Gendercrunching The DC New 52 Relaunch Of September 2011 by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley writes for Bleeding Cool

Well, that was a bizarre month. The first two weeks were well below average, while the second two were well above (you can check out this week’s stats at my blog). The week with the highest total, September 21, also brought us Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Then at the end of the month, one of the busiest women working at DC quit!! Overall, the numbers turned out very interesting. DC Comics’ “The New 52” featured 387 credited creators, 351 male and 36 female. The average percentage of female creators on main line DC books from January to August was 9.4%, and here is your brand spanking DCnU total:

That was a little bit anticlimactic. The overall total fell, but by the tiniest margin possible. Although the month began pretty poorly, it really picked up in the last two weeks and ended up averaging out to about the same level it was before. Is this the nail in the coffin of the women in comics debate? Not so much… let’s break it down by category for the month:

And then look at these numbers a little differently. Usually we compare male and female percentages, but today we’re going to look at the January through August main line DC female percentages versus the September DCnU female percentages:

Everything went down. EVERYTHING. Some by a smidge, some by a lot, but everything dropped. It’s certainly not catastrophic, and I’m pleasantly surprised that the overall total stayed so close to the previous average, but it says a lot that when DC decided to relaunch every book and try to appeal to a wider audience, they did so with fewer women EVERYWHERE. When you’ve got zeroes in 3 of the 8 categories along with drops in all 8, things aren’t good, ladywise. They’re not terrible, and that’s nice to see, but they really aren’t good.

Here are a couple other fun stats from the DCnU before we finally bugger off with DC and go pick on Marvel for a while…

The departure of Janelle Asselin is a big blow for women at DC Comics. She was one of the busiest editors at DC, editing 2 DCnU books and assistant editing 4 more. There were only 36 female credits in the DCnU, and Asselin accounted for 6 of them!! Just for fun, let’s run the numbers again without Asselin in them… cutting her out entirely, the overall total drops to 381 and the female credits fall to 30, and the overall percentage of female creators goes from 9.3% to 7.9%. Wow. I have no idea how DC plans to replace Asselin, whether they’ll go for a new editor or just spread her work among the people already there, but her leaving may not be good for their numbers.

Finally, I kept a second tally all month so that we could have a different perspective on the DCnU. The “Gendercrunching” stats are always tabulated by comic book, so a creator gets counted in the overall total for every book they are credited in, and then by category for every different job they do in each book. For this separate count, I totalled up the DCnU creators by name only so we could see how many different people were involved. It didn’t matter if you worked on 1 book or 9 (nine was the record, by the way, for letterer Rob Leigh), you only got counted once. Also, after the whole “12% to 1%” thing at ComicCon, I think I should put in a disclaimer: This is a not a number that is comparable to the usual stats I present… it comes from a totally different methodology, and is not intended for comparison to past stats. DC Comics’ “The New 52” featured 204 different people, 194 of them men and 10 of them women, for an overall percentage that looked like this:

That’s pretty tiny. The 9.3% isn’t awesome, but it’s way better than 4.9%. What this much smaller total means is that the very few women who work at DC are working VERY hard. These 10 women had 36 credits, for an average of 3.6 credits each, while the 194 men had 351 credits, an average of only 1.8 credits each, exactly half that of the women. This is due to the women in DC editorial… editors, assistant or full, work on several books a month while those on the creative side typically work on one or just a couple (except for letterers). Of the 10 women from the DCnU, 5 were in editorial and each worked on no fewer than 5 books this month. Men have scads of gigs on the creative side so while there are lots more of them, their credit per person total is far lower. Anyway, it’s odd that there were over 200 different people involved in the new DC universe and that only 10 of them were women… that’s not very many at all. There were more women in my local comic shop at the midnight release party for Justice League #1 than there were working on the DCnU.

NOTES:

To learn more about this statistics project and its methodology click here, and to see the previous stats click here.

You can visit Tim at Straitened Circumstances and follow him on Twitter @timhanley01.

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