review

March 2, 2015


My latest “Gendercrunching” column is up at Bleeding Cool, and neither Big Two publisher had a great month. This poor December capped off a generally weak year where both publishers consistently posted overall percentages for female creators far below their past highs.

DC had the higher overall percentage of female creators in December, hitting double digits for the first time in a long time with 10%. Marvel tumbled down to 8.9% overall, a surprisingly weak showing for them.

We also take a look at the year in review. Both Big Two publishers are trending downward overall, but DC has a few bright spots on the creative side of things with writers and artists trending upward over the course of the year and especially over the past few months. Editorial is the real issue for both publishers, with decimated assistant editor ranks dragging down the overall average of female creators considerably.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the stats fun!


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