Tim Hanley writes;
Although DC went up and Marvel went down in February, Marvel had the higher percentage of female creators yet again, continuing an impressive streak. We also take a look at the evolution of how many different comic books featured a female creator over the past two years.
DC rose slightly from last month, staying solidly above their 2012 average. In February 2013, DC put out 74 new comic books with 637 credited creators, 560 men and 77 women. Let’s look at the numbers:
Growth of 0.4% overall isn’t particularly massive, but it’s good to see. Cover artists were down very slightly while writers and letterers fell about 2%. On the plus side, inkers, colorists, and assistant editors were up a bit while pencillers rose over 2% and editors over 3%. All told, the gains outweighed the losses but there were no seismic shifts of any sort.
Compared To A Year Ago: DC had 11% female creators in February 2012, so they’re up 1.1% from then.
Marvel was down a bit from last month, but still maintained a strong overall percentage of female creators. In February 2013, Marvel released 73 new books featuring 640 credited creators, 553 men and 87 women. Here are their stats:
Losing 0.6% overall is never good, but they’re still very much in the ballpark of what’s been our highest level for female creators so far. Writers, pencillers, and inkers all rose slightly, which is minor but good considering a history of poor numbers there lately, and assistant editors also grew a couple of percentage points. Letterers remained at 0%, of course, while cover artists, colorists, and editors fell by small amounts. Overall, February wasn’t as high as recent months, but it’s a strong showing nonetheless.
Compared To A Year Ago: In February 2012, Marvel was at 11% female creators, so they’re up 2.6% a year later.
THE GROWTH OF COMIC BOOKS FEATURING FEMALE CREATORS
Over the past two years we’ve seen some growth in the overall percentage of female creators, with both publishers now consistently at higher levels than they were when we started in January 2011. We check the overall stats each month, but there’s another way I’ve noticed growth over the years.
Lately, it’s seemed that more titles feature at least one female creator. In the early days of this stats project, there was a lot of clustering. For example, DC’s Birds of Prey always had women in a variety of roles pre-New 52 while many of the titles that came out the same week would feature no women at all. However, Birds of Prey’s high number would compensate for all the zeroes and the overall average would turn out okay. Similarly, recently Marvel’s had a run of Disney titles that featured a substantial majority of female creators, which again makes up for other poorer performing titles.
The way we look at the stats each month doesn’t reflect where the numbers are coming from. It’s just everything all added together. So what I’ve done here is chart up every month we’ve looked at so far in terms of how many books feature at least one female creator. I went through all the titles each month, counted how many featured at least one woman, and figured out what percentage of books that was. The results are interesting.
Let’s take a look at DC first:
The data has a line of best fit, also known as a trend line, to show the trend over the past two years, and the number of books featuring at least one female creator is definitely on the rise. What this suggests is that women are appearing more frequently in DC comic books across the line.
Now, I in no way mean to suggest that single books with several female creators are a bad thing. Far from it. But an increase in books featuring a female creator shows that the presence of female creators is becoming a more common event. You are much more likely to see a woman in the credits of any given DC book than you were two years ago. This more widespread presence is good for a few reasons:
- First, it shows that women are getting work across the board. It’s not just specific editors or departments. Some areas have more ladies than others, of course, but there are few departments without any female creator representation at all.
- Second, with a woman in the credits of a vast majority of comics each month, it’s clear that women play a key role in the industry.
- Third, this dispels any argument that comics aren’t for girls. They’re all over the books each month, in various roles at ever increasing rates.
When we look at Marvel, we see similar trends:
The growth is even more stark at Marvel. For both publishers, at least 70% of their books currently feature at least one female creator, up from lows in the low-50s in 2011.
Of course, as we know from our monthly numbers, the jobs women get are not so widespread. Female creators tend to be in editorial roles primarily, with colorist being the most common job on the creative side of things. There aren’t a ton of female writers or artists at the Big Two, which are the big gigs that get your name on the cover.
Nonetheless, we’re seeing more women in more books each month. The more common female creators in comics become, perhaps the more we’ll see them expand further into other roles as well. While I’m sure there have been many incidents of sexism over the years, as a whole I don’t think the Big Two are actively excluding female creators. They just tend to do things the ways they’ve always done them with the same people they usually do them with. As female creators continue to appear in more books, this will slowly become the new normal and hopefully we’ll see the numbers grow even more in every category.
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.