Gendercrunching by Tim Hanley – September 2012

Tim Hanley writes for Bleeding Cool;

It was another big month for Marvel, who smashed the record for highest percentage of female creators, while DC continued their slump and dropped slightly from their unimpressive August numbers. We also take a look at DC’s full zero issue stats, seeing what’s up and what’s down since the relaunch began.

DC COMICS

DC has been hovering in the 10% range since May, and September was no exception. In September 2012, DC put out 81 new comics with 661 credited creators, 595 men and 66 women. Here are their full stats:

They’re down only 0.1% from August, but their numbers have stuck at this level for a while. By category, everything dropped but cover artists (up 0.6%) and writers (up 1.9%, more than double). All of the other categories fell in the 1-3% range, with inkers seeing the biggest drop relative to the previous month. Overall, DC is in a rut.

Compared To A Year Ago: DC was at 10.6% in September 2011, so they’re down 0.6% a year later.

MARVEL COMICS

It was exactly a year ago that Marvel stopped its lackluster 2011 and made a solid jump in their percentage of female creators. One year later, they’ve posted the best month we’ve seen yet. In September 2012, Marvel released 72 new books featuring 573 credited creators, 492 men and 81 women. Let’s look at their record breaking numbers:

We’ve never had a month hit 13%, much less 14%, so this is quite an achievement. Cover artists and inkers were down slightly, well writers fell 2.5%, but there were slight gains for inkers and colorists. Editorial really made the difference, with editors up almost 5% and assistant editors up almost 8%. Nonetheless, those are some ugly numbers for writers and interior artists, despite the great month overall.

Compared To A Year Ago: Marvel hit double digits for the first time in September 2011, posting 10.9%, so they’re up 3.2% comparatively.

DC NORMAL, DCnU, AND ZERO ISSUES – DC’S PAST 3 SEPTEMBERS

DC’s 55 zero issues came out in September, and so we’re going to take a look at how they compared to DC’s 52 DCnU issues from a year ago AND to DC’s last normal September in 2010. In 2010, DC had 42 regular, main line, non-mini series, and so we’ve got the 55 vs. the 52 vs. the 42. Let’s take a look at how it all shook out:

Overall, the zero issues are down from the New 52, and by a decent amount. While 1.5% may not seem like a huge drop, it’s a decline of nearly 17% compared to the previous total, and that’s not negligible at all. The zero issues are also down from 2010, though by only 0.2%, or about 2.5% compared to the 2010 total. No matter the difference, DC is doing worse with female creators overall, and that’s not great to see.

But on the plus side, several of the creative categories are up from last year. Cover artists, writers, and pencillers are all up in the range of 1% each. On the one hand, in terms of raw numbers this is an increase of one female creator per category, which is literally the least they could go up. On the other hand, it’s an improvement nonetheless. If we’ve learned nothing in the almost two years we’ve been doing these stats, it’s that you’ve got to appreciate the little things. Most months, it’s all you’re going to get.

There were no inkers this year, though, or the year before. Zeroes aren’t pleasant at all. That’s a combined 107 books with no female inkers, and only one penciller. Interior art has been a real low spot for both publishers lately, with female appearances sporadic at best. For example, DC’s one female penciller in their 55 zero issues was Adriana Melo on Catwoman #0, and she won’t be back for the next issue in October.

What’s worse is that while 3 of these 4 creative categories saw gains from 2010, they got blown out of the water by the 2010 numbers. Zero female inkers in 2012? There were 3 in 2010!! Three female cover artists in 2012? There were 6 in 2010!! Whenever people try to say there aren’t female creators out there for the Big Two to hire, they’re very wrong. There’s a bunch of them, and the Big Two used to hire them. But not so much anymore.

With colorists, things get cheerier. The zero issues are way above the New 52 numbers, which in turn were a decent step up from their 2010 numbers. Female colorists have established a decent niche at DC and get a fair amount of regular work, and noticeably more so than in years past.

It’s zeroes across the board for female letterers, though. Unlike Marvel, DC actually does employ a female letterer, just not on their main line books. She sticks to digital first and adaptations mostly. It’s yet another case of ladies existing who can do a job yet they’re nowhere to be seen on the higher profile gigs.

Editorial is where the zero issues suffered their biggest loss from the New 52, dropping a whopping 9%. With Bobbie Chase’ promotion this spring, she no longer edits the several books she was on back in 2011, and most of the editors who took her spots are men. On the positive side, the 2012 numbers are still higher than the 2010 total, and by a decent margin. For assistant editors, the 2012 and 2011 numbers stayed the same, and were much higher than the 2010 totals. Editorial accounted for a much smaller portion of the overall total in 2010 than it did in 2011 and 2012.

All together, some categories were lower than last year, particularly overall, while 3 of the 4 categories that were an improvement on 2011 were lower than the 2010 numbers. The status of female creators at DC is stagnant at best, and the zero issues didn’t do anything to improve that. I mean, when you’re comparing 1.9% and 1.4%, clearly things aren’t great. You could double those numbers and they’d still be miniscule. Maybe next September, when DC does infinity issues or something (like a comic that ends where the first page began… you could read it on a loop forever!!), things will be better, but given their track record I wouldn’t count on it.

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.